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Author Topic:   2008 North Channel
Buckda posted 06-09-2008 10:41 AM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  
Lake Hurons North Channel Cruise 2008

When: July 26 August 2, 2008

There will be a group of Whalers rallying at Blind River, Ontario on Saturday, July 26, and departing for Little Current, Ontario on July 27. Once in Little Current, the group will explore the Eastern North Channel including the Collins River Inlet, MacGregor Bay and Baie Fine; with a possible two-night engagement at Killarney.

Later, the group will proceed westward in a pattern based on weather/wind and return to Blind River on Saturday, August 2 for haul-out and travel home.

Currently there are 4 boats likely; others are more than welcome to join.

Respond here to discuss or express interest.

cdnwhaler posted 06-09-2008 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     

You know... from the east end of Collins Inlet it's a mere hop skip & a jump to the Little Britt Inn for lunch. Some folks have been known to overnight at the Inn too..

Just thought I'd point that out.

Buckda posted 06-09-2008 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
So you're saying we can expect to see Wavecrasher over at Killarney one of those nights? I mean, all I'm saying is that it's a nice one-day trip. :)

Perhaps we'll have to arrange a lunch at Collins Inlet or the Bustards (Benjamins?)[I always get the two island groups mixed up and I don't have a chart handy].


cdnwhaler posted 06-09-2008 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Benjamin's are in the North Channel.
The Bustards are in what I call north Georgian Bay at the mouth of the French River and are 45-60 minutes from Britt depending on who's driving and how brave you are at taking short cuts. And despite both island groups popularity now I grew up around them both and they're still my sentimental favs.

Luckily, with the fuel prices they'll be deserted this year. Yeeess!!, there is a god.

David Pendleton posted 06-09-2008 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Dang it, anyway. That's the weekend of the GLOCK match here in MN.

dfmcintyre posted 06-09-2008 10:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
We're in the process of booking at Northerniare Lodge from 7/16 to 7/21.

Gonna be off by about one week. Oskosh, horse shows (Gails a competitive dressage rider, and yep, summer is the show season) and a trip to Cadillac later that month.


leapinlunker posted 06-10-2008 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
I'll check my planner and see if I can make it. Sounds like fun. Been there, done that in the big boat. Great scenery.
jeffs22outrage posted 06-10-2008 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
One of these years I will make this trip. Honestly I mean it. May have to be when the little guy gets to be old enough now. I will need to get some canvas also.
lavieve posted 06-11-2008 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for lavieve  Send Email to lavieve     
Dang - Our annual trek to the North Channel is scheduled for July 11-20th. We've rented a cottage on Killarney Bay, just across from Covered Portage. That will be our base of operations for some day trips. Blind River is a great place to launch, we did that a few years ago. The folks at the Marina run the launch and there is no problem with leaving your car and trailer. If I remember right, a friend drove us to Blind River so that we could haul out in Little Current. Last year we were in the Bay of Islands for a week, just a short hop from Little Current. This year we launch at Killarney. The couple with us and we cruised the area on our sailboats for 10 years back in the 60's and 70's when we were raising our children - great memories.
leapinlunker posted 06-12-2008 07:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     

The office of the Admiralty has granted leave to this ole swabby for the trip. Count me in.


leapinlunker posted 06-12-2008 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     

Do you have a generic list of items you have packed for previous trips?

home Aside posted 06-12-2008 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I'm in........looking forward to the trip....

I've got a boat trip packing list on my computer at home, it was originally made up by Backlash, I'll e-mail it to you on an attachment when I get home.


Buckda posted 06-12-2008 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Terry -

I'm suprised at the request coming from an exprienced cruiser such as yourself!

I'm the quintessential overpacker. I use the same list that Pat uses and then add redundancies. I'm heading out to Canada tomorrow, so I won't have time to send you the list until I return; so I trust that Pat will get you covered. If not, let me know and I'll send you my "modified" checklist.


home Aside posted 06-12-2008 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I sent the boat list to you, Which Whaler will you be bringing, Outrage 24? or are you taking the Big Girl Out?


leapinlunker posted 06-13-2008 07:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     

Thanks for the list. Looking forward to the trip. If you pack half of what is identified, notify Whaler cause they may want to include you in an advertisement as further support that these babies cannot sink.


Surprised? Well, the mothership is packed with enough crap to feed a boat load of Haitians should we come upon them here on LSC. It has been 15 years since I camped and I am getting old. Memory isn't what it use to be, among other things.

Any agenda for stop overs yet? May I suggest Julia Bay and of course Campbell Bay (Northernaire)?

LindaBreen posted 06-20-2008 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for LindaBreen  Send Email to LindaBreen     
Regretably, we will be unavailable for the North Channel rendezvous in late July. Has anyone ever had the pleasure of visiting Pot Hole Portage in McGregor Bay? I have not been in the North Channel for a few decades but we are returning in August of this year. Pot Hole is one of the places I would really like to visit. Please send any info you know about its exact location. It is my understanding that boats are barred from entering the little cove, but would like to get near enough to walk across.
Hoosier posted 06-21-2008 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Would one of you experienced cruisers please send me "the list". I've never done more than a day trip and I'm 50 miles, by water, from Blind River. Right now my schedule is a mess but I'd like to be able to have more than a day to get things together if I can make it work out.
home Aside posted 06-21-2008 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I'm also in for this trip.....should be lots of fun, I hear gas prices will have dropped by $3.00 a gallon by late July early August, "NOT"!!!! It will be my big trip of the year.

Pothole Portage is a great place, Summer of 2006 Buckda & I went in there on Gambler (Outrage 18 with twin 90 etecs), left a little bit of gelcoat residue & scratched a couple of rocks with one of Buckda's Props, we did quite a bit of snorkeling and rock climbing....I was not aware of any regulations prohibiting boats from going in there, Don't know if Dave is aware either. We saw a few aluminum runabouts in there too. I'm sure when Dave gets back from Lake Nipigon he'll be able to let us know what he knows re: regulations.

Hoosier, I e-mailed you with an attachment re: Boating checklist.


Hoosier posted 06-21-2008 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Thanks Pat. If I came over from DeTour by water is there a Canadian Customs and Immigration in Blind River?
cdnwhaler posted 06-21-2008 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Canada Customs office listing html#d1283

cdnwhaler posted 06-21-2008 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Sorry, I clicked too fast there.

In that listing you'll see a Blind River Government Dock listing. If you click on it it'll list the services offered. It says traveler services not offered. You'll have to research locations in that listing to find which is offering traveler services.

An example is the Little Current listing which says traveler services offered May 15 to October 15. (summer tourist season only) There must be others that will be more convenient for you. I just picked Little Current because I knew they offered it and it made a good example.

Have fun.

Hoosier posted 06-21-2008 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Thanks. Why is it never easy?.......
Hoosier posted 06-21-2008 12:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Here's what I've found out so far

Private boats

If you arrive in Canada aboard a private boat, you must proceed directly to the nearest designated telephone reporting marine site. Upon arrival in Canada, the master of the boat must report to the CBSA by calling
1-888-226-7277. The master of the boat will provide details of the voyage, the passengers and their declaration. No one except the master may leave the boat until authorized to do so by the CBSA. As proof of presentation, masters will be provided with a report number for their records. Masters must provide this number to a border services officer upon request. You do not have to report to the CBSA when you leave by private boat unless you are exporting goods that need to be documented. To get a list of the designated telephone reporting marine sites, call 1-888-226-7277 before you arrive in Canada.

Blind River Marina is a designated POE and it's OK to call CBSA with a cell phone. You have to call once at the marina since they want the slip number and personal ID info. All in all, not too hard.

cdnwhaler posted 06-21-2008 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
That sounds fairly accommodating.
David Pendleton posted 06-22-2008 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I've rearranged some of my priorities, so ss of this writing, I plan on being there.

LindaBreen posted 06-23-2008 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for LindaBreen  Send Email to LindaBreen     
Thanks for the answer, Home Aside, re. Pot Hole Portage. Sounds a bit tricky getting in there what with the scraped gelcoat and tunking the props. Perhaps staying outside and scrambling over the rock is the only safe way to enter. The rumor regarding closing off the entrance was from several years ago to keep large boats with flushing toilets from polluting the waters. Would you say the entrance would prohibit that type of boat traffic? Perhaps that is the reason for the rumor.
Buckda posted 06-23-2008 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
the gelcoat was scraped waay further into the side channels of McGregor bay than Pothole Portage - that entrance is deep and clear.

IF there are regulations regarding entering the area, they are not posted anywhere.

The location is at the top end of North (Iriquois) Bay and on the West side of the bay.

David Pendleton posted 06-24-2008 11:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Just out of curiousity, why Blind River as the rally point?
Buckda posted 06-24-2008 12:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
From Blind River, you have about a 5 mile open water run, and then you enter the Whalesback Channel, a spectacular, and protected run that routes you into a protected passage all the way to the end of the McBean Channel. From there, it is a short open water run to the Wabuno Channel which takes you south toward Little Current. The scenery is pretty, the way is well marked and it makes for a nice passage.

West of Blind River is mostly open water until St. Joseph's Island and other islands in the St. Mary's River toward the Sault.

David Pendleton posted 06-24-2008 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
That makes sense to me.
David Pendleton posted 06-25-2008 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
So, who is in for this trip?

Also, does anyone have a PORTS Cruising Guide for the NC? Is it worth having?

Buckda posted 06-25-2008 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Terry -

Which Whaler do you plan to bring, and are you planning to camp aboard on the hook, or at a dock? That will affect what advice I give you regarding recommended camping gear!

David -

Looks like for now at least, you will be the flagship, with your 23 Conquest. There will be two 22' Revenges, two 18' Outrages and whatever Terry is bringing...and Hoosier's 21(?) Outrage.

Regarding border crossing via water - it is very easy - the best way to do it is to make your entry point Blind River. You disembark and head directly to a toll free telephone to call customs. They give you a number once you've cleared their screening questions.

When you return, you should probably call Drummond Island Yacht Haven ahead of time and request a customs officer. It may take him awhile to get there - if you call when you're 15 minutes out, it will reduce your wait. This is also no problem and not a hassle.

So now we're at 7 boats, which means more likely 5...but who's counting when you're having fun?

I will probably be camping out on the hook most nights, given my recent expenditures on Lake Nipigon - so it will be the occasional meal at a restaruant and every other day or so I will pay a marina to use the showers....i'll try to stay downwind.



home Aside posted 06-25-2008 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I'm in too, I'll probably join Dave and sleep on the hook also, although depending on who, what, when, where, I may stay dockside a night or two, with gas prices I'd rather put the money in the tank.

Are you bringing the Outrage 24?


Hoosier posted 06-25-2008 08:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
I'm still in the "maybe" category. My boat is a 1978 Outrage V-20 with a 2004 Suzuki DF-115 engine. Since I'm a newbie, and will have my wife along, we'll most likely dock at night, but sleep aboard. I'm still doing my homework. My boat should make the 50 mile run from Detour to Blind River on about 12 gals. It turns out that's the same amount I'd use if I drove. How many water miles do you estimate the trip to be once at Blind River? Are dock reservations necessary?
home Aside posted 06-25-2008 11:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
In 2004 I put 613 Miles under the hull of my Montauk in 8 days, but we went from Blind River all the way down to Midland near the bottom of Georgian Bay and back on that trip, we're not going down there this trip, we're basically doing the North Channel. I would guestimate 300 miles +/-


leapinlunker posted 06-26-2008 07:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
Dave, Pat,

I will be bringing the 24. Just ordered the forward shelter from Mills. Already have the windshield and other surrounding enclosures, so staying on the hook is good for me. I will have a small generator along too, in case we want some on board power.

If I pack all that was included on your list, I will be towing a 17 bare hull as a pack mule.


David Pendleton posted 06-26-2008 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Incidentally, while researching this trip, I found a free PDF copy of the FOC Chart #1 available for download.


Hoosier posted 06-27-2008 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
OK, who's got the sail plan?

When do we leave Blind River for Little current? What's the plan for follow-on ports? Do we need to make dock/boatel reservations in advance, any recommendations re boatels, shopping for supplies, and any other stuff that should be considered?

