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2014 Little Current Rendezvous
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posted 09-02-2014 09:07 AM ET (US)
The 2014 Little Current Rendezvous and Cruise
Nine boats attended the 2014 Little Current (Ontario) rendezvous, planned for Saturday, August 9, 2014. The means of travel to and from the rally point are interesting in themselves, as well as the week of cruising in the vicinity of Little Current. In total, the rendezvous spanned 11 days of boating, which is described in brief below.
Three boats arrived on their own bottoms. On Thursday, DEFIANCE (Defiance aluminum hull 30-footer) came from Chambers Island, Wisconsin, across Lake Michigan, through the Straits of Mackinaw, to Cheboygan, Michigan.
On Friday at Cheboygan, the LUCKY TWO (Whaler 25 Walkaround) joined them, the two big boats setting out at 9 a.m. for the False Detour Passage and then on to Meldrum Bay, arriving in time for lunch. At the real Detour Passage on Friday, the 23 Walkaround MANIC MOMENT also departed, sailing on her own for Meldrum Bay.
On Saturday morning, the three boats left Meldrum Bay for Little Current, arriving about 4 p.m., after making a lunch stop in Kagawong to visit Bridal Veil Falls. The weather was fair, winds were favorable, and waves were very small throughout this segment of their trip.
Five boats arrived via highway and trailers. OUTRE (Outrage 22) left Midland (Michigan) on Friday, arriving Little Current late that day, and was already at the dock on Saturday. CONTINUOUSWAVE (Revenge 22 W-T Whaler Drive) left Beverly Hills (Michigan) on Friday, but stopped overnight at Carolyn Beach near Thessalon (Ontario) to split up the 530-mile drive, and arrived Little Current 1 p.m., Saturday.
EASTPORT (Eastport 21), in tow behind a motor home and still in her on-the-road adventure phase, HOLLY MARIE (23 Walkaround Whaler Drive), in tow behind a 1-ton dual-wheel-rear-axle truck and departing from the Minneapolis area, and OUTLIER (Pursuit 235), in tow behind a Ford Expedition and departing early from Lake Orion (Michigan), all happened to meet on the highway at Sault Ste. Marie. OUTLIER passed through Canadian Customs and Immigration first, and arrived in Little Current about 6:30 p.m. EASTPORT was delayed at the border, and HOLLY MARIE, behind them, loitered there with them. They arrived about 7 p.m. in Little Current, The brake on the left front trailer axle on HOLLY MARIE malfunctioned on the drive, but the big dually truck proved to be able to handle the load without its assistance.
One boat, WHITEWATER (Revenge 25), arrived by a combination of highway towing and ferry. Departing Port Huron on the highway on Saturday, they were loaded on the early ferry crossing on Sunday morning aboard the Chi-Cheemaun, sailing Tobermory to South Baymouth, and then drove on to Little Current and arrived about 10 a.m. Sunday.
The six trailered boats all launched at Spider Bay Marina, and also left their trucks and trailers there. A week of parking and the ramp fee totaled about $35.
With eight boats gathered on Saturday evening, docktails and hors d'ouerves were consumed on the fine floating docks of the Port of Little Current, to such an extent that dinner cooking was cancelled. The weather was fair, and all the boats were in close proximity on D-Dock. With taxes added, dock fees came to about $2-per-foot. At the East docks, showers and bathrooms were scarce and under heavy use. An impressive rendezvous of Ranger Tug boats filled A-Dock with about twenty nearly matching blue-hulled vessels at the western end of the port.
Sunday morning continued fair weather, light winds, and calm seas. Departure was delayed slightly to permit WHITEWATER to launch and join the fleet, and we were underway about 11 a.m., heading East toward Baie Fine. Only a few cruising boats were in Marianne Cove, and our nine-boat fleet found room there to anchor in three rafts for lunch. After lunch a climb was made to CASSON PEAK by a large group. The 600-foot ascent was arduous but the view from the summit was rewarding. The fleet remained in Marianne Cove, had an excellent dinner cooked mainly on the grill mounted to HOLLY MARIE's bow railing, and settled in for the night. The moon was a full moon in perigee, often called a supermoon, and this was the closest approach of the year, thus a super supermoon. I awoke at 3 a.m. to make astronomical observations; the illumination by moonlight was spectacular, with the sky completely free of clouds and our boats silent and still in the dark water of the high-sided cove.
