Great Adventure Part 7
Updated: Sep 2, 2018
June 24, 2018 (Sunday): In the last part I sent there was a photo of a jet ski jumping our wake. I forgot to tell you the story behind that photo so here it is now. As we progressed on the Trent-Severn we passed many small villages and towns along the way. In many places these were no more than clusters of what we call "lake houses" with docks and boats on the T-S. As you have seen in some of the photos the T-S can be large as a lake and narrow as a canal. When we passed several of these villages jet skis would appear and zip around us repeatedly jumping our wake for a mile or two. Reminded me of little water bugs zipping across the water. Appears that we provided entertainment for a brief period for the locals. And thus the tale of the jet skis. Our contribution to recreation in Canada.
Now back to our travels. After very careful consideration, we decided we would not be able to cross Georgian Bay in one day from Port Severn we decided to make another short day and stop just short of the open water, anchor and leave for the crossing early the next day. Weather was OK today for a short voyage through a narrow channel to a suitable place to anchor. We left Starport Marina at 10:45 am, 451.9, and passed through Lock 45 at 11:00 am, 451.6. Past the lock there is a stretch of water with many islands and narrow channel. We had to be very careful here because of an abundance of rocks (large) both above and below the surface. Staying in the channel is imperative. So slowly and carefully we weave our way through the maze of islands and rocks to Beau Soliel Island where we anchored in a nice public cove area at 12:50 pm, 453.8. From here it is about an hour to open water of Georgian Bay to begin our crossing to Tobermory 70 + miles away.
June 25, 2018 (Monday): After restful night off Beau Soliel Island we pull anchor at 6:10 am, 451.9, and head out to cross Georgian Bay. This is a fairly long stretch on open water and the wind is starting to come up. Seas are beginning to roll a bit so it is not as smooth as previous days. Will be a long tiring day. There are large islands in the distance and some shoreline along the way. But mostly just beautiful blue water. We head into a South East wind so there is some rolling but not too bad. Make about 8.5 - 9.0 mph. Don't see many other boats, a few gulls but that's all. Aside from the beautiful water, 6-8 mph wind, not much to talk about. Just aim to Tobermory Harbor. By 4:00 pm, 463.8, we see Tobermory Harbor and enter the harbor at 4:20 pm,. 464.1. Harbor master assigns us a position on the wall between two boats already docked. As we slowly make our way through the small busy harbor we see four young people waving at us from our wall space. Fortunately they are experienced in this docking procedure and guide us between the two other boats at the wall. Since I don't have bow or stern thrusters "parallel parking" like this can be a challenge. Blessed with no wind and help from the dock hands we have no problems. The water is so clear the bottom is visible in 20 feet of water. Tobermory is a nice little town on the tip of Bruce Peninsula. Some shops, grocery, resturants, galleries and of course the ubiquitous ice cream parlor. These we frequented regularly. Nice dinner at quaint hotel up the street and to bed. Breakfast at 7:00 am, and leave at 9:45 am, 464.4, for Lake Huron and points west. June 26, 2018 (Tuesday): Here we are moving into Lake Huron on our way to the Straights of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. It is a beautiful day for cruising the Lake. Slight winds, calm seas and moderate temperatures. As we move into Lake Huron proper we pass port to port the ferry to Tobermory and cruise West about 5 miles off northern shore of Lake Huron and make good time. It is such a perfect day for cruising we decide not to stop early and push on to Drummond Island where we will check in with US customs. At 8:12 pm, 475.2, we pass into US waters for the first time in over 3 weeks. Since it stays light until 9:30 pm and there is a full moon tonight we keep going to Drummond Island. Our destination Drummond Island Yacht Haven on the north side of the Island. For those who are not familiar with DI it is a very large island. To get to Yacht Haven we pass through De Tour Passage north and then east through smaller islands to the marina. The passage and channel are not marked very well and since we arrive at the Passage about 11:00 pm, we cruise very slowly and navigate by chart and GPS marking unlighted buoys with spot light. No real problem but requires undivided attention. Reach Yacht Haven at 12:00 am, 478.7, and tie up at a slip at then end