Day 6: June 3rd (Ganley Harbour to south of Tamarack Bay, 37 km)

In spite of the late evening paddle, I wake feeling refreshed and ready to go again. Lower back, shoulders, arms and hands all in good working order despite the unfamiliarity of kayaking. Dave and Ron also in fine shape (aside from a slight beer deficit). It was a cool night as evidenced by the condensation under the tent fly…Dave fools around, trying to dry his tent fly out on some bushes: I’d rather just eat breakfast and pack it wet. Whatever. We are on the water by 8:15 under calm conditions and clear blue sky.

First leg stretch is Le Petit Mort Rocks. What a romantic name! Especially on such a lovely morning, the connotations can be interpreted in the most poetic fashion. It has to be one of the most soothing shorelines in this section of the lake. Nothing threatening, nothing unbalanced. We pick our way in suddenly shallow waters with a sprinkling of jagged rocks that runs between a flat island and the sandy beach. Ruins of a log cabin with only the stone chimney remain. Scattered bits of metal, thick broken milky white bottle glass are testaments to previous inhabitants. Overgrown grasses line the site. A modern outhouse (stocked with recent toilet paper roll) is tested (and approved).

Blue waters lure us on. We skim by the coast, passing a few small islands which puncutate the coast. Nothing big enough to support a tree or hardly a bush! The occasional tern or gull flys overhead, inspecting our progress. The winds have grown stronger…we pass by Floating Heart Bay, fighting to make progress. It’s only 11:30 but we bail and shelter between land and an unnamed island about 1 km south of the Bay. There is no beach but a cobbled stone shore provides enough landing to haul out the boats.  A huge great blue heron nest swings wildly in tree tops. We lunch and wait.

After a few hours, we’ve pretty much explored the beach in all directions. Dave, the consummate scavanger,  has found another prize: this time, a white hard hat with the word “supervisor” embossed on the brim. He’s ‘Super Dave’ for the rest of the trip. Other findings include a Frisbee – we amuse ourselves by tossing it around while trying not to turn an ankle on the cobble beach.

By 4:30pm, restlessness has set in to us all. The blue sky and warm sun tease us out on to the lake perhaps earlier than we would go under unappealing conditions. I put on my wet suit hoping it won’t be morbidly necessary. Cautiously, paddling out from between the protection of the shore and island, we discover, much to our delight, it’s not as wild out here as it first appeared from the shore.

But the going is still tough. The coast has leveled out and there are few protected areas from the wind…large waves continue to roll in from the west, breaking occasionally. My confidence in handling the kayak has grown over the past days, earlier, I would never agree to paddle in this stuff! Nonetheless, I’m paddling the limit of my comfort zone and study the shore line from afar, searching for possible takeouts. Just south of the Flats, we put into a protected sandy little bay for dinner and a rest.

After about an hour, we are rested enough to venture out again. Point Isacor looms, the steep rock walls in sharp contrast to the topography of the Flats. Rounding the point, the waves thankfully diminish. I’m in awe of the veritable mountain ridge that parallels the coast, reaching heights of at least 1500 plus feet! With the sun again low to the horizon, the lighting is spectacular. I long to take a photograph but need both hands on the paddle.

The wind seems worse as we approach Tamarack Bay. From a distant water inspection, there seems to be little in the way of a protected camp site. We move slowly, looking hopefully at each nook and cranky of the shoreline. With joy, a nearby small bay with a red stone beach offers good harbour. I call it ‘camp hallelujah’. It’s 9:30pm, dusk is falling, we set up quickly and fall into the tents. Goodnight!