|This post is about our 2009 trip in Georgian Bay and the North Channel. This was our first summer with the boat.
Friday, July 3rd – Killbear Marina to Regatta Bay
We started our six week trip in the afternoon and motored out to Franklin Island and anchored in Regatta Bay. The weather was very cold and windy and there were hardly any boats in the anchorage. We assumed that on a Friday night, there would be no room. Thankfully, we were wrong.
We had to set our anchor three times and will definitely buy more chain once we get to a marina that sells that particular type of chain (it has to go through the windlass).
Saturday, July 4th – Regatta Bay to Sturgeon Bay (near Point au Baril)
We left fairly early in the morning but a north wind was already up. We went through the small craft channel without any problems. I felt sorry for the poor kayakers though – they were just pounding into the waves and looked pretty tired.
I called Melanie once we got near her cottage in Sturgaon Bay and she came out on her sea-doo to guide us in to stay at her cottage overnight. We just tied up to her dock. We had an excellent supper and a nice visit.
Sunday, July 5th – Sturgeon Bay to Britt
We left at 8:30 and motored out to the open water where it was quite rough because of the high winds from yesterday. There was a big swell and we bounced around quite a bit. My lunch consisted of Premium Plus crackers and to go down below was a major ordeal. We finally made it to Britt and docked at Wright’s Marina at around 3:00 and we immediately felt better. I went for a bike ride and did some shopping while Dennis got things organized. My friend Barb called and invited us for supper. It looks like we are going to mooch our way up the coast.
Monday, July 6th – Britt
Because of the terrbile weather forecast, we stayed put for the day. High winds and rain did not make me want to do the crossing to Killarney. So, we called up Glen and my dad and they came from Parry Sound to meet us for lunch at the Little Britt Inn. I also did the laundry and we played pool, ping-pong, and shuffle-board at Wright’s Marina.
Tuesday, July 7th – Britt to Covered Portage Cove
We left early – about 7:00 am knowing that we would have a long day if it got rough because we had to cover about 35 miles in the big water. It was either that or go through the small craft channel and take forever, so we opted for the open water. Last year, the crossing was perfect until we got to Squaw Island and then the wind picked up to a howl and it took us over three hours to do the last few miles – it was most unpleasant, compounded by the fact that we had a wind speed meter which kept telling us that the wind was really gaining momentum. This year was much better. It was rough but not unbearable and we made good time. The auto-pilot would have come in handy though.
We stopped in Killarney at the gas dock and I ran down to Hebert’s Fish and Chips place while Dennis filled the boat. Then we headed out to Covered Portage Cove in our own little anchorage – our favourite place because only one boat will fit in. Of course, Dennis had to tie some lines ashore to keep us safe but he was ok with that.
Wednesday, July 8 – Covered Portage Cove to Heywood Island
We only had a two hour voyage, so we left in the afternoon. In the morning, I went for a kayak ride that was awesome. The kayak is a Hobie Cat Mirage and you peddle the boat instead of paddling. You can really move, so I went for a good hour along the shore and saw a turtle, snake, and hawk. The kayak will be excellent for exercise as my legs are pretty sore.
When we were leaving, we managed to untie ourselves from the various trees with only one cut on Dennis’ forehead. He somehow hit a branch or something and being the sympathetic crew member that I am, I told him to NOT use the good towels to stop the wound.
Our passage to Heywood Island was uneventful except that after weeks of trying a variety of things, Dennis got the auto-pilot working. It had something to do with the 24 voltage and 12 voltage – I have no idea, but now it works!
Thursday, July 9 – Heywood Island to Little Current
We left fairly early to catch the swing bridge and were all tied up at the municipal marina at 9:30. We did a bit of shopping and then met our friends Dennis and Laurie who were going to their property near Providence Bay.
In the afternoon and evening, we did our grocery shopping, and toured around Little Current.
Friday, July 10 – Little Current to South Benjamin Island
After taking an hour to anchor, we finally were able to relax. Because of the strong winds and Dennis being worried that the anchor wouldn’t hold, he spent considerable time and energy tying up the boat to a number of trees on the shoreline. I’m sure the other boaters were well entertained.
We had a terrible thunderstorm at midnight, complete with hail. It came back at about 3:00 am to wake us up once again. I kept wondering if lightning would strike the top of the mast, but it didn’t.
The next day, we wandered around the island, looking for blueberries (found only a few ripe ones) and kayaking. We left at noon for John Island.
Saturday, July 11 – South Benjamin Island to John Island
We left at noon from South Benjamin with winds of 30 knots an hour. The ride to John Island was pretty rough and of course the wind was going the wrong way, so we had to motor into it. We got to John Island at 4:00. It was pretty cold out so we didn’t do much. I kayaked around the anchorage but even it was really rough because of the high winds.
Sunday, July 12 – John Island to Long Point
Much smoother waters – the wind was down – not that we could measure it since the wind meter suddenly broke. I guess we have to call the technician in BC to figure out what is wrong. Long Point is a very nice anchorage – lots to do. Good kayaking, trials, swimming.
