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Author Topic:   A Perfect Cruise of Georgian Bay
jimh posted 08-07-2011 12:22 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
We just got back from a week-long cruise of Georgian Bay, which has to be called "A Perfect Cruise of Georgian Bay." Here is a very quick run down:


--HOLLY MARIE from Minnesota (1,000-miles of highway) with John, Holly, and Emmarie aboard;

--WALKABOUT from Detour (by water) with David and Kathy;

--ADEQUATE from Union Lake (250-miles by highway) with Kevin;

--CONTINUOUSWAVE from SE Michigan, (250-miles by highway) with Chris and Jim


On Saturday we rallied at LION'S HEAD on the Eastern shore of the Bruce Peninsula. On Sunday we departed for a 55-mile open-water crossing of Georgian Bay, heading East toward PARRY SOUND. The winds and waves were very cooperative, and we ran on plane all the way, arriving around WRECK ISLAND and then working our way North into PENGALLIE BAY, where we stayed for the night.

On Monday we headed North on the Eastern Shore, following the SMALL CRAFT ROUTE to BYNG INLET, where we stayed overnight at ST. AMANT'S MARINA in BRITT. We had a bit of a Westerly blow, and the ten miles of open water gave us the roughest waves of the week.

On Tuesday we continued North from BRITT, with very favorable and light winds from the East, which made our 20-miles of open water to BEAVERSTONE BAY an easy run. We arrived at KILLARNEY to find the place was chock-a-block with boats, but ROCQUE'S MARINA made room for us.

On Wednesday we pressed on to the West to LITTLE CURRENT, thence onto NEPTUNE ISLAND and a dinner cook-out with the legendary KINGFISH.

On Thursday we ran on plane in calm water the 70-miles from LITTLE CURRENT to TOBERMORY. But before we left we were joined by Don and Gail from WHITEWATER for a short leg of the run. This was also the departure for WALKABOUT to return to Detour. We stopped for lunch at CLUB ISLAND for some shore exploration by dingy.

On Friday we relaxed in TOBERMORY and explored COVE ISLAND. We found TECUMSEH COVE a delightful place to spend the afternoon snorkeling the crystal clear water and exploring the wreck site. We also visited the COVE ISLAND LIGHT and FLOWERPOT ISLAND.

On Saturday we cruised gently Eastward, stopping for lunch at WINGFIELD BASIN, and then on to LION'S HEAD. We hauled the boats, loaded up the trucks, and hit the highway about 3:30 PM. The total highway mileage for us was 500-miles. We were underway for 370-miles on the boat.

The cruise was "perfect" because we were able to make a loop around the Bay. We cut off the least scenic, most developed, and least interesting Southern portion of the Small Craft Route. We moved our rally point away from the hustle and bustle of TORONTO traffic--never fun to drive through

The cruise was also "perfect" because all the boats ran well and there were no equipment breakdowns or delays. And the weather was simply beautiful. We had one rainy night and one misty foggy morning, but otherwise we were blessed with fair skies, plenty of sunshine, warm water, and light and favorable winds. And, of course, and perhaps most important, a great group of cruising companions!

Buckda posted 08-07-2011 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Awesome! Can't wait for the full reports. Glad it went well, and wish I could have joined you.
jimh posted 08-07-2011 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Dave--You were missed, buddy. We were thinking of you often.
home Aside posted 08-07-2011 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Sounds like a wonderful cruise, sorry I couldn't make it this year.....


6992WHALER posted 08-07-2011 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
We missed both of you guys. But even with out you it was still a great trip.
djahncke posted 08-07-2011 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for djahncke  Send Email to djahncke     
Sounds like Elsa and I missed a good one. We are looking forward to pictures and a full trip report.

prj posted 08-08-2011 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
An excellent if terse report, thanks for writing. It took reading through the bulk of it and chasing your route down on Google Maps to arrive at the conclusion you circumnavigated the Bay, about one sentence before you told us.

Is the large basin between De Tour and Little Current, east of your trip, still considered Georgian Bay or does it have another name? I admit, I didn't open a window for charts...

On a side note, I see Kevin is now doing some preliminary research into cabin boats!

