Thunder Bay and Starting South
25 July 2012
Having left Rossport we headed west, out the Simpson Channel toward Loon Harbor. Along the way we approached the light house on Battle Island and I asked my chief tour guide about stopping. Sure enough there was a harbor and a chance to see this light. So we diverted course and headed into a very small harbor headed by two islands. We anchored, dinghied ashore and hiked up to the light. The story goes that a battle was fought near this island and the name Battle Island stuck. The hike up wound us through pines covered in moss and although we knew others had been here before us it seemed incredibly isolated. We were becoming part of a time when lighthouses like this one were critical to shipping and commercial enterprise. It was like stepping back in time, witnessing the results of man's efforts of some time ago, when people dedicated their lives to seeing that these lights were kept operational regardless of the weather and the season. Such commitment, such devotion to their responsibility. These were truly men and women of faith and dedication.
Loon Harbor was one of those places where we entered a channel very slowly, went a little left, then a little right, back left and then straight, the quickly left. We anchored next to a place where some time ago there was a portable pulp mill. All that was left was some abandoned machinery and steel bars anchored in the rocks. We could only imagine what had happened in this area. It was Alice's birthday so I built a monument of stones in her honor. A piece of us left now for others to imagine about among the remnants of bygone times. This is really an isolated area and all throughout the night I could here loons calling Loo-Eooo-O. Such a mournful call, so discernible as being loon.
Thunder Bay was not on our agenda but a vibration in our prop was bothering me so we diverted course to find a yard where we could hall LB and check things out. To make along story short we pulled the boat, worked on the prop and put her back. We thoroughly enjoyed Thunder Bay, the hospitality, the restaurants, and the water front. Well worth the stop.
Now we have stopped in Thompson Island and are experiencing true Canadian camaraderie. We sailed here this morning and are now tied up to a dock maintained by local people from Thunder Bay. We hiked trails this afternoon and when five other boats arrived the party started. We spent time in the sauna, swam and then sat down to a collective feast. Every boat crew contributed something and it was a feast. Then, around 23:00 as the sun was finally setting we sat around a fire pit and sang songs. When have we done this, a camp fire, songs and good company, does it get much better especially with Canadians?
Tomorrow we visit some abandoned mines, the Pakashwa Pits and then head over to Isle Royale. This has been a truly special evening, including a fireworks display offered by one of the boaters. Wow.