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Sturgeon Cove

Sturgeon Cove lies about 8 miles by water from Little Current, tucked into the north shore of Great La Cloche Island. Approaching this harbor can be quite tricky, as its entrance is guarded by several rocks located about three feet below the surface. We saw boats ground on these shoals twice in consecutive days when there in July of 1995.

Sketch: Sturgeon Cove and approach

This sketch shows the cove and its major features. Note the two shoals just outside the entrance. Approaching the western tip of the cove on a course of 156 degrees (True) will avoid them. The rock shoal to the north and east is completely hidden and is rather easy to hit. The rocks to the western side are usually visible, as they break the surface except in years of extremely high water. You can see them clearly in the photograph (below) which is taken from inside the cove.

The shoaling shown inside the opening (projecting eastward from the western side) seems to have about six feet of water (at Low Water Datum) on it, and it has not been a problem in recent years. You can avoid it by approaching on 156-True as shown, coming within about 40 feet of the point, then turning quickly on to a course of 97-True and heading across the entrance. When about two-thirds of the way across, you can turn into the cove. Some boaters attempt to enter the cove using the range formed by the footings from an old government range. The range itself was removed some time ago, but the cement footings are still visible. This course line leads one very near to some shoals in the entrance. I don't recommend it for boats drawing more than two feet.

Once in the cove, there is good anchoring all around. The center portion has about 14 feet of water, and it shoals gradually to shore, particularly in the direction of the beach. We did have one problem here, in 1996, when we fouled our anchor on what we suspect was an old piling, as I indicate just north of the rocky little point on the south shore.

Photo: Sturgeon Cove looking NW

In this photograph, we are anchored in the eastern end of the cove, looking to the northwest toward the narrow opening. Unfortunately, northwest is the direction of some of the worst winds in the North Channel. The rocks just off the western point are clearly visible. You can imagine the eons of surf that pounded in here to build the sandy beach on the southeastern end. The darker island in the center of the opening is High Island. Behind it are the quartzite hills of the La Cloche Mountains, the true northern coast of Lake Huron.

Wind can be a problem in Sturgeon Cove. When from the west, as it usually is, the wind will enter the cove and circle around, giving rise to an east wind along the southwestern end, as I described in my sail log for our visit in 1997.

Photo: Sunset

From that same anchorage, Nature served up a spectacular sunset on this August 1995 evening. You see the La Cloche mountains silhouetted against a blazing orange-yellow sky.

[Photo: Loon] We also enjoyed the company of some loons. A pair fished our end of the cove for a hour or more. They are a delight to watch, and their special call is always thrilling to hear. [More about loons.]


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Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
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Author: James W. Hebert