Oh Canada!

Our first International destination was Thessalon, Ontario on Friday August 3rd where we cleared in through customs at a payphone with our passports and boat information. They gave us a number to write down and put in the window of our boat during our stay and we were officially in Canada! Little did we know, but the following Monday was a national holiday in Canada called Civic Holiday and almost the whole country was off work. We stayed and saw the parade on Saturday and there was music in the parks and town market things going on. We stayed for the parties and parades and music and festivities.

Next we headed for Blind River, another town east along the North Channel. It was a nice marina and we spent time in the town and stayed a couple of days there. We cleaned up the boat some and enjoyed the hospitality for a couple of days. The marina had bikes to borrow and we used them to explore the town and see everything we could. It was a really nice amenity.

Needing to anchor out for a while and save some money after all the marina stays, we tried a little harbor we knew could hold about three boats but when we got into the little cove there were already 5 boats in there so we continued on. Still we had a nice night in John’s Harbor, a long narrow slice of water between two islands and had a nice calm night. We took the dinghy over to one of the islands to see if we could find any blueberries, but we didn’t find any sign of them. That’s where our dinghy motor decided it wasn’t going to run and we had to row back across the channel to the boat. The next day we sailed to another small cove near Green Island. I got the dinghy motor running long enough to get about a quarter of a mile away from the boat before it totally gave up the ghost and had to row back home again. After that we were just rowing until we could get it looked at. We rowed over to Bill and Ella’s boat after dinner and rowed back again in the dark, but it was super calm inside the small cove where we were.

Next it was back to civilization Canadian style. We went to Gore Bay on the giant island of Manitoulin. It was a super little town with lots of services and a great marina. I was able to find an outboard engine mechanic who came down to the boat on a Saturday morning and talked to us. We decided that he would take the motor back to his shop and see what he could do. He called us a couple of hours later and said that he had cleaned the carburetor, replaced the spark plugs, dumped the fuel which he said wasn’t very good and replaced the fuel tank pickup tube and primer bulb. He needed to wait for some gaskets and o-rings until Tuesday in order to get it all back together. So we sailed over to the next bay east on Manitoulin and thought we would come back on Tuesday to pick up the motor.

Kegawong was our next bay over and we wanted to go there because it has a very neat river system that has a waterfall that you can swim into from below. When we got to Bridal Veil Falls we swam up to the waterfall and it was very beautiful. There were lots of people, but it was still very neat. The next day was Tuesday and in the morning we talked with some people at the marina and were able to make contact with a young lad who worked at the marina in Kegawong who lived in Gore Bay. He was going to be working later that afternoon and he agreed to pick up our motor and tank and bring it to us saving us a whole day’s trip back to Gore Bay to pick up our motor. It just worked out great and showed us how great people are when you just ask around and let people know what you need. He helped us out not knowing a thing about who we were and was glad he could help. I want to make sure I’m open enough to help others out when needed, I need to work on that some. Having saved a day (or two) we went back out to the North Channel and anchored at Amedroz Island on the NE side. That evening we encountered two large beavers along the water’s edge just doing beaver stuff, eating or whatever and they just stayed in the area as we looked on with binoculars for a better view.

Next stop was going to be Little Current at the northeastern end of Manitoulin. Being a larger town and the crossing point to the mainland over a swinging road bridge, Little Current had more stuff, but was larger and mostly the part of the town closest to us was what we could get to on foot. We had dinner with Bill and Ella at the Anchor Inn and walked around the town a bit afterwards searching for ice cream, but finding it was too far of a walk we just went back to the boat. Little Current if you hadn’t thought too much about it was named because…. Wait for it!…. There’s a current running through there! The island of Manitoulin is so large that the small channel it all funnels down into at Little Current has the water of Lake Huron sloshing back and forth causing the current to flow back and forth depending on the day and time. It is not tide related, but it changes direction and flows up to 3 knots either way. It sure makes docking an interesting procedure that we have not up to this point encountered. Gaining skills, I love it! Little Current is also the home to the guy who runs a “Cruisers Net” on VHF channel 71 every morning helping to connect boaters across the North Channel with news and information. So at 9am the next morning we went up to where he does his radio show and we sat in on it and met other cruisers who were there doing the same thing. Very interesting and will help us to know what to expect from other cruisers nets we find along the way. We presented him with a flag from our Cornucopia club and took pictures afterwards. We left Little Current at 11:30 and made it through the swing bridge opening at Noon and we were on to Killarney. We motored the whole way but it was extremely beautiful and knowing we were getting towards the end of our North Channel time we were well aware that we had skipped 99% of the wonder that is the North Channel of Lake Huron. I know why this area attracts thousands of boaters even given its remoteness and short season. They call it the “Thirty Thousand Islands” and I wouldn’t debate that number.

