Second flight over the Western Islands of Georgian Bay · May 31, 02:44 PM

Okay Stu has hundreds of hours on small aircrafts including float planes, but this was my FIRST, and both of us being very fond of flying, we had a BLAST! We flew in a Cessna 180 on floats and tried to maintain a minimum of 500 feet – although of course, we were wanting to skim treetop level … AND LAND at our destinatione … but apparently that’s not something we could do … so alas, I settled for 500 feet .. I had a little zoom on my camera so could almost see ants roaming about – so I was as satisfied as an adventurer could be.

Yes, Stu needs to get his pilot’s lisence … I say Stu, simply so I can remain in the passenger seat, taking those opportune photos, and sipping on some champagne while being piloted around the nation! (OR choppered)! Okay okay, in all seriousness, we have both been very interested in attaining our pilot’s lisence from a wee young age … so maybe both of us will pilot our plane someday ………..

First we would like to thank our wonderful pilot from Georgian Bay Airways out of Parry Sound Harbour. Yes, we were quite surprised that she appeared to be fresh out of highschool … but she assured us she was far from highschool, and just had great genes – and well, I would have to agree! Haha! She was so sweet, and everyone treated us very well there!

Now, back to the flight —- we requested ahead of time that they take the passenger door off (yes that’s right – no door!) so I could take photos without any of the distractions of the window – come on – distractions aren’t that bad are they? REALLY? But did that make me nervous? NO way .. this true adventurer at heart says, give me all you got! And fortuneately, we had a brilliantly gorgeous warm, sunny day, so aside from wind, it would be warm in the cockpit.

There was little chop in the water, so take off was oh so smooth, then lift off felt like heaven as we started to climb over the Thirty Thousand Islands that surround Parry Sound before arrving to the vast open waters of Georgian Bay! Having never explored the Thirty Thousand Islands by water, I was AMAZED and AWED by all the vacant green land that laid under our wings … and to be seen farther than the eye could see … SIGH … what a place we live in! It proves we have so MUCH to explore from Midland to Killarney, Georgian Bay has more treasures than we will ever see in one lifetime, and if we are fortuneate enough to have the opportunity to explore and paint it for 40 more years, MAYBE we would get to scratch the surface.

For today however, our mission was to fly over the grandiose, remote group of Islands, called the Westerns … some 15 km from any land … and from the air, I can now clearly see just how far it was … and can’t imagine crossing that vast, barren and often dangerous open water of Georgian Bay by boat, let alone, by kayak, which ‘many’ adventurers do …. Now, that’s not to say we won’t – in fact, I say, bring it on!

What beauty though! Moving from Green Pastures of densely forested Islands, to the open blue waters … then … off in the distance … a teeny group of lonely dots … the Westerns … out there in seemingly the middle of nowhere.

We approach and you begin to see that the Islands are heavily enriched with life – forests; straggling trees; junipers; and that prominent Orange lichen – all contrasting so prominently with the varying colours of the limestone rock – from crisp white, to brown to grey – then the rich blue and green waters encompassing the islands … simply magical! Having explored only some of the Islands by boat and foot, it was so amazing to take this aerial exploration at 500 feet above.

It really made me query – how did this outcrop of rock suddenly appear from what was probably a depth to the Bay’s floor to be well over 200 feet!? What would this underwater landscape look like without water? Oh to be a fish, but with a human brain – that could be interesting for a day. This is all so exciting, I even forget we have no door! I am one little seatbelt clip away from finding out what those fish see! Why isn’t Stu a little nervous for me, while he is all safely tucked away in the back seat?

I wouldn’t mind though – jumping I mean – for Stu and I to be dropped into this remote world called the Westerns – to stay for a week and explore and be the only ones there, in this private little pocket of Georgian Bay. AAAAHHHHH that would be bliss … to sit quietly and watch what would have to be the most stunning sunsets and sunrises … to hear nothing but wind, water, (and gulls – afterall, they are an integral part of this ecosystem being that their nitrogen rich poop is the very cause of the orange lichen, formall known as Xanthoria) … afterall, I doubt any bears would be making this trip.

Stu and I thoroughly enjoyed our little adventure … thanks again to our wonderful Pilot! She did a great job circling so I could get some great shots. Below are just a small sample of over 300 photos that we took. This adventure not only to be a nice getaway but to obtain yet more research (after our first flight at 7000 feet) for our largest sculpted commission to date to depict the Westerns in a single panel panoramic 4 foot x 9 foot sculpted painting. You can follow the progress of this piece at our weblink.
Thank you for reading, and enjoy the last photo’s caption.

Click thumbnail to enlarge each image

  • Our float plane arriving for our flight.
  • Our pilot fueling up - yes we want lots of fuel!
  • Carol Currie and our Pilot getting ready to climb on.
  • Take off! Woohoo!
  • The Thirty Thousand Islands and off in the distance, is the open water of Georgian Bay.
  • Yeah, the view from here proves there's alot MORE than thirty thousand Islands!!! AWESOME!!!! Are we lucky to live here or what?
  • And there are the Western Islands - over 15 km from nearest land. Amazing when you see just how far by air.
  • And as we circle the Westerns, no sight of land in the distance. So wonderfully remote.
  • I love the RICH blues - nothing added - this is true colour!
  • And the rich contrast of blues, to oranges to greens in the water is stunning from air and on land. This place truly is a gem of Georgian Bay!
  • This photo too captures the rich colours, and how the land expands (ie, shoals!) into the water.
  • This shot again shows both the expanse of the horizon - no land to be seen, and the expanse of the rock into the water ... tricky navigating.
  • This shot nearly shows all the Westerns ... way off at the top and right, you can see the group of islands where the lighthouse is.
  • Simply Sweet! What a gorgeous day!
  • Panoramic View looking West ... these are the Western group of the Western Islands.
  • And this is indeed ALL the Western Islands, looking to the Southeast and yes, look closely, and off in the distance, is the lighthouse.
  • Closer yet, and you can still see the lighthouse.
  • This is an island Stu and I only started to explore ... I could easily take a FULL day on this Island alone, and enjoy seeing it from air.
  • Another Island we have yet to explore by land .. but I hear it's a beauty too!
  • I wasn't lying when I said I could almost see ants!
  • Colours outstanding ... see the shadow of the plane on the green (front right Island). That's us!
  • 300 photos later, and it's time to head back - Pilot with Carol!
  • With Stuie in the back, all having a great time!
  • Beautiful, serene Island on the way back to Parry Sound ... yep, we could live there!
  • And the aerial view of the marshes were tremendous! This would make an amazing sculpted series.
  • Another beautiful marsh! Love the greys of the dead trees amongst all the luscious green.
  • But alas, the flight must come to an end ... or must it? Stu needs to get his pilot lisence so we can go out all day! Parry Sound harbour.
  • Breaker, Breaker .. haha. Love the 'exit' door sign ... I think that's obvious being that my door is off! haha. Life is grand!

— Carol Currie


  1. All I can say is wow…wow… and more wow… it looks so amazing. Can wait to see the results of this fantastic adventure.
    See you soon – love to talk more about this.

    Jeanette · Jun 4, 11:24 AM · #

  2. I was only once out to the Westerns, many years ago. Seeing them from this aerial perspective is a first, and what a treat! Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. It’s this kind of unselfishness that brings our community together.
    Nicole Brunelle

    Nicole Brunelle · Jun 4, 12:53 PM · #

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