After spending a wonderful two nights in Covered Portage Cove, we decided to head off to Little Current to replenish, with whatever people needed (A shower, Fuel, Pump-out, provisions, laundry, libations – did someone say libations?). Landsdowne Channel was flat, and the ride north of Heywood Island persisted with a completely flat ride all the way to Little Current.
Once there, we were able to secure dockage along the wall of Little Current, right in the middle of town. When the MnM crew was last at Little Current, all that was available in town was the breakwall, and if a space wasn’t available you needed to get real friendly with other boaters in hopes of rafting off – if they would let you. Otherwise you might get a slip at Spider Bay marina. Since that last visit Little Current has made significant improvements to support boaters (and pirates like us), with a series of terrific docks and facilities.
Anyhow, we all got settled in, and part of the group took over the dock we were on by setting up a cocktail lounge – yes, more drinking – that prevented passing by all other boaters (just kidding). Spent a great afternoon on the dock, playing back their experiences anchoring out and making plans for the coming days in the Benjamin’s. That was followed with… guess what… dinner and more libations (I travel with a thirsty bunch!) at the “Anchor Inn” restaurant in town.
Once we left the restaurant, we did discover that there was a pirate within the group, who somehow forgot about the insignia beer glass that was temporarily placed in his pants pocket. Hmm.. pretty big pockets. Was it a short term memory lapse or is he a scalawag… now I’m wondering about the company I’m keeping (Funny sidebar – I went up to our waitress and asked her if they sold the glasses. She said “we used to, but people just took them so we stopped selling them?!?!). Hmm, what alternative is one left with?
So, tonight we rest and ready ourselves for the next long journey, less than 20 NM to our next plunder – the Benjamin Islands!!
Covered Portage Cove is about 1.5 NM from Killarney, so we got up and took a leisurely cruise to see what opportunities we had to find an anchorage. Once we entered the cove, we did some initial exploration and were able to secure an anchorage alongside a 150′ granite cliff in about 12 feet of water. Once MnM was secured, the other boats (Mystery Lady, Lil R&R, The Dealership and Fixation) tied alongside and we secured the group for two days on the hook.
What a GREAT place!! The water here is clear and warm, and within minutes the dinghy’s were launched and the exploration began. For several in the group, this is the first anchor-out for them. My suspicion is that it is a location they will think about for years to come as it’s really special.
The evening was absolutely pristine, not a sound and not a ripple in the bay. The following day was met with a lot of exploring as well as a climb to the top of the cliff to see the view, and our anchorage. Everyone is having a great time, and already starting to think a subsequent trip up this way may be in order!
So, tomorrow we will likely be heading over to Little Current to replenish and get ready for our next outing into the wilderness!
We headed out of Tobermory around mid-morning on Monday to cloudy skies but reasonable seas. As we headed to Killarney, we decided to take a close cruise past Flowerpot Island to view the little and big flowerpot rock formations. We assumed things were going well when we got a call from Ken on Fixation that his dinghy had slipped off of his davits. After numerous attempts to correct issues in 3 foot rollers, he decided it was time for help. Fortunately Ken on the Dealership was close by and lent assistance as the other boats (MnM, Little R&R and Mystery Lady), slowly proceeded north towards Killarney. the Ken-squared dynamic duo was finally successful in getting the dinghy loaded and secure, and we then all proceeded north to our Killarney destination.
While the two hour trip turned into three, it was a great ride as the seas settled out as we approached Killarney. All had a great ride and enjoyed a day of cloud cover.
Upon arrival into Killarney, we contacted the Sportsman Inn, and were able to secure overnight dockage. Browsed around town, and had a great dinner at the lodge while a nice downpour occurred outside. Hopefully the rain has an impact on the forest fires that have been in the region.
Tomorrow we will be heading somewhere in the Landsdowne channel for an anchorage for the next two nights.
We heard a distinct rumble in the distance as a fleet of pirates came closer to the port. The town was ill prepared to handle what was about to happen, when suddenly and, hmm, perhaps some warning, the first vessel came into view. It was clear, Tobermory was about to get invaded by the Algonac Harbour Club Pirates. There was no stopping their relentless advance. With Cap’n Jack leading the way, the docks were quickly overtaken by the motley crew of 8 new arrivals, for what would be a good two days of uncontrolled harbor piracy. Actually, our friends had arrived!! They left Bayfield around 7:00 AM, and had a great ride up Lake Huron.
Once settled in, the dinghy’s were launched and the fun began. I decided to take a little ride around the harbor when two of the scalawags spotted me leaving port and commandeered my vessel and my trip of solitude. Solitude? Hmm, that changed! We did a fun jaunt over to Big Tub, took a lap around the shipwrecks at the bottom of the harbor, and were heading back to town when suddenly I hear “Dare Ya?”, “I Double dare ya!!”, Two splashes later, both Melissa and Sheryl were in the water, enjoying the fresh and cool waters of Big Tub, and were laughing like crazy. All of the vacation home dwellers came out of their cabins to see what the ruckus was, and once they saw that it was a bunch of boaters in the water, quickly shuttered their doors and pulled the shades down. This left me with a question… how do these two get back into the dinghy?… Well, I guess the water was cool enough that they were encouraged to leap out of the water with one jump each. Once back on board, We took the dinghy back to Little Tub and our boats, with plans to head into town for dinner. We had a great diner and laughs on the patio at the “Crows Nest”, with a great view of the harbor as the sun set. A great way to kick off the trip of the AHC gang.