Just thought I'd throw this out there,.....(before we all arrive at BR and ask each other "What's the Plan?")...

Hoosier posted 06-27-2008 07:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
This is for anyone considering departing from Detour. My experience is that to get to Blind River before the afternoon weather kicks up you have to plan a BR ETA of 1400. The normal afternoon off shore "breeze" starts around noon and by 1400 you really want to be in the lee of something. That means a 0930 departure from Detour to get to BR with some margin.
Buckda posted 06-27-2008 07:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The tentative trip plan is outlined above in the initial post, including plans for a Sunday morning departure from Blind River to Little Current.

If you are staying ashore in a hotel/accomodation, you will need to make advance reservations. If you are planning to sleep aboard, in most locations getting a transient slip for the night is not difficult with as sub-25 foot boat. I don't think that will be a problem.

whaler63 posted 07-01-2008 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for whaler63  Send Email to whaler63     
Your plan for the North Channel sounds great. I just returned from a week on my BW Outrage 24. Started in Detour to Gore Bay, then Killarney, Blind River, Hilton Beach, Sault Ste, Marie and then Drummond, with lots of stops in between. I didn't visit Clay Hester this year at at Northerniare Lodge, but I did speak with him and he has immproved his docks and is ready to go.Some spots in between we visited were McGregor Bay, the Benjamins, Whalesback, Serpent Harbor, the Key Hole and Dead
Boy Cove in St. Joseph Channel, Sugar Island near the Soo. A couple of comments. If you are coming from lower Michigan, it's a whole lot easier to put in at Detour and drive your boat to Blind River than drive your car there. The Old Mill Motel is close to the docks at Blind River. In Killarney the Sportsmans is still closed, though they hope to reopen by July 15. New docks. I much prefer to stay next door at th Pines Inn that is run by Adele (705-287-1068). You all sound like you have plenty of experience in the NC, so I assume you know to run with with aluminium props-especially in McGregor Bay. I strongly suggest getting the new McGregor Bay chart, I think it is 2207. It will probably save you some props. Make sure when you check in with Canadian Customs that you write down the report number. You will need that if you are stopped and I have seen the Canadian mounties in the Landsdowne Channel. Have a Whale of a good time. Dave
David Pendleton posted 07-02-2008 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Great, they don't make aluminum propellors for the Bravo III, only *very* expensive stainless ones...

Maybe I can convince somebody to tow me through the nasty parts with my drive up?

home Aside posted 07-02-2008 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I think with your chart plotter, depth sounder, charts, some due care you'll be fine. Up there we're all probably going to find places we might not be able to squeeze into, bring your dingy along.

I've been up there twice never saw a place where someone got left behind. It wouldn't be unusual to anchor out & jump on board someones smaller Whaler to explore into those tighter places for an hour or so. In two trips I've only seen one dinged prop,

Buckda got one of his, I think that one was more because we got to far off center going through a cut on the way to pothole portage, as I recall there was plenty of depth, I think we just wandered off to the side because we were gawking too much at the scenery.....


Buckda posted 07-02-2008 02:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
David Pendleton

I think you will be okay if you decide to enter MacGregor Bay if you have the latest charts loaded onto your chartplotter. The updated GARMIN chip for Lake Huron has very accurate information about rocks. The only reason I left some gelcoat in there two years ago was because I momentarily wasnt paying as close attention as I should have been and I was in a very far backwater of the bay exploring.

But see below for other options.


Re: expectations and schedule. It has been my experience that setting out with similar expectations in the minds of all group members is an important element to a successful group cruise. Of similar importance, and particularly when using a Boston Whaler to cruise a large body of water such as this, is a sense of ongoing flexibility on the part of skippers.

Let me elaborate.

Ive set forth a basic cruise pattern for the week in the initial post. This pattern was discussed amongst the original interested captains. During that discussion it was also decided to make this cruise open to the public. We also discussed a very important point: expectations for group cohesiveness throughout the trip. As experienced cruisers, we had decided that a degree of latitude and freedom should be allowed for attendees to decide where to stay overnight, and we set low expectations on 100 percent participation in each and every destination.

As part of the group, if you attend, the expectation is that you will let us know your plans if you decide to splinter from the group for a day or so. The expectation is that we will see you at an agreed upon time and place otherwise, well have to go looking for you!

Here is an example: One day, a group of people may wish to enter MacGregor Bay, while others, for various reasons, may want to explore the Collins River Inlet or another nearbly location (Baie Fine, Dreamers peninsula, etc). The captain(s) who want to do something else should notify the group i.e. Were going to go XXX. Well see you at the dock tonight by 9:00

This type of splinter or deviation from the group is completely acceptable this is YOUR vacation you should enjoy it how you want.

Likewise, the cruise pattern may change due to weather. If the wind is blowing hard, it may require captains of smaller vessels to divert or change plans. These kinds of decisions need not be fretted over simply tell the group what youre doing.

I know that we have three different types of accommodations needed on this trip some of us plan to sleep aboard on the hook at an anchorage, some of us plan to sleep aboard dockside at a marina and some of us may require at least one night in a shore-based accommodation. Unfortunately, due to the variable nature of the cruise pattern, shore-based accommodations may be more difficult to plan in advance. Usually, Marinas have plenty of room for one more small Boston Whaler Boat somewhere but hotels may need a couple days advance reservation attendees with this requirement will need to be somewhat flexible and have numbers available so that they can call the planned accommodations with any change of plans. Also, you should have several options for accommodations. Both Little Current and Killarney have multiple hotels/B&Bs, and should be able to accommodate you. Given my recent discussions with Northern Ontario business owners on my recent trip, I believe there will be some additional flexibility this year due to tourist numbers being down this year.

I hope that helps somewhat.

home Aside posted 07-02-2008 02:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I think with your chart plotter, depth sounder, charts, some due care you'll be fine. Up there we're all probably going to find places we might not be able to squeeze into, bring your dingy along.

I've been up there twice never saw a place where someone got left behind. It wouldn't be unusual to anchor out & jump on board someones smaller Whaler to explore into those tighter places for an hour or so. In two trips I've only seen one dinged prop,

Buckda got one of his, I think that one was more because we got to far off center going through a cut on the way to pothole portage, as I recall there was plenty of depth, I think we just wandered off to the side because we were gawking too much at the scenery.....


home Aside posted 07-02-2008 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Don't ask how I managed that


David Pendleton posted 07-02-2008 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Thanks for the encouragement.

I just upgraded my C-Map chip a few days ago, and ordered a copy of chart #2207.

I'm also on board with Dave's previous post. Having cruised at least once with everyone else that's attending, I okay with that protocol.

On another note, I've been reading what I can find online regarding Canadian boating regulations as was surprised to see requirements for heaving line, bailers, etc.

Has anyone ever been inspected, and how vigiliant are they about this stuff?

ChrisW posted 07-02-2008 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChrisW  Send Email to ChrisW     
Chris and JimH will be docking at marinas at night and leaving from Blind River.

Any other Whaler Women out there? Hoosier, I hope you and your wife make it.
Leapinlunker, please tell "The Admiral" we'd love to see her along as well. Suzanne, I am counting on you and Paul to get those trailer brakes fixed!

3 Weeks and counting......looking forward to seeing everyone.

leapinlunker posted 07-03-2008 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     

Donna, the Admiral, has a wedding to attend on the 26th, as a result she will not be attending the trip. That being said, I am researching alternatives like attending with her, then driving to Rogers City on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. We could launch from there and make the trip across to meet up Sunday afternoon or evening. Will advise as time draws near.


Hoosier posted 07-05-2008 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Info for future reference; I got this rely to an email asking about Customs.

U.S. Customs will be on site daily from 12:00 noon til 8:00 p.m. All you need to do is show up.

See you soon,


Joseph C. DePaul

General Manager

Drummond Island Yacht Haven Inc.

Buckda posted 07-06-2008 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Thanks for that information David - Drummond Island Yacht Haven is a classy operation and a Whaler dealer to boot - I've yet to have a bad experience with them, even if it's just tying up for a few hours to give my passengers a break on a circumnavigation of Drummond Island.


Barry posted 07-06-2008 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
I've been inspected several times while fishing out in Beaverstone Bay. I guess if the authorities are going to run all the way out from Killarney they are going to inspect someone. And since some days it I've only seen maybe a dozen boats I guess that improved my odds.

They did check for all the items. The first time I didn't have an official "buoyant heaving line of not less than 15m in length" but I happened to have a 50' poly rope and they said that was ok. Since then I've purchase a heaving line and a ring buoy.

I just returned from a week of fishing Mill Lake, Collins Inlet, and Beaverstone Bay. I fueled the boat up in the US before we crossed into Canada and only ran about 150 miles on the water so I didn't have to purchase any while I was there. I heard that fuel is about 145-150 at Pittfield's General Store in Killarney. I paid anywhere from 132.9 to 139.9 on the road and saw it as high as 141.9.

If you happen to end up low on fuel in Mill Lake, Jerry will sell you 5 gallons for only $40 at Mill Lake Lodge.

Cicada posted 07-06-2008 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Well, we're still waiting to get the boat out of the shop. I've had a number of promises but no results. It's supposed to be done this week (again). I'd also like to have a few repairs and adjustments done on the *!#$ Mills canvas - can't live without it.

Finally started on getting the gear organized. Start with what we had for the IR trip and then eliminate about half of that. I imagine we'll be staying at hotels, marinas and doing a little anchoring or camping. We have about three weeks to go and we need to get our act in gear.

I'm assuming a claw hook will be a better choice than the Danforth?

Looking forward to seeing everyone.


cdnwhaler posted 07-07-2008 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Yes, and I almost took Jerry up on that 5 gallon purchase last year Barry.

I'd just installed a Navman fuel flow meter but I set it incorrectly so it appeared I wouldn't make it to Killarney. I stopped at the Lodge but no one was home (out fishing I assumed) and while waiting at his dock I figured out what I'd done wrong. Never did speak with anyone at the Lodge?

Over the years I've heard there may be gas on the north side of the inlet there and some charts (older ones I think) it's marked as having fuel.

Have you ever gone in there? And is there fuel there?

Anyway, it scared the crap outa me thinking I'd be stuck in Collins without fuel. It could have been an expensive tow or fuel run.


Barry posted 07-07-2008 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
On the north side of Collins across from the Mill Lake Lodge is the old Mahzenazing River Lodge which is owned by Bill Pittfield. I think at one time they may have had gas pumps there. Not anymore. They don't appear to be doing much business there. There was a gentleman there who I assume is the current caretaker.

That site used to be a lumber mill. The Collins Inlet Lumber Company began business about 1868. The old pilings from the dock are still there and marked on the charts. Steamers used to come in to drop off supplies and pick up lumber. I heard that they used to drag the logs onto the iced over Inlet during the winter using oxen. They would tie them together into rafts that were anchored to the iron pins and rings that still be found on the shore up and down the inlet, and then after the Inlet thawed, float them to the mill.

They've got some very old pictures of those operations in the new Mahzenazing Lodge building.

Bill actually put in a modern water driven turbine to power the Lodge but I'm not sure how well that worked out. I don't think they get enough flow down the falls.

If you drive up the creek to check it out watch out for the rocks right off the middle of the dock. They weren't marked last week.

If you need something at Mill Lake Lodge you may have to walk up to the main lodge. If Jerry, his son Derek, or one of the other boys is around and they see or hear you they'll come down. But they stay busy running customers back and forth to the Creek, running back and forth to Killarney for supplies, and doing work and hauling stuff for the other residents in the area.

I was surprised to discover that there is a cell phone tower in Killarney. I could even get a signal at Mill Lake Lodge.

cdnwhaler posted 07-07-2008 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Interesting Barry. I thought it was a Native, or "First Nations" as we say here, establishment.

Cell coverage in Killarney? The times they are a changing aren't they.


Buckda posted 07-07-2008 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
The cell tower in Killarney is partially due to the efforts of the MacGregor Bay Cottager's Association - obviously, they have a vested interest in making their community safer, and this should be a step in helping to undergird their property values...but this kind of progress probably also detracts from some of the population's reason for buying in MacGregor Bay vs. further south in Georgian Bay.

