Category Archives: Sailing the North Channel

June 17 – Haywood Island to Killarney

View from the cockpit at Haywood Island

This is the view from the cockpit from Haywood Island. Dennis removed the canvas at the back of the boat and it is really nice now – you get lots of light, a breeze and a good view. It was raining for a while and no rain came in (no more than usual), so I think we are going to keep the canvas off.

We had an uneventful trip from Haywood to Killarney. No boats to tow – hardly any boats to see, I guess because it is too early in the season. We docked at the fish and chip dock and got ourselves organized and then had our final fish and chips meal. It was delicious!

I drove home in the car and saw the bear on the way again. I wonder if he just hangs around the highway waiting for photo ops?

Dennis sailed off to Club Island. He got in at around 7:00 pm, so it was a long day for him. He had hoped to start early this morning and cross the lake to get home but he is fogged in, so he went back to sleep. I’m sure he is exhausted. I will have to watch him on the Spot to see what time I should pick him up at Big Sound Marina.

All in all, it was a good weekend. This was our last trip before we leave for the summer. We still have quite a bit of things to do before we head out but the boat is ready – just need a few more supplies!


June 16 – Covered Portage Cove to Haywood Island

So, today was fairly interesting. We went for a hike up the mountain at Covered Portage Cove. Here are a couple of pictures – an overturned tree and the view from the top.


There was only one other boat in the anchorage, so it was very nice and quiet. As for the hike, well, it only took about 15 minutes to walk up the mountain (maybe I shouldn’t even call it a mountain). The view is amazing though because you can see all of the North Channel in one direction and Killarney in the other.

We decided to head out to Hayward Island because of the strong wind warning. It is much better protected than Covered Portage Cove. On our way there, in the Landsdown channel, we spotted a small powerboat on the side of the channel and he flagged us down. So, we went over to see what that was about and the boat had stopped working. They were headed towards Killarney but asked for a tow. They had called their marina for a tow but the mechanic had left for a while. We towed them towards McGregor Bay – Dennis actually put the sail up for a while. After about half an hour, the marina called and the mechanic came to tow the boat back. There were actually eight people in the boat and it was one couple’s anniversary. If you check on the Spot, you can see our strange route – and that is why.


We then headed over to Haywood and within a minute of putting the dinghy into the water, we had a new friend. Dennis can’t afford a parrot, so I guess we’re stuck with the seagull.


That’s all that is happening today. Dennis has killed about 20 giant horseflies. They keep buzzing around but won’t land.
Nick texted me from home and told me that pike that was over three feet long, got his lure last night so he was going fishing today to try to get his lure back. I haven’t heard back from him, so I suspect he has not been successful. Imagine though – a fish that big – in our little lake!

Heading back to Killarney tomorrow and back to work for Monday.


Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Sailing the North Channel


June 15 – Killarney

Dennis left Parry Sound on Wednesday evening for a quick trip to Killarney. He stayed overnight at Killbear Park, somehow managed to get an invite onto the boat from Brazil and had a wonderful time. The next day, he headed out to Killarney at 5:00 am, hoping to sail the whole way. He only sailed for a couple of hours but spent most of his time killing bugs and cleaning. He said there was a variety of bugs – ankle biters (tiny houseflies) and nosee’ums. They followed the boat by the thousands and landed everywhere. I am really sorry to have missed all of that (I had to work – what a shame!). When he arrived at Covered Portage Cove at around 6:00 pm, he anchored safely and then rowed around in the anchorage looking for someone to talk to. (I guess the people from Brazil hadn’t arrived!). He then spent the evening and most of the next day cleaning and polishing the entire boat (because of the bugs). When I arrived, it was clean as a whistle!
I actually took a more common form of transportation – a car – to Killarney and arrived in two hours. Of course, I did see a bear crossing the road right in front of me.

Dennis met me at the Sportsmans Inn. We noticed that on George Island, there is a brand new building and apparently it is a spa.

In the evening, once we got back to Covered Portage Cove, we had a game of crib.(I am red)

It started to rain at about 8:30 but by 8:45 it had stopped and a rainbow came out.