On Monday morning we were greeted with more fair weather, light winds, and no waves. Counting from Thursday, when DEFIANCE set out, that made five straight days of fair weather, light winds, and very calm seas. We departed Marianne Cove and proceeded up Baie Fine to The Pool. A nine-boat raft was anchored, followed by swimming and lunch. A large shore party went off to make the climb to Topaz Lake. Unfortunately, heavy rainfall this summer had turned Topaz Lake into an emerald-green lake, and the magnificent blue color was not seen. When the shore party returned, the raft was broken up, and the fleet headed back to Fraser Bay, unwilling to anchor overnight in The Pool due to the very poor holding of its weedy bottom.
WHITEWATER split off and went to Little Current, and the other eight boats went to Killarney for the night. Excellent dockage was found at SPORTSMAN'S INN, about $2-per-foot after taxes, although the fleet was somewhat spread among the several docks. The showers and bathroom facilities were abundant and excellent. For dinner we enjoyed take-out fish and chips from HERBERT'S, who have removed the famous red school bus and are constructing a new, three-storey building to house their fishery and restaurant businesses. There was a very big line at the temporary van serving as the take-out window, and we had to wait almost 45-minutes for our orders to be filled.
Overnight Monday and into Tuesday a massive low pressure storm system moved into the Great Lakes region, bringing heavy rain and high winds. The forecasts called for wave heights of 2-meters. RADAR from internet weather sites showed an enormous low-pressure system, centered just about on our position, and rotating counterclockwise, with very high rainfall. A brief interlude in the rain on Tuesday afternoon permitted an exploratory trip in LUCKY TWO to test conditions in Georgian Bay. Six-foot waves were encountered at the harbor exit, and the boat ride was cut short. Tuesday night a large group went to dinner at KILLARNEY MOUNTAIN LODGE, which seems to have a new chief. The food was excellent. Unfortunately, fresh fish was not available as it had been too rough for any local fish to be taken in. It was very pleasant to sit indoors, at an historic old resort, and be served good food at reasonable prices.
Wednesday the stormy weather continued, with high winds, rain, and large waves. We again decided to remain in Killarney's shelter for the day. A hike to the lighthouse was organized in the afternoon, during another respite from rain. The trail was very wet and the distance to the lighthouse proved too great for most of us. We did reach a tall overlook that permitted a great view of Georgian Bay from a rocky headland. For dinner, dockside hors d'oeuvres satiated our appetites so well that we never did get to cooking much at all.
Thursday began with more overcast skies, rain, and strong northwest winds, but we could tolerate being harbor bound in Killarney no more. OUTRE went further East to explore Collins Inlet. DEFIANCE and OUTLIER set out together directly for Little Current. In strong head seas, OUTLIER slowed while DEFIANCE steamed on. MANIC MOMENT departed Killarney some time later, also bound for Little Current. The remaining EASTPORT, CONTINUOUSWAVE, HOLLY MARIE, and LUCKY TWO departed about 11 a.m. and visited Covered Portage Cove and Snug Harbor, finding both of them remarkably unfilled with boats. They then set out in earnest for Little Current, taking a southerly approach, staying in the shelter of the lee of Badgely Point, Centre Island, Partridge Island, and Heywood Island as much as possible. They made their Northing in the lee of Strawberry Island, and had only a short run in head seas to Little Current, where they arrived for a late lunch. Approaching the docks was an exercise in boat handling, as there was a very strong current flowing through them from West to East at about five-knots. To find the best protection from the wind and current, tie-ups on B-dock were sought, and, fortunately, all were able to take open slips in very close proximity.
At Little Current the fleet was re-united with WHITEWATER, but only briefly. Tired of all the rain and wind this week, WHITEWATER found space was available on the afternoon ferry sailing, and went to the launch ramp to get on the trailer. OUTLIER was similarly motivated, and they, too, went to the ramp to head for home. DEFIANCE, needing to make some progress toward home, continued on, first turning North to the Wabuno Channel, then running West through the McBean Channel, Little Detroit, Aird Island, and John Island. There she turned Southwest, crossed the North Channel, and made it all the way to Drummond Island, a remarkable day's run into four to five foot head seas. EASTPORT went to the ramp, hauled out, and slept in their motor home for the night. OUTRE, CONTINOUSWAVE, MANIC MOMENT, HOLLY MARIE, and LUCKY TWO remained at the docks. A fine dinner cookout under the shelter of the West pavilion was conducted, and a magnificent red sunset was observed, promising fair weather for Friday.
Friday morning the weather was beautifully fair with clear skies, but the wind was blowing a near gale from the West. OUTRE left very early to haul out and head home, gone by 8 a.m.. At 10 a.m. the remaining fleet departed Little Current, heading west, with EASTPORT having relaunched. CONTINUOUSWAVE joined, but only for a few miles, before returning to the ramp to haul out. Obligations at work required a one-day early termination to her cruise.
