Magic Moments trip to the North Channel of Georgian Bay

Aug 8, 2009

TRYC to Sarnia YC Distance traveled  51 Miles
Left TRYC at apx 9 am.  rain, more rain, and rain.  We sailed to "R30" and at 11:30 we  fired up the Perkins for the long trek up the St Clair river.

 2:05 pm    We are abeam Port Lambton.

 6:30 pm    we are under the Blue Water Bridge

 7:00         arrived at Sarnia YC fuel dock.

 7:30         docked and secure for the night.


Aug 9 & 10, 2009 Sarnia YC to Club Island harbour Distance traveled 162 miles
 9:15 am      Left Sarnia YC in light wind so we are motor sailing.  Calm seas, and poor visibility.

 10:00 pm   Cold, damp, no wind, motoring, auto helm is doing all the work, I'm tethered and standing watch.  Nothing in site, in fact only saw one boat all night.  I love my Garmin GPS plotter!

                   Monday Aug 10 8:30 am,   we turned east to pass the Cove Island light house and passed into Georgian Bay and headed north towards Club Island

 11:45 am    Anchored in the harbour at Club Island.  I caught a few ZZZZ's,  We put 25 hours on the engine, more than all last season!


Aug 11, 2009 Club Island to Snug Harbour Distance traveled 26 miles
9:30 am      Left Club island in heavy fog.  using the GPS and compass and keeping a sharp lookout for anyone else out here.

10:00 am    Fog clearing a bit.

11:00am     Sun!  still cool though.

2:30 pm      Anchored in Snug Harbour.  This is our first really picture perfect North Channel!

We are sharing the anchorage with a Ontario 38 owned by Tom and Bonnie named " Cal`i Calais" which means "no work today".  We knew the boat instantly as "Floor It" formerly owned by TRYC members. 

Small world, the first person I see on vacation is a customer....good thing his batteries were working.

We have cell coverage so we made a reservation for Spider bay marina for tomorrow night.


Aug 12, 2009 Snug Harbour to Little Current Distance traveled 14 miles
8:00 am  Motored out of Snug Harbour and puttered our way towards Little Current in bright sunny weather.

10:00am     As we passed Strawberry Island and the Strawberry Island Lighthouse, Bernice got some nice pictures.      photos

11:30am     We are tied up to the docks in Little Current.

Time for a stroll  along the docks, grab a snack, and wonder to the grocery store.

Free wifi at the docks so we even checked e-mails.


Aug 13, 14,  2009 Little Current to Croker Is harbour Distance traveled 16.5 miles
Slept in.  As we depart Little Current we stopped at the pump out dock.

1:30 pm we are anchored at Croker Island.  Another WOW!

The entertainment here is watching the rental boats anchor...too much reading and not enough doing.

We stayed here 2 days , wished we had more time, inflated the dinghy and dinked around the bay,  We are really happy with the motor lift for the outboard, what a back saver.


Aug 15,  2009 Croker Is harbour to Bell Cove Distance traveled 15.6 miles
10:30 am   left for Bell Cove on a grey and cloudy morning.  We were able to motor/sail most of the way.

1:25 pm     anchored at Bell Cove.  A few other boats here tonight.

Aug 16,  2009  Bell Cove to Covered Portage Cove Distance traveled 28.5 miles
8:00 am  left Bell Cove and motored through Little Current towards Covered Portage Cove.  Does anyone get to the swing bridge just before it opens??  Nice day but cool.  Wind from the wrong direction!

1:40 pm  Anchored in Covered Portage Cove.  Another WOW!, WOW!!! we took dinghy ashore and climbed the cliffs,  lots of photo opportunities.


Aug 17,  2009  Covered Portage Cove to Wingfield Basin Distance traveled 60 miles
9:20 am  we departed Covered Portage Cove and motored through Kilarney.  As we are on a tight schedule we pushed on without time.  Once clear of the Kilarney channel we raised the sails and headed south east at 152deg.  and had our first good sail.  The wind held until early afternoon and then we dropped the sails and motored south into Wingfield basin and anchored for the night.  The entrance was well marked and had a range light. 