It is supposed to be 30 degrees today and very sunny, so we will go hiking in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. We might go back to Killarney and meet Marlene and Kevin (they are coming by motorcycle). We’ll see – we might just hang out on the boat and relax.

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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Sailing the North Channel


Little Current – August 11 – 14

After the high winds at Logan’s Bay on Clapperton Island, we left to to to Little Current so that we could get the water heater welded. We arrived in the morning and Dennis immediately tore the boat apart in order to get to the heater. Once he had it, we called the welder and a taxi, and he headed off the island – he went to Goat’s Island which is just across the bridge, and had the heater welded. He returned within the hour and proceeded to re-install it. Once he got everything in, he realized that there was a leak! So, he had to take everything back apart, call the welder (this time he asked if they could pick up the water heater) and then waited for it to be repaired.

Again, within the hour, it was repaired and then Dennis reinstalled it for the second time. This time it worked and then he spent the rest of the afternoon putting the boat back together. By 4:30, he was done and now we have extremely hot water! It must have been dribbling out for a while because I never had hot water in the aft bathroom, just lukewarm. So, hopefully it will stay welded until we get home.

We met a guy on a 64 foot sailboat who is a retired Hydro One worker from Kincardine (he knows Allan Cornthwaite) and had a tour of his boat. Pretty big! He also has a great Portuguese Water Dog named Josh (after Joshua Slocum). Check out this picture!

Josh waiting patiently for his walk

I was very impressed with the amount of space on the boat – he even had a bathtub! Here are some pictures of it and the owner.

The Epicurus

The owner of the Epicurus

Inside the main area

Onboard the Epicurus

After the tour and some supper, we were sitting on our boat and some town kids came down to the dock to go swimming. This is a bone of contention between the town and the boaters because the kids are very often loud and obnoxious and use a lot of very colourful language. One boater did speak to someone of authority and really complained, so the staff took the safety ladders away (so that if you fall into the water, you can swim over to a ladder to get back up). This did not deter the kids and I would imagine that there will be some letters written to the Town Council. However, taking the ladders away is not the solution – I would imagine there are some safety concerns!

In other marinas, people are not allowed to wander up and down the docks or swim – it is kind of like complete strangers wandering around in your yard, but in Little Current, the docks are in a very public area and people take advantage of this. If you are docked “on the wall”, then you become the tourist attraction and everyone wants to talk to you (which is fine for the first ten minutes, but it wears thin very quickly). If you are on the finger docks, then it is much better except for the kids who go swimming off the docks. Because the boaters pay for the dock slips (well, most people do but I noticed that some tie up for the day and use the showers as well as the electricity and then leave), they feel they have the right to privacy and should not be subjected to the swimming show which takes place several times a day. So, I am curious to know how this will be handled – we shall see!

We are heading back tomorrow and will probably spend the night in Covered Portage Cove. We have to be in Parry Sound for Thursday night – we are going to see Jimmy Flynn at the Stockey Centre. Should be fun!

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Posted by on August 13, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel


Logan’s Bay – Clapperton Island – August 8 to 10

We left Gore Bay on August 8th to go overnight to Logan’s Bay. It is a nice anchorage that doesn’t have many people. We spent the day swimming, kayaking, fishing and relaxing in the sun. The weather forecast was not favourable for the next day and now on Day Three, we are still here. The winds are gusting to 30 knots an hour! Our anchor is holding though, so it is not so bad although the boat seems to be spinning around a lot.

We have managed to occupy ourselves very well in the past two days. Lots of kayaking because the anchorage is huge and fairly well protected, so we’ve practising going into the waves. That’s a lot of fun, especially because the water is so warm.

Dennis now has a new project – the water heater broke this morning so we are going to Little Current tomorrow to get it welded and he is spending the afternoon tearing apart the entire main cabin, trying to get at it.

Not much else is new – I am getting a lot of school work done today. All necessary and a good day to do it!