LUCKY TWO and MANIC MOMENT stayed together, heading into the big westerlies, transiting the Clapperton Island passage, and aiming for Gore Bay. EASTPORT and HOLLY MARIE went North via the Wabuno Channel to gunkhole in the relative calm and shelter of the Bay of Islands.
By Friday evening, the fleet was completely scattered. OUTRE and WHITEWATER were on the highway (or ferry) and would reach home. A flat tire on the trailer slowed OUTLIER for a while, but she was home by late evening. CONTINUOUSWAVE stopped in St. Ignace for the night about 7 p.m., too tired to drive on.
HOLLY MARIE was at anchor somewhere in the Bay of Islands. EASTPORT was back on her trailer in Little Current and her crew were in the motor home.
In the big seas West of Clapperton Island Passage, sloshing fuel in the tank of LUCKY TWO stirred up old sediments, disabling one engine due to a restriction in its fuel filter. She proceeded to Gore Bay on her remaining engine, accompanied by MANIC MOMENT.
DEFIANCE continued West, through the Straits of Mackinaw, and pressed on to Chambers Island (See more details below.)
Saturday brought more rain. CONTINUOUSWAVE drove home on the highway from St. Ignace in the rain. MANIC MOMENT reached home in Detour Village. LUCKY TWO sat out a rainy day in Gore Bay, awaiting a mechanic to service the fuel system. He arrived in the late afternoon, but was missing a crucial tool. HOLLY MARIE enjoyed a beautiful yet solitary cruise back to Little Current in light seas and overcast skies, and was hauled out and on the highway by 2 p.m. She joined EASTPORT's crew for a dinner together in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Later, just ten miles from the Wisconsin border, one of HOLLY MARIE's trailer tires blew out rather spectacularly, with tire debris taking out the entire trailer brake system.
Sunday morning the mechanic returned to Gore Bay and serviced LUCKY TWO's fuel system, replacing all the fuel filters and spark plugs. The plugs were badly fouled, which was thought to have been due to debris in the fuel causing the injectors to remain open slightly instead of completely closing, creating very rich fuel mixtures. LUCKY TWO set off in fair weather and light winds, reaching their home port, Cheboygan. HOLLY MARIE awoke Sunday in a Wisconsin parking lot, overlooking Lake Michigan, and reached home in Minnesota by 5 p.m. In a strange coincidence of travel, she met another frequent Whaler cruiser, TAMPICO, eastbound on Interstate-94 just west of the Minnesota border. EASTPORT was at home on the road, heading for more boating in Michigan.
posted 09-02-2014 12:41 PM ET (US)
Craig sent more details on DEFIANCE and the trip to Little Current and back from Chambers Island:
August 8th we departed Cheboygan for Meldrum Bay, total distance 66.8-nm.
August 9th Meldrum Bay to Little current with a stop at Kogawong, total distance 58.2-nm.
August 14th Kilarney to Drummond Island was 105.4-nm with a crossing of the western half of the North Channel with 2 to 4-foot waves and winds gusting to 25-knots. Cleared customs and spent the night at Drummond Island Yacht Harbor.
August 15th departed Drummond Island at 8 a.m. and headed for Mackinaw Island,. The winds were west and forecasted to turn south throughout the day. As we approached the Mackinaw Bridge the waves began to build to 4-feet. As we traveled West of the bridge the conditions worsened and we were slowed to 10 to 12-knot pace with regular water up and over the windshield. We arrived at Beaver Island at 12:30 p.m. after 4-hours and 38-minutes and 83.6-nm. We were very tired and our initial plan was to stay the night, however, after checking weather and seeing that conditions would likely deteriorate the next day, we opted to push on for Chambers Island that afternoon. Conditions remained the same for the rest of the trip that afternoon until we entered Rock Island Passage into Green Bay and were in the lee of the Door Peninsula. We arrived at the Chambers Island dock at 6:15 p.m. and enjoyed some well deserved beverages with some friends on the dock. Total distance for the day 167.6-nm and 9 hours 25 minutes on the water.
Total distance for the trip 586.3-nm
posted 09-02-2014 02:38 PM ET (US)
To see a few pictures from the trip, start here and click on the right arrow to move through the album: http://s512.photobucket.com/user/kalbus/media/North%20Channel%202014/ Outre-StrawberryIslandLight_zpsd6e643d3.jpg.html
posted 09-02-2014 04:22 PM ET (US)
I did not take many images on this trip. Perhaps it was the rainy weather that kept the camera in its case. Here are a few:
posted 09-02-2014 04:43 PM ET (US)
Here is a rundown of the boats and crew.
EASTPORT, 21 Eastport, Hal and Margaret aboard.
OUTRE, Outrage 22, Bob and Sam aboard.
