|North Channel (click for larger)|
Things started to move so quickly at the end of the boating season in 2016 that I missed posting about the last several weeks. Once we had good weather in Killarney Ontario (the last town on the right along the top shore on the map above (straight north of the "O" in the word Georgian), we headed into the North Channel and towards Little Current, Ontario on August 22. Like Georgian Bay that we were leaving behind, these are some of most beautiful cruising grounds in all of North America.
Little Current, ON
We needed to be at a place with good cell reception for Deb to do a phone call for Girl Scouts. Also, we hadn't seen a grocery store in a while so we by-passed several interesting stops to proceed directly to Little Current. One thing that boaters should know about Little Current is that the name is a lie. The current in this narrow pinch of water is not little and it is created by the water being pushed easterly or westerly between the North Channel and Georgian Bay The current can be quite large at times. It is always an adventure to dock there!
|Main Street Little Current|
We were lucky in our arrival in that the Cruiser's Net was holding its 2nd pot luck dinner and celebration of the season that evening at the Little Current Yacht Club (LCYC). The Cruiser's Net, the LCYC, and the town could not possibly be any more friendly.
Covered Portage and The Pool
The Pool is completely protected from the weather from all directions which is a good thing. About an hour after we anchored, a strong thunderstorm roared through. We sat calmly at anchor and took that opportunity of the break in the total silence of the place to run the generator to top off our batteries.
|Window view at The Pool|
Return to Little Current
On August 25, we headed back to the west and, necessarily through Little Current. We refueled, adding about 100 gallons of fuel - trying not to add too much fuel at the high Canadian prices. We took a dock in the Marina, docking with about a 4 knot cross-current. Surprisingly we saw another cruise ship stopping for the day just as we were tied-up to the dock.
We had a great time there again. With a short trip planned for the next day, we had time to take care of a few maintenance items and to give Carousel a well deserved scrub-down. On the morning of the 26th, we awoke to yet another cruise ship docked at Little Current. We really had no idea that Great Lakes cruises had become a "thing".
For the next few days we anchored in several small harbors, namely the Benjamins, Hotham Island, Cleary Cove. The Benjamins were a must because we had anchored there over 20 years ago with Deb's parents in their sailboat. Once again we climbed the tall rounded pink granite rocks to the top of the island.
|"Prince Arthur" approaching the exit from Cleary Cove|
The weather was a bit unsettled with rain in the area and building winds. However, on the 28th we moved about 15 miles west to Cleary Cove. That's not where we were planning to go but the anchorage we chose was so bouncy with waves from the building winds that Mike got on the radio to inquire about better locations in the area. An accommodating boater Robbie Colwell on another Grand Banks, (Prince Arthur) responded with a recommendation for Cleary Cove, about a mile away. He told us about a very narrow entrance and shallow entry and that he would take his dinghy out to meet us and guide us into the extremely narrow channel. Thank goodness for his help! The entrance was not much wider than our boat and we bumped the bottom a bit as we squeezed between the rocks on both sides. We had a wonderful talk with the other two boats anchored there. We dropped the dinghy to explore the area and went back through the entrance on the small boat. The water was so clear that we could see where we bumped coming in. We needed to be about a foot to the east! When we started cooking a black bear came down to the shoreline to give us a sniff. Luckily, he decided that we were not worth the energy to swim out to us!
Heading back to the USOn the 29th we headed to Gore Bay, ON on Manitoulin Island for a little more fuel so that we would have a generous safety factor. We would have a few long days ahead of us before we could get to some less expensive fuel in Michigan. The next day we headed about 60 miles to the west to the last of the North Channel islands, Drummond Island. Drummond became US land at the end of the War of 1812 and is a designated US Customs port of entry. There is not much there, but we did find a restaurant that served Lake Perch, one of our favorites!
|The Best of Lake Michigan|
As we passed under the Mackinac Bridge and entered the wide open waters of northern Lake Michigan, we found calm waters for our trip to Petosky, Michigan, a 70 mile trip. Once in Petosky, we settled in for a few days of provisioning, laundry, and land-based recreation.
(to be continued)