How To Jet Ski Ride from Parry Sound to Pointe Au Baril…
This Georgian Bay North Sea Doo Tour goes from Parry Sound north to Pointe au Baril. Georgian Bay has always had a special mystique, with its rugged, Group of Seven scenery. It’s also a Sea-Doo rider’s paradise and that’s why we towed our Triton trailers from Gateway Powersports to Parry Sound to cruise north among its 30,000 rugged islands, windswept shores and rock-cut channels towards Pointe au Baril Station on our self guided ride. Parking our trucks and trailers at Glenn Burney Marina, Jim Heintzman, Tim and Liz West and I launched our four Sea-Doo personal watercraft for a day of jet ski adventures on those sparkling waters.
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour Navigation…
Before starting your Sea Doo tour on Sea Doo, Jet Ski or Waverunner personal watercraft in Ontario and throughout Canada, it’s always a good idea to do a little orienteering. Using marine charts (even a good area map will do), we noted both our launch location and destination. We quickly discovered where Pointe au Baril (literally “Barrel Point”, after the fire container that originally signalled shelter for mariners in the early 1800’s) is located north of Parry Sound. With mainland to starboard and Georgian Bay to port for our entire outbound journey, all we had to do was follow the plentiful navigation markers (see “Our Route” at the end of this article). That’s not to say there aren’t a thousand or more islets, shoals, passages and inlets to confuse the issue, but we were okay remembering that Pointe au Baril is north and Parry Sound is south…and that Parry Island (First Nation Reserve) is a huge piece of real estate that sits between the Town of Parry Sound and the full force of Georgian Bay.
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour – Ojibway Club…
Our ultimate destination wasn’t exactly Pointe au Baril. No, we were searching for the famous Ojibway Club. Built as a grand resort hotel in 1906, this rustic, rambling edifice, with its gabled roofs, imposing tower, sweeping stone steps and broad veranda, magnificently harkens back to the glory of a by-gone era. Rescued from likely ruin by local cottagers in the sixties, the Ojibway Club now operates a ten-week season each summer (end of June 30 – end of August) as a social and recreational centre for Port au Baril’s island archipelago community of cottagers. With docking, fuel and food available, the Ojibway Club is a must-visit destination for Sea-Doo touring. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour – Parry Sound to Killbear…
Turning starboard out of Glenn Burney Marina, we cruised under the swing bridge that connects Rose Point to Parry Island. It also acts as the southern gateway to the Parry Sound harbour. We spent a few moments exploring the town’s waterfront, before heading through the channel that opens up into the larger bay called Parry Sound. A Canadian Coast Guard detachment is located on the starboard side. Heading west, we stayed closer to Parry Island on our port side to avoid inadvertently getting off course amid the myriad islands and small bays that dot the area to starboard. Where Parry Sound narrows, we kept Killbear Provincial Park to starboard and Parry Island to port — and straight ahead, almost due west, was wide-open Georgian Bay, all the way to Tobermory. We didn’t go there!
Pick Your Day for Georgian Bay North Sea Doo Tour…
I should comment at this point that this is not a journey for a windy day, because blowing air churns big waves. Although much of this trip sticks to protected inner channels and waterways, two locations (this is one) are exposed to the big waters of Georgian Bay, which can be rough if it’s windy. All of these waterways are also host to many large cruisers, most of which can throw out an intimidating wake as they pass. Mind you, with the inherent stability of a Sea-Doo watercraft, any waves can be a blast when you’re fit, experienced and wearing a PFD, but the big ones are no family ride!
Even the inland waters of Georgian Bay made me feel small on my 3-seater Sea-Doo. Everything here – water, shorelines, and landmass – seemed larger than life. The scenery was spectacular and on this sunny day, the waters were relatively calm, twinkling with highlights, as if some fairy princess had scattered handfuls of glitter to becalm the surface.
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour – Killbear to Ojibway…
Once through the Parry Sound narrows, we avoided most waves by bearing to starboard and following the markers closer to shore. They took us behind several islands and into the Shebeshekong Channel. After a hard turn to port at its end, we soon emerged into the second, exposed-to-Georgian Bay section at the mouth of Shawanaga Inlet. But once into this Inlet, it was a straight run to the Middle Channel that leads to the Ojibway Club.
