Harrisville

Sunday, August 10 to Tuesday, August 12

We took our time getting ready this morning and left Presque Isle for Alpena at 9:30 a.m.

Sunrise at Presque Isle

Sunrise at Presque Isle

By the time we reached the turn for Alpena Bay, we were enjoying the motor-sailing ride so much that we decided to keep moving on to the little town of Harrisville. Overall, we travelled 45 nm and were docked at Harrisville at 5:15 p.m.

Navigating to Harrisville

Navigating to Harrisville

En Route to Harrisville

En Route to Harrisville

En Route to Harrisville

En Route to Harrisville

The decision to come to Harrisville was a big one for us because we expected rain and thunderstorms to start on Monday and continue on until at least Tuesday night so wherever we ended up on Sunday night was where we were going to stay for at least 2 and a half days.

The marina is exceptionally clean with friendly staff. They provide single speed Schwinn bicycles, a book exchange, laundry facilities on site, great showers, and a new building with a lounge for reading or using their computer. In other words, very nice!

Harrisville Marina

Harrisville Marina

Harrisville Marina

Harrisville Marina

The town is very small, with one short, quiet main street. The neighbourhoods are very tidy with well-kept small and moderate sized houses on sleepy streets. There are a couple of nice small cooperative art and craft galleries that I visited for inspiration. The State camping park with a beach and a bicycle trail is only about a mile from the marina. Rick and I took bikes to the park and around town before the rain really hit on Monday.

Eye Catcher in Harrisville

Eye Catcher in Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

Downtown Harrisville

It didn’t start raining until about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, and boy, did it ever come down, but we were very cosy in our sailboat cocoon.

It continued to rain on Tuesday and we did some small town walks, read, did laundry, etc. All in all, we are very relaxed. The rain is supposed to stop tonight so we are making plans to move on.

Rainy Day Eye Catcher

Rainy Day Eye Catcher

Staying Dry

Staying Dry

Rainy Day

Rainy Day

Cloudy Skies Over Harrisville

Cloudy Skies Over Harrisville

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Presque Isle

Saturday, August 9, 2014

We had a beautiful sunrise this morning when we left Vidal Island at 6:30 a.m. for Presque Isle, Michigan.

Vidal Island Sunrise

Vidal Island Sunrise

Sunrise En Route to Presque Isle

Sunrise En Route to Presque Isle

Lighthouse En Route to Presque Isle

Lighthouse En Route to Presque Isle

Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Natural Resources

The wind was minimal so we motored or motor-sailed the 47 nm down Lake Huron to the Presque Isle State Marina. We arrived at 2:30 p.m. after a relaxing ride. En route we read, each had naps, Rick navigated, I cleaned the cabin, and we both just meditated on life. For most of the trip there was nothing to see but the lake and the sky and this made for a peaceful experience.

When we arrived at the buoy just outside of the marina, I called in on the VHF for an overnight transient slip. We were assigned a dock and we started to proceed to the break wall. At this time I noticed that there were a few boats anchored in the bay outside the marina proper. We had to make a very quick decision but there really was no contest…I quickly recalled the marina on the radio and we made a beeline for the anchorage.

The depth is about 12 feet and the water is Caribbean clear. Beautiful!

Rick’s American T-Mobile cell phone service is not working here so he had to take the dinghy in to the marina to use their phone to call in to the US Customs to gain entry into the USA. He was fully prepared with all of our Nexus information and he had no trouble at all. The marina attendants thought he was lucky because other sailors have had lots of trouble on the phone and they have been personally inspected by customs officers from Rogers City.

I had a swim while Rick was gone. He came back to pick me up then we went to the marina by dinghy and checked out the place. There is a very organized and well-stocked little convenience store across the street and a restaurant at the marina. We had an early dinner at the restaurant then took a walk to a historic lighthouse at the entrance to the bay.

The Lighthouse Museum

The Lighthouse Museum

A Walk at Presque Isle

A Walk at Presque Isle

Tootin' Around the Bay

Tootin’ Around the Bay

We waited at the boat until 8:00 p.m. then we took a dinghy ride out to the historic lighthouse at the mouth of the bay so I could take sunset pictures.

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Sunset at Presque Isle

Sunset at Presque Isle

On our way back to Guinevere, we could see cars pulling up to shore on the other arm of the bay. People were getting out and setting up on the beach. It ends up that they were having a large community fireworks display and we had front row seats.

