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Flashback Friday: Flower Pot Island, Tobermory, Ontario

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

I had been on the road for over a month when I decided to head up the Bruce Peninsula. The peninsula is a strip of land that separates the main portion of Lake Huron in Ontario from Georgian Bay. I ended up heading to the very top of the peninsula to the quaint town of Tobermory where I tucked myself into a lovely B&B for a couple of days exploring the area.

After checking out the various boat cruises offered, I booked two with Blue Heron Cruises, a sunset cruise and the Drop-Off Cruise to Flower Pot Island, part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park. This marine park is renowned amongst divers. I am not a diver, so if I wanted to see shipwrecks, I would need to do it from boat. As a self-confessed geology nerd, I was very excited to see the stacked rock formations. The promise of a swim and a hike had me anticipating my day with glee. I was not disappointed.

The tour is advertises a glass-bottom boat. This does not mean the entire floor is glass. The glass section is large, but I thought I had a clearer view from the side of the boat. The island became increasingly crowded as more cruises dropped off passengers throughout the day. I would suggest getting the earliest cruise available. Parks Canada suggests you'll need 1.5 hours to see the flowerpots and cave, double that if you want to go to the light station, and 4-5 hours if you include following the entire loop trail.

THERE IS NO WATER ON THE ISLAND, so plan ahead and bring plenty with you. Compost toilets are only located at Beachy Cove and the light station. There is a modest cash-only snack bar at the historic light station. It is a pristine natural environment, as the rangers gently explained to some children stacking inukshuk-style art on the rocky shores. Visitors are expected to leave the area undisturbed.

The tour began in a sheltered Bay, surrounded by cottages and marked by Big Tub Lighthouse. This is where two 19th-century shipwrecks can be seen resting just below the surface.

The water is so clear, we had an excellent view. It is easy to see why this is considered to be a prime location for divers.

From there we cruised through the Devil Island Channel and the narrow channel between Cove Island and the Otter Islands.

There are some lovely cottages, modest and grand, along the shores.

and, of course, some stunning landscapes. The approach to the island goes past the Parks Offices.

Soon we can see the first formation, the large flower pot.

Cruising past the Large flower pot, the small flower pot can be seen in the background.

We arrived at the dock where we were greeted by a ranger and reminded about the lack of water, and the need to protect the island and formations from damage.

I spent a great deal of time wandering along the rocky beaches and getting up close to the flowerpots.

As you can see in the photos, it is very rocky. Strong footwear is important when scrambling around.

In this formation, the Ojibwa people see a mighty warrior and have many tales to tell about his life

I continued along the trail to the light station and museum, which is totally off-grid. The museum was nothing remarkable but it was a lovely trail.

And then back to the beach area for a swim.

I spent several hours enjoying the water and the excellent people-watching before making my way to docks to catch my return boat. It had been an excellent day full of wonderful sights, a good hike, geeking out on geology and swimming in refreshing waters. I look forward to doing it again.


Tell me in the comments if you've been here. What did you enjoy? Do you have any hints, questions, ideas, or thoughts to share? Send the link to someone who will be in the Great Lakes area. Become a member to receive notifications of new content, access to our members' only forum, and a monthly newsletter full of chatty behind-the-scenes news, useful travel links and hints, plus more!


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