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).
Boats rafted off 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.
Looking out from the beach on Aylmer Island.|
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.
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.
Leaving the Aylmer
Island anchorage at the end|
of a hot sunny day.
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.
Text and photos by Michael McGoldrick.
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