I had originally prepared myself for a long and arduous crossing today but instead the day has been a real treat!

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Gore Bay and Vidal Island

Friday, August 8, 2014

On Friday morning, I drove the dinghy from Guinevere anchored in the bay to the Gore Bay Marina docks and had a luxurious marina shower. Other than swimming with a bar of Ivory soap every day, this was my first official shower in the last week. Rick chose to do the swimming routine off of the back of the boat, but I considered the $5.00 well-spent to be able to have a hot shower.

After breakfast, we went to the little Farmer’s Market located right next to the marina and got a few vegetables and some sweets. We revisited the used book shelf at the marina office and went to the studio and retail arts centre down by the water. Sadly, the centre was very quiet, with very few customers. I always get inspiration from these visits, though, and had an enjoyable time browsing.

Eye Catcher at the Farmers' Market

Eye Catcher at the Farmers’ Market

Gore Bay Farmers' Market

Gore Bay Farmers’ Market

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Eye Catcher at Gore Bay

Rick walks to the dinghy at the Gore Bay Marina with some of our purchases while Guinevere sits in the bay.

Rick walks to the dinghy at the Gore Bay Marina with some of our purchases while Guinevere sits in the bay.

By this time it was around 11:30 a.m. and we had the trip to Vidal Island on our minds. We knew that our next leg of the trip was the 5 hour trip for an overnight stay before the 10 hour trip to Presque Isle, Michigan to follow. We decided to move on. We picked up some bean burritos to go and pulled the anchor by 12:15.

The wind was right on our nose all the way so we motored 25 nm to the Vidal Bay anchorage. By 5:30 we were anchored at this huge, remote bay. We had to let out 120 feet of rode (anchor chain) in 24 feet of water. We haven’t seen many boats all day and certainly nobody is anywhere near here. We feel like we are the only people for many miles around. This is a strange but interesting feeling that I can’t remember ever having before.

On Our Way to Vidal Island

On Our Way to Vidal Island

Lighthouse Just Outside Gore Bay

Lighthouse Just Outside Gore Bay

There are a lot of loons in this bay. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some serious wildlife come to the shore for drinks tonight. I’m on the lookout!

Tomorrow, we make our way back to Lake Huron. The American ports are new territories for us and we are looking forward to the adventures!

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Gore Bay

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Today is our 38th anniversary and we are feeling happy!

We had a refreshing morning swim and were packed up and on our way to Gore Bay from Clapperton Island by 8:10 a.m. We motored and motor-sailed with the jib up and we arrived at the town of Gore Bay by 11:00 a.m.

The fuel dock was busy so we tooted around the bay, waiting for our turn. We expected to take a dock at the municipal marina for the night but we noticed another sailboat anchored in the bay so we decided to do the same once we had finished our business at the fuel dock. We got fuel, a pump out, and water in our tanks. Later, we paid $5.00 so I could use a marina shower tomorrow morning. We also got our medium sized propane tank that we use for the stove and the bar-b-cue refilled.

By noon, we were anchored in the bay just outside the Gore Bay Municipal Marina. We used the dock next to their ramp as a dinghy dock and did some serious town-exploring.

Gore Bay is a charming little town which seems to have just about anything one might need to provision for cruising on the water. It even has a small health food store and restaurant called the Island Pantry where we had bean burritos for lunch.

Guinevere in Gore Bay

Guinevere in Gore Bay

Gore Bay Marina as Seen from Guinevere at Anchor

Gore Bay Marina as Seen from Guinevere at Anchor

Gore Bay Marina

Gore Bay Marina

Main Street of Gore Bay

Main Street of Gore Bay

A View of the Gore Bay Marina from Guinevere at Anchor

A View of the Gore Bay Marina from Guinevere at Anchor

We bought a few groceries, some Guinness beer for Rick, and we did a couple of loads of laundry. Rick found a corner at the marina office with used books which is run by the town library. It was a great place to find some good nautical books for him.

We had homemade pizzas at the boat for dinner and then just relaxed on the boat until an early bedtime.

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Clapperton Island

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

We woke to a beautiful , quiet morning at Hotham Island today and we debated about staying to enjoy one more day at this anchorage but we felt the need to move on to the next stage of our trip, so by 10:30 we pulled anchor and moved on.

Clapperton Island was one more anchorage that we wanted to check out while we were in the North Channel and it is on the route to Gore Bay, the marina town where we need to provision soon.

