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Take me to the water

Upon returning to Canada from three months away I have looked forward to the day I would launch my new boat “Tre Anni” for her inaugural year with Fathom Five Fishing.

“You can’t rush a good thing”they say, well I have been meticulously going through my boat to bring it up to standards to be a Transport Canada approved commercial vessel. Labeling for safety equipment, new electronics, proper inflatable life jackets, registrations, radar reflectors, radios, Epirbs, emergency beacons, life rings, radar, AIS, fishing equipment and of course stowage of all, so she is ship shape. She is a small vessel but quite comfortable for six guests.

All the while that I have been away dreaming of launch day, there has been change in the small hamlet of Tobermory where I live and love. Also known as the Tub by the locals.

At the core of the town, the grocery store Foodland

has closed its downtown doors to an overburdened harbour. Just a half mile out of the harbour on the highway, the heart of the town has reopened on a large lot with ample parking and a brand new modern Peacocks Foodland Grocery store.

The harbour has remained busy though, as bulldozers and bobcats bustle behind blockades.  The harbour is closed. The boat launch unavailable. It has become a stowage pit for pitrun and gravel to fill the void behind the washed out walls of a collapsing harbour.  The steadfast crews have been working tirelessly since the end of October. Concrete has been poured in places, but needs to set for three weeks before the massive crane can come to lift the bulky boats from the untouched and sinking side of the harbour to be buoyant once again, along the floating docks of Little Tub.

This harbour is the central nervous system of the town, where hundreds of thousands of tourists set out to see the sites that are a short trip out of the harbour but available only to those on a boat.  Some go by glass bottom in a mass exodus from the harbour, to see shipwrecks and sites unseen from shore.  With hiking boots they disembark on the docks of Beachy Cove to explore the trails of Flowerpot Island. The gorgeous geological formations of the flowerpots exposed on the shore are like ancient urns filled with history, mystery and myth.

Others remove their hiking boots and put on fins to become amphibious explorers of the deep and witness the maritime museum that is Fathom Five.  Historic shipwrecks of sailing ships and steamers built with massive timbers from trees of long ago ancient forests, to be cut down, milled by hand with adze and axes, and built into boats to eventually settle in the depths of a lonely lakebed.

Tre Anni must go in.  But where and when.  Well there are options along the cottage filled shoreline of Lake Huron. Three in fact. But with shallow waters this season, some are not practicable. It will also depend upon the wind. Shallow shoals and blowing breezes will make for a slow journey in the cold climate of late April.

On the Georgian Bay side there is Dyers Bay, but the dock there has been damaged and I have been told it was closed, but upon a visit I see that the concrete pier has been poured and the launch is unmolested.  In Lions Head the boat ramp is perfect but so far away by sea in a cold breeze coming off a recently thawed lake. The dock at Dyers Bay appears to be the best option for launch.

The trip today will be smooth along the cliffed shoreline of the Niagara Escarpment with a modest west wind coming off the shore below a cloudy sky that promises to break open and let the sunshine down on Tre Anni as she sets her course to an empty harbour.

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