K Albus posted 08-08-2011 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
[Link to a great plot of our route]
K Albus posted 08-08-2011 12:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Patrick - that area between De Tour and Little Current is known as the North Channel. I don't believe that it is considered a part of Georgian Bay.
David Pendleton posted 08-08-2011 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I'm looking forward to a detailed trip report.
jimh posted 08-08-2011 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I should emphasize the weather: it was spectacular. It was warm, sunny, and fair weather. The winds were light and almost always in our favor. We were able to swim and snorkel just about every day. Dave (BUCKDA) and I made this trip in 2009 on this same week, and we were wearing fleece, scarfs, and foul weather gear most of the time.

The clarity of the water in this area is amazing. We were anchored in a cove on Cove Island where we could see the bottom clearly in 20-feet of water. When snorkeling we could see the shadow of the wake from our head in the water on the bottom. When we were in the area East of Tobermory we could see the bottom in 55-feet of water.

This was my seventh transit of the Small Craft Route on the Eastern shore of Georgian Bay. The route is very scenic. There are many possible options along the way for changes in the path, and for side trips to take. The navigation involved requires careful attention. It makes for fun boating, for scenic boating, and for interesting boating.

David Pendleton posted 08-08-2011 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Interesting to note that the route link provided above does not display the route (but rather the waypoints) when using Chrome, but renders perfectly when viewed in Internet Explorer 9.

prj posted 08-09-2011 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Thanks for the route map, Kevin.

I particularly like the looks of that riverine stretch running west out of Beaverstone Bay. Wild and remote, I can easily envision myself running down that 12-15 mile stretch on plane, seated and relaxed.

Hoosier posted 08-09-2011 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
When we got back to Detour my GPS said 499.38 miles travelled for the trip. That should be about 200 miles more than the rest of the group since we left/arrived at Detour. We went eastbound along the south shore of Manitoulin Island and went back through the North Channel.
L H G posted 08-09-2011 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Sounds like you guys had a nice trip. What was the price of gas up there?

Dave - We made that same trip from Detour to Tobermory along the wilderness southern shore of Manitoulin, in my twin engine 18 Outrage back in 1996. When you're out there, you're on your own, and I remember how cold the water was. That area is some of the coldest water on the Great Lakes, always.

While enjoying Tobermory, we were caught in a photograph by JimH, completely unknown to me at the time, which Jim published in his North Channel section on early ContinuousWave. Small world. Enlarge the photo, and you will see a hint of blue Mills canvas at the very far left and a black engine. That was us!

From Tobermory, we headed up to Killarney, then back to Detour in the North Channel like you did. All in all, it's a great cruise route.

In two weeks we are all heading up that way, and will be part of a five boat trip along the Northwestern shore of lower MI, in the area from Frankfort to Mackinac.

jimh posted 08-09-2011 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Gasoline on the highway in the Bruce area was going for about CA-$1.35-per-liter, which would be about CA$5.11-per-gallon (meaning a US gallon, not Imperial gallon). Figuring a currency exchange of about CA$1 = US$1.05, that put highway gasoline at US$5.37-per-gallon.

The least expensive fuel on the water was CA$1.40-liter, or about US$5.57-gallon. The most expensive fuel on the water was about CA$1.65, or about US$6.56-per-gallon.

If your credit card company tacks on a foreign currency exchange fee it could raise the transaction cost even higher.

dfmcintyre posted 08-09-2011 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Was well worth the trip up. Had never explored anything east of Killarney. Georgian%20Bay%20-%202011/

Best - Don

jimh posted 08-09-2011 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Don--Where on the highway were you stuck in that traffic?

Also, where was that picture taken of the boat on the trailer under the bridge?

Hoosier posted 08-10-2011 07:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     

There are some "high pucker factor" spots along that route. I remember one, a reef about 100' wide that went from shore to an island, cutting directly across our track. It turned out to have plenty of water, but the sudden change in the water's color and the extreme clarity of the water made for a classic OMG moment.

