Click here! Aylmer Island

Boats rafted off Aylmer Island.
Aylmer Island is a well known land mark on the Ottawa River and many people are familiar with it as a handy destination when daysailing on Lake Deschenes. It is a rather nice little island which comes complete with a beach and small lighthouse. There is something of a spectacular up-river view from the top of the small hill on its northwest side. But anyone romping around on this island should be very careful to avoid the poison ivy by staying on the foot paths and maneuvering around the underbrush (and there can be a lot of poison ivy).

Looking out from the beach on Aylmer Island.
The area south-east of the island is used as a day anchorage, and it is very popular with sailors who wish to stop for a swim on those hot windless afternoons. In fact, an instant community of several dozen boats can suddenly pop up in this area, with many rafted together, as their crews take a break to swim, gam, barbeque, and generally enjoy the summer life. Moreover, the small beach on the south-east corner of the island can be put to good use by sailors who are somehow overcome by the urge to leave their boats and go ashore.

Aylmer Island is also a great place to anchor for the afternoon because it provides people with a front row seat to all the traffic heading upriver or back into Lake Deschenes, and its seems sailors will always spot someone they know. Boats tend to drop anchor in the area between the Island and buoy K-9, but unless it is going to be dead calm, Aylmer is not regarded as a good overnight anchorage.

Leaving the Aylmer Island anchorage at the end
of a hot sunny day.
It is interesting to note that Aylmer Island is an old Indian burial ground. A mass grave site was discovered in the early 1900's when the foundation for a lighthouse was being dug. Several individual Algonquin grave sites have also been found on the island.

Boats continuing upriver from Lake Deschenes should pass north of Aylmer Island in order to avoid the shoals found on its south-west side. In a little over six kilometres (four miles) Pinhey Point will come into view on the Ontario side of the river.

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Text and photos by Michael McGoldrick.
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