of one of the docks. Very tired we secure the boat and hit the sack. A long successful day. June 27, 2018 (Wednesday): Weather is forecast to be windy today so we elect to stay in Yacht Haven for another night and leave June 28. First thing we check in with US Customs. Now this is an experience for sure. No human to deal with but rather an IPAD on a stand in a small room labeled US CUSTOMS. Of course there are instructions posted on the wall which, you guessed it, don't relate to what we see on the IPAD screen. Instructions on the screen are not rational at all. So after at least 30 minutes we get to the stage where I hold up my passport with photo for IPAD to photograph. First time get message, "Retake Photo". OK, retake photo and get same message. Ths occurs 5 more times so I say "screw this", no not really I actually use the "F" word which makes me feel much better since I have now insulted the IPAD. On the sixth try I simply ignore the message and click next. This works. Without boring you with more details and 15 minutes later after Jay goes through the same process the IPAD tells me it is processing our request and the whirly gig goes round. Finally a voice comes out of the IPAD saying something like, "This is Captain Watson of the Custom and Border Patrol of Homeland Security to whom am I speaking". I answer her questions; where am I, where have I been, purpose of trip, why am I taking this trip, country of citizenship, residence, any weapons, more than $10,000 cash, am I alone, and decal number. I didn't have a decal number since I forgot to get one. This decal is $28.50 and is required for recreational vessals entering US waters. Apply on line, get a number and they send you the decal. I actually had one for last year but did't use it. So I told her I was applying for one after I checked with Customs. Three times she stated I needed to have a decal number to re-enter the US and if I was boarded by US Coast Guard or Border Patrol and didn't have one I'd receive a heavy fine. I made it clear I didn't intend to avoid getting the decal as soon as I finished with her. She again reminded me of the consequences of failure to have a decal and made me state I understood her completely; which I did of course. I held up my passport so she could view it. After Jay went through the same routine the Captain informed us she approved our checkin and we could proceed home. She did, however, once again remind me of my obligation the get the DECAL. I did so within 10 minutes and received my "stay out of jail" number. That was very simple.
After that onerous event we were hungry so rented a car from marina for 5 minute trip to town. Really a cross roads with flashing light. Grocery, hardware and restaurant all owned by same family was town; no ice cream parlor. Breakfast and some grocery shopping and back to clean up boat and relax. Whew what a day. June 28, 2018 (Thursday): Fuel up at 7:40 am, 478.7, and off to Mackinac Bridge. Another nice day with slight winds from South West, mild temperature and calm seas. Again cruise west about 5 miles off north coast of Lake Huron. Pass a couple of the many lights/light houses in the Great Lakes. Pass Mackinac Island and under Mackinac Bridge at 2:07 pm, 484.7, and on to Lake Michigan. Regular ferry traffic from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island. (Note: I did not spell Mackinac/Mackinaw incorrectly; those are the ways people up here spell it.) Passed into Lake Michigan and south to Sturgeon Bay where we anchored for the night. Beautiful clear water, could see bottom at 15 feet. Nice sand, anchor held well. June 29, 2018 (Friday): Pulled anchor at 7:55 am, 488.0, and made way south. Wind had picked up a bit and was forecast to increase throughout the day so we made port in Leland, Michigan at Leland Township Harbor 3:15 pm, 495.2. Fueled up and docked in slip 10. Once again dock personnel were well trained and very helpful. Further check of weather revealed increasing winds Saturday and Sunday so we decided to stay in Leland until early Monday morning. Forecast is great for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so would be able to get to Muskegon Tuesday or Wednesday, trying for Tuesday. Marina was very nice with great facilities. Met some nice boaters from different places. Very good food at local restaurants. And best smoked whitefish from Fish Town on the lake. Lot of shops, grocery, galleries etc. Nice place to be stuck.
A little something for my friends at Toast N' Jams: Have made good use of my sweat shirts on this trip. Received many comments in various places far and wide. Attached is photo of me a upper helm cruising north on Hudson River. See you soon!!!