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Another couple and we are spending these winter days planning our excursion to Georgian Bay in July. Our family used to spend a month every summer between Mackinaw and Killarney, but that was in the late 70's and early 80's; our friends have never been and are taking my word for the beauty; I feel pretty safe on that commitment.
I want to retrace earlier trips and spend most time between John Island and Little Current. Maybe do Parry Sound and other points south in 2013. I've read Jim's entire website of Continuous Wave, and hopefully he'll weigh in here.
We'll be trailering larger boats from Cleveland to begin the trip, and this is where the primary question comes in. My itinerary currently has us running north through Michigan to Presque Isle and to transit Lake Huron into Meldrum Bay then into the North Channel.
Based on where we want to cruise (northern end of the Bay), what do you think about trailering through Canada, up the Bruce Peninsula, and dunking the boats around Tobermory rather than Michigan?
Don't know if it makes a difference, but both vehicles are F250 turbodiesels and boats are 25' Carolina Classic and 265 Albemarle; both will be past the 10,000 lb weight when loaded for 8 days of cruising (that's still 7,000 lbs under the weight restriction for the tow vehicles).
This will be a great trip. With any luck, I'll be up there myself this summer. The Tobermory starting point is a good idea. It's a relatively short open - water trip across the bay to Killarney and you have the right pair of boats for it. You'll hear from everyone about the popular spots (the Pool Benjamns, etc). One spot I could suggest which doesn't always get mentioned is the trip from Killaeney about 10 miles or so east through Collins Inlet to Beaverstone Bay. This area is the far Western end of the Georgian Bay "small craft route" and is very picturesque and not crowded. You can do it in one overnite,back and forth from Killarney. There is a cool little spot to tie to shore in Beaverstone. It's on the Eastern shore about 3-4 miles from the Collins Inlet entrance to Beaverstone and is called "Muskrat Bay" on the chart. There is a little notch on the South shore which wil fit 2-3 boats rafted off where you side tie to the shore and can step right off the boat. There are even a couple iron rings in the rocks to tie to. The spot must have been used to tie up trading boats in the old days. Even with low water, you'll be fine with the stern drives.
There is another spot in Bay Finn on the south shore about 2/3 of the way down. It's on the chart but doesn't have a name. It's a little bay with a sand bottom that a sterndrive/outboard can tie to shore with a stern hook and wade right to shore. This is protected and will be absolutely private vs the Pool which gets jammed up with boats sometimes. I'd have to scan in the chart and e-mal it to you. Post an e-mail if you'd like me to send it to you. Either way, look for a Bertram 28 "Ptarmigan" when you're up there.
I agree with Leigh. Made the trip many years ago and we launched at Tobermory. We explored flowerpot island then overnighted in a nice little cove on Club Island. Hit Killarney and points west for the rest of the week long trip. Just gorgeous! I can't recall the island that this pic was taken but it was all granite!
__________________ "Liberty is not the fringe, it's the foundation"
I will add these to my marked anchorages. Just got Navionics for the ipad2 and can't believe how many are already listed by default. I think we'll be in the whalesback and Bay Fine, not sure how many others. The Carolina is an inboard, so no getting into really skinny water, but that's OK, I don't like the pucker factor that far from home.
I did a Georgian Bay cruise with Jim H in 2011. We started our cruise in Lions Head, which is just south of Tobermory. Our cruise started on a Canadian holiday weekend which meant heavy traffic and a long drive to get to the launch point. After crossing into Canada at Sarnia, you're only on the expressway for about 10 or 15 miles. After that, it's two-lane roads the rest of the way, with little or no opportunity to pass. Along the way, there are about a half dozen small towns where traffic can back up during the weekends.
Tobermory is a nice little town, but the launch facilities there are not ideal. The boat ramp is essentially right in the middle of the town square. There is lots of pedestrian traffic crossing the ramp, especially on weekends. (Here's a picture where you can see people walking across the ramp: http://g.co/maps/z2w4m). Plus there's not a lot of room near the ramp to prepare your boat before launching.
Since you're contemplating crossing one of the bridges into Canada, I assume you would be able to cross the Mackinac Bridge with your rigs. If that is the case, I would recommend that you launch from Detour, Michigan. That way, almost your entire run would be on the expressway, with only the last 1-2 hours on a nicely-paved two-lane highway. From Detour, it's about a 50-mile run by boat to Blind River, Ontario, where you can check in with Canadian Customs.
Another option is to tow through Sault Ste. Marie and launch from Blind River. If Jim H checks in on this thread, I'm guessing that is what he would recommend since that's what he's done in the past. Time-wise, it should take about the same amount of time to get to Blind River whether you launch in Detour and travel to Blind River by boat or you drive by land to Blind River and launch there. You will save some money on fuel by driving to Blind River to launch. The water between Detour and Blind River is scenic, however, and is worth seeing.
__________________ 2011 Pursuit 235 Offshore with 4.2 liter Yamaha F250
Nice to see people making trips like you! Bring pictures!!!
Thanks for the links.
I did the Trent Severn with my Dad when we brought his 36 Grand Banks up from Long Island to Lake Michigan in 1979. I still remember the 72 locks and awefully skinny water in a few places. It was great fun and would do it again, given enough time to take a leisurely "canal pace."
3 boats trailered to the Thousand Islands area in New York several years ago. We took two weeks and went down the St. Lawrence to Montreal then up the Ottawa River to Ottawa, down through the Rideau Waterway to Kingston and back to 1,000 islands. VERY memorable trip!
__________________ "Liberty is not the fringe, it's the foundation"
What I would give to be able to save fuel and tow all the way up there... If you do decide to run from Erie all the way up it is possible to get all the way to Tobermory in one day from the Lake Erie Islands area. Last summer we left Catawba at 6:30am and made it into the docks at Tobermory at about 9pm with one stop for fuel in Pt. Huron. Heck of a long day but it was worth it to maximize our time up north!
USCG Masters 100GT - Tiara 4000 Express, Jupiter 31 Open
Our pals have had to cancel, but we're still on for departing July 27. We'll be transiting Lake Huron from Rogers City and clearing Canada at Meldrum Bay. We will be laying on the hook in Whalesback Channel the weekend to the 28th then heading east into thousand islands and Little Current early in the week.
If others are still looking to do at North Channel trip, I'll be looking for crossing partners or unions at dock/anchorage. Let me know your contact info here or via PM.
My wife and I are thinking about a Georgian Bay to North Channel run up to Mackinac Island but starting from Cleveland by water. We would probably run back on the US side down the east coast of Michigan in Lake Huron for a loop back home.
We have 3 weeks and would more than likely be leaving on / near Aug 3rd.
You are so fortunate to have the opportunity to cruise Georgian Bay and the North Channel.
I have cruised most of the Western Hemisphere and nothing is as amazing your planned trip.
Everyone has great suggestions and the only thing I will add is think about going south, from Killarney to the 30,000 island inland water way. Work yourself to the mouth of the French River (Bad River) The anchorage, terrain and fishing is extraordinary. Not far, a long day trip.
__________________ Donzi Sweet 16
St John, USVI