Re Jim's fuel cost report, we started off with a full tank of US gas at 3.89/gal. That was 92 gals; we took on about 160 gal of Canadian gas. Next time we may just cruise in Michigan...

jimh posted 08-10-2011 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The cruise did not include the Southern coastline of Manitoulin Island, which, from all reports, is not particularly scenic, interesting, or given to good harbors, all of which speak to generally avoiding it, if possible, which we have for the last 25-years of our cruises in Northern Lake Huron, and apparently without missing much. But let me get back to this cruise and to the places we did visit.

This cruise of Georgian Bay was specifically designed to permit a loop of the bay to be made without having to backtrack or retrace the same route. It was also planned to be most accommodating for boats arriving by highway from the South.

John's 1,000-mile highway trek to reach LION'S HEAD is a testimony to the attraction of cruising in Georgian Bay.

Of the four boats on this cruise, ours was the only one to have visited all these places before. Even though we are very familiar with the route and the ports of call, we still enjoyed seeing them and visiting them again, and I think I can speak for the other first-time visitors and say they enjoyed the cruise as well. Before the trip was over we were already in discussion of how to do it again in the future and what changes to make.

jimh posted 08-10-2011 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One feature of this cruise which I liked very much was our first night cook-out. I found that having a good meal on the dock, cooking some hot dogs or hamburgers, passing around side dishes, and relaxing together was a very nice way to create a bond among the various boat crews. We repeated the cook-out theme a few nights later at Neptune Island.

On several other nights we just ate take-out on a picnic table overlooking the harbours we happened to be in. Again, this proved to be much more enjoyable than sitting in a restaurant for dinner. The take-out food was very good, too. We had the fantastic fish and chips from the red school bus in Kilarney, and two good meals from a new little place in Tobermory on the East side of the harbour.

We actually did go out to dinner one night on the cruise, at the LITTLE BRITT INN. That worked out well, too, as I think everyone was a bit tired from the long run North and the offshore rough water passage.

We had daily lunch breaks at anchor which often stretched on for two or three hours to include swimming and exploring by dingy.

dfmcintyre posted 08-10-2011 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jim -

We were stuck in the NB lane of the 400, right next to the Gibson Lake exit. 1.5 hours due to a fatal accident, further up the road. Evidently OPP had the freeway closed for eight hours. They shunted us off at the next exit.

The second shot was at Parry Sound, down along the harbor. Found a great place for dinner, outside seating. The Bay Street something.


K Albus posted 08-10-2011 09:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Here's a few pictures to hold you over until somebody posts a more detailed report:

The view to the north from Lion's Head Marina: LionsHead-NorthView.jpg

The view to east, of Lion's Head: LionsHead.jpg

Jim and Chris relaxing on ContinuousWave at Lion's Head Marina: JimandChris.jpg

ContinuousWave near the Western Islands, after a 50+ mile open water crossing: WesternIslands.jpg

Walk About somewhere between Wreck Island and Killbear Marina: TheHarts.jpg

The Holly Marie somewhere between Wreck Island and Killbear Marina: TheRabys.jpg

Transiting Canoe Channel after leaving Killbear Marina: CanoeChannel.jpg

Adequate (with me aboard) passing the Snug Harbor Light (photo by Jim H): SnugHarborLight.jpg

Our fleet tied to the dock in Britt: TheFleetatStAmantsMarina.jpg

Transiting Parting Channel, near Obstacle Island (you don't want to lose steerage way here): PartingChannel.jpg

Another shot of Parting Channel - notice the red arrow painted by the locals: PartingChannel2.jpg

Collins Inlet - a rare shot with Walk About leading the way: CollinsInlet.jpg

ContinuousWave passing the Strawberry Island Light near Little Current: ContinuousWaveatStrawberryIslandLight.jpg

Whalers galore at Neptune Island: WhalersGalore.jpg

ContinuousWave returning to Little Current from Neptune Island: ContinuousWaveReturningtoLittleCurrent.jpg

ContinuousWave under the Flower Pot Island Light: ContinuousWaveUnderFlowerPotIslandLight.jpg

Adequate at Flower Pot Island (photo by John or Holly Raby): FlowerpotIsland-Kevin.jpg

The Holly Marie at Flower Pot Island: HollyMarieatFlowerPotIsland.jpg

A view off the back of my boat of the Sweepstakes wreck in Big Tub Harbor, Tobermory: SweepstakesWreck-BigTubHarbor.jpg