Anyway - I saw that as part of a newsletter announcement (online). They are working to make additional infrastructure improvements in the area. Pretty soon, we'll all be making the 20 hour trek to Lake Nipigon to get unspoiled cruising...when the mega McMansions start to really take hold in the area! (Okay..we're a LONG way from that yet!)

I'd much rather see a few communications towers on the horizon than to have phone and powerlines criscrossing the waterways.

home Aside posted 07-07-2008 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
About a mile from my house in Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit Suburb) there's a cell tower disguised as a very tall White Pine Tree. Other than it's heighth it looks pretty good. I would think Killarney area residents / property Owners would much rather have the disguised version, than the mechanical looking version.....


home Aside posted 07-07-2008 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I bet the owner of that Summer Home in Killarney that burned to the ground in the summer of 2004 would have liked a good communucation system. About eight of us from here on CW, Jimh included, witnessed that fire from the water as we were motoring out of Killarney that morning.

Take your pick of cell tower disguises


leapinlunker posted 07-09-2008 07:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
Who is taking what fishing tackle?

Anyone taking a dinghy of sorts?


David Pendleton posted 07-09-2008 01:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I was considering bringing my Zodiac, but I'm not sure how much use it will get if we're staying in marinas most nights (although I don't know that to be true, either).
jimh posted 07-10-2008 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A small boat or inflatable boat would be very useful to get ashore in some places. I was thinking in particular about Marianne Bay, from whose south shore we could ascend Frazer Bay Hill and Casson Peak.

David Pendleton posted 07-10-2008 06:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm still considering it. The Zodiac is pretty easy to transport, as it rolls up into a nice 85lb package.

The outboard troubles me. While it is small and light, I really haven't devised a good way to secure it while underway, other than on the transom of the Zodiac.

I'll probably bring it, how much can the extra 100lbs contribute to fuel consumption?

Cicada posted 07-10-2008 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

I've been packing the boat in absentia here. The mechanic thought he'd have the trailer done today - looks like tomorrow - and that doesn't leave much time for some shakedowns.

I'll have the 9.9 kicker mounted on the stern of the Outrage that is fairly simple to remove. Do you think that would be a good option?

What type of fishing have you been doing? I'd like to bring some fishing gear along also and would appreciate some insight into what to expect.

I have a telescope that fits nicely into a cooler that I'll be bringing along. I don't think there are problems with the Kmart Nebula up there and it'll be nice to actually see something.

I'll be getting in late Thursday night from Tennessee so it may be a late start Friday morning to go up. We'll be staying in Hessel on Friday night and hope to be in Blind River Saturday morning.

I think it's been three years since we've been on a trip like this. Looking forward to it.


David Pendleton posted 07-11-2008 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Paul, you're going on this trip if I have to drive down there and tow your boat for you...
Barry posted 07-12-2008 04:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Barry  Send Email to Barry     
We fish primarily for smallmouth bass and northern pike. We usually use lightweight spinning outfits. We use nightcrawlers, minnows, or crank baits for bass and spoons or large crank baits for pike. For bass we'll fish anywhere there are rocks. So almost anywhere. Rocky points or small rock islands seem to be the most productive. For pike, drifting and casting along the edge of weed beds especially across the edge where small bays meet the channel is most productive.

This year we did well on bass. The largest being 4lbs. 2oz. which is a nice sized smallie for that area. We didn't do so well on pike. We caught a number of them but most were small (hammer handles). Other fisherman seemed to be having similar luck.

We did catch our first ever muskellunge! My 17 year old son had hooked a 10" bass and had it to the boat when the musky went for it. The musky missed it the first time but before I could get my lure in the water it grabbed the bass and took off. I directed my son to the bow and I ran the boat following the big fish. I really didn't expect the fish to stay hooked up since my son had it on 10lb test line with no leader and a small #1 gold snelled hook. My nephew grabbed our bass net and I'm thinking that if we keep this fish on there is no way we can net it with that.

Fortunately another boat with two musky hunters pulled up and asked it we needed any help. I said "sure!" and they both jumped into our boat. One with a camera and the other with a net that I could have fit into. The battle went back and forth but 27 minutes later we had the fish in the net. They removed the hook, lifted the fish up and handed it to my son, we took a few pictures, and then released it.

You can see pictures of our trip here

ChrisW posted 07-12-2008 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for ChrisW  Send Email to ChrisW     
We are looking forward to lots of fresh fish on this trip....umm.

Paul, does the telescope mean you and Suzanne might be camping under the stars some night away from marina lights? Sounds like a cool idea.

Is the group all set on Saturday return home to the real world? Jim and I are very amenable to a Saturday night return to B.R. with departure Sunday morning.

Please chime in.


David Pendleton posted 07-13-2008 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I too was thinking of departing BR Sunday morning.
jimh posted 07-13-2008 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hi Barry--I browsed your extensive photo album of your 2008 Fishing Trip. It looks like you and your sons had a great time. That Muskie was amazing!
Cicada posted 07-13-2008 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Looks like Wednesday for the boat to be finished. Fuel pump was its last legs - ethanol in the fuel.

Thanks for the thoughts on the towing us up. We're going on this trip one way or the other.

Thanks for the info on the fishing, appreciate it. Gives me a good idea on what to bring up for gear. The hard part will be catching something once we're up there.

A night or two under the stars should be real nice. Especially after a fresh fish dinner.


leapinlunker posted 07-14-2008 07:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
It now appears as if Donna Jean is coming along, which is a good thing. We are a great team and I hated the thought of seeing the North Channel from a Whaler without her. One thing though, we need to attend a wedding in Lansing on Saturday. Should be on the road to BR by 4PM and may end up laying over in Sault or elsewhere with an arrival at the ramp on Sunday AM. If the group is already gone, no big deal. We will catch up that evening, weather permitting. Otherwise, we will find you all eventually.

Chris/Jim, do you have a temporary float plan of Marina's in which you intend to overnight?


home Aside posted 07-14-2008 08:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Hey Buckda,
Are you bringing your Fish Fryin Equipment? Are we possibly going to do a dockside Fish Fry?

I got a Coleman Battery Operated/Rechargeable Blender for Christmas, it's going to make it's maiden voyage on this trip....."I See Margarita People!!!!"


jimh posted 07-14-2008 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
We are bringing our fresh-caught pan-fried fresh fish eating equipment.
Buckda posted 07-14-2008 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
With seven boats and 12 people, we'll have to catch a lot of fish (more than a conservation license allows) to make a fresh fish dinner for everyone.

Nonetheless, I will have my cooking equipment and recipe aboard in case...


David Pendleton posted 07-14-2008 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
We are bringing our fresh-caught pan-fried fresh fish eating equipment.

So am I; a knife, fork, lemon, salt and a big napkin to tie around my neck...

Hoosier posted 07-14-2008 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
The last time I was in Canada on business I found out that a Discover Card won't work there. Are there any tips that the more experienced North Channel Cruisers can give about using US credit cards? I sure would like to not have to carry a lot of cash.......
Cicada posted 07-14-2008 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     

We may have to supplement the limit catch with some fresh caught store bought fish. What do you need in additional cooking equipment? I have heard alot about your recipe but I think I have yet to taste it?

I'll have to think of something to bring outside of the Crown Royal.

Still packing in absentia - Thursday.


Hoosier posted 07-15-2008 08:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Trivia: Crown Royal is cheaper in my local Meijers than at the Calgary Airport duty free store.....
K Albus posted 07-15-2008 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Be careful using your U.S. credit cards. Visa and Mastercard add a foreign transaction fee of 1%, and most issuing banks add another 1% to 3%.
Buckda posted 07-16-2008 05:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Paul -

If you want to help out, bring a medium frying pan. I'll supply the oil, batter (my own special mix) and we can source things like onion, lemon and anything else needed locally.

I have room for three medium frying pans on the coleman stove. Feeding this many people may require all in operation at once.

If you're going to settle for "shore-bought" fish, there's no better source than Herbert Fisheries in Killarney for fresh whitefish.


Cicada posted 07-16-2008 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Dave, Sounds good, I still need to figure out how to steal the mix. Fresh whitefish, says it all. They catch a lot of whitefish off the docks in Tawas around Thanksgiving. It requires a really long handled net to land them and I'm always tempted to try it from the boat. Not much of a line at the launch that time of year.

I haven't seen many good deals at the duty free shops either and I'm sure the Canadian Royal is cheaper here. Not planning a stop at the duty free shop this trip. We'll probably bring some travelers checks to cut down on the credit cards.

I was in Hartford today and didn't get a chance to speak to the mechanic. Tomorrow was promised - we'll see. I wanted to adjust the canvas a bit and that's not going to happen. Please forgive my language at the dock in advance. Small children and pets should be taken somewhere else. I'm going to miss this love / hate relationship with the Mills someday.

Looking forward to this trip.


David Pendleton posted 07-16-2008 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Speaking of the demon liquor...

If I'm interpreting Canadian law correctly, I cannot possess (no pun intended) alcohol on my boat unless I am docked, anchored or moored.

Anyone have any additional information?

home Aside posted 07-16-2008 11:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I think that's the only time you can consume it on board, if your docked, anchored, or moored and your boat has permanent sleeping, cooking, and sanitary facilities. but not in public, there was mention of asking when docking for the night to inquire if the facility was public or private, if public & you wanted to have a drink at a picnic table, they actually said steam off the labels off the bottles, but you can't do that if it is in a public park.

When underway all alcohol has to be packedaway and out of reach...

I think the key here is Common Sense, I very rarely open a beer when the boat is in motion at home, I don't plan on it in Canada. Lets face it I don't think our crew is the type that will be raising a lot of hell and thus raising eyesbrows of the authorities, other than the looks we get sometime from the fact that we're all running Boston whalers in a fleet.

I plan on having a few beers on ice and a bottle of hootch for evening coctails.

I'm more concerned as to having my porta potty on board.....I keep the tank full of straight water and it is for major emergencies only, I know it's illegal, but would they rather I had a porta potty and sneaked it into a Marina bathroom in the middle of the night and dumped it or jump in the lake and dump or go in a bucket & sneak it overboard? Mine is pretty well hidden I think I'll take my chances.


Buckda posted 07-16-2008 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
We were boarded and the Whaler inspected very carefully on Lake Nipigon earlier this year in Canada. They "felt" for barbs on all of our hooks and opened all coolers, including one with about 18 beers in it and simply moved on. Our dead soldiers were stowed carefully in a trash bag in the back, and it was not a problem at all with them.

They clearly checked everything, including our safety gear, registration, camping and fishing permits, etc.

I agree with Pat - common sense rules the day. In my experience, Canadians are generally blessed with a healthy dose of common sense and aren't afraid to use it.


David Pendleton posted 07-16-2008 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
That sounds good.

I was concerned because I'm bringing you guys a case of good local beer, and I didn't want it confiscated.

Hoosier posted 07-17-2008 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Help me out here,what are the port-a-pottie rules? All we have is a camping rig, a seat over a 5 gal bucket.
home Aside posted 07-17-2008 01:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
My understanding is if you have a toilet on your boat it has to be one that is plumbed into a holding tank that cannot be dumped and/or emptied overboard into the Canadian Lakes, Rivers, etc.

Theory being if you have a porta potty that is not permanently plumbed then it could possibly be dumped overboard while out on the lakes, you are in violation and can be cited. I can see their point to a certain extent., but I'd have to say that the major number of boaters would not do this. a few of the Canadian marinas I've seen have signs posted no dumping porta potties in their restrooms.

Example: (probably more information than anyone really wants) 2004 North Channel, McGregor Bay, Montauk 17, no porta potty, most days don't need it (natures duties generally taken care of prior to casting off for the day)
Mid after noon miles from shore, unusual call from nature, no way to make it, needs to be taken care of immediately, 5 gallon bucket on board, natures call relieved (not a second too soon), dilema, what to do with contents of bucket, cruise around with it all day in the heat? Nope, overboard it goes....I felt terrible about it, If I would have had a porta potty, that last part of the scenario would never have happened, later that night it would have been snuck into a marina bathroom & flushed....I rest my case, I'll take my chances hiding the porta potty under my V-berth...


