This series of posts were written by Lynn and Pat Lortie of Adamant 1 and originally published in the Canadian Yachting Magazine monthly newsletter.
Adamant 1 has been doing a slow and lazy trip through the North Channel. We have never had more than two weeks to visit before, so this year, with five weeks, we have been able to lay back and enjoy each anchorage for a couple of days. Ontario’s North Channel is full of bays and coves where you can drop an anchor and relax. Some anchorages are big and busy with lots of other boats, some are small and cozy and you can be alone. Always you will see the granite and quartz rocks rising out of the clear water, deep green pines and clear blue skies. Add in the call of the loons and you are in sensory heaven!
The two main towns in the area are Little Current and Gore Bay. Both of these towns are well stocked for dealing with the hundreds of boaters that come through each summer. Living on the boat is easy, cheap and relaxing...all of the reasons we do it! We stay away from overnight dockage which is the biggest money drain. Anchoring out is free! Our only expenses are food, fuel and pump outs. Okay.....and liquor and wine too! In both towns you will find everything you need to make your holiday aboard complete. We even found a canvas person to repair our sail and found new oars for our dinghy.
Every morning at 9 am during July and August, Roy Eaton hosts the Little Current Cruisers Net on VHF channel 71. In addition to weather and news, he invites all boaters to check in with him. Up to 150 boats may check in on a busy morning. We listen carefully as there are always other boats we are on the lookout for and once they check in with their location, it is easy to make arrangements to meet up with them. Roy has been doing this for 18 years now, and he is truly an ambassador for Manitoulin Island. Thanks Roy. Once we know where our friends are, we can get together, go kayaking, or hiking as a group and just spend time with them. That part is important to us this year as we won’t see any of them until next summer.
Then it is off to the next destination to see what is new. In Heywood Island we came across a bald eagle's nest. I was able to photograph him from out in the harbour with my zoom lens. Such a magnificent sight. We found a small totem pole tucked into the trees on a deserted island, a huge fireplace sitting in a clearing by the shore where obviously there had once been a cottage. We sighted a forest fire about 300' up the side of one of the La Cloche mountains. Again, with the zoom lens, we were able to capture the flames. It took water bombers to put out the fire as it was too remote to bring in firefighters. We must have killed a thousand deer flies in one anchorage that were intent on draining our blood supply. Our only choice was to put up the screens and spend the day below decks reading! Not a bad way to spend an afternoon when it is too hot to be outside. Did I mention I love being retired!
At the end of week 4, we began to make our way west. Our check in date to the US is August 15th so we have plenty of time to explore the islands west of Little Current. We had an amazing sail from Eagle Island to John Island in 35 km of breeze and our buddy boat recorded gusts up to 54. We were in mostly protected waters so we didn't have any big seas to contend with but it was nice to see our destination, a small well protected cove, appear in front of us. Not an evening for tea for sure! Further on we met other friends and hiked our way up a hill to capture the view. We left as a group and anchored in Turnbull Island where there were a number of boats we knew and many more we didn't. So we had a pot luck supper on shore to meet them! That's what we do up here....meet more and more friendly boaters. Boaters Helping Boaters is the motto here in the North Channel and every day you hear another story of a boat rescuing another boater who got in trouble. It is a small community and we all work together to help each other.
Today we are anchored in Thessalon, a lovely town about 3 hours from where we will check in to the US on Monday. We have left all of our friends and family behind and are about to embark on the next phase of our adventure. Until next time..............