Lighthouse Dispatches– by Paul Morralee
No Shortage of Visitors at Porphyry!
The sun’s reflection on the paddle blade swinging over the water signaled from a distance that our adventurer was about to arrive.
Dianne Whelan is on a 23,000 km odyssey along The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail) hiking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and canoeing 7,000 km of it by water.
This solo adventure started at the Atlantic Ocean and will finish at Pacific, and the journey will be featured in her documentary “500 Days in the Wild”.
During her visit she touched on the stories of the land and people she had connected with along the way. She shared with us at the dinner table, her unique view of the journey thus far.
Whalen’s paddling traces the route of the voyageur, which was the preferred method of transportation at the time, but now the modern ways of travel are quicker.
Whalen enjoys the slower pace, as it reflects a perspective that brings her closer to the land and its meaning.
It was a pleasure for the lighthouse staff to be educated and entertained by such a timely journey on; The Great Trail and The Lake Superior Water Trail, that will have an official opening across the country and at Porphyry Island this coming Saturday.
Not far behind were another 11 intrepid paddlers from the Voyageur Outward Bound School, who were on a kayak trip west from Rossport.
When the weather closed in with torrential rain, the spirits of these young travellers were not dampened.
As part of their routine, they giveback to the lighthouse through volunteer work activities, which this time included cleaning-up the boathouse grounds and replenishing the firewood for the next visitors.
Their reward came after many hours of work when the crew was invited to the guesthouse for banana bread and hot chocolate with marshmallows to cap things off!
With their work completed, the Outward Bound crew departed across Black Bay for a final night on the shores of Lake Superior, from which they could watch the beam of light from Porphyry Island Lighthouse from afar.
Next to arrive was an armada of vessels from the Silver Islet Yacht Club who pitched and yawed before reaching the new docks at Porphyry Island.
Every bit of dock space available was taken-up and in total eight boats were accommodated for the yacht clubs annual rendezvous, which for the past few years have been held elsewhere.
The Silver Islet Yacht Club, and the Friends of Porphyry had played a roll in helping maintain the boatyard, docks and exteriors of the keeper’s dwellings for several years. It’s again through the efforts of many that the facilities are operation today.
Now Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior’s volunteers, staff and board manage the facilities for equal access, and continue to gather support from many other community members and allies.
The lighthouse crew also spent a day at Trowbridge Lighthouse, situated at the feet of the Sleeping Giant. Trowbridge’s accessibility is certainly challenging from a water perspective and work is ongoing to provide a day-dock for visitors, but that will happen later in the season.
Finally the lighthouse group and the Thunder Bay Yacht Club hosted an On-the-Water Rendezvous at T-Harbour that combined a tour of the Trowbridge Lighthouse, access to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and a delicious BBQ.
This weekend we’ll share with our volunteers, members, and board of directors a national celebration of the opening of The Great Trail here at Porphyry.