K Albus posted 07-17-2008 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
It appears that Pat is correct. Portable toilets are only legal if they are permanently attached to the vessel, and they have a fixture enabling them to be emptied at a pump out station. See:

I searched high and low and could not locate the actual statute or regulation governing this issue. However, there are numerous online sources which essentially confirm that this is in fact the rule. See, e.g., the Ontario Marina Operators Association website: and the "Black water" section of this Ontario Ministry of the Environment web page:

Hoosier posted 07-17-2008 05:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
OK, I guess we'll have a supply of plastic grocery bags to use as bucket liners. The seat can get stashed and the bucket is our required "bailing device". With some preplanning there shouldn't be a need, but then again; how's the Canadian water.......
dfmcintyre posted 07-17-2008 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Notes from someone who's up there right now:

It's really quiet up here. We crossed on the ferry on Wednesday 7AM from Tobemory. 23 vehicles on the main deck (that's about 1/5 full), 1/2 of the two outboard upper racks filled and the inboard upper racks both pulled up for large vehicle transport. I've never seen it that light, but we've always traveled on the weekends.

Only 35 vehicles passed us southbound, all the way from Sarnia to Tobemory. This was between 1:30 and 5:30AM.

Got out into Campbell Bay yesterday, and we're planning on hitting Porcupine Island sometime later this week/weekend.

If you consider Porcupine, (it's due east from the north end of South Benjamin), I'll take soundings and an image of where to tie up. During the high water of the mid 80's, we saw a 57' ChrisCraft Constellation tied up in the small bay there.



Hoosier posted 07-18-2008 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Looking good:


Hoosier posted 07-18-2008 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Let's try that again traveler=0&postalcode=P0R%201B0&metric=0&set=3

dfmcintyre posted 07-19-2008 05:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
RE: Benjamins -

Some images from GoogleMap of the area, marked with info. More to follow in a day or so.



dfmcintyre posted 07-19-2008 05:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Damn.... lets try this again:

dfmcintyre posted 07-19-2008 05:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
A comment about mooring:

We've been using some rock climbing equipment when cruising up in this region. The two items are called carabiners and nuts. The nut is a hollow, odd shaped (once you see one, you'll know what I mean) chunk of metal that's attached to a woven wire loop. A carabiner is a metal clip, with a knurled safety that is attached between the nut wire and the eye of your line. You can use just the nut, but with wire will abrade your line.

When mooring, the nut is worked down into a crack in the rock, along shore. Works much better then the traditional wrapping the anchor line around a tree, assuming you can even find a tree close to shore.

Nuts come in various sizes, at your local rock climbing, mountaineering store...

I'll post some images of them in action later this evening.


home Aside posted 07-19-2008 07:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
You're on vacation, you're up way too early.....

How are the water levels up there this year?


home Aside posted 07-19-2008 07:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Peter (cdnWhaler)also uses the rock climbing nuts & carbiners when he & the boys boat camp in the Benjamins on their Outrage 22


David Pendleton posted 07-19-2008 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Don, what size nuts are you finding most useful?
dfmcintyre posted 07-19-2008 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Dave -

I've got two one inch and two 1/2 nuts that have worked with everything I've come across while cruising.

Pat - Water is up about 5-7" over last year. We spent time at Porcupine, South Benj, Clam Cove (it's actually a bunch of rocks just north of North Benj, at the extreme south end of Fox and Bearsback Island. All areas have adequate water for at least a 21 Outrage.

Will attempt to post photos at the previous address within a day.


cdnwhaler posted 07-20-2008 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
Hi all,
I just returned from a week in another of our lake areas and like Don says it's very quiet out there. Boat traffic ojn the Trent-Severn waterway system is down at least 50%. On one of our major summer holidays, July 1st, the Kirkfield lift lock last year had 98 boats pass through. This year 47. I arrived there about 10:00 am and there wasn't a boat in sight so I thought maybe they'd just opened. Turns out they open at 8:30am and there'd been no boats through yet.

Pat, the nuts and carabiner types I sent you last night are the same as Don uses. How do I know? Because he's the one who turned me on to them 3 years ago. I'm surprised by the size of the nuts Don uses. I find I use smaller ones where I go. From 5mm to 8mm mostly. I notice a few gouges on my 11mm so I assume I've used it as well. Don's half inch is about 11mm. I use them in a large area up there not just the North Channel so the rock type, limestone or granite, so the fissure or crack size can change.

A good example of their use is in these pictures taken at Porcupine Island at the Benjamins, a location Don mentions. The small bay I'm in is where Don saw that Chris Craft I think. any thing's possible if you're got big enough ba$$$. ?start=20
By the way, Porcupine is nameless on your charts. Happy hunting ;-)

Pitons and a hammer work as well for tying to the rocks. All this equipment is found under the category of climbing/rock hardware/ at your local outdoor store such we have here jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302691269&bmUID=1216570374454
REI is the same type store. At least, it used to be?

The chances of my joining you grow slimmer by the day. Have fun.


dfmcintyre posted 07-20-2008 07:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
All -

I've uploaded some, but not all of the images from yesterday. It's a pain dealing with a slow connection when working with these images, even downsized as they are. The titles are pretty much self explanatory.

More to come tomorrow.


PS -

Coordinates for Clam Cove
West entrance: 46d 06.048' x 82d 14.670'
East entrance: 46d 05.6' x 82d 14.678'

For the WayBackChannel of Fox (my naming convention):

46d 06.260' x 82d 14.678'

For BearsBack Island:

46d 01.237' x 82d 06.374

If you can't find Porcupine, you shouldn't be boating up here!

dfmcintyre posted 07-21-2008 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
All -

All the images are now in the folder.



PS - If your looking for a good meal that you don't have to cook, consider stopping at Northernaire Lodge. Someone in the group has been here.

dfmcintyre posted 07-21-2008 09:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
One more thought....

Bring more bumpers than you'd normally carry.

cdnwhaler posted 07-21-2008 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
We've had loads of rain this year so the bugs can be bad.

Who can remember Don's recommendations from a few years ago on how to pest proof your Mills canvas? It came with a description having something to do with a knife fight ;)

David Pendleton posted 07-21-2008 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I remember it.

I went to REI today and picked up three nuts in sizes 8, 10 and 12. I also bought a proper carabiner. Total cost was about $40.00.

How many folks are bringing a dinghy/tender?

cdnwhaler posted 07-21-2008 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
David, you may want to have a carabiner per nut on board. Quite often multiple mooring lines of this type are needed.

Then again, sometime4s none of these mooring line types are needed.

home Aside posted 07-21-2008 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Dave, Ditto, REI size 12, 6, 3, & a carbiner too, I already had one carbiner.....

I've already got a bunch of fabric softener dryer sheets in a zip lock, I've used them with great success in the past, stuff them under the frame work on my canvas & in the louvers of my companionway door. each morning I stuff them back in the zip lock and then put them out again each night, they last longer that way. I am also going to try Dave Hart's recommendation of Listerine in a spray bottle


Buckda posted 07-21-2008 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Pat -

I'm sticking with good old chemical warfare along with basic bug barrier protective measures. Crossing my fingers for clear, cold evenings to knock down the skeeters. (black flies actually sleep at night).

I have a whole insect warfare box that will go aboard and which provides me with more options to defend the homeland than Iran has to defend Tehran....

I've also got a special spray can of Yard Guard if I need to go nuclear. (or is that nucular?) :)

Looking forward to this trip. See all you guys on Saturday night in Blind River.


David -

Still undecided on the dingy. Will make final evaluation on Friday night when I pack the boat - if it's too full, I will leave the dingy at home.


David Pendleton posted 07-21-2008 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I haven't decided either. I think I'll wait until everything's pack to decide to.

I just figured we should have at least one tender to get folks ashore.

Perhaps there will be an opportunity for some great camera shots of Paul wading ashore like MacArthur with Suzanne on his back...

I have found myself packing a bit more lightly than I would for a IRNP trip. I'm not sure if this is wise, but I get the impression I will be able to provision at one of the various marinas we find ourselves at. I'm not talking about fuel, (I think I can complete this trip without having to buy any fuel in Canada), but rather food, drinks, etc.

I realize it might be a bit more expensive, but it makes preparations a bit easier, and I've become obsessed with GVW on this trip.

The last time I was on the scale, for a normal outing on my local river, I was at ~13,500 pounds.

I can safely handle much more than that, but in the interest of fuel economy I'm trying to keep things light.

The more I think about it, the more I think this is folly. I've already budgeted for a sizeable fuel bill so I probably just shouldn't worry (too much) about it.

OIA posted 07-21-2008 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for OIA  Send Email to OIA     

Wow, what a trip. Have a great time. Beautiful country, as I'm sure you are aware.

[Changed TOPIC to something entirely different than the planning of this trip. Please use a separate discussion for a new topic--jimh]

John Mirassou

Hoosier posted 07-22-2008 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
I got a couple of cans of Repel Permanone at Gander Mountain. It's a fabric, not skin, spray that I'm going to use on the perimeter of my canvas to keep the bugs away. One application is supposed to last two weeks. I also have some mosquito netting for the sleeping area. A pack of dryer sheets and some Listerine will come along too.
Hoosier posted 07-22-2008 07:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
I found a source for Nuts in Michigan, check the "Find Shop" for retail locations

http:/ / www. moosejaw. com/ moosejaw/ product. asp?path=Search& path=nu ts& search_handle=A%3dnuts%7eB%3dnuts%7eD%3d36%7eE%3d1%5e1%5e2%5enum_Sor t1%7eJ%3dPARTIAL_MATCH%7eK%3d4%7eL%3d1%7eM%3d2%7e& scid=SearchResults& p f_id=10020711& spoffset=2& s_id=0

jimh posted 07-22-2008 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Float plans for marina docking are only firm for the first few days:

Saturday = Blind River Marina
Sunday = Little Current Spider Bay Marina
Monday = Killarney--likely at Killarney Mountain Lodge or at Gateway Marina

After that we will play it by ear.

Tuesday = Killarney again or possibly Little Current
Wednesday = TBA
Thursday = TBA
Friday = vicinity of or in Blind River Marina

Cicada posted 07-22-2008 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
Picked the Outrage up on Friday and spent the week-end doing some additional maintenance on the boat and trailer plus the majority of the packing for the trip. Made it out on Lake St. Clair Sunday and the boat is running nicely.

Went by the not so local REI outside of Nashville today and picked up some nuts and carabiners. Any excuse to purchase more equipment is ok with me.

I seem to remember cheese cloth sprayed with repellant and stored in plastic bags for stuffing into the openings in the canvas was a suggestion. We still have the cheese cloth and some screening that we've never used.

David, Wading ashore like MacArthur with Suzanne on my back will probably only happen if I pull her into the water with me when I fall in. Judging from the past few trips that may have a high probability. Usually involves a dock and wind.

Looking forward to this trip.


Buckda posted 07-22-2008 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Update on my plans.

I will be launching at DeTour on Saturday afternoon and making the crossing to Blind River via water. David Hart and his wife will be joining me in their 1978 Outrage v-20.

Anyone else interested in this is welcome.

We will meet the group at Blind River Marina on Saturday evening for the trip to Little Current on Sunday.


andygere posted 07-23-2008 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
You guys are killing me with the bug warfare technology. I guess it's one more reason why I can justify the high cost of living in California: no bugs. I also got a kick out of the search for rock climbing gear, and thought, "wow, these guys are hardcore; boat-in rock climbing." Then I realized it's actually clever mooring equipment for the rocky shorelines you will be haunting.

Have a great trip guys, and as usual, please post lots of photos and trip logs.

cdnwhaler posted 07-23-2008 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for cdnwhaler  Send Email to cdnwhaler     
In the past number of years the mossies haven't been too bad but our weather has been very dry. An hour ago we hit an all time highest total rainfall for June & July...ever, for this part of Canada. (so the radio just said). Last year was the exact opposite. Although it's bad for mosquitoes the rain cooperated amazingly well by falling at night most of the time leaving the days quite pleasant. So despite the talk I think, and hope, they'll have a great trip.
home Aside posted 07-23-2008 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     

CIGARS.....BIG FAT CUBAN CIGARS from the Duty Free Annex
and maybe a nice bottle of scotch to garner that I don't care about mosquitos attitude....

