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Author Topic:   Great Lakes BW Rendezvous 2000
kingfish posted 05-18-2000 08:31 AM ET (US)   Profile for kingfish   Send Email to kingfish  
Portage Entry Marine's 10th edition of the Great Lakes Boston Whaler Rendezvous at the Crew's Nest, Put-In-Bay, Ohio (Lake Erie) August 9, 10 &11 - see details in my post of the same name 5/17/00 in the GENERAL page of the forum.
Jim--was this page up and available before I posted in General last night? I didn't see it; I apologize for posting the notice in the wrong place if it was...
kingfish posted 05-18-2000 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
OK, I'm awake and got my first cup of coffee down, now - I *know* this category wasn't here when I posted the Rendezvous notice in GENERAL last night, and I think it is a *great* addition to the forum.

Anyway, a thought for the future that Jim Hebert and I have talked about jokingly and Larry Goltz and I have talked about more seriously is the notion of a BW rendezvous in the North Channel, near Little Current. My family has a couple of islands up there, one small and undeveloped and one a little larger with our family vacation camp on it; with the right planning, timing and help I would be interested in offering the use of one or both of these spots for a couple of days as a base of operations or as a port as part of a larger tour of the North Channel.

Please let me know in this forum if there would be interest and ability by the Whalers here to warrant further discussion of such an event.

Further to the Great Lakes Rendezvous - they'll be raffling off a 2000 BW Sport 13, and to reach them for registration:
Portage Entry Marine
49 South Bridge Road
Lakeside, Ohio 43440

tbirdsey posted 05-18-2000 04:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for tbirdsey  Send Email to tbirdsey     
Have heard a lot about wonderful boating in this area and would be interested. I live just outside of Albany NY which is about a 5 hr drive from Niagara Falls. How much longer is the drive from there?
kingfish posted 05-18-2000 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Tom - looking at an Ontario road map, it looks like from Niagara Falls you'd want to head towards Hamilton, and just WNW of Hamilton at a small town named Dundas, you'd pick up Highway 6 and stay right on it going West and North to Tobermory at the Northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Using an architect's scale on crooked roads on a road map (read:not very accurate), I judge that leg to be about 250 miles. Tobermory ferry (wonderful thing to do all by itself) to South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island; Highway 68 from South Baymouth North to Little Current, about 50 miles. Our islands are 6 and 8 miles respectively out of Little Current by water. Should this thing look like it might come together (or, if you are just interested) I can give you a lot more accurate stuff from Tobermory up, but I can't do much more than scwag time and mileage from Tobermory down.
dfmcintyre posted 05-18-2000 07:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
RE: NorthChannel area

I can't make Portage, as I'll already be up in the NorthChannel area during the first two weeks of August.

Tim -

The North Channel area is (if you haven't seen Jim's very detailed section here in the forum about it) one of the best fresh water cruising areas for all size and types of boats (ok.... maybe its not right for pontoon boats).

Get a map of Ontario before proceeding to the next paragraph....

Got it...ok. Locate Toronto and the North Channel area. There are two ways up to Little Current.

Our friends in the Toronto area have told me it's about a 6-7 hour drive from Toronto to Little Current, going up and around Georgian Bay.

It's about 4.5 - 5 from Toronto to Tobemory. At Tobemory you take a 1.75 hour ferry trip to Manatoulin Island. I think Jim's posted pictures of the ferry.

You can't find a better spot for Whalers.

Kingfish -

We'll be staying at Northernaire Lodge, one bay west (bottom of Bayfield Sound) of Gore Bay during the first two weeks of August. For a quick trip east, it would be no problem for us to trailer east to Kagawong or LC and drop them (Walt Steffens will be up during that time with his 25 Revenge w/t) in for a meet.

If anyone is interested in seeing where my family has been staying for the past 12 years, check out

Best - Don

kingfish posted 05-18-2000 07:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Don - No matter how this thing turns out, we ought to stay in touch and figure how to get together some way while we're up in God's Country at the same time. Northernaire Lodge looks like a great spot, BTW.


lhg posted 05-18-2000 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
This is starting to sound interesting, and I can probably make it, besides getting a few more Whalers to join also. Every year we try to make some kind of a North Channel & Georgian Bay cruise anyway, so this would be perfect! This is some of the finest boating territory and scenery in North America, and ranks right up there with the coastal areas of British Columbia and Maine, and Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

I would probably come in by boat, as part of a cruise, launching either from Detour Village in the west, or Tobermory, or Midland in Georgian Bay. For those that can't cruise (sleep overnight) on their Whalers, but with a least a Montauk, I recommend going in at Tobermory and running the 50 miles up to Little Current. I've done that in my 18 Outrage, and it's a wonderful, almost wilderness run, with a fair amount of protected water. Took about 3 hours, enjoying the sights on the way. This would give you more boating time, and less car time, weather permitting, of course.

