2014 Ship's log to Gore Bay and the North Channel

This year we travelled north on Magic Moments alone and rendezvoused  with several other Thames River Yacht Club boats at Gore Bay.

July 14, 2014 TRYC to Sarnia Bay marina                   Distance travelled   47.5 miles 
Off at 7:30 am with a full tank of diesel fuel, and a sunny sky for the 9.5 hour motor across Lake St Clair and north up the St Clair river.
July 11, 12, 2014 Sarnia to Meldrum Bay Manitoulin Island Distance travelled  192.5 miles
   8:00 am   Left Sarnia Bay Marina to motor under the Blue Water Bridge.  It was a calm morning and we made good speed against the current.
11:30 am   Our position is 12 miles north of the bridge,  6.2 Knots of speed, RPM  2,100
12:05 pm   Passing Lexington Michigan about 2 miles to Port
  5:15 pm   Passing Harbor Beach Michigan,  Genoa and motor making speed of 7.1 Knots  Weather forecast for calm overnight, so we are continuing north.
  7:00 pm   No wind, passing Pte Aux Baques Light
11:00 pm   Calm night, cool, we have seen several ships as we are near the ship routes.  Full Moon. 
                  I have turned the new Garmin radar on to the "watch" feature which should beep if anything gets within the 5 mile guard zone.  Works great! Extra "eyes" that don't get tired.
  4:00 am   Calm seas, light wind, cool.  Glad for the full enclosure. 
  6:00 am   Calm, Genoa unfurled, motor sailing.
12:15 pm   Stopped at Rickets Harbour for a short break, I have always wondered about this anchorage and this was my chance to check it out.  It is not very big, just enough for one or two boats to swing at anchor.
                  It is also open to the South.  As we had the rest of the day I decided to continue another 15 miles to Meldrum Bay on Manitoulin Island.
15:00 pm   Safe and sound at Meldrum Bay after travelling 192.5 miles across Lake Huron, mostly under motor, we topped up our fuel tank.  Used 141 liters of fuel to travel TRYC to Meldrum Bay,
                  not bad, but sailing would have been better.

   A BBQ at the dock and early to bed.
July 13, 2014 Meldrum Bay to Helen Bay Distance travelled 39 miles
   8:30 am   Off to Helen Bay under a dark sky.
  9:00 am   Motor sailing north toward Batture Island
10:30 am   Sailing !!  The auto helm is doing a great job, sailing with Main and Genoa and making 7 knots east towards Cape Roberts
12:30 pm   Wind is now gusting to 30 knots, steady 20 knots, main is furled,
  1:30 pm   Wind is forecast to blow all day, we will be well protected from west winds in Helen Bay
  2:45 pm   Anchor down in about 45 feet of clear water in Helen Bay.   I am using all chain  with a 45 LBS claw anchor.  We will have a quiet afternoon reading and cleaning up the boat. 
                  Darn cell phone is getting signal again...nice for weather reports and to text family that all is well.
July 14, 2014 Helen Bay to Gore Bay Distance travelled 35 miles
    8:30 am  Anchor up after a calm night.  Once clear of Helen Bay the wind is blowing about 15 knots  as we round Jubilee Shoal and head east to Gore Bay.
 10:00 am  Sailing in RAIN!  does the weather man not know I'm on vacation?  It does give me a chance to see what rain looks like on radar.
 12:30 pm  Docked at Gore Bay.  Very pretty town,  we saw a deer walking across the street near the liquor store....
July 15, 2014 Gore Bay Distance travelled   0.0
    Spent the day loafing, grocery shopping, and visiting with Mike and Lynn from TRYC on their new boat M&L La Vie. 
July 16, 2014 Gore Bay to Clapperton Island Harbour Distance travelled 12.5 miles
11:15 am   Off to Clapperton Island, wind is blowing 10 to 15 knots from the North West so we are sailing!!  We were able to hoist the main right after leaving the marina. Then the Genoa!
12:00 pm   Having a nice sail.  Using caution motor sailing through Clapperton Channel
  1:30 pm   Anchored in Clapperton Harbour.  Wind is still blowing about 15 knots all afternoon.  We have 120 feet of anchor chain out in 30 feet of water, mud bottom is good holding.
                  Not much to do here, the small island in the center of the harbour is marked private property, and the natives have the island itself posted private as well.
                  Quiet night on the anchor.
July 17,18,  2014 Clapperton Island to Benjamin Islands Distance travelled 12.0 miles
10:30 am   Off to Benjamin Islands, Clear day with calm winds.
12:30 pm  Anchor down in the bay between North and South Benjamin Island.
                 Spent the afternoon in the dinghy, motoring around the islands.  Bernice took lots of photos  We  have joined up with Rob and Dave aboard Carey On and Gary and Brenda aboard Akira.
                 Brenda from Akira played "Amazing Grace" on her bag pipes at sunset to loud cheers and applause.
                 Calm night at anchor.
                 Explored and hiked the day away.
                 Calm night at anchor.      
July 19, 2014 Benjamin Islands to Gore Bay Distance travelled 18.0 miles
  8:25 am   Off to Gore Bay, calm wind, motoring, warmer today.  Auto helm is great! 
11:00 am   Docked at Gore Bay, going for ice cream. 
                 There are 3 other boats here from Thames River Yacht Club!  and Restless Wind is on the way.  We are going to all go out for dinner tonight. Just as we are walking down the dock to eat,
                 Fred and Lori arrive on Restless Wind.  They have travelled non stop from Tobermory to meet up with us.  Party tonight on Mike's boat.
July 20, 2014 Gore Bay to Hotham Bay Distance travelled  20.00 miles
10:30  We all gathered on the dock for a photo op.  It is not often we get 5 boats from TRYC so far from home together.
11:40  After a pump out we are off to Hotham Bay on the north side of Hotham Island.  It is a nice clear day but no wind and the water is flat.  It is a pretty day though.
  2:45  Anchor down in Hotham Bay,  this is a beautiful spot and is definitely on the go back list!  We have travelled 352 miles so far this vacation and now we relax. 
           We explored the bay on the dinghy all afternoon. 
July 21, 2014 Hotham Bay to Coursol Bay Distance travelled 18.1 miles
                Lazy start to todays jump to Coursol Bay.  We exit Hotham Bay and head west in the McBean Channel towards the Little Detroit passage into the Walesback Channel. As we near the entrance to
               Spanish we decide to stop in for some gas for the dinghy motor.  We approach dead slow as this is where we touched bottom in 2012.  I had read that the channel had been dredged and indeed
               the depth was about 8 to 10 feet all the way to the fuel dock.  After our large purchase of 5 liters of gas we continued past Buswell Bay and Vance Bay to find ourselves sharing Coursol Bay with
               just one other boat.  We climbed ashore, took some photos, BBQ'd and had a lazy day. 
July 22, 2014 Coursol Bay to Blind River Distance travelled 31.0 miles
7:50 am   The plan was to go to the Turnbull Islands today, however the weather forecast has a sever thunder storm warning for this afternoon so on to Blind River instead.  It is only about 10 extra miles
                to Blind River, and we can get groceries and be secure for the storm. 
1:00 pm   We are secure at the Blind River marina. 
3:25 pm   The weather forecast was right, we are getting 35 knot winds, with some really dark clouds.  There are several "MAYDAY" calls on the radio, so we are glad to be safe and sound at a dock.
                I am happy with the instant radar forecast we can get via our cell phone's internet signal.  It is nice to get instant internet weather, and emails too.  By late evening the storms had cleared.
July 23, 24, 2014 Blind River to Turnbull Islands Distance Travelled  10.0  miles
10:30 am   Lazy start under Genoa and motor,  heading east towards Sanford Island and proceeding through the south passage with caution, to anchor south of Bassett Island. 
                 Dropped the anchor and then we ran a line ashore.  Spent the afternoon hiking ashore, and exploring with the dinghy.

