July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?
By Kismet, Friday, October 1, 2010

The thrill of the adventure is what drew Lisa and me to undertake the challenge of embarking on the 6,000-mile Great Loop boat trip. Going places we’d never been, making new acquaintances, learning first hand the history of our great country and taking in the beauty of our vast North American continent from the vantage point of the rivers, lakes, canals, bayous and bays from the Mississippi River east to the Atlantic Ocean and from Florida to Canada’s stunning North Channel. We experienced countless first time events like the school of dolphins playfully swimming in the crystal clear waters near Destin, Florida seemingly guiding us into port or the feeling of pride as we anchored in the shadows of the Statue of Liberty. So it’s almost impossible to answer the question we get asked on a regular basis: “what’s been your favorite place on the Great Loop?”

Killarney’s Sportsman’s Inn and Marina uses this water taxi, called Tinker Bell, to shuttle boaters across the channel..

Two hundred and fifty miles is the farthest we had ever boated from our homeport of Charlevoix, Michigan before heading out on the Great Loop so it’s no wonder everything was unknown to us. Five thousand seven hundred and fifty miles of brand new uncharted waters for Lisa and me to explore, 96% of the Loop! It’s the last 4% or 250 miles of the North Channel and Lake Michigan that are the waters practically in our backyard and this is where we eventually found ourselves – finally returning to familiar territory. We were slowly closing our Great Loop adventure and now that we’ve had a taste of big water adventure, our thoughts were busy formulating what the next adventure might be and what were some of our favorite places that we might want to revisit.



Here you see the channel in Killarney, looking west, as we head out to Baie Fine. The town of Killarney is to our starboard.



So, the question of where was, or is, our favorite place on the Great Loop still begs for an answer? Well I promise to tell you later after I’ve told you a little about Canada’s pristine and very rocky North Channel.

We’ll start at the imaginary line of where Georgian Bay and the North Channel start, a place called Killarney and by this name alone you’d think we were in Ireland but alas we’re in Northern Ontario. Killarney is a small village protected by an island on its south side, it has a channel that runs east to west so boaters are very well protected from the elements when they visit Killarney. Lisa and I had reserved a slip at the Killarney Mountain Lodge on the east side of the channel, a wonderful resort complete with swimming pool, shuffle board courts, bar and restaurant and we took advantage of each and every one of the amenities.







This, at the entrance to Covered Portage Cove, is typical of the rock walls that line many of the anchorages. It was here we saw kids jumping into the water from the highest ledge.

This shot was taken from the western end of Covered Portage Cove looking back towards the entrance.

Once we were hooked up to the hydro (electricity) and had our lines secured we headed to the famous Herbert’s Fish and Chips Restaurant. This is not your typical epicurean treat, Herbert’s is a converted school bus painted red – it sits just off the channel and serves the white fish that the Northern waters are known for. It does not matter how many times you visit Killarney this was and still is one of our favorite treats – it’s not to be missed.

Later that same afternoon we took a dinghy ride west, out of the channel and over to Covered Portage Cove, just a few miles away. With a “dogleg” type entrance and extremely high, shear rock walls boaters are well protected in just about any weather condition once inside. As we entered the turn into the cove we were entertained by a venturesome group of kids diving from the rock cliffs, high off of the water into a deep-water pool that only months before had been frozen solid.



Notice the very large boulders at the narrow entrance to Covered Portage Cove they get left to your starboard as you thread yourself into the Cove.

Covered Portage Cove is a favorite spot for North Channel Cruisers and today was no exception as there were easily 20 boats anchored with room for many more. We landed the dinghy so we could scale the rocky cliffs; get some exercise with the ancillary benefit of the exceptional view from shore. We made it to the top with no problem other than the rock ledge Lisa tried to move with a head butt… that hurt! We could see down onto the quietly moored boats, hear the echoes of the kids screams as they dove from the cliffs off in the distance as well as view the horizon of this special place, one we’re sure to return to.