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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel


Cockburn Island, Meldrum Bay, Gore Bay – August 5 – 7

Cockburn Island (pronounced Cogburn) is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the crowds of Meldrum Bay! It is very isolated – there wasn’t even electricity until eight years ago!

"Old Pink" makes yet another appearance

We arrived on the Government Dock and two boys helped us tie up. They were working for their uncle, the lone year round resident, so I am sure any excuse to leave their task of painting a dock was appreciated. They gave us the low down and even offered to take us on a tour of the old school house after they finished work at 2:30. We declined.

We wandered around the “town” of Tolsmaville for a bit and met up with the uncle. He and his dog were very friendly (although he didn’t have many teeth – the uncle – not the dog) and gave us a bit of history of the island which used to have over a thousand people living on it at one time. The people were homesteaders but it must have been a terrible life. Farming was not great, so they fished and worked in the bush in the winter cutting down logs. Eventually, everyone either left or died. The only people who live there now are summer residents except for the man (the boys’ uncle) who lives there alone all year round.

The man gave us the key to the school house and church, so we walked up the road to see both.

The church at Cockburn Island

Inside the church

Inside the school

Dennis mentioned that he had gotten the strap quite a bit when he went to elementary school - somehow that doesn't surprise me!

After visiting the church and school, we talked to some of the summer people and then went swimming. After supper, we took a walk down another road and ended up visiting people that we’d met that afternoon. It turns out that they knew a bunch of people that we knew from Sudbury.

The next morning, we left early and motored over to Meldrum Bay where we checked in with Customs in the new marina building. Quite an improvement! We had a very nice dinner too at the Meldrum Bay Inn.

Today, at 7:00 am sharp (the captain wanted to get going), Dennis rowed me and my bike over to the dock, and I drove my bike to Gore Bay while Dennis sailed. It was 75 kilometres and the first twenty minutes was great as I had favourable weather. The rest of the trip (about four hours in total) though, was not quite as pleasant as it either drizzled or poured the entire time. Luckily though, I had my rain jacket and the rain was warm so it wasn’t so bad. The only exciting thing I saw on my trip was another osprey’s nest – right on the side of the road in a hydro pole. I stopped and took a picture – unfortunately, the osprey was not impressed and let me know by squawking at me!

I arrived in Gore Bay at 11:30 and had packed away my towel, soap and a change of clothes in my Mountain Equipment bike bag so when I arrived at the marina, I just hopped into one of the showers and had a wonderful shower! I then sat around and waited for Dennis who showed up at 1:30.

Anyway, all in all, we had a good time and learned a lot of interesting things!

Osprey nest right beside the road

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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel


The Wind Instrument Arrived

After much delay, the Nexus wind instrument finally arrived today! Originally, it was supposed to go to Blind River but the delivery was unsuccessful, so then we arranged for it to go to our friend’s house in Sault Ste. Marie. Apparently, that too was unsuccessful so when I tracked it down, it was at the warehouse so I asked our friend Steve to pick it up. The warehouse was only open one hour a day – just for loading the trucks – and then it closed so luckily Steve called the dispatcher and arranged for it to be delivered. The driver had already been there but said that there was no such address (he read it wrong – Steve definitely lives there). Anyway, while Steve was talking to the dispatcher, he offered to stand on his front lawn and wave his arms to flag the truck down. Finally – success!

Steve dropped it off at the boat this morning and Dennis climbed the mast to install it. He had to go up twice – the first time, he couldn’t quite reach the top and had to come all the way down to adjust something on his climbing gear. The second time worked and he attached the wind instrument to the top of the mast and then dropped the wire down through it (actually tied it to a little string and I pulled it through). It was only about 100 degrees out! Here are a couple of pictures of him as well as a video. (Click this link for the video).




























After we finished installing the wind instrument, we had to fish the wire through the boat and this actually proved to be the more difficult task as it took forever to push the wire through all the little nooks and crannies to get it to the right place. Finally, that was done and then we discovered that we were missing a little tiny piece of plastic that gives it power. This little piece might be at home. At any rate, we don’t have it so we still don’t know the speed of the wind!


