I was eager to revive this category since it’s been quite a while since my last post about my trip to Mexico last December.
Last weekend, the hubby and I visited Tobermory. It was our first mini getaway since Mexico and it was quite the experience!
For those who may not know, Tobermory is a small boating town on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario about 300 km northwest of Toronto.
We had always wanted to visit Tobermory because of the natural beauty of its habitat and because the hubby had a keen interest in fresh water wreck diving which Tobermory is known for due to the large amount of shipwrecks that lie at the bottom of the Georgian Bay.
So we finally decided to make it happen last weekend and it was quite a fun experience!
The drive itself was half the fun since the 3.5 hour trek each way made for a nice mini road trip. It was mostly just lonely, winding roads all through cow country with barely a hint of civilization for miles.
We arrived quite late on Friday at our accommodation. It was a Bed & Breakfast at a private property right on the lake at Dyer’s Bay.
The view from the property was something else. Although the sun was quite stubborn for the first half of the trip, it still made for some spectacular photography.
And of course a pretty view is never complete without a token selfie!
We were staying about 30 minutes away from Tobermory, so on Saturday we made our way down but the weather was really not on our side and initially hampered our enthusiasm, but not for long. Luckily, clouds and light rain generally do not hinder the ability to dive since you’re going underwater. As long as the waters are calm, you’re good.
The diving operation there called Diver’s Den was quite good. I’m not a diver but I’ve come to know quite a bit about the sport through the hubby so I end up acting as the coordinator in a way helping out with getting all the gear ready for the dive. It’s actually quite a bit of work since so much stuff is needed to be with you in order to dive properly and safely.
Luckily, they had wagons to help haul all the equipment – especially the tanks which can be pretty heavy. Here’s hubby’s load all ready to take onto the boat.
At one point, when I was inside the dive shop, I caught wind of this sign which made me seriously laugh out loud! Thank God, hubby had his own cold water diving suit, but could you imagine renting one and then being called out for urinating in it and then having to pay? Talk about embarrassing!
I had the option of paying an extra fee to go on the dive boat with the rest of the group but I opted not to because I knew better. The last time I chose to do that in Mexico, I got really sea sick (not fun)!
So while hubby was away diving, I took the time to meander around the area and do some exploring of my own.
Before coming up to Tobermory, I had asked other people who had visited the area about it and they said it was a really small community but I didn’t expect them to mean that literally! The entire district is super tiny. The shops and restaurants are so small but in a cute, cozy kind of way.
I had heard raving reviews about Shipwreck Lee’s All You Can Eat Fish & Chips so of course I had to try it out, and boy did it live up to its expectations! Absolutely delicious. So fresh and tasty. So if you’re a fan of fish & chips, don’t forget to check this place out if you ever take a trip up here.
I continued to take a trek around the area only to discover this:
Whomp, whomp. So this time around, we lucked out on the chance to take any boat tours across the bay, but there’s always next time. Because our stay was so short, we would have only had one day to do any tours and that day we got rained on. C’est la vie!
Regardless, the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry was definitely a sight to see in and of itself. This gargantuan ship would open up its mouth every time it docked to unleash hundreds of vehicles. It was quite entertaining to watch. This ferry treks two hours across the lake to the Manitoulin Island and if you took your car with you, you would then have the opportunity to basically drive off from that point instead of coming back to Tobermory.
The next day, the weather was much better, thank God, and we were able to enjoy more of the outdoorsy activities. One thing we really wanted to do was go kayaking. We had done it about two years before in Jamaica and it was loads of fun. They had the activity available here, of course, and we couldn’t possibly come all the way out here and not get up close and personal with the pristine waters of Lake Huron. I was a bit hesitant at first only because it had been a while, but once I gave myself a small pep talk, I was ready to get on board.
The boating hut was actually located across the street from the harbour and you had to carry the 100 pound kayak from the hut to the water! Needless to say, this was not a fun task.
Although we had a bit of a rough start getting ourselves acquainted with our two-person kayak, once we got ourselves going, it was smooth sailing (pun intended).
It was breathtaking to just sit there in the calm sea and just absorb your surroundings. Other than some waves catching us as boats went by (this was a high traffic area), the waters were extremely calm. Heck, if you didn’t have to worry about floating into the path of an oncoming Chi-Cheemaun, it would make for a great place to get a power nap in.
Here I am taking a moment to soak in the magnificent view from our kayak.
Hubby was obviously behind me snapping the picture and controlling the rudder (thank God). That required a lot of additional foot work which would have a bit much for me. The kayaks in Jamaica did not have rudders to help control direction – presumably because the waters there had little to no traffic. However, once I got comfortable here, I was actually paddling pretty well. And kayaking, when doing it correctly, makes for a great workout because it’s definitely harder than it looks. In the end, I was just happy that I was able to go at all – and this experience made me realize how much I enjoy this particular activity, so I definitely want to keep up with it to avoid being too rusty anytime I do it.
After a good hour and a half sailing around and greeting some snorkelers along the way, we made our way back to the harbour and snapped a quick picture before undertaking the strenuous task of trekking the kayak back to the shop. Ugh!
We were then nearing the last leg of our trip and thankfully our amazing friends had reached out to us earlier to come and visit them at their cottage in beautiful Sauble Beach – which is about an hour south of Tobermory and on the way home, so it worked out well.
This was a breathtaking view of the water as we were driving in.
Once at Sauble Beach on Sunday night, we had a campfire in the yard and our friend threw a fire changer into it and the fire suddenly had beautiful hues of green in it. Perhaps I am behind the times but I had never seen anything like this before, so I thought it was pretty darn cool.
And Monday we spent some time on the beach and frolicked in the beautiful Sauble lake before heading back to civilization – and reality for that matter.
If you are looking for a domestic escape with your family and/or friends with the chance to experience some of the clearest, cleanest waters, go to Tobermory and Sauble Beach – you won’t be disappointed. For Tobermory, I do urge you to please book your lodging well in advance as spaces in all hotels fill up really fast since the community is so small. This is why we initially ended up staying a half an hour outside of the area, because by the time we got around to booking the trip, nothing was available.
We definitely want to make a trip back to Tobermory again to experience some of the things we missed out on such as actually going on the Chi-Cheemaun ferry, visiting Flowerpot Island as well as hiking to the Grotto – a giant cave on the shores of the Bruce Peninsula. Overall, it was short and sweet but a very enjoyable and satisfying mini escape from the busyness of everyday life.