Category: 2018: Upper Great Lakes, Georgian Bay, North Channel

The Arrival

Date: Saturday, August 4th.

Time: Roughly 12:30 PM

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.

All the best!

MnM – and the AHC Pirates!

Tobermory, Ontario

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!!

TTYL

MnM

Mackinaw City to Tobermory, Ontario

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.

Take care, and speak to you soon!

Return to Lake Huron

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.

See you soon!

MnM

Petoskey, Michigan

Hello again!

We arrived yesterday (Monday) in Petoskey, to spend two nights here. Again, I am blown away by the quality of the harbor facilities, the surroundings, and the city. Once again we have a great spot (B-51) which is one slip away from the sidewalk and the facilities.

We spent yesterday checking out the town, Mel looking for stickers and other paraphernalia, and me looking for benches to sit on as she browsed the stores (no complaints here, it was very pleasant).

We decided to barbecue and eat on the boat yesterday, and the harbor provides a barbecue and propane for boater use – SWEET! So after having a great dinner we wandered around the harbor to witness a fabulous sunset and a quiet night – well… after 10 PM – there’s a bell tower in the harbor that rings on the hour and half hour – very nice, and fortunately it stops between 10 PM and 8 AM.

Today we made another quick jaunt into town, mainly for exercise, and then launched the dinghy to cruise Little Traverse Bay. We took a 2.5 mile run to the east end of the bay, and found a wonderful beach and sandy place to drop anchor and relax. Yes, I did a swan dive into the bay while Melodie watched from her princess seat. She didn’t give me a score due to some lame technicality, like I may have been under the influence of something I was drinking – I don’t know… After that we cruised back to the marina reloaded the dinghy onto the swim platform, then cleaned up and went into town for dinner – Beard’s Brewery – Another recommendation from your friends on the MnM, and from Fixation and my sister to us before getting here!

Tomorrow our plans are to leave Petoskey and head back around the top of Michigan to Mackinaw City, in preparation for our run down Lake Huron to Tobermory, Ontario to start the second leg of our journey.

Speak to you soon!!

Mike & Melodie

Charlevoix to Petoskey, Michigan

Monday morning we woke to beautiful skies, and when we started heading out of the Charlevoix marina we both looked at each other and said, “Lake Charlevoix is right here, since we’re in no hurry to get to Petoskey, why not make a run down the lake?” SO WE DID.

It was a beautiful run, about 10 NM to the bottom of the lake near Boyne Mountain. A perfectly flat lake, and beautiful homes along the way. We took a number of photos (some below), and were sending them to our friends via text along the way.

Our good friend Ken suddenly sent us a text “TURN AROUND, TURN AROUND IMMEDIATELY!! You cannot get to Petosky from there, unless you go over land!!” Which he was right!! Well we knew that, and also indicated to him that our rule number one was to never cross solid land with a boat – bad idea; we were just taking a side excursion. After easing his concern, promising him some form of treat when we saw him, etc. we continued our journey – turning around once we got to the bottom of the lake then heading back from where we came.

We went under the bridge again, with a cocky degree of confidence, passing other boaters who were waiting as though we knew something, and headed out into Lake Michigan, again eastbound to Petoskey. Like Lake Charlevoix, Lake Michigan was also flat, so we throttled back and took a good hour and a half to get to Petoskey. It was a great ride.

So at this point we are in Petoskey, Melodie is reading some trashy novel and directing me to keep up with the blog posts, so that is what I’m doing. We’re here for a couple of days, then its back to Mackinaw City for a refuel and pumpout (funny – pumpout was auto-corrected with pumpkin 🎃 ) – maybe I should have left it. LOL

TTYL,

MnM

Charlevoix, Michigan

Hi everyone!

After a couple of relaxing days in Suttons Bay, we headed northeast out of Grand Traverse bay back into Lake Michigan to Charlevoix, a distance of around 28 nautical miles port to port.

The municipal marina is on Round lake, a small pool between Lakes Michigan and Charlevoix. As such we needed to enter the harbour by going under a lift bridge. Initially it was open, but as we got closer it went down. Given that our choice was to wait another half hour before it opened again, I called the bridge operator on channel 09 to ask about clearance. She told me that another boater had checked it a while ago, and it ranged from around 9 feet at the extremes, to around 14 feet it the middle. Given that our air draft is 12’8″, and our zenith was in the center of the boat, we decided to give it a go. Melodie was out back talking to everyone along shore (surprise, surprise – suddenly best friends with people who were complete stranger 10 seconds ago), and they were all encouraging us to go for it. She was very enthusiastic; because they were. My question was “do they really feel we can get under it, or do they really want a great video they can post of a boat crashing into the bridge as I foolishly make my way under it?” Hmm.. So, putting some faith in the bridge operator, and perhaps even more faith in whoever it was that measured the clearance, I carefully lined MnM up to go directly under the center of the bridge. As we got closer, several people on shore gave us a thumbs up, and one a thumbs down – who to believe!! Anyhow, we continued, and IMO cleared it by about a foot.

Once in Round Lake, we Calle the marina on channel 09, and after about a 20 minute wait, got our slip assignment. A really nice spot close to the walkway and facilities.

Charlevoix is a lovely town, with lots going on and things to see.

While were only able to spend one night here due to its popularity, we had a great time. SO, we went up into town, wandered around, and found a great little Mexican spot off the main drag called the Cantina (highly recommended).

The next morning we hit “Smoke on the Water” for breakfast, and I had Eggs Benedict, with the kicker being that the ham was replaced with beef brisket – GOOD IDEA!! Melodie had their specialty champagne soaked French Toast, which was also “very lovely” according to Melodie.

The marina was fully booked, though at the end of the day there were a couple of slips available. I must admit that the marinas we have encountered on this northwest tip of Michigan are truly outstanding, with excellent facilities and close proximity to town. In addition, the weather has been splendid,consistently in the 80’s with clear skies and important to us – calm seas.