We got to a dock in Killarney and explored this very remote town north east of Manitoulin. We had fish and chips at a little roadside fishery that apparently sold their catches to the locals and tourists. It was expensive but good so who’s to complain? We wandered down the length of the small town to what is apparently the ritzy resort of Killarney Mountain Lodge. We had already had dinner so we found a super neat bar and lounge area they had in huge octagonal building with a central fireplace and had drinks and dessert and looked out at the pool and the channel and generally just played the part of tourist as best as we could and enjoyed ourselves. This was to be our last night with Bill and Ella as our paths would diverge from this point tomorrow. It was really great of them to spend as much time with us as they did and we were very happy to be able to go and see some of the highlights of the North Channel with them.
Onward! We left the dock at 7am and headed out towards Georgian Bay on our way south to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula. We had no idea what to expect and we had done zero preparations for this leg of our trip. What we found was totally overwhelming. Tobermory is mostly a tourist town, but they sure do it well! Being the end of the Bruce Peninsula it is the location of the giant ferry Chi-Cheemaun that takes cars and people over to Manitoulin from this side of Ontario. It also attracts thousands of tourists to see the islands, dive on the numerous shipwrecks in the area and hikers and other nature enthusiasts. Tobermory is awesome. They have two harbors, one more private and one that is filled with a marina, boats, shops, restaurants and pubs. The town is thriving and there were a lot of people. We ended up staying two days and only scratched the surface. We got our sticker to go see the wrecks and we took the dinghy over and got to see some of the underwater wrecks that usually people pay huge tourist boats to go on and see. And we went to a couple of the town restaurants. We really had a great time at Shipwreck Lee’s having a few drinks with our All You Can Eat Fish and Chips, and we did have our fill! The owner Adam is a super Jimmy Buffett fan and we hung out and talked for quite a while and even showed him how to tie a few knots. We also met a Canadian couple John and Sandy on another Hunter sailboat and spent some time talking with them. We hope they follow their dreams and get to the point where they can take their boat south to the Bahamas or wherever they like and we can maybe find them along the way again. We had good fun and feel like we will get back to Tobermory again as soon as we can.

Moving south along Lake Huron our next stop was Port Elgin, pronounced with a hard G. We sailed for 9 hours and found ourselves in another super beautiful marina with wonderful staff. Literally every marina we went to in Canada had one or two people waiting on the dock to help us in and welcome us to their town. Amazing! Since we were just passing through we really didn’t get to see much of this town, but it definitely looked like another place we would want to stop back to.

Next was Goderich. Hmmm. The marina was secure being up a river and away from the lake, but it was located behind an industrial salt shipping plant and was very weedy and pretty in need of maintenance. We didn’t really get up to see the town, but I think we would opt to skip it next time if given the opportunity. This was also to be our last stop in Canada this trip. The next day we were headed for Port Huron Michigan and checking back in to the US through Customs and Border Protection.

We generally found Canada, Lake Huron and the North Channel to be welcoming, beautiful, super clear water, super nice people and we can’t wait to get back to this area in the future. Thank You Canada! We’ll be back as soon as we can!

8 thoughts on “Oh Canada!”

  1. Great post and pictures. I was just going through your blogs again and realized I somehow missed this one
    . We had talked about this tho and it brought it all back
    Wonderful pictures and stories. I’m looking forward to so much more. I am so glad you are having so much fun. More adventures awaits. Be safe


  2. It was great to see you two – you but dipped a Toe in the North Channel. The rest of you clowns from Corny should put it on your calendar for next year’s cruising!


  3. Ahoy Matey’s!

    Enjoyed reading your post of your visits to Canada. We were so happy to meet the both of you in Tobermory, even though our visit was short. We know we will meet again. You are welcome anytime to Canada in the sailboat or new RV. We also have a guest Room. Anytime!
    We wish you a safe journey. Please tell us all about your adventure! Looking forward to traveling your journey with you. Unfortunately, not on our sailboat. We hope in the future we will be doing the same. Living on our sailboat for a year. For now we will live through the two of you and your sailing adventure!


  4. Hey Guys, Great to read your blog today. Thanks for the Honourable mention, Canadian spelling…lol, We were telling your story last night to some of our sailing friends when we were all anchored at Chimney Bay in Georgian Bay over the weekend. Looking forward to following your adventure. Sandy and I were even talking about flying down south over the winter to a warmer climate for a week or two. It would be great to see you guys and share a sailors rum together. keep well, keep safe and enjoy the moment. I hope you enjoyed the CD. Your friends….John & Sandy.


  5. David and Marge. Great post. Thank you. Right now Diane and I are dockside at the lovely Prince Arthur Landing Marina in Thunder Bay. We agree with you — Canadian marinas are beautiful, well maintained and well staffed. We’ve been out from Corny for a month and are on our way back. Rossport was our turn around point. Safe travels. Howard and Diane


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s