8:15 pm We dropped the hook and started the BBQ.


Aug 18,  2009  Wingfield Basin to Tobermory Distance traveled 18 miles
9:00 am  We left the anchorage and headed west in poor visibility.  Man is the water deep here!

12: noon   Tied up at the fuel dock at Tobermory also called Little Tub Harbour,  and I feel like a power boater..108 litres of fuel!! and a pump out.

We spent the day strolling the town and dined out.


Aug 19 & 20,  2009  Tobermory to Sarnia Distance traveled 145 miles
6:30 am Left  Little Tub, in sloppy waves, no wind,

11:00 am  No wind! calm seas.

6:45 pm  We are near Clark Point.  We have decided to keep on going to Sarnia as the forecast is for strong winds out of the South late tomorrow morning.  As it got darker we could see the  wind   turbines on the shore, kind of cool!

10:00 pm   We are about 8 miles off shore of Goderich.  Weather forecast still reporting south wind in late morning,  we should be in Sarnia by 6:00 am. We are sailing under full sails at 6.5 knots whoopee.

12.00 pm  We are about 10 miles west of Bayfield and sailing at 6.5 to 7.5 knots.  the wind is picking up.

2:00 am    Late morning for the weather man is early...the wind is steady 20 Kts on the nose and the waves are building higher.  We are motoring now with the sails furled.  The wind is gusting to 35 Kts  and the boat is coming down off the waves hard enough for me to hear the bow sprint bang the wave and rattle the anchors...Am I glade they are secured with stainless steel cable.   Good thing it is dark and I can't see how high the waves are. I'm getting a lot of spay...the dodger is really helping.  Thank goodness I deflated the dinghy and tied it  securely on deck!

4:00      If it gets much worse we will turn around and ride the waves and wind the apx35 miles back to Goderich.  The GPS boat speed is about 4 kts. 

5:00 am    I have slowed down to about 3.0 kts and altered course a bit to the west to avoid hitting the waves head on.    This feels much better for me and the boat. We are about 14 miles north north east of Sarnia.

6:00 am    Still blowing like @#%^&%$*  it's a long 14 miles

8:00 am    We are closer to shore and the waves are better, we can now head straight to the entrance channel and speed up a bit.  Still blowing like @#%^&%$*

10:00 am   Arrived at Sarnia Bay Marina, managed to dock without embarrassing myself thanks to the marina staff waiting at the dock for us.  They thought we where nuts!   Tied up and then I crashed in the berth.


Aug 21,  2009  Sarnia to TRYC Distance traveled 49 miles
9:00 am  Left Sarnia Bay Marina.  I managed to back out of the slip in strong southerly winds and not hit anything!  As we got into the StClair river the 15 knot wind against the current was making the water very rough.  Quite a nasty chop.  I watched one small sailboat try to tack downriver as he couldn't keep his outboard prop in the water!  We are pounding and getting spray in the cockpit.

2:15  We have arrived at marker "R 30" and we turn towards home.  The wind is 18Kts out of the SSW with gusts to 23 Kts.  Under a half furled genoa we flew across the lake at 7.0 to 7.5 knots, the best sail of the vacation. Weee yahooo!!

5:00 We are tied up in our home slip safe and sound.  Vacation's over :-(

To sum up

We traveled a total distance of 598 nautical miles, used way too much diesel fuel, had a great time,  and can't wait to do it again. Check out the photos

The Garmin GPS plotter with the chart chip of lake Huron/Georgian Bay was incredibly accurate,  a relief not to have to worry where you are, especially in the dark during the storm. As a backup I have a laptop running Seaclear11 with a gps signal from a older gps unit.  It's kind of cool to have the trip on my laptop to review during the winter. The two units worked perfectly.  Also the auto helm sure made the long days easier.

And as a bonus we now qualify for a silver star on our club cruising burgee for a trip over 500 miles and a anchor for anchoring in Georgian Bay.

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