I hope we can pull this off. It would be great to meet everybody. Tom, I hope you can do it, or even join us for the cruise. And John, it's a great & generous offer. How many boats & people can you handle, and how would you do it? My crowd can sleep in the boats, but would need your shore "facilities"!

Don, I have seen Northernaire in the Lakeland Boating's Lake Huron Cruising guide and have it on my list as a definite overnight stop. Since I've learned about it, however, haven't been able to get there.

And Jim, if this comes off, you had better be there!! Everybody will want to meet you I'm sure.

Incidentally, anybody intersted in boating in these areas of Lake Huron should get a copy of the above mentioned guide, and also one by "Ports", published in Toronto. Great pictures and reading. You'll want to visit after seeing them.

jimh posted 05-19-2000 12:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Let me chime in, too:

We've driven to Little Current probably 18-20 times, but without a boat trailer.

Here is the view as you start to descend to Manitoulin from the summit of the LaCloche mountains:

It is fun to take the ferry over to the island from Tobermory, but it would be expensive with a trailer. It also might be hard to get on with a long rig; reservations would be recommended, and they are only accepted for the first or last sailing of the day.

Larry's idea of coming across on your own bottom would be good if the weather permits. In our sailboat it was an all day run from Tobermory to the North Channel; we never did make it all the way from Little Current to Tobermory in one day. We usually stopped somewhere along the way. Of course that was at 5-6 knots. Doing it in three hours would be quite a blast. That is faster than you do it on the ferry and driving!

Driving down from the Soo is also pleasant as the road is not far from the water for most of the trip.


lhg posted 05-19-2000 03:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
As an aside, and to show what a small world it is, I have only been in Tobermory, Ontario, one day in my life. On the Continuouswave portion of this site, on the "Tobermory" page, Jim has a picture of the harbor, taken & posted several years ago, way before we had even heard of each other. Enlarge the picture, and you will see a Mills flying top at the far right. It's installed on my 18 Outrage! We were both there the same day!
dfmcintyre posted 05-19-2000 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     

Based on 1999 -

3 adults 33.60
2 low vehicles 49.00
2 low trailers 49.00
11 over length 19.80

Now, keep in mind that is Canadian funds. And if your rig is less then 8 foot something inches high, you are classified as "low".
I don't know what the "standard" trailer length is, as this was a bill for two vehicles (Olds Cutlass and Surburban) and two trailers (21 Outrage and 20 SuperCat). Your milage may vary, as they say.

The CN ferry (ChiChi) has an 800 number for reservations and info: 800-265-4163.

The ferry runs four trips daily. The 7AM and 8PM Tobemory runs AND the 9:10AM and 10PM SouthBaymouth runs are the trips you can reserve. Reservation holders must arrive at least one hour prior to departure!

Our normal course of action over the past two decades is to leave Port Huron in the late afternoon, and drive up to Tobemory, stopping at Port Elgin for an evening dinner. We stay in a motel overnight (yea, yea, I hear you, we used to rough it and sleep on the boat, but I've grown comfortable in middle age!) and get up, shower and drive on board at 6:40AM, grab breakfast on board.

From South Baymouth, it's a 50 minute drive to Northernaire.

Another note for those who can't RON on their boat. There are accomodations at South Baymouth, Manitowaning, Little Current, Kagawong, Gore Bay, Evansville. On the mainland side, I don't know if theres lodging at Spanish (there may be a small b&b).

If you operate out of either Little Current or Gore Bay, you will be situated just about perfect for easy cruising in the best area that the NC has to offer. Most runs would be under 20 miles.


tbirdsey posted 05-19-2000 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for tbirdsey  Send Email to tbirdsey     
We're in! This sounds great. Larry, we should try to work it out to meet in Tobermory or one of the other places you mentioned and cruise over together. We will be at Lake Winnepesaukee for the last week in July, so I will probably have to make this an extra long weekend trip around the 5th or 12th.
kingfish posted 05-20-2000 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Well, okay!
Looks like I better give Tchaikovsky the news, I mean tell my wife what's up, pretty soon...
If we do this, and I probably better hedge for a couple more days to make sure I've not committed or been committed to something in conflict, it would work best around the 5th and/or 6th of August, assuming working around a weekend would be the plan.

Jim; how 'bout it? A group photo with the webmaster in the forefront would look pretty good on Cetacea, methinks...Are ya up for it?

