Plan To Explore Flowerpot Island From Tobermory in Ontario
On our stay in Port Elgin on Lake Huron, we headed off for a day trip to explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory. We were glad we booked a tour that dropped us off on the island. This gave us a close-up view of the flowerpots. And provided us with a great hike along the coast.
Heading To Tobermory For The Day
From our stay in Port Elgin on Lake Huron it was about a 90 minute drive to Tobermory. We missed Tobermory on our last visit to Owen Sound and Georgian Bay. On this visit, we knew that we would not have enough time to see and do all that Tobermory had to offer. But we had one thing booked before we headed that way.
We drove north of Sauble Beach and out along the Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory. Tobermory was lovely small port town. The Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Trail run right out to Tobermory. On many of our trips around the Great Lakes in Ontario we explored the Niagara Escarpment and the Bruce Trail. So we were excited to visit another part.
As we drove along we passed the Bruce Peninsula National Park. This was the entrance to the Grotto. It was a 45 minute hike from the parking lot to these intricate cave structures in the ancient limestone. We sadly knew we would not have enough time to visit on this trip. And we later learned we needed a confirmed reservation for the 4 hour parking slot to visit.
Next time we explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory we will plan in advance and make sure we don’t miss the Grotto.
Getting Ready For Our Trip With Bruce Anchor Cruises
We found different cruise companies that went to Flowerpot Island from Tobermory. There were two different cruise options. We could stay onboard and cruise around Flowerpot Island. Or we could disembark and explore the island before re-boarding to return to the Tobermory dock.
We checked out the weather forecast to pick the right day to visit Flowerpot Island. When we booked our tickets two days before we wanted to go, the time slots to the island were a bit limited on both cruise lines. But we managed to get a morning slot to the island with a return early in the afternoon with Bruce Anchor Cruises. This gave us about 3 hours to explore Flowerpot Island.
When we entered the town we found the office for Bruce Anchor Cruises and picked up our tickets. We parked the car and took the shuttle down to the dock. While we waited for our boarding time, we watched the different cruise companies out on the water. Off on the point we saw the Big Tub Lighthouse.
Bruce Anchor Cruises operated two boats. We went to the island on the smaller Explorer boat. And came back on the larger Evolution boat with a large open top deck.
The skies overhead were grey and not what the weather forecast predicted. But we hoped the wind would take away the clouds before we got to Flowerpot Island.
Cruising From Tobermory Through the Fathom Five National Marine Park
Tobermory is known as the premier scuba diving capital of Canada. The Fathom Five National Marine Park was home to more than 20 shipwrecks. The park covered 116 square kilometres and included a chain of 19 islands. Sheer cliffs and huge caves were found above and below the turquoise waters. A scuba divers dream topography!
One of the treats for the trip to Flowerpot Island was to cruise slowly down Big Tub Harbour. From the boat we saw the remains of the 119 feet-long hull of the Canadian schooner Sweepstakes underwater. This schooner sunk in 1885. We were amazed when we saw how much of the wreck was almost completely intact.
While the boat had a glass bottom over a small area, it was not really easy to see through the glass with the reflections from above. We got much better views over the side of the boat.
There was another wreck in the harbour that we did not see on our cruise. The “The City of Grand Rapids” was an elegant passenger steamer that burned and sank in October 1907. It was also possible to kayak over the wrecks in this spot. But we simply ran out of time.
We went slowly back out Big Tub Harbour and past the Big Tub Lighthouse. This lighthouse was originally lit in 1885 and was still active today.
When we left the harbour we headed off to explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory.
Hiking To Explore Flowerpot Island From Tobermory
We got our first view of Flowerpot Island as the ship cruised by. We saw the bright red buildings at the Lightstation. The Large Flowerpot and the Small Flowerpot were easily identified. These uniquely shaped rock pillars looked a bit like a flower pot. From the water got a clear view of the steep cliffs along the shoreline and the cave high in the rocks.
The boat landed at Beachy Cove. From this point there were several different paths available. We chose the path along the shoreline to the flowerpots and then on to the lighthouse. Our path back depended on how slowly we moved along the coast.
While it was still cloudy when we landed, in no time at all the skies cleared. We started on the boardwalk and got a close up view of the crystal clear blue green waters and the rocky shoreline. As we moved onto the path through the woods, we soon saw that the path would not be a totally easy walk. We navigated along rocky and rooted paths.
Exploring The Flowerpots On Flowerpot Island
We found several narrow openings that led out to the flowerpots. The ragged rocks required some thought to traverse. But we made our way out on the rocks and moved along the shore from the Small Flowerpot to the Large Flowerpot.
It was stunning to see these gigantic rock structures up close. We saw the different cruise company boats as they drew close to the island. And even saw a small plane enjoying the view from above.
Explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory and enjoy the beach views. It was hard to believe the crystal clear blue green waters were not in some tropical spot. We saw many people swimming from the rocky beaches. On a longer stay on Flowerpot Island we would pack our snorkel masks and explore the great rocky shores.
Heading To The Lightstation On Flowerpot Island
We moved along the shore and past the rock beach. There was a sign that pointed to the cave we saw from the water. Stairs went up the to the viewing platform at the cave.
The path went up and then down as it weaved towards the lighthouse. We arrived at the Lightstation and then we followed the final path to the lighthouse. The views along the coast at this point were lovely. We were disappointed that this was not the traditional lighthouse we expected.
We made a final stop at the Lightstation. There was a small shop for refreshments and a museum to visit. We settled in for short break and a relaxing view.
When we checked our watch we saw we had used 2 of the 3 hours we had on Flowerpot Island. We were not sure how long it would take to continue along the Loop Trail back to the boat dock. The views from the higher path might be stunning. But we ultimately decided to re-trace our path. But without the long stops along the shore.
We made it back to the boat dock with 15 minutes to spare. We made sure we took all our garbage off the island. And hit the bathroom before we got on the boat.
For A Real Treat Explore Flowerpot Island From Tobermory in Ontario
It was a short boat ride back to the dock in Tobermory with no real sightseeing stops. Off in the distance Middle Island was pointed out.
Once we were back on land, we picked up the car and went into town in the Little Tub Harbour. We found lots of spots for a quick snack. Of course we had to try the local Stella’s gelato. But we knew we had a long drive back. So we did not dawdle long in town on this visit.
We were so glad we planned to explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory. A cruise around the island might have been nice. But on a hike around Flowerpot Island we saw so much more.
The transit from our stay in Port Elgin took us over 3 hours. So this limited the amount of time we had to explore the area around Tobermory. Next time we will plan to stay in Tobermory and spend a few days to enjoy all this great spot has to offer.
Did you explore Flowerpot Island from Tobermory? What other great things did you do in the Tobermory area?
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