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
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


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
THE PERFECT BOAT!


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
Priceless


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

   

Our Turn to Relax & Smile
By Kismet, Monday, November 1, 2010

 

By Lisa Targal Favors

After reading our last couple of Logs and seeing a few of the photos we’ve shared I’m sure you’d agree that it wouldn’t be hard for a boater to fall in love with the pristine, natural beauty of Canada’s North Channel. Since this cruising ground is so near our homeport of Charlevoix, Michigan, we understand why many of the serious boaters we’ve met over the years feel a compelling need to return to this cruising area every summer for a week or two, a month or maybe all summer. Before we experienced the North Channel ourselves, we couldn’t help but notice and wonder about the peaceful smiles and relaxed look on the faces of sailors and power boaters who’d recently returned from the channel. Once you’ve experienced this spectacular haven for wildlife and watercraft alike you’ll most certainly be spoiled in so far as what you will desire in terms of future boating adventure.

This is an example of the typical granite rock formation you’ll find in the North Channel.

Many of the rock formations that jut out from land have a way of making you think more about what lies underneath the water, in terms of damage that could potentially happen to your hull.

 

The North Channel stretches roughly 160 miles from Sault Saint Marie to Killarney and includes, not only a natural fjord, many uninhabited islands and sheltered anchorages or “gunkholes,” but it also boasts of having the world’s largest freshwater island – Manitoulin Island. The islands, made of pink granite and covered with windswept pines, are scattered throughout the channel making this a “Boating Paradise” especially if you like to anchor out.

 

This is a typical scene when anchoring in the North Channel. Here Jim is putting a float device on the anchor chain to help make the anchor location known to other boaters.

Our first time in the North Channel actually paved the way for us to talk about being more adventuresome in our boating endeavors. Since most of the harbors and anchorages along our route were quiet and remote, we’d spend a lot of time dreaming or in conversation discussing thoughts such as, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to…” for example, “…the Bahamas on our own boat.” We felt far from home while ensconced in this part of Canada’s wilderness, although only 140 to 300 miles away – the mental distance separated us from the busyness of our then workday lives and made us aware of the many possibilities available to an adventurous boater. While in the channel we seemed to take deeper breaths and were conscious of our heightened interest in being on the lookout for natural surprises. The bear Jim talked about in a previous log was certainly a highlight, the time we saw two moose swimming from one island to another in front of our boat was definitely another and the many bald eagle sightings are always a thrill. While the rocky shores that line the channel can be a boater’s worst nightmare they can more often than not be a subject of wonder and many photographs when trying to capture the early morning or evening light on the sometimes smooth, massive shapes that have been sculpted over time by Mother Nature.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the cottages that dotted the shoreline at our anchorage in Oak Bay.

We had a spectacular view for relaxing on the back deck. My herbs were soaking up the sun, as were we just shortly after dropping the hook.

Our next stop after leaving Croker Island and the Benjamin’s, as we continued our travels, was an anchorage at Oak Bay, in the Whaleback Channel area. We were slowly making our way northeast along the northern coastline towards Thessalon and were midway through our time in the channel. Since we were traveling in June, there were not many other boats either traveling in our direction or in any of the anchorages we peeked into that day so we dropped anchor, all by ourselves, at a spot where a few cottages sparsely dotted the shoreline. Again, since it was early in the season there was little noise or activity from any of the cottages on shore so we settled in for a quiet, peaceful night of reading, playing cards and dining outside on the back deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spanish Marina was a fun stop. Friendly Canadians kept us company during this stop.

The next day we headed to Spanish. This is a port that we’d heard a lot about from cruising friends over the years so we were curious as to what the attraction was at this location. We arrived on the cusp of a holiday weekend – Canada Day, so we were observers while many Canadian boaters carried supplies to their boats from their cars and gathered their family and friends on the dock. They were either headed towards a favorite anchorage or a cottage on one of the nearby islands to celebrate the holiday. Spanish Marina is very boater friendly with a warm and inviting boater’s lounge which Jim enjoyed while I took advantage of the laundry facilities. We walked to the little store in town and met some locals en route. Picking up supplies, whether needed or not is always a good chance to get off the boat to socialize, always a welcome activity after being alone together for several days on the hook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not many marinas have a boater’s lounge as nice as the one at Spanish Marina. Jim watched TV while I did the laundry nearby.

After waiting an extra day due to high winds in the area we left Spanish to head towards Long Point and Bear Drop. We threw out the hook again in a small, well-protected cove with two other sailboats and shortly after launched the dinghy so we could explore the area surrounding the anchorage, which has many smooth granite boulders nearby. As we got further away from the boat, we found a few little ponds around and between rusty, spotted boulders. With the smaller dinghy as our means of transportation, we could get closer to the plant and wildlife and not worry so much about the hard boulders hidden beneath the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While out on our dinghy ride we encountered little pools of water trapped inside rock formations just off the main channel.

When you anchor out a lot, you must have a dinghy so that you can get off the boat to explore the more shallow water surrounding your anchorage.

While cruising in territory where it’s obvious Mother Nature took extra special care when creating and humanity has not yet destroyed – we seemed to be taking, slower, deeper breaths. Yes, after our first trip to the channel and the many times after, we are now the relaxed, smiling boaters other people meet on the docks in Charlevoix after we’ve newly returned from basking in the heart stopping beauty of Canada’s spectacular North Channel. When planning your itinerary for your Great Loop trip – try to pencil in a good amount of time to become familiar with and enjoy this pristine cruising ground.