Calamity at Key Harbour

A memory by Steve Chisholm

 I believe it was the summer of 1970 when Grandpa (Kenneth With), my Mum (June Chisholm) and I embarked on a trip to Killarney in Quest. The trip up the shore was great, good weather and calm seas.

We spent the first night at Withrock, at Manitou, and proceeded the next morning from there. We reached Key Harbour in early evening and fueled up. We then headed to the Bustard Islands to spend the night.

About halfway there, Grandpa and I both heard a strange loud noise behind us and turned around to look. What we heard was the whine of an outboard motor’s lower unit coming out of the water. When we looked back a 14-foot boat was upside-down and two guys were bobbing in the lake.

We pulled them out and learned they were American visitors. They had misjudged Quest‘s wake in attempting to pass us and flipped over, losing all their gear. About ten minutes later another boat came out from Key Harbour to finish the salvage job.

After all the calamity, we headed to the Bustards for the night and did a bit of fishing. The night was pretty uneventful till early the next morning. Mum and Grandpa slept in the cabin and I slept across the stern on the floorboards with a small mat and sleeping bag.

I woke early with a start to find Mum and Grandpa staring at me from the cabin with puzzled looks on their faces. Apparently it had started raining a while before and, like a typical 15-year-old, I didn’t wake up. I was lying over the cockpit’s drain holes and was soaking in 3-4 inches of water.

We got that sorted out and tried to make our way on to Killarney that day but were turned back by fog.

The trip wasn’t a total loss though. We went back south and spent several enjoyable days at Good Cheer Island on our way home.

Quest could throw quite a wake for unwary smaller craft.

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