Another shot of the Sweepstakes wreck with The Holly Marie and ContinuousWave in the background: SweepstakesWreck-BigTubHarbor2.jpg

jimh posted 08-11-2011 09:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Kevin--Those images are a good sampler of the trip. Thanks for posting and linking them.
Mike Brantley posted 08-11-2011 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Kevin and Don, nice pictures! Jim, I look forward to reading your full trip report when it's done. ContinuousWave (the boat) is looking very good with that new Evinrude pushing it so well.
jechura posted 08-12-2011 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
Jimh Did you happen to run into [cdnwhaler], Peter, while you were in or around Britt?
6992WHALER posted 08-12-2011 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Here are some more pictures. I really should have edited more.

jimh posted 08-13-2011 09:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hi Jerry--As we were arriving at Byng Inlet, a Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 22 with a lot of blue canvas was outbound and heading for Lake Huron. We gave a wave and made a radio call on Channel 16, but did not get a reply. The next day we observed what appeared to be the same boat tied to the shore of an island about five miles north among the many windswept offshore islands. We were all discussing to whom that Boston Whaler might belong, and we speculated it was CDNWhaler. Another radio call did not elicit a reply.
jechura posted 08-13-2011 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jechura  Send Email to jechura     
That was Peter both times.

Had I known of this cruise before I emailed Kevin, I would have been with you all and would have loved to have spent another night with the Kingfish on Neptune Island.

prj posted 08-15-2011 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
Excellent photographs Kevin, thank you.

Just back from a long weekend in Door County, WI, I saw an interesting map that charted the Niagara Escarpment across the northern reaches of our country and Canada.

It should come as no surprise then to find that some images of the Bruce Peninsula look quite a bit like those taken in Door Co. Both regions are made up from the same geological formation, a limestone spine that eroded much more slowly than its surrounding topography.

Kevin's photograph of Lion's Head in particular caught my eye and captures the feature perfectly: LionsHead.jpg

K Albus posted 08-15-2011 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Thanks, Patrick.

This picture from Sturgeon Bay is certainly reminiscent of cliffs of the Bruce Peninsula. Frankfort%20to%20Sturgeon%20Bay/InvictusatGreenBay.jpg

K Albus posted 08-17-2011 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     

The big red bus in Killarney: Georgian%20Bay%20Summer%202011/IMG_6741.jpg

The big red bus in Tobermory: Georgian%20Bay%20Summer%202011/IMG_6954.jpg

jimh posted 08-18-2011 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For the highway trip home from the Bruce Peninsula, we found a new and lovely place to stop. Heading South on HWY-21 and South of Goderich, we stopped for a quick rest and a bit of lunch by pulling off at BAYFIELD. We turned right (West) on the first street South of the bridge crossing the river, then turned right on the second corner, LONG HILL ROAD. This took us down to lake level and a very nice marina. The road ends at the water and beach, with enough room to turn around with a big boat trailer behind you. There are public rest rooms there, too. It was a good stop on the five hour drive home. We will keep this in mind for our next run that way. I've lost count of the number of times we have driven from Sarnia to the Bruce Peninsula, but it must be at least a dozen round trips and a few one-way drives (to meet the Ferry at Tobermory), too.

The little towns along the way have been growing since our first visit in 1986, and there was more traffic (and more crazy drivers) than we had seen before.

matthughes posted 08-19-2011 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for matthughes  Send Email to matthughes     
Great trip and pictures. Myself and a friend just completed almost that same route this year again but did it in the reverse direction (Made the large cross from south of Parry Sound to Owen Sound). Interesting fact about the Parting Channel and the shot there. There is actually more water on the right hand (south side) of the rock than the north - much more. Width becomes the issue but when we motored through there last time, we met a twin engine Stanley boat motoring through that side at nearly full throttle (one of the camp operators we found out later). Couldn't have been much more than a few inches to spare on either side but a more direct route than making the "s" turn. I also passed the Whaler with the blue canvas during my trip in the Bustard Islands heading west.


jimh posted 08-20-2011 09:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hi Matt--Thanks for the interesting tip on Obstacle Island. Maybe we can get a brave lead boat to explore that option the next time we pass through there. (Hello Dave?)
Hoosier posted 08-20-2011 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
OK, very slowly with a lookout on the pulpit, a junk prop, and the motor tilted up.

