The Benjamins

Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2, 2014

On Friday morning we were showered, packed up, and docked at Wally’s fuel dock in Little Current at 7:50 a.m., waiting for them to open at 8:00 a.m. Rick filled our water tank, got a pump out, and fueled up with diesel while I ran over to the cafe to get us some coffee and breakfast wraps. By 8:20 we were motoring west along the channel toward the Benjamin Islands, which were 16 nm away.

We chose an anchorage between North Benjamin Island and South Benjamin Island and were fully anchored by 11:40 a.m. When we rounded the corner to the bay, we were awestruck by two things: the number of boats at the anchorage (Lots! We counted 35 boats.) and by the beauty of the setting. I’ll let the pictures talk…

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

Guinevere is sitting at the anchorage in the Benjamins.

Guinevere is sitting at the anchorage in the Benjamins.

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

The Benjamins

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Eye Catcher at the Benjamin Islands

Eye Catcher at the Benjamin Islands

Benjamin IslandsNorth Channel Trip 2014 118com

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

Benjamin Islands

We stayed at this anchorage for two days and kept ourselves busy. We explored with the dinghy, did some climbing, picked blueberries, napped, read, etc. We both have jobs to do during the day. I have been doing some yoga. It’s all good! The weather has improved and we are really appreciating the warmer, sunnier weather. Morning swims are more pleasant. Tomorrow we are going to head to another anchorage but we haven’t decided where that will be yet. Will let you know when I know!

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

The Tallship Classroom, Play Fair, was anchored near us.

The Tallship Classroom, Play Fair, was anchored near us.

We climbed the cliffs that surrounded the anchorage.

We climbed the cliffs that surrounded the anchorage.

I made pancakes, muffins, and blueberry crisp with the blueberries that we foraged.

I made pancakes, muffins, and blueberry crisp with the blueberries that we foraged.

A stand of wild blueberries.

A stand of wild blueberries.

Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking

I've been sprouting seeds so that we have some fresh greens on the road.

I’ve been sprouting seeds so that we have some fresh greens on the road.

Ice Cream at Little Current...a tradition.

Ice Cream at Little Current…a tradition.

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Little Current, Manitoulin Island

Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday morning we were greeted by thousands of little swamp type bugs covering the outside of the boat. Rick wasn’t very happy about having to clean the critters off of Guinevere. Using the anchor light at night attracts the bugs but that’s the safest way to go.

After some housekeeping and breakfast, we left Beaver Island Harbour at 9:20 a.m. We decided to take the shortcut channel on the west side of Strawberry Island to get to Little Current, on Manitoulin Island. Just as we made the turn to head north, we ran aground in some muddy, silty bottom. We could see to the bottom of the channel and as we ploughed through we could see the trail that our keel was leaving in the bottom of the channel. We had visions of having to do fancy maneuvers to get ourselves unstuck but sheer motor power for about 5 minutes did the trick.

Rick is navigating to Little Current.

Rick is navigating to Little Current.

En Route to Little Current

En Route to Little Current

En Route to Little Current

En Route to Little Current

The swing bridge at Little Current opens up on the hour for 15 minutes to let boat traffic through. The rest of the time the bridge is used to let cars onto Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. We arrived at the bridge about 10 minutes before it opened for us.

The Swing Bridg at Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario

The Swing Bridg at Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario

Little Current is known for its strong current that is affected by the winds, hence its name. (It actually should be more appropriately named Big Current on some days.) Boaters have to be prepared to work with/against the current when docking. Today we had a strong west wind and current.

When we got to the municipal marina we called in using the VHF radio and were told to wait out in the channel for our turn to get a dock assignment. Eventually we were told that we could take dock D3 and we would have a starboard tie up. I had the attendant repeat the information on the radio then we carefully made our way to the dock. When we got there, there was another boat already tied up in our space! Now we were fighting the current with nowhere to go. We bumped into another dock and the attendants saw that we were having a hard time. They told us to come around to the other side and use dock D4.

After finally tying up the attendant apologized for telling us the wrong dock number to go to in the first place. He said, “I always make that mistake.” We had to laugh because that’s a big mistake to be making and he didn’t seem to be too uptight about it.

