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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

North Channel

"The North Channel is a state of mind.  It is a flight of the soul to a distant haunt -
of peace, of mystery, of tempest, of aching beauty.
Its very name evokes a mood, an ephemeral feeling -
recall for those fortunate to have been there,
yearning for those who have only heard tell."

Marjorie Cahn Brazer, Well-Favoured Passage (1975)

The North Channel is a long bay off Lake Huron separated by Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world.  The northeast end of the bay is filled with islands and smaller bays.  It is hard to believe an area could be more beautiful than the 30,000 Islands, but many argue that the North Channel wins the beauty contest.  It is hard to argue differently.

Baie Fine

Lighthouse Marking Entrance to Baie Fine

Baie Fine (bay fin), meaning "fine bay" in French, is located above Killarney, separated to the north by a range of mountains called the Blue Ridge.  The color in the name is puzzling since the whole mountain range is comprised of white quartz rock.  From long distances, it appears that the mountains are snow covered.

While the bay is over 2 miles wide for most of its length, finding the deep water was challenging and often brought the boat close to rock walls.  There are multiple areas of rock that make very narrow passages.  As in most of the North Channel, there are few, if any, markers indicating deeper water and no suggested channel marked on the charts.  Navigation challenges abound in the North Channel.

The Pool

At the east end of Baie Fine is a small bay known as The Pool.  It is separated from the larger bay by two very tight, shallow, unmarked passes through rock walls.

The Pool provided an outstanding anchorage -- quiet, protected, beautiful scenery, and wildlife, including bass, Loons and a bear.  Loons are beautiful birds with multiple, enchanting songs.

Topaz Lake

At the top of the mountain just north of The Pool, lies Topaz Lake.  A long hike up the mountain, along a spring creek bed, is required to reach the lake -- good exercise and an effort well rewarded.  The lake is appropriately named with its identifying color.  After a heat generating hike up the mountain, the lake's cool waters were most refreshing.

The Blue Ridge provides many hiking opportunities.  It is located within a Provincial park that covers many square miles to the north of Killarney.  For the cruisers anchored in The Pool, the mountain views allowed a rare, high view of the boats at anchor.  Last Dance is the boat to the right.

Jill builds an Inukshuk (little man) out of white quartz rock.

McGregor Bay

Just north of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies McGregor Bay.  This bay was uncharted until five years ago.  It is rarely traveled by cruisers as it is a side trip off the line of spots to visit in the North Channel and due to its many, many rocks that lie hidden just below the surface of the water.  Many a cruising boat has found the rocks, experiencing unpleasant consequences.  One of our friends, Frank Vellutini, on Once Around, even developed a complex due to the rocks in McGregor Bay --

But, as with many things that are difficult to attain, McGregor Bay had many beautiful sights to share with the cruiser who dares attempt entry past the rocks.

Little Current

Even in an area where the anchorages are many and amazingly beautiful, one has to stop in a town once in a while.  Little Current provided an opportunity to restock the larder, pump out the holding tank, catch up with a few friends on the docks, and join Roy for the morning broadcast of The Cruisers Net.

Light House Leading to Little Current

Clapperton Island

On the way to Clapperon, a Great Lakes commercial fishing boat crossed our path.  These steel boats are quite different from fishing boats that work the Gulf and the Atlantic.  The sunset photo demonstrated that even in paradise there are a few unpleasant aspects.  The photo was taken through the window of the boat since the admiral would not allow open doors due to the amassed insects surrounding the boat.  You can see one of the biting flies on the window.

Croker Island

Benjamin Islands

Between North and South Benjamin Islands lies a large, rounded, bare, pink granite rock.  Many Loopers arrived at the Benjamins to anchor for the night and the pink rock became the site for an impromptu rendezvous -- Rocks on the Rock.  The dinghies landed, the refreshments spread, and the party began.

Oak Bay

Molies Bay

Beardrop Harbor

Long Point Cove

Treasure Hunting

On the trip from Long Point Cove to Drummond Island, Michigan, leaving Canada and the North Channel, the Loons gathered to bid the Last Dance crew goodbye.  All through Canada, Loons were seen mostly as solitary birds, sometimes in a pair, but never more than two.  They always seemed to be close to shore and their nests.  Here they have gathered in a large group, far from land.

Maybe they weren't bidding good bye.  Maybe they were saying "Come back again soon."  

1 comment:

dave said...

I would love to paint one of your photos, I'm a part time landscape painter, if you would be kind enough to email me a hi res photo i would greatly appreciate it.
Dave Hills

pic is