So for Sunday our plans are to do more exploring of the Tobermory area, and to start heading up Georgian Bay on Monday. We all signed an oath to leave Tobermory as we found it…. sort of.
Friday morning in Tobermory welcomed us with beautiful skies, and temperatures in the mid 70’s. Our friends from home port are starting their journey later today, and it looks like Mother Nature is going to welcome them with fair weather and calm seas.
We spent the morning cleaning up the boat, catching up with laundry, and taking a walk-about around town, picking up any necessities we needed for the next few days. As the temperatures climbed, we quickly came to the conclusion that we needed to get the dinghy launched so that we could cruise around Little and Big Tub harbors.
By the time we got the dinghy launched and we were underway on our excursion, it felt like temperatures were in the 80’s until we rounded the car ferry port at the end of the harbor. Lake Huron quickly reminded us of where we were, when the temperature dropped immediately a good 10 degrees – not at all uncomfortable, but very noticeable. After poking around the harbors for a couple of hours, we found a new restaurant at the end of the harbor – Coconut Joes, and tied the dinghy up to their floating docks for some quick appies and to relax. A great way to spend late afternoon, watching all the coming and goings in the harbour.
While out on the dinghy, we encountered a slight amount of fog, but it had the smell of a campfire. When we mentioned it to our waitress, she stated that what we encountered was smoke from the forest fires across on the other side of Georgian Bay. She went on to say that just a couple of days prior the entire city was engulfed in dense smoke that blew across over 60 miles of open water. I did some checking into things to find out that the forest fire around Bad River – our next planned destination – was still out of control. Bad River and the surrounding areas were restricted. As such, we are modifying our plans to go through Killarney instead and find some anchorages out of the range of the fires.
Once back to the boat we checked on the status of our friends. They were well underway; Fixation was already in Bayfield and the others were expected to be there by around 7:00 PM. Well, we better get rested up for their arrival… I know what’s coming!!
The run from Mackinaw City to Tobermory is roughly 137 NM, so we decided to get an early start out of Mackinaw City. We left at precisely 7:00 AM, in light rain and calm seas. As we progressed east-southeast, we watched a thunderstorm pass from west to east in front of us, and beyond that, the skies gradually cleared as we approached Tobermory. Our plan was to enter Georgian Bay north of Cove Island, and as we got closer to the Island, (roughly 10 NM) the Tobermory region let us know that it was not pleased with our absence from the area for any extended time. The waves built to around 3′ and occasional 4′ on the starboard bow. It wasn’t unpleasant, but with winds out of the south at around 20 knots, it did offer the occasional spray of water on the boat. Melodie loved it because whenever I opened the side window (I like the airflow), we’d hit a wave and I’d get a quick cool shower. Anyhow, we rounded Cove and entered Tobermory Harbour (Little Tub) around 1:30 in the afternoon.
Once in the harbor, we topped off fuel for our time in Georgian Bay and the North Channel, and the skies went from cloudy to blue with light clouds. Tob’ was happy to see us again after all.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city and taking in some Whitefish and Fries at the “Fish & Chip Place” on the southern side of the harbor. Then back to the boat to relax and enjoy being back in Tobermory.
Today we did a quick cleanup on the inside of the boat and the hull, did some laundry, then a dinghy ride over to Bug Tub. Ended the ride with drinks and appetizers at “Coconut Joes Harbor Bar and Grille”. The waitress there as well as some other people we’ve spoken to have told us that the smoke from the Parry Sound fire had been here two days ago, and was so intense that the Tobermory City council had to issue a statement telling people there were no fires in this area, it was all smoke from over 50 miles away that had drifted across Georgian Bay. Let’s hope we don’t encounter that anywhere we travel over the next few days.
So tonight we’re hanging on the boat, getting to know some people from Collingwood – Greg and Amy, who are docked alongside us. Our friends have made it to Bayfield, and plan to get here early afternoon tomorrow for two weeks in G-Bay and North Channel. Should be a blast, provided Mother Nature is kind to us.
So after a wonderful 10 days in Lake Michigan, its beautiful shoreline and superb harbors, it was time for us to head north and east again into Lake Huron, for our rendezvous with our friends on Tobermory Ontario. We were underway this morning around 9:00 AM, and the lake treated us wonderfully, again with less than one foot seas and skies laced with cumulus clouds. Since it was so nice and we were in no hurry to get anywhere, we took out time (around 18 knots), and did a leisurely cruise up around the tip of the lower peninsula back to Straits Harbor in Mackinaw City.
Here we did a refuel, pump out, and a thorough cleaning of the boat since it had not been done since we left our home port over 2 weeks ago. Most importantly, we changed our Virgin Islands burgee to our Canadian Flag burgee,in preparation for our next destination.
Straits is another gem of a harbor – great staff and service, and great facilities. We are here for an overnight and will leave early tomorrow morning for a run to Tobermory Ontario, about 130 NM southeast of here. The forecast is for < 1 meter (we’re looking at Canadian forecasts now), and should get in there early afternoon. For now, its more R&R, enjoying the sunset, and looking forward to meeting up with the gang.
For those of you coming up – I’m asking Mother Nature to be as kind to you as she has been to us – wonderful seas, fair weather, and safe travels.