We had an enjoyable motor and motor-sail and by 1:00 p.m. we were securely anchored on the east side of Clapperton Island at Carling Bay.

What can I say? It is a great anchorage to use as a refuge if one needs to stop, but as a special destination in the North Channel, it really doesn’t make the cut in my mind. The surrounding area is rather flat and nondescript. I’m sure that I’m spoiled after all of the breathtaking beauty that I’ve experienced in the last couple of weeks. I know that my opinion is just a matter of personal preference because I’ve read that this is one of the top 30 anchorages as rated by a seminar leader from the Chicago Boat Show. Also, to be fair, I must mention that the weather is cool and windy today which doesn’t help to shed the best light on poor ol’ Clapperton for me.

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Panorama of Clapperton Island Anchorage Surrounding Guinevere

Anyway, for now we are mostly out of the strong west wind and we are keeping ourselves happily occupied until tomorrow when we move on to Gore Bay.

Rick and I have both taken naps and we’ve done lots of reading. The bay is too choppy for an enjoyable dinghy ride around the area so we’ve stayed put on Guinevere. I’ve done some yoga and have worked out a bit with my hand weights. Rick has putzed around with odd things that needed to be done around the boat and he’s charted some plans for our upcoming travelling days. I baked a batch of blueberry banana muffins. Life is good and the livin’ is easy!

Wednesday night brought a lovely sunset and Thursday morning I woke to a glorious sunrise.

Sunset at Clapperton Island

Sunset at Clapperton Island

Tomorrow we are moving on to the little town of Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island where we will provision and make plans for our return to home. We plan to make our way down to Windsor via Lake Huron on the American side of the lake early next week.

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Hotham Island

Monday, August 4, and Tuesday, August 5, 2014

After morning swims and breakfast, we checked the weather on our cell phone apps and on the VHF radio and decided to move on to an anchorage with more protection from the predicted west winds. We’d heard good things about the anchorage at Hotham Island which is just northwest of the Benjamin Island Group, it fit our wind protection needs, so we pulled the anchor and moved on.

Actually, it took Rick quite a while to retrieve the stern line from shore and lift the 200 feet of anchor chain. The chain was extra long because we were in deep water.

We were on our way at 11:00 a.m. We went south around the Benjamin Islands before heading northwest from there. We motored and motor-sailed all the way. This was a beautiful, relaxing trip. The rocks, hills, and trees in the area are really spectacular. There was a misty fog surrounding us so my en route photos probably don’t capture the true beauty of the area but, believe me, this is beautiful country!

 En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

I'm enjoying the ride to Hotham Island.

I’m enjoying the ride to Hotham Island.

 En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

 En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

 En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

 En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

Sow and Pigs - En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

Sow and Pigs – En Route From The Benjamin Islands Group to Hotham Island

We arrived at a gorgeous, protected anchorage on the northern side of Hotham Island and were anchored by 1:00 p.m. This is an ideal anchorage..beautiful, quiet, with about 16 feet of water throughout. The scenery is iconic Northern Ontario beauty. So far, although I’ve loved every anchorage we’ve been to, this is my favourite.

We’ve taken some long dinghy rides along secluded channels. The only way to see this is by boat. It truly is amazingly beautiful here and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Guinevere at the Hotham Island Anchorage

Guinevere at the Hotham Island Anchorage

Selfie on the Dinghy

Selfie on the Dinghy

The Captain of the Dinghy

The Captain of the Dinghy

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Hotham Isalnd

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Hotham Isalnd - The granite here is less rounded than at the Benjamins and more jagged.

Hotham Isalnd – The granite here is less rounded than at the Benjamins and more jagged.

This was taken from Guinevere, anchored at Hotham Island.

This was taken from Guinevere, anchored at Hotham Island.

This is only a few meters from Guinevere, anchored at Hotham Island.

This is only a few meters from Guinevere, anchored at Hotham Island.

The Hotham Island Anchorage.  We are at the West Harbour anchorage of the island.

The Hotham Island Anchorage. We are at the West Harbour anchorage of the island.

The Hotham Island Anchorage.  We are at the West Harbour anchorage of the island.

The Hotham Island Anchorage. We are at the West Harbour anchorage of the island.

Morning has Broken at Hotham Island.

Morning has Broken at Hotham Island.

