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Manitowaning and other great locations


Quick hits –

  1. Sorry for asking you to sign up for the blog and then not turning on the notification switch on the website. I do hope that is fixed now.

  2. Just because the sign says “Best pizza in town” doesn’t mean the pizza is good by any standard.

  3. Stern in anchoring and tying off the stern to a tree is harder than it looks the first time.

Duncan is working on learning to swim. He can swim off the boat with his life jacket on but more and more he has been watching other big dogs just jump in from shore and swim and seem to enjoy it. Today he actually got in from shore far enough to have the water unto his chest but not quite deep enough to force him to swim. He was proud of himself and let everyone know it.

After a brief time in Little Current again we headed south to Strawberry Island for the night. We anchored near Beaver Island and had a great night.

Left Beaver Island and headed to the little visited port of Manitowaning. The marina was built for small pleasure craft so we anchored in the bay just off shore. Manitowaning is the port in the hamlet of Assiginack.

The town was the first community on Manitoulin Island. The community now has less than 1000 permanent residents but does have a good grocery store, drug store and coffee shop. Loco Been is a great place to get coffee and breakfast and lunch.

If you want to know anything about a community, just talk to a retired teacher.

We had the chance to meet Leslie Fields, a retired elementary school teacher and current township counselor. She came to Assiginack 50 years ago to work as a teacher at the local elementary school.

Her pride in the students she helped to teach and raise over the last 50 years was foremost in her conversation.

She is aware that there is little to do in Assiginack and on the island to keep young people on the island. “Still their heart is here,” he said. She talked for more than a half an hour about the First Nation people and how far they have come in the last generation, what het government has done to help and what there is still to do.

Even into the 1970s the Canadian government encouraged the First Nation families to send their children to the resident schools to have the native American culture stamped out of them for their own good. Many of those children were never reunited with their families.

It has taken more than 40 years for the First Nation communities to regain their culture.

Leslie said there was some good that came out of the residential schools as some of the current tribal leaders came from those schools but the practice devastated families and the culture.

The fog in the morning was absolutely beautiful.

When we pulled up the anchor the anchor wouldn’t quit come up correctly on the boat so we finally got it on board and headed to Little Current where we could dock and fix the issue. It took about an hour and a new shackle but the problem was solved.

The next day we headed to a great anchorage at Crocker Island, then fox and tonight (July 17) sitting anchored at a harbor off Louisa Island. Duncan and I explored the island and he showed once again that he is becoming a great “rock hound” as he has learned to climb steep rocks and follow a trail.

Story time

In every community the are those who live their lives a little off center. In a city, those people can just get lost in the noise and the buildings.

In the North Channel where there seems to be more than a few “a little off center” they tend to stick out as the population is so small.

I met Doug (I didn’t get his last name) a week ago at the Cruisers’ Network Meet and Greet at the Anchor Inn in Little Current. Doug is a local who is recently turned 50 and makes his living as an electrician he said.

That’s not what makes him unusual. What makes him unusual is that for about 20 years he apparently fronted some of the largest metal bands in Canada, often playing to arena crowds of tens of thousands.

He walked in to the meet and greet and there was a couple playing guitar and cello. While taking a break, Doug went up to the couple asked if he could play their instruments, picked up the guitar and played riffs that were amazing, put the guitar down and picked up the cello and did the same.

He then said that he really doesn’t like to play any more as what he learned was that he loved playing for the adulation of the audience.

What he does love is to swim and he swims in the town marina every day from the middle of May when the water is in the mid 50’s to October when the temperature falls again into the 50s.

Saying Doug swims is a misnomer. What Doug does is pretend that he is a manatee or other large

aquatic mammal. He wears flippers and the sun shirt along with his suit and spends hours upon hours treading water for a few seconds then slowly do a gentle surface dive swimming slowly under water only to surface in the marina somewhere else and do it all over again – often for hours at a time, he says.

Surfacing, taking on air and diving again a few feet under the water over and over again. He said that he has recently been doing this for up to six hours a days.

I asked why and he said it brings him joy.

Not mine to question.

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