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Flowerpots & Dolphins

21 August 2022

I just came back from the most idyllic camping experience I have ever had on Ontario's FlowerPot Island. Technically, this is "backcountry" camping (e.g., no potable water, no electricity), but with a waterfront campsite and crystalline water the likes of which I've only ever seen before in Hawaii, Greece or the Caribbean, I felt like I was in a wilderness resort:

While the island does get quite busy during the day, with day-tripping tourists arriving around 9am and the last ones leaving a little after 7pm, once the last boat leaves, you basically have the island almost to yourself: there are only 6 campsites on the island, so maybe there are a dozen other people there with you. With the long summer evenings and early sunrises, that gives plenty of time to explore the trails, the rocky beaches and the waters in solitude.

I only had two nights booked, arriving Thursday around 4:30pm and departing Saturday morning around 10:30am, but took advantage of that time to do three different swims at three different parts of the island.

Swim #1 - In the Shadows of the Flowerpots

On Saturday morning, after some strong coffee at my campsite (picture number 1 with site encircled in purple) and a stroll over to the eastern side of the island, I dipped in for an easy ~1,100 meters swimming between the two iconic flowerpots, absolutely reveling in the clarity of the water and the steep shelves & dropoffs of the rocks under the water:

I didn't bring along my thermometer, but I suspect the water was in the upper 60s to maybe 70 degrees, a bit nippy to get into (for me), but plenty warm to swim in with just a jammer, basic cap and goggles.

Swim #2 - In the Shadows of the Lighthouse

After lounging, reading, putting in a half day of work (thanks to solid enough cell service at one spot on the island), hiking around the island, I went over to the north side to where the lighthouse and old lighthouse keeper's buildings are for my evening swim. I had scouted this spot on Thursday night as I watched the sunset (picture #1) and found bliss in a ~2,100 meter swim ... starting from an outcropping with a view to the lighthouse and traversing back and forth a couple of times:

Swim #3 - In the Shadows of the Sunrise

With the ferry back to the mainland coming at 10:35am, I wanted to hit the water right after sunrise (and coffee!) to swim out of the "harbor" / cove around the southern edge of the island:

This was another just stunningly beautiful swim, with a lot more wave action once I got out of Beachy Cove, but I loved the rolling waves and the cave-pockmarked edge of the island.

I have been camping for many years now, have gone to a number of wonderful places, but this combination of hiking, peace & quiet and pristine waters put this at the top of my list of favorite campsites, and darn near the top of the list of favorite places on earth.

And, because this is a blog that is principally about pools and not natural bodies of water, I should mention that, en route back home, I popped into a sweet community, outdoor pool in the lakeside town of Meaford, grabbing the last 30 minutes of their two-hour midday Saturday lap swim, making this pool #543:

This was my idea of a perfect retreat for mind and body alike.


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