                 Spent the next day here as well.  Just doing nothing, life is good.
July 25, 2014 Turnbull Island  to  Vidal Bay Distance travelled  25.0  miles
   8:10  am   Anchor up and off.  Easy does it until we are out of the bay at Turnbull Island,  then south south west toward " Tenspot Shoal" and on to Vidal Bay.
10:00 am    Clear day, good visibility.
12:30 pm    We are anchored in Vidal Bay,  we have joined up with Mike and Lynn aboard  La Vie  for the return trip home.
July 26, 2014 Vidal Bay to Presque Isle Michigan Distance travelled  50.0 miles
6:00 am    Anchor up early and head west through the channel between Vidal Island and Manitoulin Is. and past Chamberlain Point towards Meldrum Point and then south into Mississagi Straight
10:00 am  Not a great day, grey, cool.  I did take the time to play with the radar and was able to fine tune the heading adjustment which syncs the chart plotter and radar so that the two views
                 are one on top of the other.  This would later be a good thing.
1:00  pm   Presque Isle is in sight.
2:00 pm    Safe at our dock in the State Park marina.  Full fuel tanks and empty holding tank.  A call to US Boarder patrol who wished me a nice stay and then off to explore the old lighthouse, pizza.
July 27, 28,  2014 Presque Isle  to Harrisville Mi. Distance travelled  46.5 miles
   6:00 am  Early departure to get into Harrisville before the weather turns.  Hazy with clouds and light wind.
10:00 am  Motoring in light wind, haze.
  1:00 pm  Thanks to the GPS and Radar I can see my location and continue into the harbour.  The fog is thick.  I can only see about 1/4 mile. This is my first radar approach in dense fog. 
  1:30 pm  Safe at the dock in Harrisville City Marina.  The dock staff are advising that a tornado watch is in effect,  EXTRA dock lines are out, with all the bumpers we have, it is getting windy!

                It stormed all evening and blew hard all the next day,     We are tourists today.
July 29, 2014 Harrisville Mi. to Harbor Beach MI Distance travelled  56.8 miles
6:30 am   There is still some sloppy waves left from the storm.  We have sails up and are having a great sail.  Boat speed is 8.1 kts at times.  Eat my dust :-)
Noon       Cool, still sailing,
2.30 pm   Harbor Beach in sight.
3:05 pm   Entered the Harbor Beach port of refuge via the north entrance.  Once past the breakwall a quick turn and into the marina.  Nice town, we walked all the way to the beach, enjoyed a light supper.
                   
July 30, 2014 Harbor Beach MI  to Sarnia Yacht Club Distance travelled  52.6 miles
   6:30 am   Off motoring in calm water, heading south and starting to feel that vacation is ending.
12:00 pm  Calm
2:00  pm   Calm
3:10 pm    Arrived at Sarnia Yacht Club.  A quick call to Canada Customs to report our arrival and then food.
July 31, 2014 Sarnia YC to Thames River Yacht Club Distance travelled 48.5 miles
 6:30 am   Off for the long motor south down the St Clair river to Lake St Clair.
 2:45 pm   We made good time, we were hailed on the VHF once we neared the Lighthouse at the mouth of the Thames river by club friends.  We are happy to be home. 
                 I put 100 hours on the diesel, didn't sail enough, it was cold, but can't wait till next year to go again.

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