I'm having a real problem trying to Upload my photo album to Photobucket using their iPhoto plugin. It starts the upload then stops after the counter reaches about 6 photos.

dfmcintyre posted 08-20-2011 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jim -

We've always enjoyed Kincardine:



18AGAIN posted 08-23-2011 01:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for 18AGAIN  Send Email to 18AGAIN     
Great to read about your trip and enjoyed the pics. Did not see any posting in the Rendezvous section or would have joined in. Bayfield is a great stop and the Albion Hotel serves super food and cold beer, thanks for enjoying Kincardine on your way through but next time let us know you're coming and I'll get you through the lighthouse from where the harbour cams are located. Thanks again for the post and will be vigilant for next years Ontario trip.
jimh posted 12-26-2011 11:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have finally finished my trip narrative. You can re-live our fabulous cruise by reading

Georgian Bay 2011
A perfect cruise around Georgian Bay

In addition to my narrative there are 112 photographs or illustrations from the trip, and an Addedum with some comments from other companions on the cruise.

dfmcintyre posted 12-26-2011 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jim--Thanks for the updated log. If it wasn't for us needing to be 170 miles back towards Honey Harbor on the last Friday, we would have gone along for the whole trip.

We launched from Britt, and right from the St. Amant's Marina. When we got back on Friday, we ended up leaving the small coolers (with authentic Whaler ribbed and brown piping cushions on them) right at the ramp! I called the marina and they shipped them to a friend in Toronto, and they are coming down with them this coming holiday weekend.

Had a nice meal on the second floor of the marina.

The old ring picture reminded me of the one that we shot right at the entrance to Britt, on the south side: Georgian%20Bay%20-%202011/?action=view¤t=IMG_3021.jpg

Here's my shot of the Parting Channel: Georgian%20Bay%20-%202011/?action=view¤t=IMG_2992.jpg

David Pendleton posted 12-26-2011 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
The [trip report] was good. Like every other time I've opted out of a trip, I regret it later.
ECTR posted 12-28-2011 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for ECTR  Send Email to ECTR     
Thanks once again for providing all of us frozen great lakes boaters with a great off season read. Living vicariously through your trip reports makes the winters that much more tolerable.
Have a great New Year!
jimh posted 12-31-2011 04:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I added a few new pictures, bringing the total to 115.
Sal A posted 01-02-2012 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
Amazing journey. Thank you.
6992WHALER posted 01-03-2012 02:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
Very nice trip report.

Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Emmarie read her little contribution to the site and with a big smile she looked at me and said "I am famous".

For a first place to get published, ContinousWave is not to bad.

We were at Jack's for dinner last night and she made him go online and show the trip report to all of the family.

It is fun to watch her being so excited about the trip.


prj posted 01-03-2012 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for prj  Send Email to prj     
I just completed the Sail Log as well and immensely enjoyed Emmarie's addition to the article, good to see the young ones taking such a trip. I know my eldest, a 5 YO now, speaks fondly year round about our adventures in the Apostle Islands.

And thanks to you Jim for documenting this in narrative and photos, they serve as a lovely off-season distraction so the delay in publishing is appreciated.


jimp posted 01-09-2012 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
How did I miss the earlier postings of this cruise? Great report and photos!

Must be a lot of fun cruising with a few other boats, we used to do it a lot growing up on the East Coast (Long Island & Southern New England) in 32-42 sportfisherman.

A bit more austere cruising in the Juneau area.

Happy New Boating Year to you all!

David Pendleton posted 01-09-2012 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Thanks for the pictures, jimp.
jimh posted 02-04-2012 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I just added an addendum to the trip report. John Raby sent me a nice narrative of his adventures getting the HOLLY MARIE ready for the highway haul and the cruise.

John worked so hard in the week prior to the cruise he certainly deserved a good vacation!


tombro posted 02-22-2012 10:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
I've just gotten around to reading this, and once again, a great report! Thanks, Jim and all other contributors, for the good read.

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