There is no fool like an old fool…

…encouraged by a young fool. The first picture is the young fool just before she hit the water. The second picture is the splash of the old fool as he hit the water. Yes friends, Tara and I have topped the bridge jumping episode by going cliff diving at Lake Topaz, where the water is icy cold and topaz blue. I have always favored the topaz for just that reason. But more on how we arrived at the deadly cliff’s edge later. First we must catch you up as to Cbay’s current location.

At this very moment we are swinging wildly on the Rocna anchor as the wind and current whip us to and fro in the Pool at the upper tip end of Baie Fine. We are surrounded by other boats who have sought out this isolated location thus making it so crowded as to take away much of the beauty of being here.

Here is a series of shots taken from the flybridge just by turning in a circle and shooting. Here we are in the middle of nowhere and still we are up to our eyeballs in boats and people.

When last you left us we were enjoying some down time in Killarney and enjoy it we did. What a nice water town to visit.

On 7/29 we eased out of Killarney and went only a short distance to Covered Portage where we anchored amid splendid white quartz mountains. This area is known for producing the finest grade silica in the world and it is highly prized in the computer chip world.

We had Kismet, Cbay, Seabiscuit and Seabatical. Taking dinghies, a number of the hardy went ashore and hiked up to the top of the white cliffs that overlook the bay and the boats at anchor. Here are a few shots taken from on high. It is breathtaking and a photo from a point and shoot camera does not do it justice. Notice the tiny lone swimmer out in the middle.

Some First Nation boys (that is what they call Indians in Canada) were cliff diving here as a right of passage. Not all were successful as the leap was around 45-50 feet from the cliff which is called Indian Head. We did not jump here as the climb from the water was treacherous and far too risky for inexperienced climbers. Many of those who made the climb would reconsider and climb back down after staring at the water from that lofty perch. Within 24 hours I would know that feeling well. The jumper in these pictures is named Matt.

It was a restful night at anchor and the water was calm as glass. The calm before the storm.

On 7/30 some boats were out of ice and we faced at least one or two more nights on anchor before getting back to civilization. Most of us have ice makers but they cannot supply enough in this heat. So Cbay volunteered to return to Killarney for ice and catch the fleet on the way to Baie Fine.

This gave us an opportunity to run the boat a bit and oil the turbos. Back at Sportsman’s Inn we took on as much ice as we could fit into coolers and decided to get our final fuel top up while we were there. $476 worth of topping up and $25 worth of ice.

Then we chased the fleet and caught them just as they were about to enter the long and narrow Bay of Fine. This crown jewel is at the very end of the Bay which is called the Pool. We were early arrivals and were able to anchor though the winds were beginning to blow strong.

After lunch we prepared to trek up a rocky trail for approximately 2 miles and over a mountain to secluded Lake Topaz, a jeweled cup of crystal blue water caught in a mountain valley by a passing glacier. When first you top the last crest and view the lake it is breathtaking. Then you climb down a rocky face to the water and it is chilling. Even Bill went with us and you have to give credit for determination. It was hard enough to make this journey with two hands to grab ahold of any tree or rock that might save you from falling, but he did it with one arm and kept right up with the rest of us. I guess you get used to your situation and learn to compensate for it.

The water was like ice at first dip but soon one became acclimated to it. That is those would actually went in became acclimated but there were a number of bank walkers in the group. You say you do not know what a bankwalker is. Well in the deep south young boys used to go skinny dipping down by the creek. Most boys, being average, would get in the water and stay there. But every so often a young man who was particularly blessed would stay on the shore and parade up and down the bank proud of himself. He was called a bankwalker.

Apparently locals have developed a tradition of jumping from the cliffs into the cold blue waters. Well you know how that is with me. The next thing I knew I was telling Tara, who is a skilled skydiver, that I would jump off the cliff if she would. She had not seemed at all interested in jumping off that bridge on the Trent-Severn so how was I to know she would suddenly develop an itch to jump off the side of a mountain into an ice bath? Well you guessed the rest and here we go swimming over to the base of the cliff. At least I had an opportunity to peer underneath the water and see that there were no obstructions to hit. In fact it was like a bottomless pit this lake. A sea monster could be dwelling down there for all I knew.

The climb up the face of the cliff was perhaps the most dangerous part. One slip and you might fall back down to the shelf at the base and at least break something if you lived.

When we reached the top Tara just stepped over to the edge and leaped without a thought. That is what I should have done. Well, what I really should have done was turn around, swallow my pride and walk down. But what I did was step over and peer over the edge at Tara in the water far below. You ask how far? Well I did not measure it but I would guesstimate at least 40+ feet. Higher than my bridge jump for sure. And the more I looked the more I froze. The crowd over on the shore a hundred feet away was chanting and shouting for me to go.

I do not remember how many times I stepped forward and looked only to back away and grab for the pine branch behind me. More shouts and a bit of heckling from the gallery. My instincts said this was crazy and I should quit but my pride was going before the fall as I knew Tara had done it so I could not turn back even though I wanted to. So screwing up my reserves I stepped up, threw up a prayer and pushed off into eternity. It was certainly no more than a couple of seconds fall but it seemed like it was longer. I hit the water feet first but laid back on my rear and back creating a tremendous splash. I did not go very deep due to the flat hit and popped up like a cork. The crowd was cheering and the old man had survived yet another challenge. The real question is when will I stop accepting these challenges and leave them to the young. All those other men had no trouble deferring but somehow it is not within me. I sure hope it is awhile before someone urges me to do such a thing again. But all is well that ends well and it is great blog material. Of course if Dr. Leon ever reads this he will know those stents can take a licking and keep on ticking. Now I know you want pictures of the jump itself and they do exist. However, our camera did not take them so I am waiting for delivery of the sequence that will startle and amaze you as to how foolish one can be. I will publish a special edition blog as soon as I have them. (To see the pictures you will need to skip all the way to the Nov. 6th blog but it is well worth it.)

If the wind lays down in the morning we will try to get out of here and make a town called Little Current. It has apparently earned it’s name and docking there can be tricky but I have the best proven pilot on the Loop so we should be fine. See you there.