Monday, July 13 – Long Point to Blind River
Easy motoring to Blind River – very windy but we left early enough and got in at 11:00. The wind meter started working again. The marina is excellent – very clean, good laundry, and nice showers.
Tuesday, July 14 – Blind River to Fort St. Joseph
It took us most of the day to travel to the St. Mary’s River. We anchored in front of Fort St. Joseph and went ashore to look at the ruins. It is now a heritage park. We were on the edge of the lake and the river in a spot that was not a designated anchorage, but we were tucked in safely. The water was VERY cold.
Wednesday, July 15 – Fort St. Joseph to Sault Ste. Marie
There looks to be a tie up along the St. Mary’s River – a place called Lime Island, so we will investigate this for the future so that we don’t have to anchor at St. Joseph Island. It is a couple of miles from the fort on the right hand side. Rain today.
Thursday, July 16 – Sault Ste. Marie
Spent the day in the Soo. Went shopping in a variety of stores – on bike and on foot. The weather has not been the greatest – cool and rainy. We went out for supper with Steve and Nancy Rouble.
Friday, July 17 – Sault Ste. Marie to Harbour Island
We got up very early to head back down St. Mary’s River. We had to get to Drummond Island to check in to American Customs which turned out to be very uneventful. The customs officer just asked us a few questions and sent us on our way once we paid the $28 for the US decal to speed up the process the next time we enter the states.
We spent the night at Harbour Island anchorage. There was only one other little fishing boat in the anchorage. The last time we were there, the place was full. Too cold for everyone. Dennis fixed the expensive Walker Bay dinghy too. The automatic bailer doesn’t work at all if there is a speck of dirt in it, so he bought a plug from Canadian Tire and inserted it. Now, the dinghy does not leak water – not much of a dinghy though if it can’t even keep the water out!
Saturday, July 18 – Harbour Island to Mackinaw City
We left at 6:30 from Harbour Island and actually put our sails up as soon as we passed DeTour Village. We sailed nicely for about two hours and then suddenly, the mainsail gave out and came tumbling down. The head of the sail has a loop of material and it broke under the pressure. Dennis had to pull the sail in before it fell into the water and then bundled it all up and tied it to the mast. He has spent several hours sewing a new loop but now has to find someone to go up the mast to get the halyard and bring it back down so that the new loop can be used to hoist the sail.
The Nexus wind indicator gave out again for a couple of hours too.
Sunday, July 19 – Mackinaw City
We took the ferry over to Mackinac Island. Dennis stayed until noon and then went back to the marina to fix the sump pump for the forward shower. Good thing he’s handy! I drove around the island on my bike – only four times this year (53 km) – must be getting old!
When I got back from Mackinac Island, Dennis had some bizarre fish hook rigged up to a line and was trying to hook the halyard with it. After much peering about with the binoculars and bringing the line up and down many different times, he managed to grab the halyard and pull it down from the top of the mast. So, we put the mainsail back up and hope that the loop that he sewed holds!
Monday, July 20 – Mackinaw City to Beaver Island
We left at our usual 7:00 start time when the harbour is usually quiet and still but this morning was an exception – we had some competition getting out of the marina from ten or so sea-doos. We were much larger though so didn’t have too much trouble taking control of the waterway.
We crossed under the Mackinaw Bridge and saw a fair number of boats sailing in a less than one kilometre wind, and realized that these boats were part of the Chicago to Mackinaw Race. They must have been very unhappy that the wind was not even a breeze whereas I was quite pleased that we would not bounce our way across the top of Lake Michigan.
We arrived, after trying to sail for an hour or so (and getting nowhere) at around 3:00 and are staying at Beaver Island Marina. The island is very laid back and relaxed. Quite a difference from Mackinaw City.
Tuesday, July 21 – Beaver Island
Today we stayed put on Beaver Island. It is a great place to relax since it is so peaceful. Everyone either rides a bike, scooter, or electric car. It was a beautiful day, so I took my bike and did a 40 km ride around the island and many people waved to me. I was, I have to add, the only one wearing a helmet on my bike! Dennis toured the marine and toy museum. The island has a lot of very interesting history including the fact that it was once a kingdom (William Strang).
During the afternoon, we rented scooters and drove all over the island. That was a lot of fun although my driving ability is sorely lacking. We also went out for supper at the Shamrock and had excellent chicken wings.
Wednesday, July 22 – Beaver Island to Charlevoix
The 30 mile ride across Lake Michigan was filled with rain, thunder, and even lightning. We motored in good time though and made the 1:00 bridge to get into Round Lake – a little lake right in the heart of Charlevoix. There are many very expensive boats here – yachts and racing boats from the Chicago to Mackinac race.
We are anchored in Round Lake listening to a band playing in the park. Pretty cool place!
Thursday, July 23 – Charlevoix
We had a great day today with all sorts of things to do. I went on a big bike ride and looked at all the Earl Young cottages – they look like gnome houses while Dennis went to the Irish Boat Shop to look for a bike but didn’t find one. We finally saw the sun and went swimming a few times. Tomorrow, we are off to Mackinac Island – starting our way back home slowly.
Friday, July 24 – Charlevoix to Mackinaw City
We left very early (6:30) in order to get to Mackinaw City in good time. It was actually sunny out for most of the day and we were able to sail. We got in to the new state marina at 4:30.