Rigging and Sky

Rigging and Sky

Hotham Island Anchorage

Hotham Island Anchorage

This is what we see from our stern.

This is what we see from our stern.

Fancy Camera Work!

Fancy Camera Work!

Reflected Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Reflected Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Northern Beauty

Northern Beauty

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Hotham Island View

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Eye Catcher at Hotham Island

Guinevere at Anchor at Hotham Island

Guinevere at Anchor at Hotham Island

Guinevere at Anchor at Hotham Island

Guinevere at Anchor at Hotham Island

Hotham Island

Hotham Island

Hotham Island Anchorage

Hotham Island Anchorage

This stand of trees is right next to Guinevere.

This stand of trees is right next to Guinevere.

Hotham Island Anchorage

Hotham Island Anchorage

Hotham Island Anchorage

Hotham Island Anchorage

Aside: We’ve had great cell phone service on this trip. The only time that we couldn’t get a signal was during our time at Baie Fine. The cell connection has been very useful as it has allowed us to call ahead to marinas sometimes when we are out of range for using the vhf radio, we have been in communication with our family through texting, and we have been using our weather apps in addition to the vhf radio (Environment Canada, NOAA) for additional weather information. I’ve also used my cell phone 3G hotspot to post blogs from my computer to the internet.

Unfortunately for me, next week when we take the southern trip down Lake Huron on the American side of the lake, my Canadian phone plan won’t work and Rick’s cell phone will be able to be used for phone calls only. The only way that I will be able to post my blogs is if I have wifi internet access at the American marinas where we stay. I plan to continue writing my posts on my computer then copy and paste them into my blog when internet access is available.

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Croker Island

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Croker Island is a lovely little anchorage spot just across the channel from the Benjamin Islands and is considered to be a part of the Benjamin Islands group.

Morning View at the Benjamins

Morning View at the Benjamins

Morning View at the Benjamins

Morning View at the Benjamins

We took our time getting ready to leave our anchorage between the North and South Benjamin Islands this morning, then we hauled our anchor and made our way across the bay to see if we wanted to stay at Croker.

On our way across, we got a telephone call from Mim and Pip in Windsor. This was only our second phone call in the last three weeks so it was a treat to connect with home. We circled around the entrance to the anchorage so we could talk undisturbed.

We liked Croker Bay and anchored stern to the shore, which means that we set an anchor in 38 feet of water, then Rick attached a line to the boat and took the other end of the line to shore with the dinghy. He tied that end to a tree. This way we won’t swing and hit the rocks at the shore.

Rick is tying our stern to a tree on shore after we've anchored.

Rick is tying our stern to a tree on shore after we’ve anchored.

This anchorage is very pretty and we took a couple excursions in the dinghy to snoop around. We also did some hiking.

Beautiful orange lichen right next to our boat.

Beautiful orange lichen right next to our boat.

Right next to our anchorage.

Right next to our anchorage.

This is where we are anchored.

This is where we are anchored.

More blueberry picking for us!

More blueberry picking for us!

One hike took us way up to the top of a cliff where we could see for many miles. There was a spectacular view of this area of the North Channel. There were lots of blueberries in this area and we saw what looked like blueberry filled bear scat. I usually travel with a full arsenal of bear deterrents (bell, air horn, harmless but scary dart, etc.) but I’ve let my guard down a bit and on this particular hike I uncharacteristically left my ammo at the boat. That won’t be happening again. Later in the evening I read a bear warning in the Great Lakes Cruising Club’s notes about Croker Island.

Here is a view of Guinevere from the top of the cliff that we climbed.  Note how nice and secluded it is at Croker Island.  Altogether there were about 7 boats sharing this anchorage.  There was also one occupied campsite on shore.

Here is a view of Guinevere from the top of the cliff that we climbed. Note how nice and secluded it is at Croker Island. Altogether there were about 7 boats sharing this anchorage. There was also one occupied campsite on shore.

Secretary Island next to Croker Island

Secretary Island next to Croker Island

Here I am at the top of the hill.  There are lots of blueberries and bear scat in this area!

Here I am at the top of the hill. There are lots of blueberries (and bear scat) in this area!

Guinevere at Croker Island

Guinevere at Croker Island

Our Home Away from Home

Our Home Away from Home

Eye catcher at Croker

Eye catcher at Croker

If the weather allows we will be moving on to another anchorage tomorrow…Will see what tomorrow brings.

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