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

   

Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current
By Kismet, Saturday, December 15, 2012

By Jim Favors

We pulled anchor in Covered Portage Cove and headed east, through Killarney, out of the North Channel and into Georgian Bay with Collins Inlet as our destination for the day. There are no waterside signs alerting you that you’ve made this transition, other than what you see before you. The visual I’m referring to is the unprotected and wide-open Georgian Bay waters resting to starboard (as we we’re heading east). This area has the entire fetch of the bay at its mercy. The North Channel has Manitoulin Island (the largest fresh water island in the world) to shield it from Lake Huron’s long fetch. Only a few miles into Georgian Bay we entered the protection of Collins Inlet and therefore we didn’t have to concern ourselves with big water or the effects of high winds.

This is the western entrance to Collins Inlet, visible for miles around because of the tall red channel marker.

Lisa and I had previously cruised through southern Georgian Bay in 2006 while finishing our first Great Loop boat trip. At that time we had been away from home (Traverse City, Michigan) for almost a year. With that in mind we acted like a horse returning to its stable and went quickly from Port Severn to Tobermory and soon after headed across Lake Huron, the fastest route home. We decided we’d come back one day to explore further. As a result, at that time, we didn’t get to experience any of the 168.5-mile small craft route that runs the north-to-north eastern edge of Georgian Bay. It was time to get our feet wet!

We had heard that the Georgian Bay small craft route was just as interesting, from a cruising prospective as the North Channel. With Collins Inlet being so close to Killarney, we just had to take a couple of days to experience a small sampling, if for no other reason than to confirm our thoughts about spending time in Georgian Bay in the future.

We had a picture perfect day for exploring the narrow and well-protected Collins Inlet.

Collins Inlet cuts a path between mainland Ontario to the north and Philip Edward Island to the south. We could see right away that the rock formations, and wind swept pine tree landscape, fairly closely resembled the landscape of the North Channel. The big difference, at least in the 16-mile-long Collins Inlet, was that it was shaped more like a channel. Dotted with small rustic cottages and fishing camps – the channel is very narrow in most areas, giving us the feeling we were cruising on a river.

Canadians call them camps and this is typical of what we saw while cruising along Collins Inlet.

Our plan was to cruise slowly while making our way to Mill Lake, forgoing the last six miles of the inlet, so we could get a peek at what our future Georgian Bay cruising experience might be like. About half way to Mill Lake, we passed an open area that has a few islands, making note of Keyhole Island as a possible anchorage spot for later that day. As we lazily continued on our way, we passed several people fishing from cottage docks, rock bluffs and small fishing boats, we all exchanged waves. Folks on the water are typically friendly, Canadians even more so, which made our introduction to the Georgian Bay small craft route very pleasant. Lisa and I reaffirmed that a cruising trip to Georgian Bay lay in our future.

We found a spot, next to Keyhole Island, to anchor for the night. Don’t think we’ll ever get over how serene and pristine the area surrounding our anchorage was that night.

After spending a peaceful night on the lee side of Keyhole Island, anchored in six feet of water, in a Norman Rockwell looking setting, we retrieved our anchor and headed back towards Killarney with Little Current as our final destination, however we planned a few side trips along the way. Our first cruise-by was just a short distance from our anchorage, we tucked the bow of the boat into Thomas Cove, a place we had been advised was a good anchorage, to check it out. Leaving Collins Inlet (heading west) Thomas Cove rests in an outcrop of large boulders to starboard. With Lisa positioned on the bow, to watch out for any uncharted submerged prop manglers, we snaked our way back into the cove. Once inside, we were surrounded on all sides by rock and trees, making the cove an ideal setting for good protection from the potentially rough Georgian Bay waters as well as providing a beautiful, rocky anchorage. We made a notation on our chart plotter for when we return to Georgian Bay in the future.

Next, we made a pre-planned stop in Killarney. On our way through Killarney, heading for Georgian Bay the day before, we received a call on our VHF from Bill, a summer resident of Killarney; he was said he was interested in our Ranger Tug. We agreed to tie up at his channel-side dock on our return trip through Killarney so he and his wife Kathy could get a look see of our Kismet. As we tied up along side their sailing yacht, Thomas James, we remarked that the uniqueness of their vessel was just as interesting to us as our Tug was to them.

We stopped in Killarney to visit with Bill and Kathy, standing next to their sailing yacht, Thomas James, and swap boat tours.