After our two-day stay in Killarney we headed to Baie Fine (pronounced Bay Fin), a short 12-mile run to the entrance before you make a 10-mile cruise up to the “Pool.” The day was exhilarating for us because the sky was clear blue, just the slightest breeze, no humidity and the boat slipped through the water as softly as a hot knife cutting through butter. The stretch from the entrance of Baie Fine to the Pool is a meandering fjord, lined by quartz wall cliffs that reach high to the sky as you make your way, unnervingly close to shore, in the ever-narrowing water canyon. Following the marked channel was tricky, as it appeared we could almost reach out of the pilothouse and touch the rock walls of the fjord. Having never cruised into Baie Fine back to Pool before we were amazed by the natural beauty and felt fortunate that we were able to cruise all the way back there for an experience like none other we’ve had to date.


It does not get much better then this as we look out at all the boats anchored at the Pool, which is located at the end of Baie Fine.

One of the highlights of our anchorage at the Pool happened when we landed our dinghy on the shore nearby for a planned hike up the rocky path to Topaz Lake. Topaz Lake sits a few hundred feet ABOVE the Pool and this popular watering hole was naturally carved out of the massive rock during the Ice Age. We later learned that the lake has no known living organisms so the crystal clear water is great for a refreshing dip especially after the long, buggy hike uphill to the lake – neither of us could resist this tempting treat.


This photo of Topaz Lake is one of our favorites of the North Channel.It’s 140 miles from Killarney, Ontario on the east side of the North Channel, to Detour, Michigan on the furthest point west on the North Channel. One could easily cruise this distance in one to three days, depending on your vessel’s speed but why would you want to? There are too many unique towns and wilderness to explore. Many boaters seek the tranquil coves for a remote anchorage and some will spend 4-6 weeks soaking up the raw and natural beauty. So it was not unusual when we left the Pool at Baie Fine for an overnight anchorage at Heywood Island, only a short 14-mile cruise southwest


Heywood Island doesn’t have the natural rock beauty of Baie Fine or some of the more popular anchorages in the North Channel but Lisa and I have two fond memories from a one-night stop in 2002, before our Great Loop trip. As we approached the Island for the very first time we began scouting for the perfect spot to drop the hook. Being somewhat new to anchoring with a larger boat we were not as proficient at the proper techniques as we are today.

It must have looked like a comedy act from the decks of the other moored boats as we dropped our anchor, could not get a good set, lifted the anchor to retry in a different spot…. several times. Two sailors, who had been watching us with amusement, came over by dinghy after a while to offer some friendly advice and assistance. This is when we learned about the proper technique of dropping the anchor and backing down to secure a proper set, we’ve used this technique ever since with great success. Today, it’s more often us who watch others and offer assistance… after all we wouldn’t want a badly anchored boat to drift into us in the middle of the night.




Lisa likes to say I’m her favorite subject when taking photos; here I’m getting ready for dip in Topaz Lake.

We woke the next morning to our second memorable experience at Heywood Island. As the sun was starting to rise the birds started to sing like we had never heard before. The melodic sound was if a group of birds were performing in an orchestra or carrying out a colorful conversation with each other. We lay in bed mesmerized by the bird’s rendition for the better part of 30 minutes before we rose for the day to head out for the town of Little Current. We’ve never heard birds sing like this since our time at Heywood Island and the songs we do hear are always compared with and always fall short of that memorable morning.





Notice how clear the water is at this photo taken at Heywood Island.

The trip to Little Current was a leisurely 10-mile cruise from Heywood Island, past the Light House to the channel that separates Manitoulin Island from Goat Island. Little Current sits on the north shore of Manitoulin Island just past the railroad swing bridge that connects the two islands. It’s called Little Current because of the current that’s created between the two Islands from the larger bodies of water to the east and west. When waiting for the swing bridge to open, idling in neutral we could feel the pull of the water drawing us closer to the bridge, making it important to pay attention to the task at hand. By visiting Manitoulin Island we were able to enjoy the colorful Canadian Island lifestyle which is found along this waterfront, we had a beer or two, fresh ice cream but more importantly we realized that we had set foot on the largest fresh water Island in the world and this was not even on our bucket list.

So, we’ve been in the North Channel eight days and we’ve only traveled 46 miles, with a little more than a hundred to go. There’s so much to see we’ll have to conclude our North Channel exploits in the next log when we’ll try to answer the question, “What’s your favorite place on the Great Loop?”