Vessel........Serenity Crew..........Jim, Chris, Jay, C.C. Duration......7 days Dates.........August 8-14, 1992 Destinations..Browning Cove, Beaverstone Bay, Covered Portage, Snug Harbour, Mary Ann Cove, Little Current
I can't seem to find any contemporaneous notes from this cruise, so this entire account is reconstructed from memory. This year was the first that we didn't take two weeks cruising. Two events that affected our plans: Roberta's wedding and Fran Tevlin's illness.
We arrive in Little Current on Friday evening, taking a room at the Wagon Wheel motel. We came over on the 4 p.m. sailing of the ChiCheeman. Good thing: Saturday is a torential rain storm all morning and early afternoon. Finally, in the late afternoon, the rain lets up, and we are able to travel eastward just before the the 5 p.m. bridge opening. We head for nearby Browning Cove, a place we've been many times. Today the harbor is quite crowded, and we take our position as the most windward boat, the farthest from shore. In so doing, we rattle the cage of another boater, who decides we have anchored too close--although I don't think so--and moves away with some loud comments in our direction.
When Sunday arrives the rain is gone, but not much of a breeze fills in. We ghost eastward from Heywood Island, making just enough way to maintain steering. A larger sailboat, about a 45-footer, demonstrate the advantage of larger hulls, as it makes much better way in the light air. Our sail turns into a long motor as we head eastward toward Collins River Inlet.
Once in the inlet, the navigation is simple: just stay in the middle of the channel. The miles roll by and the scenery is great. Only one tricky obstacle lies ahead: the shallow dreged passage at the very end of the inlet that connects to Beaverstone Bay. Because I am anxious to transit that point, I press everyone to keep going, and we motor the entire length of the inlet, finally approaching the shallow spot around 4 p.m. With little difficulty we glide through the well marked passage, although the water is a little thin there. We finally stop for the night about half way down Beaverstone Bay at a spot called Muskrat Bay.
Muskrat Bay lies just east from the small boat track shown on the charts and makes a wonderful anchorage, although its inner depths are only shown as 4 feet. We hang out near the little point to the west, which in the high water has become an island covered with blueberries. We are tied with the bow to shore (almost) but when the wind shifts slightly, I feel the keel take a bump on a rock and I have to quickly make an adjustment to let us slip off into a little deeper water. Later the wind shifts around to the SW and builds. We are nicely protected in the lee of the point.
Our day begins with blueberry pancakes. When the galley is shipshape, we again set sail and head for the passage back to Georgian Bay at the southern end of Beaverstone. This is a complicated route, with three ranges and many bouys. We motor southward and out, but when we reach the lake we are greeted with fog. The final sea bouy is not visible, and the big bay looks rather socked in. We decide to retrace our steps back into the bay. Here we are in for a surprise!
Having carefully planned and rehearsed the exit from Beaverstone, we are not quite as well prepared to suddenly enter it. Upon returning, we get confused among the ranges and we have to make a sudden 180-degree turn to regroup when it looks like we are headed into shoal water. Eventually, we do get safely back into Beaverstone, but another lesson is learned. Ranges don't look the same when you are reversing your course and the direction of transit.
Since we don't want to go all the way back to last night's anchorage, we find another east of Nobles Island. This looks like it should be a fishing hotspot, but it is not. I think one or two fish are caught, but they are released when there's not enough for a dinner.
Finally the weather improves and a nice sunny day arrives. We exit throught the ranges, and on the second try, everything goes well. Soon we are heading west toward Killarney.
Around noon we are able to stop in Killarney and pick up some groceries, get a pump out, and buy a few ice cream cones. After an hour ashore in civilization, we jump back aboard and head to Covered Portage Cove for the night. This shallow and weedy cove was once a perch hangout, but there seems to be none here this year. We join the many boats at anchor. An attempt is made to climb the big buff to the east, but it fails.
It is Catherine's birthday! After a quick motor and sail down the Lansdowne Channel, we enter the wooded beauty of Snug Harbour. The highlight of the day is my falling in while trying to board the stern ladder from the dingy. I guess the two beers I had for lunch might have affected things. I now have some soaking wet clothes to dry and a memory of some extremely cold water. As I recall, we are not doing too much swimming this trip. A cold breeze and mist keep the clothes wet all day.
The sun finally shines and we exit from the Lansdowne and turn due north. In the gentle waters of Frazer Bay we hoist the spinnaker. Once everything is dialed in, I let myself drift astern in the dingy (on a long painter) to take a photograph of the event. It is not too often that Serenity's spinnaker is hoisted in the North Channel.
At Mary Ann Cove we discover the water to be much deeper than we anticipated from the chart. It turns out to be an error I have been making in interpreting the chart! There is plenty of water in the cove. As we dingy around we see huge catfish swimming in the shallow end of the little lagoon. Our fishing efforts again fail. A new boat arrives and now we are two. The newcomer invites us over after dinner for ice cream! What a treat. He has refregeration aboard his Hallburg-Rassy 35, a snug Scandanavian boat that has an extremely well insulated cabin. The owner is a doctor from Petosky, Michigan. He cruises with his daughter and her husband, and has spent many years in the North Channel. He gives us a bagpipes recital, too. The kids are very impressed. Christine does not join us in the visit. She is being shy and stays aboard alone.
As we depart Mary Ann Cove, we get the fun of watching a local fisherwoman land a huge northern pike--in the same place we were fishing all day yesterday! I guess the big fish bite early in the morning!
Leaving Baie Fine at Frazer Point, we see the new Okeechobee Lodge. It is much improved and has reopened to a large power boat crowd. The lodge serves dinner nightly in a one-size-fits-all style.
Before going to Little Current, we want to visit Dreamer's Rock, one of the few popular places we have not yet been, Today the sky is overcast and there is not any direct sunlight. When we try to navigate the very narrow and unmarked entrance, the water is very difficult to read. At one point when I am on the bow I see the depth shoal from 50+ feet to zilch in a matter of inches! I yell for reverse to Chris on the helm. We decide that this is not the best day to attempt this passage, so we'll be saving it for another year. We retrace our step and return to Frazer Bay, and thence to Little Current.
The end of another cruise leaves us with the resolve to go for two weeks next year!
Copyright © 1996 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
Page Last modified: November 17, 1996