Saturday, July 25 – Mackinaw City to Harbor Island
Most of the day was foggy and gray skies. There was also quite a swell so we didn’t feel that great until we got to DeTour Passage. We anchored in Harbor Island and met some people from Penetang. Dennis lent them the Michigan Lake Ports Guide. They stay on their 29 foot Bayfield for five months of the year and then spend their winters in an RV. We also saw an osprey and some deer in the harbor.
Sunday, July 26 – Harbor Island to Meldrum Bay
Had a nice day sailing to Meldrum Bay and tied up at the marina. It hasn’t really changed in twelve years except for a new break wall. Supper, at the Meldrum Bay Inn, was excellent. Apparently the new owners had come from California and bought the place sight unseen! This is their third year and they are doing fairly well. It must be because of the food – it was very good!
Monday, July 27 – Meldrum Bay to Gore Bay
Today, Dennis sailed the boat by himself while I rode my bike to Gore Bay. For me, it was a 74 km ride and was great! I beat Dennis by an hour or so. We are tied up at the Gore Bay Marina and have some interesting boats around us – Bonita from Chicago which is a huge yacht and right beside her is Sound Wave. According to the dock boys, the Sound Wave has a stereo so powerful that it will rock the dock. Great! So far though, we have only had to endure some elevator music but I’m sure we’ll be treated before the day is out!
Tuesday, July 28 – Gore Bay
We stayed in Gore Bay for an extra day. The weather was very sunny and warm. There is a good grocery store and the marina has good facilities.
Wednesday, July 29, – Gore Bay to the Benjamins
The sail over was low key – not a lot of wind. The wind picked up within the hour once we anchored and the boat bounced around until 7:30. There were many boats anchored. It is quite beautiful here – the rocks are pink granite. Blueberries too!
Thursday, July 30 – The Benjamins
The weather is great so we are staying today. I kayaked around the north and south islands and saw lots of smaller boats tied up to trees and rocks, in little tiny inlets. Dennis fished but didn’t catch anything. We also picked some blueberries for blueberry pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. We have been cruising around with some people on a Jeanneau DS 54 (nice boat!) and having lots of fun exchanging stories.
Friday, July 31 – Little Current
We are at Little Current until tomorrow and then we are going to Mary Ann Cove. We will be slowly heading back home now and will enjoy the last week in the Killarney area.
Saturday, August 1 – Little Current to Boyle Cove
Upon leaving the marina, we had a bit of a mishap and hit the bow of a trawler. The owner wasn’t overly upset and we left our information in case he wanted to get in touch with us later on. We caught the 10:00 bridge and headed out to Boyle Cove.
Sunday, August 2 – Boyle Cove
We stayed an extra day in Boyle Cove because we had heard that the other anchorages were full. A little 16 foot Wayfarer pulled in and stayed overnight. The two guys on the boat pulled a boom tent up and waited out the rain for hours. Not my idea of fun.
Monday, August 3 – Boyle Cove to Snug Harbour
We motored over to Snug Harbour and spent a night there. We had heard that there would be strong winds, and Boyle Cove was wide open to the west. Snug Harbour was very snug!
Tuesday, August 4 – Snug Harbour to Covered Portage Cove
We motored to Covered Portage Cove and arrived at 11:00. It was perfect timing as some boats were leaving and we easily found a good anchorage. We had to tie ashore, but it was a good thing we did since so many boats arrived in the afternoon. It was like being at a marina without the facilities! Anyway, we went hiking to the top of the ridge, swam, kayaked, and enjoyed the full moon.
Wednesday, August 5 – Covered Portage Cove to Killarney
We had a long motoring session to get to Killarney (45 minutes!). It was very windy when we made our approach to the ramshackle dock (as Jim calls it) on the island side of the Sportsman Inn, but we did manage to dock successfully on the second try – I had to leap out since nobody offered to help! Our friends from “Somewhere” weren’t as lucky – they made three passes, scraped the side of their beautiful blue hulled Jeanneau DS 54 on the dock. Many people suddenly appeared on the dock all trying to help them though!
We had the traditional fish and chips dinner at Herbert’s and a couple of drinks at the Sportsman Inn.
Thursday, August 6 – Killarney to Britt
We left at 6:30 this morning and got into Britt at 3:00. We had excellent sailing, downwind the whole day. Right now, the winds are howling, so we’ll have some interesting sailing tomorrow – it will be our last day as we plan to stay at Killbear and stay one more night on the boat!
Friday, August 7 – Britt to home
We left very early in the morning, thinking that Georgian Bay would be rough as it was very windy last night. Luckily, it wasn’t and the seas were calm, but that meant that our last day of sailing was actually a motoring day. We did sail for a while but it would have taken us forever to get home, so we motored for most of the day. We decided to go to the Killbear Park anchorage but it was very crowded, so we went to the marina and spent our last night on the boat tied up. In the morning, we cleaned up the boat, took the mountain of belongings off the boat and went home. Dennis will be going back out next week for a few days and is looking for a crew, so if anyone is interested, give us a call!