OUTLIER, 235 Pursuit, Kevin and Debbie aboard.
MANIC MOMENT, 23 Walkaround, David and Kathy aboard.
CONTINOUSWAVE, Revenge 22 W-T Whaler Drive, Chris and Jim aboard.
WHITEWATER, Revenge 25, Don and Gail aboard.
HOLLY MARIE, 23 Walkaround Whaler Drive, John, Holly, and Emmarie aboard.
LUCKY TWO, Whaler 25 Walkaround Whaler Drive, Don and Elsa aboard.
DEFIANCE, Defiance 30, Craig and Karen aboard.
I think David was the elder statesman on this cruise. Sam was the youngest.
posted 09-02-2014 05:44 PM ET (US)
John posted a short GoPro recording of his transit past UT5 in the Bay of Islands, while exploring up there on Thursday and Friday. Here is the link:
And, yes, the recording shows that UT5 was left to Port when it should have been left to Starboard, but the HOLLY MARIE escaped that close call without damage. There is an old saying: If you haven't been to the Benjamin Islands and you haven't run aground, you haven't really been to the North Channel.
posted 09-03-2014 08:16 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the write up Jim.
Somewhere, there exists a full link for video of that defiance in heavy seas. I would love to watch that video.
posted 09-03-2014 09:14 PM ET (US)
Those are some good pics Kevin, the one of Outre by Strawberry Lighthouse and Sam at Topaz Lake came out great.
Jim thanks for the writeup and the pics. Despite the weather Sam and I had a good time.
posted 09-04-2014 12:02 AM ET (US)
I left out a couple of further incidents on the highway while towing. The big 1-ton dually truck hauling HOLLY MARIE lost a fuel line connection to the diesel engine, and began pumping diesel fuel on the road when about 60-miles from home. Fortunately, a second truck was available among family connections, and it was summoned and driven out to meet the boat. The trailer was hitched to the new truck, and HOLLY MARIE was safely hauled to home. The 1-ton had to go on the hook of a tow truck and be taken to the dealership for repairs
These incidents point up the difficulty of trailering larger boats long distances on the highway. In my case, I hauled CONTINUOUSWAVE about 1,100-miles to get to this rendezvous and return home. We did not have any trailer problem or truck problem this trip, but we had several rather serious problems within the last year. Maintaining the trucks and trailers for these larger boats is a constant chore.
On the other hand, once all the boats got in the water, everything ran beautifully, with the one exception as reported (above) with fuel filter restriction from old sediments stirred up in the fuel tank in rough seas on LUCKY TWO.
posted 09-04-2014 01:09 PM ET (US)
Following the rendezvous, EASTPORT and crew remained on the road and on the go, visiting
--Burt Lake, Mullet Lake, and Crooked Lake
--Frankfort and Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
Then they went on to the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa, and finally took a break when they got to Des Moines.
posted 09-11-2014 02:04 PM ET (US)
What a trip for Eastport. They certainly saw some of the best Michigan has to offer.
posted 09-15-2014 10:36 AM ET (US)
Regarding the height of CASSON PEAK, I obtained an official Canadian topographic map (for free from an on-line source, see below). The map shows the summit is 1,150-feet ASL. The elevation of Lake Huron is 577-feet ASL. This makes the height of the summit above Lake Huron as 573-feet. This is slightly lower than my earlier description of about 600-feet.
posted 09-21-2014 11:33 AM ET (US)
A Canadian weather radar site offers historical data. Here is a look at the radar for early Wednesday in the Killarney region on August 14:
posted 11-08-2014 04:42 PM ET (US)
I know this is a bit late, but after looking out at 38F and rain, I thought I'd leave this link:
Looking forward to the '15 boating season!
posted 11-08-2014 07:25 PM ET (US)
Nice pictures, Don. Thanks for sharing.
posted 11-08-2014 08:45 PM ET (US)
That little Cannon, with proper adjustment can shoot decent candid shots with acceptable depth of field...
posted 07-06-2015 09:15 AM ET (US)
I am shamelessly reviving this thread by appending this article only for the purpose of reminding all of my summer cruising companions of the good times we had last summer, in spite of the most rain in a one week period in the history of the Great Lakes. (Well, it seemed like that.)
posted 07-13-2015 08:33 AM ET (US)
That was a Hellofa trip. I found all the leaks in my cabin while we were holed up in Killarney. That led me to rebed all my railing screws before my first overnight over July 4th weekend. We did a circumnavigation of St. Joseph Island with exploratory stops at Bruce Mines and Hilton Beach. We overnighted at Richards Landing. The West end of the North Channel and St. Mary's River is a nice venue for a 3 to 4 day excursion.
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