We launched our pontoon boat in Georgian Bay waters at Penetanguishene in the wee morning hours of a pleasant day in the month of June. Our objective was to sail along the east coast of the Georgian Bay and negotiate the channels in such a way as to reach French River Provincial Park by evening.
There were 8 people on board, in addition to K2, our Hungarian Kuvasz. The boat was packed with food and water to last us for 2 days, just in case.
We maintained a nice pace enjoying the gorgeous views of the islands and the coastline. We made stops at two marinas to refuel.
The biggest challenge was to avoid bigger ships, speed boats, jet skis, and even a seaplane plying on the waters and competing for recreational space.
Even a seaplane landed and started taxiing in front of us.
Well, this was the Georgian Bay Littoral (also called the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve) that we so very much wanted to pedal and hike in, but eventually resorted to a more comfortable solution of pontoon boating.
The Reserve has Ontario’s best picturesque area, sandy and rocky beaches, and thousands of inland lakes teeming with trout.
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve located in Ontario, Canada. The biosphere covers the Thirty Thousand Islands of eastern Georgian Bay, one of the world’s largest fresh water archipelagos.
Visitors use canoes, kayaks, and other smaller sail craft to reach distant islands.
The cottagers and visitors are super friendly and they cheered us as we sailed by.
The biosphere also contains within its boundaries, the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Six Mile Lake, Massassauga, Oastler Lake, Killbear, Sturgeon Bay, Grundy Lake, and French River Provincial Parks. There are also several large conservation reserves with protection similar to parks.
Killarney Provincial Park is slightly to the north of the reserve and Awenda Provincial Park is to the south west of it.
Georgian Bay eastern coastline and the Biosphere Reserve is home to black bear, woodland caribou, moose, white-tailed deer, timber wolf, lynx, bobcat, porcupine, racoon, beaver, red and gray fox, chipmunk, and red squirrel. This region is also home of hognose snake, eastern fox snake, and the threatened eastern Massassauga rattlesnake.
The other attraction that we visited for a short duration due to time constraint was Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site. It was a pleasant sight to see boats transferring from one side of the lake at a higher elevation to the one at lower and vice versa.
Where to stay?
The whole area is dotted with campgrounds, resort cottages, motels, inns, and hotels.
We started with staying at a hotel in Barrie and spending a day at Awenda Provincial Park. After an overnight stay at the campgrounds at Awenda Provincial Park, we launched our Pontoon Boat the next morning. After finishing our journey about a km upstream of the delta of Georgian Bay on French River at the French River Provincial Park, we drove back southward to stay overnight at Katawoda Resort, a few km north of Killbear Provincial Park.