Larry; I don't know how to quantify the number of boats and people I can handle. In terms of tieing up for a night or two, we have a well-anchored floating dock at our camp on Neptune that has been growing out of necessity the last couple of years, is largely in shallow water for the same reason it's had to grow, but soft bottom; I think could easily handle 1/2 dozen boats and more than that if rafted. So far as anchorage is concerned (Jim could probably add some input here), there's no limit. Lots of sheltered anchorage directly off Neptune, Sturgeon Cove is less than a mile off(excellent anchorage), and there's sheltered anchorage under most conditions around Mosquito Island (our other, undeveloped island). Tents could be pitched on either island, but the rustic nature of Mosquito might be more preferable to some.

Our facilities (all on Neptune) consist of a couple of sleeping cabins where my family will be, a new cook cabin (with a *huge* screen porch, big enough to shelter an army) and a small bath house with stool, sink and shower (propane hot water and small in-ground septic system), boat house and generator shack. We encourage non-solid waste (especially by the male persuasion) to be handled in a few discrete places in the woods.
I would envision a pretty loose program in terms of organized activities, in that that's not what I do when I'm on vacation. In fact, since I'm going to be up there already no matter what, I would appreciate any and all help in doing any organization that anyone feels has to take place. Short of that, boating, fishing and hanging around would be the order of the day. Maybe some hiking and/or exploring for some? Everything is dependent upon good weather, and under favorable conditions, runs could be made to the Benjamins, Baie Finne, Killarney, White Fish Falls, Pothole Portage, etc. A fleet of Whalers ramming around the North Channel to some of these places (and others) is a great picture in my mind's eye.

We have a couple of gas grills on Neptune, plenty of space to spread out for meals outside or on the screen porch, and a sandy swimming beach. There are sandy swimming areas at the other anchorages I've mentioned, also.

Let's keep talking...

Arch Autenreith posted 05-20-2000 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     
This sounds good. My Whaler's temporarily 'beached' (off the trailer and pulled up on it's side to fix the 2 foot deadhead crack). This gives me a reason to work just a little faster. I'll be coming from Pittsburgh. Don't know what I can do to help but whatever it is let me know. Great idea! Thanks.
jimh posted 05-21-2000 05:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The BW Great Lakes Rendezvous 2000 sounds like it is getting serious. To help people locate the area we are talking about I have scanned in a portion of Canadian Chart 2286 that shows the principal landmarks.

You can find this at chart segment at:

This area is rich with wonderful areas of boating interest.

First, begin by locating Manitoulin Island, then Little Current, on smaller scale charts or maps. Then switch to the scanned segment of Chart 2286. By the way, the depths shown are in fathoms and were last updated in the 1800's. This area is "off the beaten track."

The "home base" of the rendezvous is about 7 miles from civilization, and rustic civilization at that.

There is no local sources of gas, ice, or electricity at the home base; all that stuff is at least 7 miles away by water.

There is no road access to the "home base" whatsoever!

Take a peak at the chart segment and see what you think!


kingfish posted 05-21-2000 08:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Jim - Really nice scan of the chart for our area of the North Channel - thanks for taking the trouble.

For those of you who are or might be considering this thing if we pull it off, take a look at the chart and locate Neptune Island; Jim has it pretty well marked just East of the Northwest corner of Great Cloche Island. Once you have located Neptune, head West, keeping the shore of La Cloche close on your port side (in a virtual fashion only; there are shoals to stay out from in real life) and turn South into Wabuno Channel just past Boat Cove as you round Northwest Point. Mosquito Island, our smaller, undeveloped island, appears just below (and this year, with the water level as low as it is, actually adjacent and attached to) the Southernmost part of Northwest Point on La Cloche.

In the coming days, I'll indicate some general directions and approximate distances to some of the cruising spots I mentioned earlier, and others if I think of them. Anyone with knowlege and experience of the area please add any spots you might be thinking of...

Here's a thought that has just occurred to me...As this thing is starting to take on a life, how about we refer to it as the North Channel Rendezvous, or something similar, in order to avoid confusing what we do with the Great Lakes Rendezvous that Portage Entry Marine is holding at the same time at Put-In-Bay? Might be a good idea...

dfmcintyre posted 05-21-2000 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Tom -

Geeze, we were at the cove with Walt Steffens 25 Revenge W/T during the first week of August, 1998!

Didn't know you were THAT close!

Have you, (or anyone else lurking here) ever stopped at Bears Back Island? It's on the chart Jim scanned, along the far left edge. It's a great spot for shallow (this year probably REALLY shallow) draft boats. It's so close to Little Current that everyone just bypasses it, on the way to other sites. I'll have to upload some photos of the place.