Pat's not to late to sign up for this trip...

dfmcintyre posted 07-23-2008 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
You guys are killing me. I wish I was back up there.

We stopped by Neptune earlier in the week, met one of the members brothers and his mom. Talked for a spell.

Gail and I got out to the Benjamins again yesterday. Launched from Kagawong, instead of Little Current. Went around Clapperton on the East side going north, west side back to the ramp. On the way up, ran into a good friend who was running his Hatteras slowly back to Port Huron.

The large bay of South Ben was fairly crowded, along with the little channel and gunkholes at the extreme end of the island.

Spent the day at Clam Cove, anchor of stern, bow was nutted.

Weather was slightly cool, windier and like Peter pointed out, wetter then usual.


MarthaB posted 07-23-2008 08:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for MarthaB  Send Email to MarthaB     
Don - You and the other GLBSCC members that have been to the North Channel are driving Con & I crazy. You have been there, how many times? We would love to go there. When we were sailboaters, we didn't have enough time to sail there from Grand Traverse Bay and back . Would get to Cedarville & Hessel, but not the North Channel. This year a new job is getting in the way of going to the NC with the group. Also, being unfamilar with the area lodging accommodations is a problem too, as we do not sleep aboard. Accommodations also need to be dog friendly. Any advise would be welcomed.

Hope that next week has favorable weather conditions.
Looking forward to the Harbor Spring owners event.

dfmcintyre posted 07-24-2008 07:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Group -

When Gail and I launched from LC, I noticed that there is now finger docks attached to the downtown pier. Much, much closer to the downtown area. Have a burger and beer at the Anchor Inn for me, eh? Do not know about shower availability downtown.

Martha -

Being in your boat, so to speak, I'd lean toward what we've done in the past, i.e. stay at Northernaire Lodge (very dog friendly) and launch daily from either Gore Bay, Kagawong, Little Current, or Birch Island. The only far point would be for a run around the Whalesback Channel.


home Aside posted 07-24-2008 01:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I just talked to Terry Hart "Leapinlunker"...he has a wedding to attend Saturday and is planning on driving to DeTour afterward. He & Donna will cast off Sunday morning from DeTour with plans to meet the rest of us in Little Current...

Terry also mentioned that he believed most of the Marinas up there monitor Channel #71 and he would be doing just that barring any other plans by the rest of the group.

jimh posted 07-24-2008 07:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Most Canadian Marinas monitor Channel 68.
andygere posted 07-24-2008 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
You know, before I joined this forum some years ago, I'd have told you I would never consider towing a boat halfway across the country to go boating on a LAKE. Now I know better, and cruising the North Channel on a Boston Whaler (with a bunch of like-minded Whaler enthusiasts) is on my ever growing list of things to do before I croak.
home Aside posted 07-24-2008 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
So I guess we need to get some continuity re: what channel we will monitor so everyone involved coming from different locals will know. It doesn't matter to me 68 or 71....

Jimh you're more experienced up in the North Channel, why don't we just make it Channel 68 then?


home Aside posted 07-24-2008 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
it would be great to have you come out sometime, if you don't want to bring your Outrage Cuddy, I'm sure you could catch a ride & camp out on someones rig....


jimh posted 07-24-2008 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Any vessel with a VHF Marine Radio has to monitor 16. We should all keep a watch on 16. We can use a working channel once we get up there and see what the traffic is on various channels. Channel-68 in NOT a good channel to use for ship-to-ship because it is primarily used for ship-to-marina traffic.
leapinlunker posted 07-25-2008 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
My bad, Jim is correct regarding Marina channel being predominantly 68. Our radios have a tri watch setting where 9 16 and a station of your choosing are constantly scanned for "air" traffic. As Jim says, pick a station and let us know. We are brining up the rear and will eventually catch up. After all, how difficult will it be to find 5 Boston Whalers in the confines of the "North Channel".

Our float plan is a follows: (weather permitting)
Sunday 1000 - 1200 launch at DeTour Village and proceed to LC. Trip distance approximately 110 NM. ETA 1400 - 1600

Alternatively, if for some reason we are late in getting started we may head to Northernaire for a night then to Killarney on Monday to rendezvous with the group.

Boat is 1997 24' Outrage, white with blue T Top
Registration is MC 9209 RZ
MMSI 338082666
Boat has no name affixed, but may be hailed on this voyage as "Vingilot"

Look forward to seeing all of you.


Buckda posted 07-26-2008 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Update from Blind River Marina -

All boats are present, except for Dave Pendleton, who was delayed on the highway. We expect him late tonight or early tomorrow morning if he catches a hotel. Terry and Donna are expected tomorrow at Little Current.

Crossing from DeTour was rough, with strong Northwesterlies, but we're here in one piece and had a great pickerel dinner.

leapinlunker posted 07-27-2008 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     
If anyone on the rendezvous is reading this, be advised that Donna and I have changed our plans once again. We are leaving Detroit around noon today and driving to Rogers City for the night. Fuel issues delayed getting boat trailered in time to meet prior schedule.

Monday early morning we will make the 35 mile crossing to Missisagi Strait then on to Whalesback eventually meeting up with you all in Killarney. Makes for a long day, but promises some adventure.

Hope to see you soon.


dfmcintyre posted 07-27-2008 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Terry -

Adventure and Mississagi Strait are synonymous, by the way.



dfmcintyre posted 07-27-2008 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Terry -

Quicker way may be to cross into Ontario, drive up the coast and either catch the ferry across to Manatoulin and drop in at Little Current or just launch at Tobemory.

The drive time from clearing Canadian Customs at Sarnia to Tobemory averages 4:20 during the day. However, two weeks ago Gail and I cleared customs at 1:30AM, pulled into Tobemory at 5:28AM....three hours, 58 minutes with the cruise engaged at 60mph.

Total of 35 vehicles passed us during that time, easy tow at night.

Caught the 7AM ferry, off the boat at 10AM. Little Current is about a 40 minute drive, and it's about 19 miles from L/C to Killarney.

If you just drive to Tobemory and not take the ferry, it's about a 48 mile run across the western end of Georgian Bay.

If you want more info, call my ctx @ 810-650-3663

Regards - Don

leapinlunker posted 07-27-2008 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for leapinlunker  Send Email to leapinlunker     

Appreciate the idea, but we have friends in Rogers City and decided to take them up on a long standing invitation for an evening of dinner and cocktails. Been thru the "Straits" on 45 Commander without incident, so do not anticipate difficulties on a 24, but one never knows. Anyway, thanks for the advice.


home Aside posted 08-02-2008 11:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Another successful cruise of the North Channel, stories & photo's will be coming...

I arrived home tonight around 8:45PM. All participants/Boats are accounted for, having left Blind River today.

three boats were returning by water crossing.

Buckda & Dave & Kathy Hart made a successful crossing to Drummond Island yacht Haven on relatively flat water according to Buckda.

Terry & Donna Hart made the successful 75 mile crossing to Rogers City, Mi in their Outrage 24, through rough seas 3-4 footers coming from the side

I spoke with Jimh several times via cell on the drive home,
I last saw Paul & Suzanne (Cicada) clearing customs at Sault Saint Marie.

I last saw Dave Pendelton on S/B I-75 & 28 preparing for the long westbound trek across Michigan's U.P. heading for Minnesota


David Pendleton posted 08-03-2008 02:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I just got home--drove straight through with two fuel stops.
MarthaB posted 08-03-2008 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for MarthaB  Send Email to MarthaB     
Looking forward to the photos and tales.

jimh posted 08-03-2008 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The condensed summary:

--all the boats and motors ran flawlessly;

--no one hit a rock, although there were hundreds of chances to do so;

--the weather was mainly cooperative; it never rained while underway. It rained once while we were at the dock for ten minutes, then the sun came out. It rained once overnight. On Friday afternoon a huge thunderstorm system passed just a mile or two north of our anchorage.

--the wind was mainly westerly at 10 to 15, and we had three upwind stretches that could have been a little smoother.

--fuel was crazy expensive. It was $5.67/gallon in Killarney.

--we went to a lot of beautiful places, and we took (collectively) probably 1,000 pictures.

--all the trailers and truck ran flawlessly, and there were no major travel problems. A Hwy-17 one-lane bridge added about 40-minutes to what was otherwise a nine hour drive for us. Entry into US and Canada was not a problem in general.

home Aside posted 08-03-2008 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Just a little photographic taste....


jimh posted 08-03-2008 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is TAMPICO transiting a narrow passage in McGregor Bay. A Bravo III sterndrive with counter-rotating stainless steel propellers is not the optimum configuration for exploring these rock shoals, but Dave did an excellent job of staying in the deep water:

Photo: McGregor Bay, Lake Huron.

This passage was supposedly blasted out during the 1940's when FDR visited here for a fishing trip.

Cicada posted 08-03-2008 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Cicada  Send Email to Cicada     
We got back last night with just enough light to back the boat into the yard. This morning we're wishing we were still out on the water with everyone. It was a beautiful trip. A few of the photos:


Buckda posted 08-03-2008 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I just got home after spending an evening at Hart's Content, Hoosier's quiet cabin deep in the woods of Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula. I left this morning around 11:30 and took it easy on the drive down.

Glad to hear/see that everyone made it back safely.

Longer trip narratives to follow, and I'll work on getting some images up.

I don't have all the photos yet from JimH, DaveP, Paul or Pat, but so far, I have 1,637 image files and 14 video files that document this trip, taking 4.3 GB of hard drive space on my computer!

We really outdid ourselves with the photography on this trip.

Note to Andygere: We discussed it over the week, and decided that you have a standing invitation aboard Gambler or Home Aside for any Great Lakes Boston Whaler Cruising Club event you wish to attend in the future, with special privileges provided on longer trips like this one. Let's call it reciprocity in case I find myself in S. Cal during a Whaler Rendezvous!


jimh posted 08-03-2008 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have noticed one after effect from this trip: about 4 p.m. this afternoon I had an overwhelming urge to get a blue plastic drinking cup, throw in a couple of ice cubes, and splash 4-ounces of premium Canadian blended whiskey into it.
home Aside posted 08-03-2008 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Funny you should say that, I spent the day working on the boat, packing things away, cleaning, etc,

Right now I have an overwhelming urge to go out on the driveway, put up the canvas, pour a vodka on the rocks, & fire up a nice cigar....and sit there, making believe I'm still on the North Channel, watching Gambler bury his bow into a five footer and seeing the water pouring over the Mills Canvas, talking about how he only got about 5 gallons of Lake Huron's finest aqua instead of 50+ Gallons he would have gotten without the canvas......

What a great time it was, excellent trouble free boating, beautiful scenery, awesome Boston Whalers, and above all Good Company.....I look forward to seeing everyone at the Harbor Springs Owner's Event


Buckda posted 08-03-2008 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Hey..I was checking the waterproofing to make sure it was still water tight.

Gonna have to think about some velcro for around the push dots along the windshield where it attaches to the forward shelter. Most water came in through those gaps...but admittedly, a couple gallons came in under the buttons up front.

Gotta watch the trim-tab usage in following seas...

Note to team: great photos, but this may become a four disk set!

Buckda posted 08-03-2008 09:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     

If you can't find Porcupine, you shouldn't be boating up here!

Don -

Found it, did it. Great spot...great blueberries for my morning cereal found as well.

Thanks for the info for that area...that was one of my favorite anchorages, though there are countless others. If Pat and I hadn't planned on staying there overnight, we may never have connected with Terry and Donna (leapin' Lunker).


themclos posted 08-04-2008 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for themclos  Send Email to themclos     
I have to say, you guys (and gals) do inspire me. Each time I read of your adventures, I dream of crashing the party one day.