While exchanging boat tours and cards, we learned from Bill that they’ve been thinking of buying a trailerable tug, like ours, for cruising the Trent-Severn, Rideau and Erie Canal systems, as their Thomas James has too large of a keel to handle some of the canals in those areas. They were thinking that a boat like ours, with a draft of less than three feet, would not only be comfortable for the two of them, but also easy to handle in the canal systems. However, they had never seen a Ranger Tug before or even been on a boat like it; that is until we came along and remedied their curiosity. As of our last communications, Bill and Kathy were still researching their trailerable trawler options. The next time we’re in Killarney we’ll be curious to see what they decided upon.

Leaving Bill and Kathy’s dock, we exited Killarney Channel and headed southwest, down Lansdowne Channel, on our way to our destination. Little Current, on Manitoulin Island, is the largest town and also a big commercial hub of the North Channel. The island itself has a total population of 12,000 folks; it is the largest fresh water island in the world. Of the 12,000 people who call Manitoulin Island home today 4,200 are Aboriginals. Although first discovered in 1615, by Samuel de Champlain, the current day Ottawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwe Aboriginals can trace their ancestry back well before Champlain arrived. In 1951 there was an archeological discovery declared, by the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, to be approximately 10,000 years old. To read more about Little Current you can visit the following website: http://www.turners.ca/index.php/manitoulin-island/aboriginal-peoples

Lisa picked up this nice map when we stopped in Killarney, its published by Turners, in Little Current, it gives a good idea of how much explorable territory exists in the North Channel for the adventurous cruiser.

Today, Little Current, and therefore Manitoulin Island, is connected to mainland Ontario by Route 6 and includes a trip across a swing bridge, which spans Goat Island Channel. The swing bridge only opens on the hour, so one needs to time their transit accordingly or be able to slip under the 18-foot clearance, like we were able to do. Undeterred by the closed bridge, we weaved through a group of a dozen or so bigger power and sail boats as we slowly moved under the swing bridge, with only six feet to spare above us, thereby getting a little jump ahead of the bunch, to be first in line for docking at the Little Current Town Docks. The town’s marina is conveniently located adjacent to the village of Little Current. Since our visit in 2004 we found the docks had been completely replaced in 2009, they now have 120 transient slips.

By the time we arrived in Little Current, Lisa and I had been anchoring in the North Channel just shy of two weeks; it was time to take care of some basic chores. Our holding tank was full, our water tank about empty and we needed a good overnight charge on the house batteries. In addition, we thought it would be a nice treat to eat out at one of the local restaurants.

The swing bridge in Little Current was closed when we arrived (shown open here), but we had plenty of room to slide under without waiting for the next opening.

After getting settled into our slip I excused myself from Lisa’s company, under the guise of heading up to the Harbor Master’s office so I could register (which I did do). However, I really had an ulterior motive! Just like most boaters who are in port after a long haul at anchor and who’s fridge onboard, either doesn’t have the room for or, won’t keep well… one heavily sought after luxury item – ice cream; my priority and mission was to scope out the best, hand scooped, ice cream I could find in town. Unbeknownst to me, until I got off the boat and a pleasant surprise I might ad, Kismet was docked only 50 feet from the Town Dock Farquhar’s Ice Cream stand. Needless to say I had to temporarily postpone registration while I stopped to make an impulsive, palate-pleasing, purchase.

The main drag in Little Current offers visiting boaters a chance to socialize with other boaters cruising through the area, shop, and provision. The downtown area overlooks the town docks and Goat Island Channel.

You know you’re up in the north country when soda is called pop and smoked fish is sold just about everywhere, even at Wally’s.

We spent a leisurely day walking through town on the main street, scoping out restaurants for our first, North Channel dinner off Kismet. We also spent a fair amount of time in Turner’s, shopping. This local merchant is a mainstay in Little Current, having been established in 1879 it’s somewhat of an icon in the little town. On the second floor, tucked back in a corner room, past a large assortment of unique Canadian-made products, is a museum. The museum covers the history of Little Current and the surrounding North Channel, a must stop for every mariner visiting Little Current.;

The next morning, with our legs stretched, our tummies pleasantly full, my ice cream fix satisfied, and our tanks, empty or full (in the opposite direction of when we arrived), we departed Little Current for Croker Island and our last three days of adventure in the North Channel.