Anyway, the rest of our first day in Little Current was spent doing lots of errands. We went to the grocery store two times and we did our laundry. It felt good to walk! The town is very nice and the waterfront is a bustle of nautical activity.

Guinevere is below at the marina and Rick is carrying water bottle from the grocery store.

Guinevere is below at the marina and Rick is carrying water bottle from the grocery store.

On Thursday we spent time walking around the town and doing small errands. Rick did some maintenance work on the boat. I made a big batch of whole wheat blueberry pancakes from scratch with some of the blueberries that we picked at Baie Fine. Overall, it was an ideal day docked in a little northern Ontario town in the summer.

Guinevere is nestled in at the municipal dock in Little Current.

Guinevere is nestled in at the municipal dock in Little Current.

Rick in Town

Rick in Town

Guinevere is at the Municipal Dock

Guinevere is at the Municipal Dock

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On the Hook at Beaver Island Harbour

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

After a cool, comfortable 47 degree F night, we woke up, had breakfast, and got ready to head to our next anchorage. We really enjoyed Baie Fine but we were ready for a little quiet privacy so we decided to try the secluded Beaver Island Harbour behind Strawberry Island. This would bring us closer to the town of Little Current where we expected to stop to provision on Wednesday.

The bottom of the harbour in Baie Fine is very weedy so it took Rick a half hour to remove all the weeds that were stuck to our anchor chain and anchor. By 9:00 a.m. we were heading out.

Baie Fine on Our Last Morning There

Baie Fine on Our Last Morning There

We motored the 19 nm in 3 and a half hours and were securely anchored at Beaver Island by 12:30 p.m.

The scenery was beautiful all the way.

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

Beautiful Journey from Baie Fine to Beaver Island Harbour

We were the only boat at this harbour for our entire overnight stay. This anchorage is actually a conservation area and the scenery is pretty flat compared to the other anchorages we’ve tried. There was one spot where we could see between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island and the La Cloche mountains were visible.

The anchorage was so secluded that I took a shower (with a bathing suit) on the deck of Guinevere.  These are the tools of the trade.

The anchorage was so secluded that I took a shower (with a bathing suit) on the deck of Guinevere. These are the tools of the trade.

Harbour Between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island

Harbour Between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island

Harbour Between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island

Harbour Between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island

The weather was odd all day and various types of clouds rolled in and out. We had some rain in the evening. It felt good to be snuggled into the cocoon of our vee berth and fall asleep to the sounds of the rain on our deck. I got up in the middle of the night and went out to the cockpit. Half the sky was still cloudy but the other half looked like fireworks with thousands of bright stars. This isn’t something we are able to see in the city and it is an awesome sight to behold.

This was a day of solitude and relaxation and we thoroughly appreciated it.
We are rested up and ready for some action in the town of Little Current tomorrow.

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Unplugged at the Pool in Baie Fine

Sunday, July 27 and Monday, July 28, 2014

The Breathtaking Anchorage of Covered Portage Cove in the Morning

The Breathtaking Anchorage of Covered Portage Cove in the Morning

Covered Portage Cove on  the Morning the We Leave

Covered Portage Cove on the Morning the We Leave

At 9:30 a.m. we had our anchor up and, after waving goodbye to David from Port Huron, Lori and Fred from Lighthouse Cove, and Kat and Court from Ohio, we headed toward the beautiful anchorage in the Pool at Baie Fine. The total trip was 23 nautical miles, including 9 nm up the fjord of Baie Fine to reach the Pool. We arrived at 2:00 p.m. after motoring and motor-sailing all the way. There was no cell phone service up here so we immediately felt unplugged and relaxed.

There is a challenging spot along the route called Hole in the Wall which is, as you can imagine, a very small space between two islands. There is an alternate route not too far away from the Hole in the Wall but Rick really wanted to try the challenging bit. He said that at the end of my life I may be disappointed if I had never had the chance to try this feat. Hmmmmmm…we tried it. Only one boat can fit through at a time so if you see someone coming from the other direction, you have to wait your turn to go through. I stood lookout on the bow and gave directions to Rick to go left or right to avoid hitting the rocks. We made it without touching bottom. Happy times.