I look forward to reading the narrative, and to viewing the pictures.


jimh posted 08-04-2008 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
GOOGLE EARTH gives a good view of FDR Cut in McGregor Bay. In the image above, TAMPICO is in position

46° 05' 38.62" N
081° 37' 56.67" W

home Aside posted 08-04-2008 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
All of my photo's (184) are now posted on my photobucket North Channel 08 folder listed above

Enjoy, I did...


jeffs22outrage posted 08-04-2008 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jeffs22outrage  Send Email to jeffs22outrage     
One of these years I will finally make this trip........Thanks for the photos Pat. Love the aft canvas extension.
Buckda posted 08-04-2008 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I'm having an impossible time uploading photos. Still working on it...and I'm on day 2 of the trip report....


David Pendleton posted 08-05-2008 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Buckda will no doubt prepare a very compelling trip narrative, but I thought I would share my (first) experience crossing the international border at Sault Ste. Marie...

I had planned on being in Blind River sometime late Saturday night.

I got a late start and ended up in Sault Ste. Marie late Saturday night in the midst of a large thunderstorm. After deciding to stop for the night, I ended up getting the last
room at a Hampton Inn.

I left the hotel at 0600 and stopped at a nearby Holiday station to fill the truck and the boat. I wasn't planning on buying any fuel in Canada, so this was my last chance.

I crossed the international bridge and approached the customs border station. The station consisted of five or six lanes with little booths like a toll plaza. All of the lanes were covered, but only the two rightmost lanes had enough clearance for my boat.

Each lane had a traffic signal; all of which were red except for the leftmost lane. No one was in sight and all the booths were unmanned. After studying the situation a bit, I decided to proceed to the rightmost lane, as it was one of the two I could fit through.

I planned to put the truck in park and walk in to the customs station to take care of business. No sooner had I put the gear selector in Park, a very agitated Customs Agent approached the truck asking questions.

CA: What are you doing?
Me: I'm getting ready to come inside...

CA: You can't just drive through here! Didn't you see the signs?
Me: No, I...

CA: Then what are you doing?
Me: I can't fit through that lane (pointing), what was I supposed to do? (Handing over my DL).

CA: (Pointing at my boat) Is this a commercial boat?
Me: No, personal.

CA: Where are you going?
Me: Blind River, to...

CA: For what?
Me: To meet some friends and cruise the...

CA: How do you know these people?
Me: They're Boston Whaler owners, we're going to be crusing...

CA: How do you know these people?
Me: We hang out on the internet (wishing I hadn't said that)

CA: Do you have any weapons with you?
Me: No.

At this point, I remembered the can of pepper spray that is always in my vehicle being in the console. I began to crap bricks, but didn't want to correct myself.

CA: Do you have any drugs or alcohol with you?
Me: Yes, I have a twelve pack of beer and one 750ml bottle of wine.

CA: Have you ever been arrested?
Me: Yes... (details aren't important, but yes, I have been arrested).

CA: Pull over to the left, park and come inside.
Me: Sure.

On the left hand side of the plaza are covered lanes where they inspect your vehicle. I grew more nervous about the pepper and stashed it in a lock box I have in the truck for my handguns.

As you might expect, the inspection area did not have enough clearance for my trailer either, so I pulled in all the way to the bow and shut the truck off. Of course, this meant I was blocking two lanes of traffic with my boat, but I wasn't about to deviate from my new friend's directions.

A few minutes later, the CA approached again even more agitated.

CA: What are you doing? You're blocking these lanes, pull up.
Me. (Also agitated at this point) I can't fit in here, don't you see that?

CA: (Flustered) Pull out and park next to that truck over there then come inside!
Me: Sure.

I park the truck and walk across the plaza to the immigration office. When I enter, the place is empty.
I stand at the counter for a few minutes when another CA appears and asks for my license, amd tells me to
have a seat then disappears.

30 minutes later, the CA reappears.

CA: Have you ever been arrested or fingerprinted?
Me: Yes... (I also explain that I have also been fingerprinted as a member of the U.S. Military and as
a Florida concealed weapons permit holder.)

The weapons permit piques his interest and he asks me several more times about weapons. After a few more
minutes of silence and looking at his computer monitor, he stamps a yellow sheet the first CA filled out.

CA: You're all set.
Me: Do I need that? (Referring the the yellow slip)

CA: No. You're all set.
Me: Thanks. Have a nice day...

Next up, more fun on the return crossing.

Buckda posted 08-05-2008 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Oh Man Dave - they dinged you on the way out too?!

Remind me never to cross an international border with you in the car...

David Pendleton posted 08-05-2008 12:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
No, not like that they didn't.

Actually, the CA on the U.S. side only asked where I had been and let me pass.

This left me very relieved until...

The toll booths (which I didn't mention in my previous post). It costs $4.00US to cross the international bridge and I didn't have a dime on me.

Nothing. No change, no Canadian, nothing.

I pulled up the the toll booth and explained that I was extremely sorry and negligent and had no money with me.

I was expecting they would hand me an envelope or something to mail in later. They take pictures of every license plate and vehicle that passes through, so this seemed reasonable to me.

Nope. The Toll Lady had other plans for me.

TL: You don't have any Canadian, change or anything?
Me: No. I am so sorry. I completely forgot about this toll.

TL: Okay, then. Give me your drivers license, drive over to that Holiday station and then park in this lot over here (gesturing) and bring me $4.00.
Me: Okay.

The Holiday station is a quarter mile from the toll plaza and the parking lot she directed me to is just adjacent to it.

I drove the the Holiday station got cash and then to the parking lot she directed me to. I walked across the lot, and out to the booth she was in and paid my toll.

Unfortunately, the lot I had pulled in to had no place to turn around and forced me to make a dozen or so small turns to finally get out of it.

When I got to the entrance to the lot, I turned the wrong way and ended up in another lot that again required me to perform a number of turns to get out of.

Once I was out of parking lot hell, I got on I75 and began my trip south to US28.

Right about the time the exit for US28 was coming up, my cell phone rang. It was Pat telling me that Buckda had made it to DeTour and was on his way home. Of course, I missed my exit, and had to drive another 8 miles down I75 just to turn around and drive back to US28.

After that, everything was a smooth as silk. I stopped twice for fuel, and got home at 0115 Sunday AM.

The trip was well worth it, and my border crossing experiences were actually valuable lessons. I won't make those mistakes again.

jimh posted 08-05-2008 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When we entered Canada (on a Saturday afternoon) there were several cars pulling small fishing boats ahead of us, and all lanes were open. Luckily we picked a fast moving lane and got through with little difficulty. The agent did inquire if we had "any extra gasoline for the boat." I replied, "No, just the normal tank." Of course, the tank was just about full to the brim with about 65-gallons of fuel.

In another lane a fellow was pulling a large sailboat. That lane came to a standstill when the boat reached the booth. He apparently was getting quite a grilling.

I think Dave's boat looked so big and so new--it's in showroom condition--that the Canadians might have suspected he was trying to import it or something. They're usually not such jerks about bringing a recreational boat into the country.

erik selis posted 08-05-2008 08:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Nice photo's Pat. I enjoyed watching the slide show during lunch. Time to daydream now.
What an incredible trip you guys had...


lavieve posted 08-05-2008 03:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lavieve  Send Email to lavieve     
We were up a littler earlier than this group on our annual trek. We stay just outside of Killarney on Pine Island channel. We love the area. Have been going up since the mid-sixties - first on our sailboat out of Sarnia YC and now in our trusty outrage II. Here are a few shots of this years trip
Buckda posted 08-06-2008 01:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I have some photos up now.

Sorry for the delay!

jimh posted 08-06-2008 08:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Your author in repose, at the dock in Gore Bay:

Photographer David Hart has captured the essence of this cruise for me.

home Aside posted 08-06-2008 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     

and these two show the essence of the trip for me ?action=view¤t=DSCN2048-1.jpg ?action=view¤t=DSCN2105.jpg


jimh posted 08-07-2008 11:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yeah--Pat--I think we're both in the same mindset, just a little different perspective from the camera. It was a great cruise. Let's do it again.
Hoosier posted 08-08-2008 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Sign us up.
jimh posted 08-12-2008 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is a preliminary narrative of our trip. No pictures in-line yet.

OIA posted 08-14-2008 12:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for OIA  Send Email to OIA     
Wow everyone, what a trip, what an adventure. I love the fact that there's all kinds of posts up to 7/27 then no post until 8/2 which starts with, "another successful cruise"

Thanks for the narratives, thanks for the pics.

John Mirassou

Buckda posted 08-15-2008 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
North Channel Rendezvous 2008.

Friday, August 25

Chicago. I get up early. This is my last day of work with my present employer, and I have two weeks off before my new job begins in Grand Rapids, MI. Today is a scheduled half day at work anyway, and for the past two weeks, I’ve been packing and moving and cleaning my apartment in the city so that I can get out of town as smoothly as possible today.

I hit the highways in Chicago headed north to work at 6:30 am. This is early, even for me, and the roads are relatively uncrowded. The truck is packed for the move to Grand Rapids…there is very little room for boat stuff I will need this afternoon!

12:00 Noon – I leave work for the last time, having turned in badges, computers, etc. all morning, and said my goodbyes to colleagues, .tc. I still need to stop by the apartment and clean a few items out of the fridge/freezer.

1:10 pm - I got home much faster than expected, and have thrown frozen goods into the truck and hit the road.

Note: from this point forward, all times are in EDT

4:00 – I stop for gas in Indiana, 20 miles from the boat. By 6:15, the trailer is hooked up, the boat is loaded and I’m on my way to Grand Rapids. By 9:00, I’ve unloaded in GR, moved more stuff into my new space, and re-packed the boat. Time to grocery shop for the trip. 10:00 pm finds me in the local grocery store, buying essentials for the trip.

Saturday, August 26

Grand Rapids, Michigan. I can’t sleep. Anticipation has me tossing and turning in my bed. At 2:15, I give up and begin my journey north. Around 5:30, I catch a snooze in Gaylord, Michigan, and wake at 7:30 am, refuel the truck and continue north.

At 9:45 am, I’m in DeTour (,-83.899346&z=17&t=h&hl=en ) and prepping the boat for the trip and launch. I’m a full four hours ahead of schedule to meet Hoosier, but try to raise him on the phone in case he and his wife are ready to leave earlier than expected. I am unable to connect with him. I take the time to call friends and family and let them know what is going on, where I am, where I will be, etc. I also do some additional shopping for items I’ve forgotten to bring. As usual, I’ve overpacked some items, and underpacked others.

I begin to get anxious as I listen to the weather forecast – building NW winds all afternoon to 15-20. If we wait too long, we’ll have a tough crossing. Come on AT&T! I call David again. Nope! Cell phone coverage remains stubbornly inadequate in this area of Michigan.

I force myself to be satisfied with tinkering aboard the boat on the trailer. I check electronics, fidget with how I’ve loaded the boat, reposition coolers and gear boxes. At one point, I’m wondering if Dave and Cathy have decided not to come. If I’m going to cross alone, I better go as soon as possible, I think. I prep the boat for launching and then launch. I pay for parking, and cast off. I’ll just motor around near DeTour to keep myself busy.

Just as I’ve left the marina, my cell phone rings. FINALLY! Dave is able to get connectivity and calls to say that he and Cathy are indeed very excited about the trip, and are about 20 minutes out. I return to the launch ramp and tie up at a courtesy dock to wait for their arrival.

David and Cathy arrive with a beautiful 1978 v-20 in tow. The boat is obviously rigged for fishing, with downriggers aft and bristling with fishing rods. We say our “hello’s” and I finally get to meet a CW member who purchased my windshield a few years ago, and with whom I’ve been in sporadic e-mail touch with ever since. They quickly prep the boat for launch and slip her into the cool clear waters of Lake Huron. While Cathy parks the rig, David and I have a quick discussion of routes to Blind River and a quick listen to weather radio. We determine that a run up in the lee of St. Joseph’s Island is in order, which exposes us to a quick open water crossing to Thessalon, and then downwind the rest of the way to Blind River. The distance is about 60 miles.

The crossing is mostly uneventful, although the wind and sea-state cause David to run a bit slower (his Outrage is powered by a 115 HP DFI Suzuki four-stroke that is marvelously quiet, but may be a tad underpowered for his heavily loaded rig in this type of application).

