Lake Huron Trip
Sunday, August 13 -- Saturday, August 19, 2006
Lake Huron is indeed beautiful. We found great anchorages, friendly people and a Great, uncrowded Lake. Following our 6 PM Pre-Board on Saturday we were briefed by the owners of Canadian Yacht Charters on conditions we were likely to find. Especially sudden weather squalls and unexpected rocks. Lake Huron’s northern Channel is home to 30,000 islands, so we had a lot to choose from.
After the briefing and final boat checkouts we were able to get our two boats (Jenneau 49, Hunter 426) away about noon on Sunday. They were in beautiful shape and were very roomy below. We began sailing in a light to moderate breeze from Gore Bay, Ontario, through the Northern Channel toward Little Current (about the only town around). About 1600 it became clear we would have to motor to make the Little Current Town Dock at a reasonable time.
We got to Little Current about the time the sun hit the yardarm and met the Basdens and the Oburgs. They accompanied us for most of the rest of the trip. As Perry Basden is a frequent visitor to this area we were sure to let him lead the way into the anchorages.
Monday we set sail for Baie Fine, an unusually beautiful and popular spot in Northern Georgian Bay. The wind was perfect, strong, mostly aft. We both got wing and wing at hull speeds (8.5 knots for the Hunter). As we approached Baie Fine we slowed and started the engine for a long, careful, slow trip up the narrow channel.
At the end of the channel, if one is lucky, one can get in and anchor at The Pool, a shallow, grassy anchorage.
All three boats found an anchorage and many of the crews went ashore for a climb up the trail to the top of the ridge. The rocks were pink granite, rubbed smooth millions of years ago by the retreating glaciers. They are edged by white quartz. What a sight! The picture above is of the boats anchored in The Pool taken from the top of the mountain above us.
Next day we stayed in The Pool, swimming, hiking and avoiding the 25 knot winds and five foot waves that had been blown up on the Lake.
This is what sunset is like taken from The Pool.
Wednesday we went back to Little Current for a group dinner at the Anchor Grille. It was a huge success. Most had fresh Whitefish or Pickerel, locally caught. We made a lot of noise. We had to, to keep up with the other diners!
Thursday was a sail in light to moderate winds, then a motor to the Benjamins, another island group much favored by visitors to Lake Huron. We dropped our anchors in Croker Harbour expecting a 15 knot SW wind (forecast, but that didn’t arrive). Again going ashore, one boat’s crew built a bonfire. Both boats crews went swimming.
The lake’s water was very clear and so clean we could have used it in our water tanks if had needed to. The air was also very clean and clear – no smog, allergies just faded away! One thing about Lake Huron – when you are out of touch you are really out of touch. VHF hardly worked outside of Marina Range (no line of sight) and Cell Phones sort of worked except when we were near Little Current or Gore Bay where we had good signals.
Friday morning began with our Skipper, Jack Buckley, pulling a Beneteau 20 off a rock ledge she had evidently hit while motoring incautiously at high speed. The boat was on its side and its keel was showing in the shallow water where it had beached. Jack was able to pull her off the rock using the dink we had (and a good 4 hp outboard motor.)
We motored (no real wind) over to the harbor at S. Benjamin Island, decided we’d had the better of it the night before, and went south to Beatty Harbour on Clapperton Island for the night.
All in all we were ashore for two nights and at anchor for four. Lake Huron is definitely a wilderness experience – although with the large well equipped boats we had that was a pleasure, not a problem.
A note about the boats and Canadian Yacht Charters (CYC). The members of both crews said that these were the best boats they had ever had on a Club Charter. CYC keeps them in impeccable condition. Anything we asked for was delivered instantly – extra bedding, larger broiling pan, whatever. For those of you who have never sailed Lake Huron – add it to your list. It’s a winner!
(This picture is just after an underway transfer of Bill Hungerford back to his own ship. He had joined us at the Little Current Fuel Dock.)