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Along the 9 nm entrance of Baie Fine there are glistening white quartz cliffs on the north side of the channel and orangy black cliffs on the south side. Makes me wonder how this area of the earth developed. Very beautiful to see.

The Fjord Leading to the Pool

The Fjord Leading to the Pool

En Route to the Pool

En Route to the Pool

North Channel Trip 2014 89com

The North Side of the Fjord is White Quartz

The North Side of the Fjord is White Quartz

The South Side of the Fjord Channel is Rusty Black and Orange Granite

The South Side of the Fjord Channel is Rusty Black and Orange Granite

En Route

En Route

En Route

En Route

The North Channel at Its Finest

The North Channel at Its Finest

Group of 7 Material

Group of 7 Material

Inspiration for Tom Thompson

Inspiration for Tom Thompson

En Route to the Pool

En Route to the Pool

When we got to the Pool we had to stake out our spot amongst lots of other boaters. We counted 22 boats in the area.

The Anchorage at The Pool

The Anchorage at The Pool

The Anchorage at the Pool

The Anchorage at the Pool

There was a lot of activity and a festive atmosphere with people tooting around on dinghies and kayaks, fishing, hiking, having campfires, and swimming. There were 3 sailboats full of very active sea cadets anchored near us. We saw a beaver cross our path when we were out on the dinghy. There were loud loon calls serenading us. We saw a gigantic snapping turtle swim by and we think it is the same legendary turtle that we saw here two years ago. All in all, this was a busy, positive place.

Granite Reflections

Granite Reflections

Guinevere is anchored at the Pool in Baie Fine.

Guinevere is anchored at the Pool in Baie Fine.

Our trusty dinghy gets a lot of workout.

Our trusty dinghy gets a lot of workout.

On Sunday and Monday we went blueberry picking. We got quite a load and I made muffins with some of the blueberries.

Picking Blueberries


Picking Blueberries

The Fruits of our Labours

The Fruits of our Labours

Blueberries

Blueberries

The Fruits of our Labours Day 1

The Fruits of our Labours Day 1

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

We took the half hour uphill hike through the woods to Topaz Lake and enjoyed the breathtaking view.

Rick and Me at Topaz Lake

Rick and Me at Topaz Lake

Rick is Enjoying the Beauty of Topaz Lake

Rick is Enjoying the Beauty of Topaz Lake

Topaz Lake - One of the places where the Group of Seven used to camp and paint.

Topaz Lake – One of the places where the Group of Seven used to camp and paint.

Topaz Lake

Topaz Lake

The wind really blew on Monday night and Rick was up a couple of times to check that the anchor was set. The weather continues to be cool with temperatures in the 40’s at night and up to the mid 60’s during the day.

We thoroughly enjoyed the hubbub of activity and the awesome beauty of this popular anchorage but tomorrow we plan to head out to somewhere more secluded, the Beaver Island Harbour between Beaver Island and Strawberry Island.

Guinevere Enjoying the Pool

Guinevere Enjoying the Pool

The Pool at Baie FIne

The Pool at Baie FIne

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Last Day at Covered Portage Cove for Now

Saturday, July 26,2014

We had another relaxing day at anchor today.
I baked cookies, we did the swimming and cleaning up routine, hiked up to the top of the cliff, I did some yoga (Ohhhhhhm!) while Rick worked on some electrical issues on the boat, we ate well, and relaxed.

We had a visit with Kat, Court, Lori, and Fred after they arrived. It rained and we had to make a dash for home from Lori and Fred’s boat in our dinghy.

Wonderful day!!
(No pictures today…very unusual for me! Wish I had taken some pics of the Bayfield Club Gang. We hope to meet up again so I’ll be sure to capture their pretty little faces when I get another chance.)

Tomorrow we plan to make our way to Baie Fine in the morning. It is a beautiful little pool at the end of a 10 mile fjord. On Monday we are supposed to have very high winds so the plan is to stay put at Baie Fine for a couple days to ride out the bad weather.