Looking forward toward the meet!

Best - Don

kingfish posted 05-22-2000 08:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Don-I think you were aiming that last post about Bear's Back at me - my name's John (I confuse things by hanging on to my old CB handle [kingfish])Flook.

For some reason my computer at the office won't keep Jim's chart up on my monitor long enough for me to locate Bear's Back this morning. I'll try again later. Were you at Sturgeon Cove near Neptune, or Mosquito Harbor near Mosquito Island?

And while on the subject of names-
PING tbirdsey - am I correct with Tom?


jimh posted 05-22-2000 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I revised the chart scan to change the name to "Classic Whaler Rendezvous North Channel 2000"

This old chart (2286) is a problem to use. For one, the depths are shown in fathoms. The plane of reference for the depths is not the same as current, so you have to subtract 4.7 feet from them to get the same MLW reference.

1.00 / 1
1.50 / 4
1.75 / 5.5
2 .00 / 7
2.50 / 10
3.00 / 13

The survey upon which this hydrology is based was done in 1885, but some portions are from the 1822 survey. Those are not typos; this data is really old! The bottom has not changed much because it is all rock.

Ironically, the Canadian Government completed a re-survey of this area about 5-6 years ago, but they have not issued a new chart yet. I keep checking to see if there is a newer chart, but so far this one--almost 200 years old in portions--is the latest word on this part of the North Channel.

In the Bay of Islands there are some buoyage and daymarks that are not shown on any chart, but they do mark a channel all the way up to the extreme NE end of the bay at Whitefish Falls. I have always wanted to get up there. Maybe John Flook can lead us with his local knowledge of the route.

There are many interesting anchorages nearby, and the famous Benjamin Islands are just off the chart to the west.


jimh posted 05-22-2000 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Getting to Neptune Island from Little Current:

Little Current is the closest boat ramp to Neptune Island that I know of, although there might be some facilities at Whitefish River or Birch Island (Eastern end of the Bay).

The passage west from Little Current (LC) proceeds through a buoyed channel. The shoal off of Flat Is. is protected with a floating aid. Thence there are no floating aids or daymarks, save for the buoy marking Luard Rock, between LC and Nepture. The Canadian Gov't has been cutting back on all their aids-to-navigation in this area; some of the charted aids may be in jeopardy.

Winds tend to blow either east or west up here, usually west. Thus the departure from Little Current will expose you to 10+ miles of open water, a fetch long enough to build up some rather good sized waves.

The Wabuno Channel offers some shelter, but it is almost a mile wide so it, too, can have a sea running.

The North Channel of the North Channel (as it is known) has about 15 miles of open water and with a NW wind it can really kick up.

I mention all this to advise people who are thinking about coming over in a 13-Whaler that they will have to wait for the right weather to make this 7-8 mile trip.

Once you are behind Neptune, you could probably ride out a hurricane. Sturgeon Cove is another excellent anchorage.


dfmcintyre posted 05-22-2000 01:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
John -

We overnighted at Sturgeon Cove for one night.

We other two couples that we met (after spending a week at Northernaire) had chartered a trawler out of Gore Bay. They left GB and travelled as far east as we planned to journey. First o/n was at Covered Portage Cove. Next was up into Bay Fine. Third night was at Sturgeon. Fourth was in the Benjamins, fifth was at Fox, then we parted and headed home.

Interesting part of the journey was the detour we took getting to Sturgeon. Know that little bridge by the bay at the eastern side of LaCloche? We went that way, with a friends 25 Revenge W/T with twin 150's. I think it got less then 3', and his boat takes 2'6"!

Had he been with us, I'da have to strap him down and drug him. As it was, I shocked some little native kid who was fishing on the upstream side!

Best - Don

kingfish posted 05-22-2000 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
We refer to that passage as "the culvert"; from Neptune, that is the preferred route to Dreamer's Rock, Pothole Portage, Birch Island, and Frazier and MacGregor Bay. It is a culvert under Highway 68 that is marked on the road as you drive by with a sign indicating the Route of the Voyageurs, and is the only way you can completely circumnavigate Great Cloche Island. This year, however, I'm betting against planning to use it if you've got much more than a row boat, due to the low water levels. I'll know before August if it's usable or not.


jimh posted 05-23-2000 01:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am getting a kick out of hearing about transiting "culverts".

With our sailboat we needed 6-feet of water beneath us and 45-feet of air over us!

