Thursday, May 12, 2022

Georgian Bay Road Trip Day 5

Day 4 Owen Sound ON

May 2022 - Kemble/Tobermory ON

We left the Cobble Beach resort around 10:30 to drive to Tobermory. It's only about an hour's drive.

Wiarton is notable for the Wiarton Willie Festival, in February each year (starting in 1956), when national and international media cover Wiarton Willie and his Groundhog Day prediction.

It's a good thing we like to be early as there is only one road up to Tobermory. We passed a truck saying "road painting ahead" and in the far distance you can see the truck. We were stuck behind them for a while until he signalled for us to pass him on the shoulder.

We check in and park the car for our boat ride.

If you stay at this motel you can leave your car and walk over to the boat departure.

We were in search of something to drink so we walked down to the ferry harbour.

MS Chi-Cheemaun, she’s sailed the waters from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island since 1974. In that time, the Chi-Cheemaun has become both a symbol of Georgian Bay, and a testament to the area’s rich Indigenous culture.
She is a passenger ferry capable of transporting 600 passengers and 150 vehicles.

She pulled in as we sat on the restaurant patio.

This very colourful truck came off the ferry as we were walking back.

Our tour boat. There were only 8 people plus us on board and they all went upstairs. It was chilly when we got going!

We chose Bruce Anchor, mainly because they were the only one running at this time of year, the other companies start mid-May.

Our Stay Aboard Tours leave Bruce Anchor’s departure dock at exactly the time they are scheduled. From there, cruise passengers are taken into Big Tub Harbour to view two of Fathom Five National Marine Park’s historic shipwrecks. These wrecks are easily viewed over the sides of our vessels or through our large glass bottom panels.
After the shipwreck viewing our tour will take you around Flowerpot Island to view the historic lightstation and famous Flowerpots.
This tour option is great for those who prefer not to hike on Flowerpot Island, or for those who prefer to stay dry on a rainy day.
The round trip duration of the cruise is 65 minutes, and will include a stopover at Flowerpot Island for the passengers that are disembarking.

Fathom Five National Marine Park is a National Marine Conservation Area in the Georgian Bay part of Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, that seeks to protect and display shipwrecks and lighthouses, and conserve freshwater ecosystems. The many shipwrecks make the park a popular scuba diving destination, and glass bottom boat tours leave Tobermory regularly, allowing tourists to see the shipwrecks without having to get wet.

Originally constructed in 1885 for a cost of $675, the Big Tub Lighthouse played an important role in guiding ships into the harbour from the sometimes-treacherous waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The original structure was later replaced by the six-sided, 14 metres (43 foot) wooden lighthouse that is seen today.

CCGS Cape Commodore is one of the Canadian Coast Guard's 36 Cape-class motor lifeboats. The vessel was built in Victoria Shipyards, in Vancouver, British Columbia and was stationed in Tobermory, Ontario, in September 2005. Seemingly this boat can right itself after flipping.

We passed over two shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour. 

On August 23, 1885, the Sweepstakes hit a rock near Cove Island and sank in shallow water close to the light station. She remained there until September 3rd when she was towed into Big Tub Harbor by the tug Jessie.

The City of Grand Rapids was a double-decked steamer working the coastal trade between Owen Sound and the villages of Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula. On the evening of October 29, 1907, a fire broke out aboard the Grand Rapids while docked in Little Tub Harbor. Under the command of Captain Alex Craigie, the tug Clucas took the burning vessel in tow, pulled it out of the harbor, and released it. The City of Grand Rapids then drifted into Big Tub Harbor. It continued to burn, and eventually came to rest at the head of the harbor, where it burned to the waterline, rolled to starboard and sank.

The Wreck Today -The City of Grand Rapids lies in 0 to 3 meters of water, just south of the Sweepstakes at the head of Big Tub Harbor. The bottom of the iron-sheathed hull is intact and filled with coal used for the boilers, as well as silt. The charred tips of the frames can be seen on both the starboard and port sides. Lying on the bottom and clearly visible mid-way along the starboard side is part of the smokestack and a metal frame from the piano that once entertained the guests on-board. The steam engine crankshaft, connecting rods, part of the boiler, driveshaft, pumps and shaft coupling are all present.

The Flowerpot Island Lighthouse is a square, tapered, steel tower surmounted by two unenclosed lights. It is located on Castle Bluff, on the northeastern point of Flowerpot Island, a medium-size, uninhabited island near Tobermory on the west side of Georgian Bay. The present Flowerpot Island Lighthouse was built in 1969 and is the second to be erected on the site.
It can be seen in this photo on the left.

There are four related buildings on the site that contribute to the heritage character of the lighthouse: (1) the 1963 Boathouse, (2) the 1901 Lightkeeper’s Dwelling, (3) the 1959 Assistant Lightkeeper’s Dwelling, and (4) the Observation Deck Building.

TOWERING OVER THE SHINING BLUE waters of Lake Huron are two massive pillars that resemble flower pots. Cracked and shaped into two perfect flattened posts, the flowerpots are allegedly the petrified bodies of two lovers à la Romeo and Juliet who were frozen in time by the island’s Little Spirit.

According to an old legend of the Ottawa and Chippewa people, two young people fell in love from the two warring tribes. Although they hid their love for a while, they eventually made a break from the shores and were quickly pursued by members of their tribes. In a desperate attempt to escape, the two lovers paddled toward Flowerpot Island, and in a violent crash, were petrified on the beach.

We didn't get a photo but there is a building that was the original Marconi Station at Cape Bear. This was the only station in Canada to pick up the Titanic distress call.

Back on shore and warm, we take the shuttle to our car for the 2.5 hour drive back to Collingwood. We decided on no stops.

Back through Wiarton.

Back in Collingwood for the night.

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