Reflections on the North Channel

Those weather gods have a lot to answer for! Due to their capricious nature, their fickle winds and wave height, rolling storms and currents, we were only able to visit four places in the time we visited.

Baie Fine – the two miles we saw, we loved. The colour of the water was a beautiful sea-green. The steep sides and vegetation closely resembled Scandinavian fjords. The pool at the end of the nine-mile long bay was unfortunately missed, as strong winds were forecast and we needed to get to Little Current.

Little Current – a total misnomer, if ever there was one! The current that ripped through the narrow passage between Goat and Manitoulin Islands was truly frightening! At one stage with the strong current combined with big winds we thought we would not be able to manoeuvre Bushranger out of her berth (slip). Nights we were tossed about in our berth with Mark on one particularly evil night, having to get up three times to check and triple the mooring lines.

However, Little Current was a very needed and welcome place of refuge for the big blow. It is a cute little town, attracting the big ships. Due to the weather we ended up staying four nights, which curtailed our exploration of the North Channel. It is also where we met up with fellow loopers and boaters whom we first met at Big Chute, then Killarney… I wonder where next? It is the forging of friendships, no matter how short, that is such a wonderful aspect of looping.

The Benjamins – when we did finally ‘escape’ Little Current we headed for the Benjamins. A delight pink granite outcrop of rocks dotted with trees. These islands are heavily visited, with each cove packed with boats.

We found a gorgeous little cove on South Benjamin which had seven power boats rafted together. We dropped the pick and had a lazy lunch, listening to birdsong while gently bobbing under the sun.

Gore Bay – after lunch at South Benjamin we decided to head for Gore Bay. Another strong wind warning was two days away and we wanted to be in a position to move on, if necessary, and not be forced to stay at an isolated anchorage. Another delightful town which offered shelter. We wanted to try a fine dining restaurant, but found due to Covid had shut its doors.

Re-entering USA – sailing westwards just about as far as you can go, we entered USA at DeTour in Michigan. We experienced the gamut of the weather gods today: sunshine and smooth waters, cloud and rolling waves on our beam, wind and rain. We tolerated the waters that produced a washing machine action, as well as greatly appreciated the smooth sailing periods. The colours of the sky and water were dramatic.

North Channel reminded me of home… sailing in parts of Australia. The water is the colour of the Whitsundays. The low lying trees reminded me of parts of Broken Bay. The air is clean and fresh. It is an expanse of pristine water enjoyed by many, and I am grateful we had a taste of it.

Oh, and there are no bears in all of Georgian Bay and the North Channel! I know – – – I’ve looked!

Such is Life!

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