Going through culverts was rather out of the question!


lhg posted 05-23-2000 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Getting back to this rendezvous idea, for those who may be considering it, first of all don't let the distance from home be a deterrent. This is magnificent, fresh water, boating territory - some of the best in the world, and well worth the road time & vacation time to get up there. It can be made part of a larger vacation, as there is much to see in the area, and other places where the boat can be launched and used (or cruised to), such as the rest of Manitoulin Island & the North Cahnnel or the Georgian Bay 90,000 island area (see Cetacea page 2). I would imagine that people from Minnesota, the MI Upper Peninsula, WI, and northern MI, would all head to Little Current across the north shore of the North Channel, coming through Sault St Marie. Persons from points east, such as lower Mi, IN, OH, PA and NY would head for Tobermory, per prior messages. People from IL could go either way. And for any Whaler owners from Ontario, you're already nearby!

Having been in this territory, it might make some sense to use the Municipal Marina in Little Current (Spider Bay Marina) as a possible home base, meeting area. If a lot of boats show up, this would take the heat off John, and this very nice, neat and clean marina has complete launching/parking facilities, transient overnight dockage, fuel, full bathroom/shower facilities, food and lodging nearby in Little Current. Unless small boat owners would camp in a tent on John's land, this would be the thing to do, finding lodging in Little Current. Seven miles over to John's would seem like a "short hop" in any Whaler for daytime activites out at the island. Even people who overnight on their boats may want to actually stay at Spider Marina. This would also be a solution for people going in at Tobermory and cruising up to Little Current. At 9 or 10am, for instance, a flotilla of all boats in Spider Bay could head out to John's island, and try to return by dark.

If the weather's bad, small boaters can run in the wake and company of larger boats, or even ride in the boats, which can tow a 13 or 15 on a bridle out to the island. Or at worst, the smaller boats can be left at the marina until the weather settles down. But actually, it seems like reasonable protected water to me, and I can't really imagine that any Whaler couldn't make it from Spider Bay up to John's.

I think many would enjoy a cruise over to Baie Fine (pronounced Bay Finn),one of the only fjiords in North America. (Incidentally, do any of you North Channel regulars know whether Okeechobee Lodge has re-opened at the entrance to Baie Fine?) I also vote for the town of Killarney and lunch at the fresh perch place on the town dock!

So that's about it for now.

Backlash posted 05-24-2000 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Spider Bay is the perfect spot to dock, etc. Very nice facilities. Count us in.
jimh posted 05-25-2000 02:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In case anyone is undecided about coming to the Classic Whaler 2000 North Channel Rendezvous, I would like to point out that in the North Channel, all the sunsets look like this:

(Check it out)


kingfish posted 05-27-2000 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Woohoo! It looks like I've got dispensation to bring a pod of Cetacea home with me to Neptune on August 5th and/or 6th! It's a go!

I'm going to attempt to close this thread out with this post, so far as the North Channel Rendezvous is concerned, and open up a new one for our rendezvous that is accurately entitled (Classic Whaler 2000 North Channel Rendezvous), with hopes that it makes things clearer down the line, and with an apology to Portage Entry Marine to the extent that we diminish their event in any way. They put on a fine program.

See you at Classic Whaler 2000 North Channel Rendezvous-

John C. Flook

meditation77 posted 07-06-2005 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for meditation77  Send Email to meditation77     
I need some help.
I'm looking for a spot near a fresh clean (swimmable) lake
to camp out on for free (having provided my own accesories) etc...

Can anyone help?

Teak Oil posted 07-07-2005 12:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Teak Oil  Send Email to Teak Oil     
Uh, how about starting a new thread instead of tagging onto one thats been dead for five years if you want a response.

Are there such things as free camp sites on lakes anywhere on this planet?

prj posted 07-07-2005 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Indeed there are, Teak Oil,
but you may have to come to the beautiful State of Wisconsin to find one.

First come, first serve, remote island boat camping
on several of our larger lakes here in the state,
but since we have no idea where meditation is from
or where he's looking to camp,
there's no way to assist his endeavor.

Buckda posted 07-07-2005 09:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Teak -

Go North on I-75 and cross the Mackinac Bridge. Head to the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands on M-134 and put in at the town of Cedarville. You will have to negotiate overnight parking for your trailer with one of the local businesses, or during the week, you may park in the church parking lot if you speak with the pastor, who lives in the house behind the church....then take the boat on out to "Government Island," which has free campsites overlooking both the protected bays and channels of the islands, and sites on the outer side of the island looking SE into Lake Huron - with nighttime views of several lighted navigational buoys and the lights of the Poe and Spectacle Reef lighthouses out on the horizon, with millions of stars of the milky way overhead.

Yeah..there are still free campsites on the water..they're just more remote than your local KOA, and you have to use a tent or your Whaler.


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