Magnus jumped into the water for the morning bath, then nearly ran across the top of the water back to the boat like a cartoon character as the subsurface temperature was under 19 degrees - 8 degrees less than our last swim. I nearly chickened out, but then psyched myself up by going down below in the v-berth at the front of the boat and sprinting through the cabin, scaling the steps, racing through the cockpit, then launching myself cowabunga-style into the icy waters. The heart-stopping pain only lasted for a few seconds, then I had my morning bath and felt most refreshed.
The anchorage was, of course, beautiful in the morning, so we had a leisurely breakfast and goofed around until 10 or so, then pulled anchor and sailed east through the Killarney channel and continued onto the west entrance of Collins Inlet - a 15 mile long river like passage that is only accessible during high water years, like this one. Stella was in command of the helm today and she navigated us safely with only a little help from Ana and I.
There were a surprising number of boats, both meeting us and passing up, as we crossed the channel. Some parts of it became very narrow and it felt just wrong being there with a sailboat, but the depths were good throughout. We stopped halfway through and anchored for lunch, then continued onto the end, and turned south into the larger bay which was clustered full of islands, rocks and shallow spots. The wind was blowing strong from the south-east, and we had a tough time finding a good anchorage, checking out at least four potential ones before finally deciding on the east side of Toad Island. I didn’t much like the anchorage, but it was the best option we could find and as we were lining up for anchoring I pulled the boat in too shallow and we felt a slight bump of the keel as it hit rock - Bella Blue’s first contact with the North Channel! I simply reversed out into deeper water and we stuck the anchor on the first try then HQ2 tied up alongside us.
As we progressed through happy hour drinks, the winds died and we were left with a reflective and glassy lake surface. We took a moment to recognize this would be our final evening in the North Channel, and Tony and I decided to light up Cuban Partagas cigars to acknowledge the milestone. One of the empty aluminum cigar tubes accidentally plopped into the water and began slowly floating away with the current. Stella looked at it, went down below in the cabin for a while, then came back up and could still spot in the distance. She told us she felt terrible that we polluted the lake so she jumped in the dinghy by herself and motored out to rescue the cigar tube. After retrieving it she was so happy with being able to solo the dinghy that she started it up again and went for a ride into the island, got off and then did some exploring. While she was gone, we hatched a plan. Magnus had given Tony and Angela a miniature rubber man named Brad, as a travel companion for HQ2. We decided it was time for Brad to set out on his own journey and make his own way in life, so we jammed him into the cigar tube and then Stella wrote a note explaining he had been thrown off his last ship on suspicions of mutiny, of which he was mostly innocent, but was COVID-free and looking for a new home. She also left our email address and asked that the new owner please contact us to let us know Brad was all right, although why we’d care after ejecting him from our boat and stuffing him in a cigar tube was a little hard to explain. Stella put the threaded top on the tube and Magnus lit a candle then dipped it in wax to waterproof it and then Brad and his waterproof vessel were ceremoniously hurled overboard. We wish you luck Brad. Bon voyage!