At 5:45 PM, we arrive at Blind River (,-82.965392&z=15&t=h&hl=en ) and call the customs office to report our crossing. We return to the harbormaster and pay for our slip for the evening. Home Aside is the only other trip member who is already at Blind River, and once we are in our slips ($1.50 CAD/Foot), we go to the launch ramp to assist Pat in launching his boat. As he preps for the launch, JimH and Christinee arrive with Continuouswave in tow. We assist both to their slips and catch up and make introductions. David Pendelton is somewhere in Michigan’s UP, and Cicada (Paul and Suzanne) is enroute but estimated to arrive around 10:00 PM.

We call a shuttle to take us to the Elko Inn in Blind River and enjoy a fresh Pickerel (or Whitefish for some) dinner. The Inn has just changed hands, but the new owner seems to be doing a fine job…at least in the kitchen. Dinner is excellent and we return to the docks before dark and enjoy some socializing, cigars and beverages on the dock. At this point, Paul and Suzanne arrive with their 18’ Outrage in tow. We help them launch and enjoy more refreshments before turning in for the night.

Overnight, there is heavy rain, arriving in three rounds, with at least one embedded thunderstorm. I lay dry and comfortable under my canvas, but the noise of the downpour is impossible to sleep through. I get up, and look out the side curtains to see if Tampico is berthed at the slip we’ve reserved for her. No sign of the 23 Conquest.

On the north side of the finger pier, from shore to seaward, is my 18’ Outrage. Next to me is Dave Hart’s v-20 Outrage, and then JimH with his Revenge 22 WD.

On the south side of the pier, opposite Dave Hart, are Paul and Suzanne in their 18’ Outrage, with Pat’s 22’ Revenge next to them in the slip. The other side of Pat is reserved for David Pendleton’s 23 Conquest.

The rain slows down and I return to my berth under the canvas and slowly drift back to sleep.

Sunday, July 27, 2008
Blind River, Ontario.

I’ve been up for a few hours and we still have no sign of David Pendleton. It’s 10:00 and we have received a phone call from him – he is expected in an hour. David Hart takes his v-20 to the gas dock to top off his tank for the trip. We hope to be under way by 11:00.

At 11:00, David shows up and immediately has plenty of help with the big 23 Conquest. The boat is prepped and launched in short order, and we are soon underway. The official North Channel Rendezvous has begun, at just shy of noon!

As we enter the Whalesback Channel, (,-82.652259&z=12&t=h&hl=en ) we see the first of the spectacular scenery awaiting us in the North Channel, which is easily one of the top 10 cruising destinations in the world, and is one of the absolute best freshwater cruising areas that any boater could wish for.

Soon, the radio chatter reveals that the group is hungry! We’re running downwind in 20-30 mph WNW winds, and so we traverse the passage of Little Detroit, and seek shelter in the cove on Eagle Island. (,-82.270906&z=12&t=h&hl=en )

We raft up all six boats in order from South to North (with the boats facing the wind): Gambler, Cicada, Home Aside, Continuous wave, Tampico, Hart’s Desire. Anchor lines are out from Continuous wave and Tampico.

After lunch, we break the raft, enter the McBean Channel and make the downwind run to the Wabuno Channel. The group stretches out in the somewhat rough following seas, with Gambler, Tampico and Home Aside in the lead group. As we continue down wind, I begin to fidget with the trim tabs to smooth out the ride. On one particularly steep wave, I manage to hammer the backside of the wave in front, sending a fountain of water up about 35 feet in the air. The twin 90 HP motors push the Whaler through the wave, leaping off the crest and through the wall of water that is slowly drifting down on the wind. The canvas, from flying top to the shelter – is soaked. I look over at Dave Pendleton, who is running alongside me. He has a huge grin on his face – he saw it, and is pushing the 23 Conquest to similar levels of water displacement, the Accutrak hull sending sheets of water in both directions off the bow. We’re having fun, but it’s definitely getting rougher out here!

We stop briefly at the top of the Wabuno Channel,-81.970711&spn=0. 053039,0.109863&t=h&z=13 to allow the remainder of the group to catch up. We can hear their chatter on the radio, and soon realize that they will be some time before they catch up. We radio that we are going to divert across the top of Great LaCloche Island to see if anyone is home at Neptune Island, the summer home of Kingfish.,-81.932613&spn=0. 001657,0.003433&t=h&z=18

Frank and his wife are indeed at Neptune Island, and he recognizes the Whalers as soon as we come into the field of view of the front porch. He’s waiting for us on the dock, and we soon tie up, have a beer and chat with Frank about the cottage, the new solar power system and other light chatter.

Not wanting to overstay our welcome, and to ensure we get a slip for the night at our destination in Little Current, some 7 miles away, we say our goodbyes and cast off, heading straight into 5 and 6 foot chop for a mile before turning southward into the Wabuno Channel toward Little Current. We call Continuous Wave on the radio and are assured we have slips near the rest of the group. Soon, we’re snug in our slips and breaking open a favorite adult beverage. My trip odometer reads 126 miles in the past two days of boating. I go to the office and by 2 blocks of ice and pay for my moorage ($1.75 CAD/foot) with a 20 ft. minimum. The total bill comes to 38 dollars.

Spider Bay Marina,-81.930907&spn=0. 003317,0.006866&t=h&z=17 is busy – they played host to the Mackinac-Manitoulin regatta the weekend before, and the next weekend is the Haweater’s Festival – a really, really big deal in Little Current. The tents are up and ready for the crowds. We’re glad we won’t have to deal with it on this trip.

Pat, Dave P and I eat aboard the boats, while Paul and Suzanne head for the Shaftsbury Inn for accommodations, and then to join JimH and Chris at the Anchor Inn for dinner. Dave and Cathy Hart eat along shore, preparing a hot meal using a coleman stove. The evening is fair, and Pat, Dave and I enjoy a little après dinner refreshment aboard the roomy cockpit of the 23 Conquest.

Later, I curl up in the bow of the 18’ Outrage to begin a very good book: The Living Great Lakes, by Jerry Dennis. Soon, Pat and Dave are calling to me to see if I want to go into town for drinks. I agree, and we’re soon strolling the streets of Little Current.

We sit down to have some drinks and enjoy the atmosphere. Soon, it’s getting late, and we walk back to our slips at Spider Bay to retire for the evening.

Monday, July 28
Spider Bay Marina, Little Current
8:00 AM has me up and heading to the shower. As I wait for the shower, I reflect that I began a book yesterday afternoon….and it is the first book I’ve read for pleasure in the past year. How sad when work and life intervene to keep you from something that you enjoy so much!

Back at the Marina, I inquire to JimH if he’s heard from Terry and Donna yet. No word on where they are, but we suspect that they stopped somewhere yesterday afternoon due to the strong winds (we suspect wrong). The group is just starting to stir, so I join Dave Pendleton for a side-trip to the supermarket. In town, we stop to get some booze at the liquor control store, and I also pick up a chart (#2206) for McGregor Bay. I plan to study it carefully tonight in Killarney in preparation for tomorrow’s trip into the bay.

When we get back to the docks, around 11:00 AM, the fleet has already departed – I can see JimH at the fuel dock, and we hear chatter on the radio that others are at the government dock getting fuel and we hustle to the boats and cast off. We’re going under the swing bridge around 11:15, and on our way toward Baie Fine shortly afterwards.

After a brief side-route to the small boat passage for a look at Dreamer’s Rock (here, our host JimH left the slower boats in the group in the dust) we’re back on plane and running to the mouth of Baie Fine. It’s a lovely day, with high cotton-like clouds. The bay is beautiful, with rugged granite shorelines and numerous protected coves on either side. We have a nice run up to the top of the bay, the pool, where we raft off for lunch.

After lunch the group breaks up the raft and heads for Killarney for overnight. Tampico’s anchor has trudged up about 200 pounds of seaweed, and I idle over to provide some assistance with the boat hook, as Dave is unable to retrieve the anchor with all that weight attached. (Before you think I’m a good Samaritan, I did take a few photos and a short video of Dave laboring with the green monster before I came over to assist!)

Back underway, the afternoon is getting long. With such a late start, the day’s boating has been pretty brief, all told. By 5:30, we’ve arrived at Killarney,-81.512032&spn=0. 026547,0.054932&t=h&z=14 and are working our way into the docks at Killarney Mountain Lodge. There is a little miscommunication between Pat and I about anchoring out, but we soon get that sorted, enjoy some fish from Herbert’s fish bus aboard Tampico, and soon, Home Aside and Gambler are rafted up at anchor about 5 miles from the Killarney in a small harbor near Covered Portage Cove, which was chock-a-block full when we arrived. It’s 7:30, and Pat and I settle in to enjoy a cigar and some libations. The sunset is beautiful, the water tranquil and soon, we’re gawking at a beautiful starry, starry night. We are not astronomers nor are we employed by NASA, but I believe we also caught a glimpse of a very bright International Space Station trucking across the nighttime sky as well.

At some point early in the morning, I wake for a head call. The sun is just starting to brighten the horizon, and the moon shines brightly overhead. I get a good photo of this beautiful moment, and then retire back to my comfortable berth and get more sleep.

The GPS Odometer shows that we’ve run 185 miles since DeTour.

Tuesday, July 29
At anchor near Killarney.

We’ve been in contact with the group in town and agree to meet up at 10:00 AM. The heavy dewfall aboard Gambler and Home Aside mean Pat and I have some drying to do before we get underway, but the sun is bright and the breeze is coming up, so this is accomplished in short order. Today’s destination is Pothole Portage, a cove near the very top of Iroquois Bay at the top of MacGregor Bay.

We make the run down the Landsdowne channel without incident, and rally the group to traverse Hole-in-the-Wall,,-81.688886&spn=0. 00664,0.013733&t=h&z=16 a narrow passage at the south end of the channel that is good practice for some of the careful navigating we will need to engage in up in MacGregor Bay.

Once through this passage, we continue north toward Frazier Point and the entry into MacGregor Bay.

MacGregor Bay is a pretty large open water bay, but it is fraught with underwater reefs and small, low granite islands. This image perhaps shows it best.,-81.635971&spn=0. 026513,0.054932&t=h&z=14 Under bright lighting conditions, most shoals can be identified and avoided. With the assistance of GPS and accurate cartography (digital, and chart 2206), I have spent a significant amount of time over the winter plotting a safe passage through the guardian shoals so that we can experience the treats that lie within the channels and islands that make up the bay.

We rally at the entrance of the bay and proceed in close, single file formation. There are several 60 degree turns that require tight passages between shoals and low granite islands, but despite the “pucker factor”, we manage to stay in about 30 feet of water or greater the whole way to Pardsay Craig Island, where we again rally and begin our slow-speed traverse of the interior of MacGregor.,-81.628182&spn=0. 006627,0.013733&t=h&z=16

We pass through “FDR-Cut” (see JimH’s narrative),-81.632516&spn=0. 003311,0.006866&t=h&z=17 , which really represents the last challenging passage before we enter the expansive and deep (more than 370 feet in some places) Iroquois Bay,-81.639748&spn=0. 026482,0.054932&t=h&z=14 .

From here, it is a beautifully rugged and easy passage to Pothole Portage, our destination for today, and tonight.,-81.672428&spn=0. 00331,0.006866&t=h&z=17

Pothole Portage is a lovely place, and the blueberry-picking is excellent. During the course of our afternoon, several local cottagers arrived and departed with big collections of the tasty fruit for their pies and to eat with cereal or ice-cream on their holiday at the cottage. The group enjoyed a warm afternoon with plenty of swimming and conversation, and eventually, we all rafted up to enjoy dinner aboard the boats, and a slide-show of photos from the trip so far, with a healthy dose of liquor to keep the mood light.

Almost immediately after I retired for the evening, a light rain began to fall, and continued throughout the night. The really good news: despite the well protected harbor located deep into the woods, we managed an east wind (which brought the rain) straight off the bay, which in turn, kept the mosquitoes at bay. I slept with no rear curtain on the canvas, just a thin barrier of mosquito netting draped from the aft portion of the flying top.

