Simcoe is the biggest body of water other than Georgian Bay or Lake Ontario proper, and it can present you with some of the nastiest weather on the system. That’s part of the appeal of this particular port of call. A place to prepare yourself for Simcoe, or a place to chill after the open waters. It’s just as historical as it is charming, this 240-mile-long waterway. Champlain was camped out in the area around Georgian Bay when he joined local Hurons in a battle against the Iroquois in upstate New York and returning to these shores to winter after being wounded in action. Where they may have portaged, boaters now encounter locks. But those ghosts are still present.
A Sacred Place, a Sunset Sketch You may hear them at sunset, just south of Atherly Narrows, where Simcoe meets Cooch. Simcoe is first burnished silver then bronzed then indigo, while lavender skies, sun-bruised clouds go from the color of flesh to lavender to deep purple. Seven marinas hunker down along the length of the Narrows. Just past the last marina off your starboard beam—barely visible from your boat—ancient spars rise up from water decorated with sea grass. They are man-made. Back at Casino Rama you noticed a theme—First Nations’ culture—but you also noticed it narrowed down to a topic. A restaurant inside is called “Weirs.” Similar vertical spars to these dominate the architectural design. Now, tonight, you understand the significance of that theme. These jutting objects are part of a fish-fence—weirs—older than the pyramids. They gave the area east of Cooch its name. “Mnjikaning” means “people of the fish fences.” It is the name the First Nations here have given to both the place and to themselves. For them, it is a sacred place. The sun falls to the west, bathing the cottages across the Narrows in an orange campfire glow. A perfect sunset sketch of a perfect little port. r
When planning your trip, you can find charts, books and a knowledgable staff eager to help at the Nautical Mind Bookstore, nauticalmind.com; 800-463-9951.
Covered & Open Slips Transient Overnight Dockage Gas Dock Washrooms & Shower Facilities Laundry Facilities Marine Service Available Playground Complimentary Shuttle to Casino Rama
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