Packing up at Silver Islet.
The Sea Lion sea arch just west of Silver Islet.
Sibley Peninsula shoreline.
We had planned to camp on the Sibley Peninsula, but we didn't like the look of any of the potential campsites. Since the weather had cleared up substantially, we decided to go for the crossing and head to Porphyry Island. Good call, that was.
Bald eagle of the day. We saw one every day but one - but Keith and I spied a peregrine falcon that day, so we were not miffed.
Morning, Porphyry Island. We stayed on this island (but on a different site) two nights last year. In hindsight, we couldn't figure out why...
Campsite 1. It was ok, but we knew there were better things ahead.
Landmark for the first half of the trip: the Paps.
Heading south between Porphyry and Edward Islands. This was the first of many, many detours - we had far more time than distance, and we planned to use all of it.
Sleeping Giant, from the southern tip of Edward Island.
Night 2, on Island 10 / Shaganash. We stayed here last year and it was a favourite site, so decided on a repeat. Last year, a guided group barged in on us and camped on top of us without so much as a "hi, d'you mind?" so understandably, we were concerned when there was on kayak there when we landed in building winds. But I had a chat with the guy first, and he was totally ok with us being there as well and he was set up in the bush while we opted for the meadow anyway.
A storm - or waves of storm - hit after we landed. We did get the tarp up in time. This happened twice on the trip, lots of rain after we arrived and got the tarp up. We didn't once get rained on while paddling, eating lunch, setting up or packing up. That's what I call perfect weather.
Island 10 light.
Island 10 light again. It sits on a high meadow, and that makes for great camping. This was where the fog rolled in on us last year. This year, not so much.
Swede Island sauna - we ran into a volunteer maintenance crew (who we'd met at the dock in Sibley already)
Cranky old man disturbed during sauna.
Emergency shelter at Swede Island. There is a campable meadow, but we had no intention of camping here - too buggy, too early in the day, too much chance of other people stopping in. But it was a good lunch spot.
Dock at Swede Island. The water was up substantially over last year, so maybe this was borderline useable again? The sailboats anchor way out and bring dinghies in. This sauna is nothing like CPR slip in terms of busy-ness, though.
And another day of pretty paddling. We explored around Loon Harbour, and decided it was time to poke around the islands to the east - last year we did the inside, and it wasn't so great.
We called this site the Georgian Bay site - lots of perfectly flat rock to camp on. It would be crap if there was any weather to contend with, but for our conditions it was perfect.
I'm not so sure what Keith thinks of dinner.
Though it looks like he is not a fan of grilled cheese with asiago. I may have heard the term ASSiago.
A small fire to round out the evening...
And another perfect morning.
And then a leisurely poke around again. We headed south on another detour first - we had sea arch labeled on our maps, and we didn't get around to checking this out in the fog last year.
There we go, sea arch #2 of the trip.
And some pretty cool rocks.
Lunch stop, north of Shesheeb Bay. Too early to camp, but I thought it was a fine site. A bit steep and exposed to the south, though - but with the steep at least you could feasibly seal launch if you had to.
The Paps, as seen from the north.
Yet another great site, this time just north of Agate Point. It looks like Sam's trip stayed here right before us judging by Sarka's pictures.
The second evening of weather rolling in. Before that, it was hot and sunny and Keith and I swam and did laundry. Then Kevin came in from fishing and advised a tarp, and we actually paid attention to him and attended to this.
Good thing too.
There are worse things than sitting under a tarp drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers (Keith was hosting a meet and greet reception!) and then having a double rainbow come out. I can think of many many worse things.
And we were back to great weather in the morning.
Site #4, Agate Point.
A small waterfall on a detour on the backside of Fluor Island.
The day had been crappy and windy. We pushed and pushed into the wind in Nipigon Strait. Kevin lost his sunglasses. We were tired. So when Kevin pulled out his fishing rod as it got nice near the end of the day, Keith and I landed to check out a beach - and refused to leave. It was a good spot.
Campsite #5, northern Fluor Island.
And then we headed south again - down the east side of Fluor Island. There was this narrow channel that had been a bit of a drag last year, but with this year's water level it was a lovely little paddle.
The Bill and Jim Islands. We circled around the southern tip.
Last year, this sight made me cranky. This year, I did not mind at all. A lot of things have changed in a year, I guess, but mostly my approach to tripping.
One of my big disappointments last year was not checking out Agate Island, if only for the name. This year, we had the time and the conditions, and we headed out. And I liked the look of this site. Keith and I realized we had a majority with just the two of us, so made ourselves at home while Kevin fished.
Oh how I loved this site. High, with a view in two directions, plus a small bluff, and deep water for chilling the beer. That was a bit of a scramble, but worth it - and I chilled all our beer, not just mine, so it was for the team!
Keith, doing his part on water duty.
I love the boreal forest.
Site #6. Agate Island.
Still Agate Island.
The view from our bluff.
Blueberry stop on Paradise Island. I wouldn't want to camp here, too many biting ants and it's flat and uninspiring - not Paradise at all - but Keith did make up a new Voyageur story to explain the island names.
Paradise Island, not paradise. Right after that Keith started jumping up from biting ants.
But there were blueberries. We were a tiny bit too early for the mother lode, though.
Crossing toward St. Ignace Island.
Sea arch #3, Hope Island. We camped just west of here last year. It was ok, but we knew we could do so much better.
Lunch stop on Hope Island. I had this marked as a prime campsite. As if.
Poking along the shore.
St. Ignace Island, some random beach that I liked. It was a bit rougher than most, with a stream on one end.
Kevin, doing the thing he does in the evenings to make dinner happen.
Dinner. Freshly caught, and oh so tasty.
Campsite #7, St. Ignace Island. We saw fog. I was worried we were done for, but it burned off.
The famous columnar basalt of Simpson Island.
These sea caves reminded me of a tooth.
Campsite #8, Simpson Island. I loved this spot.
The shot everyone takes on Battle Island.
Battle Island light.
Sea arch #4, Wilson Island next to Campsite #10
It turns out, I didn't like our site on Wilson Island enough to take a picture of it or something. We stayed near this arch. The site was ok, I guess, but not my favourite - it didn't have that big lake exposure (it was in a harbour). Plus, it had nasty evidence of recent use.
Post trip, at Superior Outfitters, fiddling with our stoves while waiting for a shuttle.