Wednesday, July 30

At anchor in Pothole Portage.

The morning dawns cool and damp. The rain that fell overnight has ceased, but left a foggy, misty morning. The forecast calls for clearing this afternoon, with a chance of thundershowers in the evening.

Our final destination today is undetermined, but we all agree to go to Little Current as some in the group need fuel, others need some food provisions, etc. With a foggy morning and no direct sunlight, getting out of MacGregor Bay will be a little tricky. I had originally hoped to do some additional exploration in the area, and take an alternative route out of the area towards Little Current, but given the visibility, I decided it best to leave that for another trip.

We broke up the raft and began our exit into Iroquois Bay. The moring was so foggy, that I illuminated GAMBLER’s navigation lights.

It took the group about two hours to make it through the bay and back to Frazier Point. By the time we got underway toward Little Current, the skies were clearing, though there was still a bit of mist hanging around. We approached Little Current and pressing our size advantage, passed a whole gaggle of large motor and sailing yachts waiting for the bridge to open, as our small boats can cross under the bridge when it is closed. We took on fuel at Wally’s fuel dock and had lunch at the government docks in Little Current. We also took the opportunity to reprovision the boats and held a brief captains meeting to determine the destination for the night: Kegawong.

By 3:00 we were underway to Kegawong, fighting a stiff Westerly wind that was building 2’ chop on the open waters of West and Mudge Bays.,-82.09465&spn=0. 212479,0.439453&t=h&z=11

Once at Kegawong, Pat and I diverted north to Clapperton Island to find an anchorage for the evening. We eventually settled in the lee of Clapperton Island in Logan Bay, the northernmost sizeable bay near the top of the island,-82.188721&spn=0. 10607,0.219727&t=h&z=12 (a closer image of Logan Bay is currently obscured by clouds in the Google Earth Image accessed when writing this narrative).

Once securely anchored and rafted, we contacted the group at Kegawong to provide our location and agreed to make radio contact in the morning at 9:00 AM.

From that point, Pat and I enjoyed a nice meal cooked aboard on my Coleman stove, and then drinks and a fine Cuban cigar aboard Pat’s boat. The sun set behind us, illuminating towering thunderheads north and east of our position on the mainland. The wind was calm in our little anchorage, and we enjoyed the evening and relaxed to the quiet sound of water gently lapping a Whaler hull.

Thursday, July 31

At anchor, Logan Bay, near Clapperton Island.

The day dawns bright and clear, and we enjoy a bowl of cereal with our morning sunshine. We’ve made connection with the group in Kegawong, who report a gentle rocking swell at their berths overnight. Pat and I had flat calm conditions.

David Hart is working waiting for a Suzuki mechanic to come down to look at his trim/tilt system, and is inquiring about a spare thrust washer for his auxiliary prop. This is the Harts’ first cruising rendezvous, and the beautiful v-20 Outrage is not yet fully set up for this kind of camping/cruising. It would have been nice to have opportunity to try the spare prop to see if his rigs performance changed as an improvement, or for the worse, but alas, an elusive (and expensive!) thrust washer denied us that opportunity.

In any event, the mechanic visit slows the groups departure and so Pat and I wait patiently, busying ourselves with boat chores and getting a little more reading done. It’s a beautiful morning, and Logan Bay is a tranquil spot. I don’t mind the delay.

Soon, the group departs Kegawong and we can hear their radio chatter as they navigate their way to Logan Bay. Once they arrive, we haul anchor and depart for the Benjamin Island Group for lunch, pausing at Porcupine Island to investigate the small harbor there. Soon, we’re munching on lunch in the lee of South Benjamin Island and enjoying another glorious afternoon in the North Channel.

After lunch, most of the group departs south for Gore Bay. Pat and I again choose to sleep at anchor, and we spend the afternoon exploring the area around the Benjamins, including Frechette Island and a protected channel north of Frechette Island,-82.245541&spn=0. 052932,0.109863&t=h&z=13

While we’re in this channel, protected from the strong Westerly winds, we finally find Terry and Donna Hart aboard their 240 Outrage with twin 200 Merc EFI motors. We quickly come to their small anchorage and raft off them for a conversation and to say hello. It isn’t long before we’ve convinced them to come with us – we have plans to anchor overnight in Porcupine harbor. Soon, we’re off and making headway through the middle entrance to the Benjamins,-82.255239&spn=0. 006622,0.013733&t=h&z=16 for the small harbor on Porcupine Island,-82.226593&spn=0. 001656,0.003433&t=h&z=18

It’s a tight fit, but worth it as the three boats snuggle in the south end of the harbor for the night. Pat and I go “bouldering” on the rocks ashore and stop to pick some blueberries for breakfast the next morning. Terry and Donna have come with plenty of food, and we enjoy Elk Sausage as an appetizer, and pork tenderloin as a main course, cooked on Terry’s force 10 grill. Our bellies are tight, we’re happy and we settle in under the starry sky for another night at anchor. Unfortunately, we also experience a little residual swell from the afternoon’s waves, which makes this the roughest night of the trip…but I manage to sleep well.

Friday, August 1

At anchor/moored to the rocks, Porcupine Island

We wake to another beautiful morning with sun shining and a rising westerly breeze. I go for my morning stroll and take some photos, and then fix breakfast: cheerios with fresh blueberries picked the evening before.

We’ve agreed to meet the rest of the group today at noon at Beardrop Harbor for lunch, so we have some time to relax and enjoy the morning, as we’re much closer than the rest of the boats which are down in Gore Bay.

Soon enough though (I could have stayed there all day, truth be told, but even on vacation, you can be a slave to schedules!), we’re underway and making our way up the McBean Channel to Little Detroit. We’ve heard both Cicada and ContinuousWave on the radio, but have been unable to hail them successfully, but we overhear that they’re heading for Moiles Harbor on John Island…and from the sound of things, we’re likely to meet up exactly when they enter the Whalesback Channel. I am successful in hailing JimH and we let them know where we are. Soon, the fleet is complete (minus David Pendleton who is running hard across the North Channel to catch up with us), and proceed to Beardrop Harbor,-82.632465&spn=0. 013228,0.027466&t=h&z=15 .

At the harbor, we join a few other boats which are hiding from the building west winds and raft up for lunch behind a narrow peninsula of rock that provides a little protected cove within the harbor. The image above, at least at the time of this posting, clearly indicates the relative height of the land in this harbor, as you can see the leeward “wind shadow” on the water behind various islands and other land masses.

After an afternoon lunch and a swim, we watch as weather begins to move into the area, and after checking satellite data aboard Terry and Donna’s Outrage 240, we wait for a window of opportunity to flee for more sheltered water. At this point there is a split in the group. Terry, Pat, Dave and I decide to run to the North Channel Yacht Club,-82.652292&spn=0. 003304,0.006866&t=h&z=17 in nearby Spragge. This course allows us to run downwind in the heavily building seas, and gives us another night away from our cars…we’ll still feel like we’re on vacation.

The rest of the group pounds their way back to Blind River. Both groups manage to avoid extreme weather that did occur on shore that afternoon.

At the Yacht Club, we secure our boats and have a shower and then get permission to use the clubhouse and kitchen to make a big end-of-trip meal. We cook burgers and brauts on the grill, and I make homemade house fries on the stove in the kitchen. We also do extra duty and clean dishes for the 5 boats/crews that ate that evening in the clubhouse – our way of saying “thanks” for their hospitality.

Later that evening, the stars are out again, but so are the mosquitos. It’s been a long trip and we’re all tired, so we have a brief nightcap and then retire to our boats with the plan to get up and running to Blind River by 9:00 AM.

Saturday, August 2

Docked at North Channel Yacht Club.

We get up at 8 AM and are moving quickly to get underway. By 8:45, we’re on the water, having said our goodbyes to Terry and Donna (who are going to run across Lake Huron to Rogers City, Michigan this afternoon), and we get underway. The wind and lake is very calm and for the first time in the trip, we’re cruising at a nice, efficient fast cruise (3,500 RPM aboard Gambler) and making good time across the 15 miles of water to Blind River. As we arrive, JimH is just hauling ContinuousWave at the ramp. We spend a few hours in Blind River, saying goodbye and helping others load their boats for the road before David and Kathy Hart and I depart and begin the trip to DeTour.

We enjoy a beautiful afternoon crossing to Drummond Island Yacht Haven, where we stop to clear customs and use the facilities. We then proceed to DeTour, where we haul the boats and prep our rigs for the road. Tonight’s destination is the Hart’s cabin in the woods outside of DeTour, so we haven’t far to go. We’re at his cottage by 3:30 or so in the afternoon and begin our reflections on the trip….What a trip.

Thanks to everyone for attending – I think we need more time next time!


andygere posted 08-28-2008 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Great stories and photos as usual. No other way to put it, that is one spectacular area for Boston Whaler cruising. I am honored to have been mentioned and invited to participate in the future, and hope that I will be able to do just that some day. Naturally, all of you are welcome for a boating tour of my little slice of paradise in Northern California if you are ever in the area.
jimh posted 10-20-2008 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I happened across this interesting website today, and from it I was able to extract some historical data that is related to the week-long cruise which is the topic of this discussion. The website, idxMapQbasic_e.asp

allows you to retrieve historical data from instrumented buoys around Canada. In our case the buoy of interest is 45154, Eastern North Channel (of Lake Huron). This buoy has its own website:

You can see where this buoy is stationed: 634%20W&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=N&tab=wl

Here are some graphs I generated and saved. First we look at the average wave height on the buoy during July: WaveHeightHuronNC2008July_GIF.GIF

Note that wave height is in meters on the Y-axis; the X-axis is the day of the month.

Recall that Dave Buckda and Dave Hart were underway from Detour to Blind River on July 26, 2008. For more details of the trip see my narrative at .

It is a good thing they got an early start as the average wave height reached 1.25-meters or about 4-feet. Now these are not the usual fisherman-reported four-footers, these are really waves where the significant wave height, the average of the upper one-third of all waves, is four-feet. You can also see that when I described our trip on Thursday, July 31, as heading into waves "building to 3-foot" I was quite accurate. The buoy and I agree on wave height: one-meter waves recorded.

I also plotted the maximum wave height recorded by the buoy: WaveHeightHuronNC2008JulyMAX_GIF.GIF

This shows that late on Saturday the North Channel was roaring with waves as high as 2.5-meters or about 8-footers. It is a good thing those 18-foot and 20-foot Whalers were probably already in Blind River by then. Also on Thursday we might have encountered a rogue wave of six-feet if we had ventured out early.

Overall it looks like the week we picked was a bit rougher than average. However, we can all take solace in the fact that we were not out there on July 9th, then the peak wave height reached 3.25 meters or 10.5-feet!

prj posted 10-21-2008 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
I ran across November's Dwell magazine in the office cafe and found this boathouse in Georgian Bay a nice little project. Make note of the classic 15' Boston Whaler at the dock outside and what looks to be an 18' Dauntless in the boat barn.

Do we know the Worples? articleID=29899104#id=a_1&num=1

jimh posted 10-21-2008 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have been by Pointe Au Baril (Point with a Barrel) several times, but I don't recall seeing the floating house. I do admire their taste in both boats and cottages.

Pointe Au Baril is quite a ways south and east of the area we visited in our North Channel 2008 trip.

Buckda posted 10-27-2008 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That is a cool house.

I need to figure out how to get most of my summer off and still afford a cottage like that.


The Pointe Au Baril area is really neat - there is a great day-club there for cottagers and their families to recreate, relax and enjoy the community - the Ojibway Club. There are some great images of this area available via GoogleEarth.

Pointe Au Baril Station is also a neat little community. I hope to have a chance to spend more time in the area in the future.


prj posted 11-02-2008 10:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
As an architect, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that I have this spring and summer "off", with the ability to do some more boating than I'm accustomed to. Seems as though the banks aren't so keen on financing much in the way of construction and most people don't fund such projects out-of-pocket...

Tell ya what Dave and Jim, muster the buck-fitty per square foot required for one of these simple abodes, and I'll put one together for you pretty tight. I might even suggest some oiled teak and stainless steel detailing just to keep it familiar.

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