We begin the Georgian Bay Ice Watch this year close to the Spring equinox, after the Unwinter of 2015-16. Where the last two years saw the Bay freeze over completely, this season saw even inland ice seem sketchy. Southern Ontario snowmobile trail maps were mostly a sea of red, with the vast majority of trails remaining closed. Locals in the Twelve Mile Bay area advised us to bring SCUBA gear if we were going to attempt the hike out to Sans Souci over the ice.
The Bay itself is clear of ice, and the fast ice is retreating quickly along the eastern shore, especially in the south. The Bustard Islands are still socked in, but Parry Sound is clearing out. We’re over a month ahead of last year, and expect to get paddles in the water in the first half of April.