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Relaxing at Covered Portage Cove

Friday, July 25, 2014

Our intention was to move on to a new anchorage today and meet up with some boating friends but we were feeling so comfortable and happy here that we decided to stay put. The setting is simply beautiful and we just hadn’t had enough of it. Lori and Fred as well as Kat and Court, all people we met in Bayfield, are coming to this anchorage tomorrow so we will have some fun together then.

Here we sit at Covered Portage Cove.

Here we sit at Covered Portage Cove.

The iconic Indian Head rock at the entrance.  It can be seen from only a certain angle.

The iconic Indian Head rock at the entrance. It can be seen from only a certain angle.

Anyway, Rick and I had a great day today together. We snooped around on the dinghy, read, napped, and went for a hike to the top of the cliff that surrounds this anchorage. I did some mean cookin’ and worked on this blog. Rick did a few maintenance jobs around the boat. Also, I ended up following Rick’s example and took a swim to clean up and refresh myself for the day. The water was very cold but I have to admit that it felt good when I got out. I’ll have to remember that good feeling tomorrow when it’s time to jump in again.

The climb through nature up to the top of the cliff.

The climb through nature up to the top of the cliff.

Guinevere, as seen from the cliff.

Guinevere, as seen from the cliff.

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

The View from Guinevere this Morning

Spectacular Reflection

Spectacular Reflection

Guinevere, is ready for action, resting in Covered Portage Cove.

Guinevere is ready for action, resting in Covered Portage Cove.

We met a couple from Windsor, Jamie and Miriam, who are on a Bayfield-like sailboat, a Gozzard, that Rick recognized from St. Clair Marina. Small world.

Anyway, this ended up to be a wonderful vacation day at an awesome anchorage.

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Club Island to Killarney and Covered Portage Cove

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The anchor held well during the night at Club Island but we bobbed in the wind quite a bit and there were lots of noisy vibration sounds coming from the anchor chain on the rocky bottom of the cove.

Sunset at Club Island

Sunset at Club Island

We left Club Island, heading to Killarney and beyond, by 6:35 a.m.

The wind was light and at 30 degrees so we motored right from the start. Closer to Killarney we did some motor sailing with the jib up. At 11:00 a.m., after 30 nautical miles, we made it into the harbour town of Killarney. The channel was filled with boat traffic. There were people circling the Sportsman Inn fuel dock when we got there. The people ahead of us said that they had been waiting to get a spot on the dock for a fuel up for an hour. It took us a half hour of puttering around the area to get our turn for a pump out and diesel.

The Lighthouse at Killarney Channel

The Lighthouse at Killarney Channel

Busy Boat Traffic in Killarney

Busy Boat Traffic in Killarney

We left Killarney at noon and arrived at our first North Channel anchorage, Covered Portage Cove, about an hour later. The first thing that Rick did after anchoring was to set up the dinghy. We’ll leave it assembled for the rest of our trip up here. We took two toots around the area today and stopped on some big granite and quartz rocks to relax and soak up the sun.

A  Rocky Retreat

A Rocky Retreat

Eye Catcher at the Shore

Eye Catcher at the Shore

Eye Catcher at the Shore

Eye Catcher at the Shore

Another Eye Catcher

Another Eye Catcher

This is a popular anchorage and tonight there were 13 boats anchored with us in the inner harbour and we counted another 13 in the outer harbour.

Note: This is the first time that I can remember going all day without a shower and I’m still wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday! The weather has been cold since we left Windsor a week and a half ago. It is even colder now. We are getting nights in the low 50’s and daytime temps are in the mid to upper 60’s. The water temperature in Lake Huron was 68 degrees and in this bay it is 70 degrees. Usually when we anchor out we swim and soap up every day. I was just too cold today. Rick went for a swim and clean up but he has been the only person that I’ve seen in the water, brave soul. Tomorrow I’m planning to figure a way to rig up some kind of shower in the cockpit.

Tomorrow we plan to meet the couple from Lighthouse Cove, Fred and Lori, at an anchorage near here called Snug Harbour. They are the people we met at Bayfield.

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