Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Navigation -- Georgian Bay and North Channel

There are many warnings about navigation in these waters, which are very different from waters along the east coast.  For some, the warnings create fears so great that they bypass these beautiful areas.

Charts for the Georgian Bay include marked channels and suggested routes.  Some of the routes are identified as the "Small Boat Channel," suggesting that only smaller boats should attempt to voyage in these areas.  "Small" is usually designated at 40 feet or less.

The pass by Long Sault Island below is well marked, but the space between the buoys is less than the width of Last Dance.  Looking to the right side of the tight pass, a rock can be seen peeking above the water.  A very tight "S" turn will be required.  And, how big is that rock?

In a closer view, the rock appears a bit clearer and it becomes more obvious that the boat must pass close to the rock as it passes to the right of the green marker.

The rock is much like an iceberg, most of it is hidden below the water.  The edge of the rock is quite close to the green marker, which is marking another rock on the other side.  The handrail can be seen in the photo below, indicating how close the boat is to the rock.

The passage out of Britt Inlet is filled with rock islands.  Below, the red, triangle marker is clearly visible.  Travel in this direction should have the red marker on the right, passing to its left.  But, looking forward of this point, rocks can be seen across the water.  Hidden behind the growth on top of the island with the red marker is a green, square day beacon, located on the next island.  It was invisible until this point.  A very tight right and left is required here.  If the water level was a little higher, passing to the left of the second island would seem to be the appropriate route.

One section of the 30,000 Islands is so tightly packed with islands and so shallow, that the only way past the islands is to go far offshore into the Georgian Bay.  The rock below was spotted 2 miles offshore.  Where the water is breaking into white caps, even more rocks.  Even in the big, open waters, rocks stand waiting for the unexpected boater.  You can now understand how Frank developed arocknephobia (see North Channel posting).

The North Channel is a different story.  The area is charted, but there are no suggested routes, channels, nor sailing line.  One is left to devise their own selected path with consequences, good or bad.  And, there are no markers in the North Channel.  No red triangles, green squares, or even the red or green painted PVC pipes.  Well, to say "no markers" is not totally accurate.  No "official" markers may be a more accurate statement.  Some areas may have milk jugs or plastic oil containers placed on rocks by locals.  These are not easily spotted, but must be honored.  In the photo below, a milk jug marking a large pile of rocks, lies between the photographer and the sailboat.

Many boaters must have passed the island below on the wrong side.  Someone has painted an arrow on the end of the island with the word "passage."

The navigational challenges only made the journey more of an adventure.  How cruisers traveled these waters before they were charted is often a topic of discussion.  It is easy to understand how 1000's of boats were lost in the Great Lakes.

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