Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prisque Bay Calling #1

The lure of familiar places seems to be a recurring theme for me this summer. To that end, it seemed natural, in the spirit of the unofficial end of the season (and with it, the official return of peace and quiet to Ontario's wilder places), to return to the Foster Island area, along the eastern shore of Georgian Bay.

I've written about this stunning, and largely pristine, corner of the bay numerous times before (click here for these entries), and have already visited a couple of times this summer. Once again, we camped on "our" tiny islet, in the beautiful and utterly forgotten Prisque Bay, and set off to do some exploring from there. Though it's really only a couple hundred yards of rock covered in scrub, for some reason both Amy and I feel that we could stay on this little outcropping indefinitely. Kind of like twenty-first century settlers. And, of course, the scenery never lets us down.

Coming out of the tiny port of Britt, on Byng Inlet, it's about a three-and-a-half hour paddle to our special spot. As usual this summer, Britt was shrouded in a dense mist when we set out. But, as has also been our experience, things soon dried up, leaving three luxurious days of paddling through the maze of small islands and narrow channels that make up this part of the Georgian Bay coast. Just below the surface lurk the treacherous motorboat-eating Magnetawan Ledges, which keep the boat traffic (except for kayaks, which require maybe three inches of water), to a minimum.

Britt and the neighbouring town of Byng Inlet arose out of the lumber trade in the early twentieth century. As the forest was stripped away, however, the town of Byng Inlet declined, and today stands as only a few rather forlorn-looking cottages. Britt's story went a little differently; though it looked like it, too, would die when the sawmills fell silent, the railway soon arrived, and Britt became a key shipping point on Georgian Bay (which it remains today). But now it's mostly boaters and cottagers who drive the tiny economy here. And a couple of tiny restaurants, one of which is St. Amant's, which offers the finest western sandwich one can ask for after four days of eating in the backcountry.

Upon arrival at our second home, I usually rig up my handy retractable fishing rod up and take a stab at catching dinner. Of the three times we made it here this summer, two featured delicious fish feasts (if you include one that came from generous fishermen who tossed us a pike as they motored past). No such luck this time, though. The only thing that came out of the fishing was several hours of peaceful relaxation. And this great photo, courtesy of Amy.

The fishing was brought to an abrupt end most nights by the arriving swarms of mosquitoes. For some reason, they seem heavier on the bay at this time of year. The first night they came out around 6:30, driving us first into our bug nets, and then, when the buzzing in our ears had nearly driven us mad, into the tent.

It was just as well. Things would get very interesting the next day. And the wildlife would only get wilder.


stacey said...

whoa! what an ending to this blog entry! talk about leaving us hanging!!.....tell me more.....was there an otter involved by any chance? i love stories about otters!

movita said...

Did you eat with cardboard spoons?

Chad said...

Nope. Specialized, ultra-light backpacking silverware from your favourite store -- MEC! The cat licked them clean when we got home.