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour – More Ojibway…
It sneaks up on you. The Ojibway Club is tucked into the north side of a larger and same-named island, shielded from sight of the Middle Channel by a smaller islet. So one minute it’s not visible and the next, the Ojibway Club is suddenly revealed in all its astonishing glory, like an enchanted castle plunked into the middle of nowhere. What a hive of activity, with dozens of boats coming and going, and at least a hundred folks bustling about!
After a leisurely lunch at the snack bar and a stroll around the Ojibway’s grounds and dockside shops, we retraced our course home. It was still mid-afternoon when we approached the Parry Sound narrows, and we figured it was too early to head back the way we had come. So we decided to circumnavigate Parry Island counter clockwise…
Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour – Around Parry Island…
Remember, I noted earlier that Parry Island shields the Town of Parry Sound from Georgian Bay. This means we could get back to town either directly from the north (the reverse course of our outbound journey), or by going the long way, south around the island and approaching Parry Sound via the South Channel. So we turned to starboard before the Parry Sound narrows at Rose Island (refer to Our Route for the marker number) and headed into the Waubuno Channel on the Georgian Bay side of Parry Island. This channel was less sheltered than the previous ones, but on this calm day, our cruise around Parry Island was smooth sailing. By following the Parry Island shore and continually angling to port, we soon picked up the markers leading from Georgian Bay to the South Channel. From there, we were in protected waters as we followed the markers all the way back to Glenn Burney Marina.
What a great day’s ride! Even on this weekday, many other boaters and numerous shoreline cottages would have provided us with information or assistance if it had been needed. Consequently, we boated without a care and thoroughly enjoyed our Sea-Doo adventure. As we cruised along at about 40 mph, I kept thinking about those voyageurs of old, paddling their guts out to traverse these same big waters. Believe me, Georgian Bay is a whole lot easier on a Sea-Doo!
Georgian Bay North Sea-Doo Tour Info…
View Georgian Bay North Sea-Doo Tour in a larger map
- Round Trip Distance – 120 km
- Highway Access: 400 exit 224
- Water body(s): inner channel of Georgian Bay
- Launch(s): Glen Burney Marina, Parry Sound
- Lunch: Ojibway Club, Ojibway Island
- Fuel: Ojibway Club; Pointe au Baril (various)
- Locks: none
- Lodgings: Bayside Inn, Parry Sound
- Side Trip(s): ride around Parry Island
- Sea-Doo Dealer(s): The Cove, MacTier
- More Info: Muskoka Parry Sound Tourism
Our Georgian Bay North Bay Sea Doo Tour Jet Ski Route
Charts Used: 2202 (4 of 5), 2203 (1 & 2 of 3)
- Launch from Glenn Burney Marina and turn to starboard to go under the Rose Point Bridge into Parry Sound Harbour.
- Pick up marker P45 off shore of Parry Sound waterfront and follow to P43 thru 35, bearing slightly to port into Parry Sound proper (everything on starboard is mainland; all to port is Parry Island).
- Bear to port slightly at marker 34 and head straight across Parry Sound through the channel between Killbear Point (starboard) and Parry Island (port).
- At P30, turn starboard to go between A1 & A2, then turn to port at A3 and follow the navigation markers to A5 thru A24.
- At A24 follow the starboard shoreline to A25 & 26 into the Shebeshekong Channel and at its end, turn to port, where you will soon see A37 and then follow markers.
- Just past A44, turn to starboard before A45 into Shawanaga Inlet and go straight to A46.
- Go two navigation markers (no numbers) past A48 and bear to port just before the second one.
- Keep bearing just slightly to port to enter the Middle Channel, following the navigation markers to A53, but do not go past it.
- Look to your port and you will see the Ojibway Club on the far shore.
- Reverse this course for your return trip, but if you want to tour the westward side of Parry Island on your way back, turn to starboard at P28 and pick up CS24.
- Bear slightly to starboard and go between CS20 & 22 and that puts you in the Waubuno Channel on the Georgian Bay side of Parry Island.
- Essentially, all you are doing is circumnavigating Parry Island, so just follow the curve of the shore, always bearing slightly to port. If in doubt, turn to port (starboard will take you into Georgian Bay).
- When you come upon a marker designated with a “C”, turn to port and follow the C markers in ascending numbers to C227, which brings you back within site of Glenn Burney Marina on the far shore.
Riders should reconfirm the routes and services mentioned in this article as they may have changed since publication. Any map is for reference only and any marked lines or locations are not intended as an exact or accurate depiction of positions.