The Soo Locks – July 24

We walked over to the locks today to figure out the procedure and it looks very straight-forward. So tomorrow, we will “lock-up” at 9:00 and should be in Lake Superior by 10:00! Here are some pictures of the boat going through today.


We will be heading to Goulais Bay and anchoring there for the night and if weather permits, we will go to Pancake Bay the next day.


Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel


Sault Ste. Marie – July 22 – 24

We arrived in Sault Ste. Marie after an extremely long ride down the St. Mary’s River. It seemed to take us forever! We left our anchorage at 6:30 and got in at 3:00. Didn’t see anything exciting except for an osprey.

An osprey along the St. Mary's River

The ride down the St. Mary’s was uneventful. We passed four freighters with no problem. One blasted his horn at the little fishing boats that were right in the channel, and at the last minute (or so it seemed to me), they moved!

One of the freighters that passed us in the St. Mary's River

We finally met up with our friends, Nancy and Steve Rouble and it was great to see them! They are being very good about collecting our various parcels – the wind meter, the peddles for the kayak and some sort of plug for the engine that Dennis needs. Hopefully all these things will have arrived by the time we get back from Lake Superior.

This morning, Dennis got up early and was one of the first people to arrive at the Farmer’s Market. Good thing too as he practically cleaned out the entire supply of Finnish Coffee Bread. We’ve already eaten most of the first loaf.

When I finally got up, we went back to the market and got some fresh vegetables and a few other things. Tomorrow though, we will have to go to a real grocery store and make sure that we have enough food for ten days. Apparently, there are not a lot of places to stop in Lake Superior – lots of anchorages but not too many marinas.

Dennis met up with a couple who have sailed the entire east coast – Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and even Forteau, Labrador! They heard a strange sound though one night in the Straits of Belle Isle (that is between the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador) and it was ice floes hitting their boat. They decided that they should move southward. They are also going to Lake Superior.

We will probably stay here for a couple of days and then if the weather cooperates, we will go to the locks on Monday.

No other news!

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Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel


Blind River – July 20

We spent last night anchored at John Island and woke up to very thick fog. We were supposed to leave at 7:00 but didn’t get underway until 8:00 because we waited for the fog to dissipate. We set off and within twenty minutes, we were right back into the fog so we turned on the radar which worked beautifully for three minutes and then promptly quit. Luckily, we could see about 1000 feet in front of us so we managed to get through the Whalesback Channel without any trouble. By 10:00, the fog had lifted completely and the radar started working! Go figure!

Foggy morning at John Island

We arrived in Blind River at 1:00 and we noted that the depth of the harbour was 6 feet 4 inches in places so it is not great for big boats. We got the end dock and set up both cables and now are basking in the air-conditioned boat! What a difference!

This afternoon, we went to the marina office and picked up a parcel – one of the two that are needed for the wind meter, so it looks like we are not going to have a wind meter after all. Rats! I thought we’d finally get ahead of the game but no such luck! Oh well, hopefully the other parcel will arrive when we return.

I have to say that the Blind River Marina is excellent! It is clean, has great showers, a laundry room and very helpful dock attendants. The marina even has coaster bicycles to borrow (probably because the town is quite a hike) so we rode those around most of the afternoon in the heat. We got a good workout though! Dennis, in particular, had a real good workout, when we were madly racing through the only set of traffic lights (we wanted to catch the green light) when his chain fell off! He had to push the bike to get off the road (it was the Trans Canada highway, by the way) and then fix the chain. Poor guy – he doesn’t seem to have much luck but he is certainly resourceful and fixed the bike in a few minutes!

Blind River doesn’t have much to offer and everything closes at 6 o’clock. The grocery store was adequate but we just wandered around in it to get out of the heat. I went shopping downtown to the two stores but couldn’t find anything to buy.

So, tomorrow we are headed to Harbor Island (that is actually part of the states) and then on Friday, we will head down the St. Mary’s River and get to Sault Ste. Marie for a couple of days. We then hope, weather permitting, to go to Lake Superior for a week or so.

That’s all the news today!

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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Sailing the North Channel