Thursday, July 31, 2014

7/31/14 Meldrum Bay to Detour Harbor Marina (U.S.A.)

Another 0830 departure and the waters were calm.  We began seeing large commercial vessels.
One was the Mississagi, a cargo ship that was 620 feet long.   We didn't see any other loopers until we were within 2 hours of customs.  Then we began to see some familiar boats (WyeTug and Fruitcakes)
Wye Tug

 and several we didn't know.  Ron, ever the researcher, had figured out, through the somewhat confusing government website, how to file a float plan, get the appropriate documents, and call in to customs for clearance instead of reporting in person at Drummond Island.  Lucky for us, because a number of boats were checking in at the same time at Drummond Island Yacht Center. 

We reserved our slip on line (Michigan State Park Reservations)  at a cost of $8.00 for a reservation, but the slip itself cost only $43.00, still less expensive than any marinas.  As we entered the harbor, we saw a ferry and a cargo ship.

There are very few boats here,  mostly locals.  They said they are never full and you don't need reservations, so save your $8.00. 
Detour Harbor

7/30/14 Gore Bay to Meldrum Bay

Other than seeing occasional boats, the four hour trip was uneventful.  Meldrum Bay consists of a few buildings, boat slips, and 40 permanent residents.  The marina is a not for profit owned by the residents.  Several nice features:  2 washers ($1.50 per wash)  2 dryers ($1.00) a book exchange, showers and upstairs a recreation room with a TV and DVDs.  A small store next door has a few groceries and local at work for sale. 
Marina office

Meldrum Bay Inn


Adagio and Charis

Doll house in garden

view of our boats

Meldrum Bay Inn was the perfect place for our last night in Canada.  Starting at 6pm, a folk singer played and sang.  Our dinners were very good, but for me, the highlight of the night was the music.  A couple from the sailboat behind us on the dock joined in a jam session.  He played guitar and mandolin and she played cello. 

They were from Bloomington, IN and had degrees in music.  The folk headliner had attended graduate school at the University of Illinois.  The cellist let me try her instrument.  I made a few screeching noises on it. They invited me to join in with my dulcimer, but I declined.  They were way above my ability level.  But afterward, I felt compelled to go back to the boat and play my dulcimer.  o

hired help



Tomorrow we go to Drummond Island customs and check in and then go on to Detour State Harbor, Michigan.  In a few days, we will "cross our wake" and finish the loop. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

7/29/14 Killarney to Gore Bay

We were up early today so that we could be first at the fuel dock for pump-outs.  Ken made it across in time, but just as we were pulling out of the slip, a large boat pulled in, blocking us from a space on the dock.  The reason the large boat was on the dock was to load their dinghy for travel.  However, they had some difficulty and then left the dock to assist another boater, so we pulled into the back side of the fuel dock. 

We finally departed about 0830 for Gore Bay.

 While on our way to Little Current, we listened to Roy on the radio.  He does a daily VHF radio show each morning during July and August.  People call in their boat name and location in the North Channel.  He also reads national news, sports scores, and gives the weather on the North Channel.   Both Ron and Ken called in.  Right after Ron called, we were hailed on the radio by another Nordic Tug owner whom we met 3 years ago at the Rendezvous in St. Ignace (Sir Tugly Blue).

They were behind Ken's boat as we travelled toward Little Current where they stopped for the night.  Great to hear from them again!

As we entered the channel at Little Current, we dropped our antennae and went under the bridge.  Although it opens on the hour for 15 minutes, there were several boats waiting, so we decided on the quick way through.  This area is called Little Current for a reason.  It is a might force under the boat as you pass through the area where the bridge is located. 

The rest of our travel was uneventful.  The water was calm most of the way, although the winds picked up toward the end.  We arrived in Gore Bay at 1430. 

After walking to the marina to register (a fairly good hike), we walked in to town and got a few groceries.  This town also has lots of murals painted on the sides of old buildings.

When we returned to the boat, customs officers were waiting to visit our boats to see if we were in compliance.  We passed inspection.  The inspection on Charis was more thorough...they went through all of their clothing drawers. 

The sky became angry as we were getting ready to grill for dinner, but the rain didn't start until later and didn't amount to much.  Gypsea had arrived about 5:30 pm and said they had 5 footers and a rough ride.  We were very glad that we had an early arrival. 

Pictures will be posted later.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7/28/14 Still in Killarney

High wind warnings on the North Channel and Georgian Bay have kept us in port today.  This is a nice place to be stranded.  There are lots of boaters here, many of whom are loopers.  Two sets of boaters are from Bloomington, IL and Normal, IL. They keep their boats up here and spend time on them each summer. Each time they see me, they say, "Hi,  Pekin". 

We crossed the shuttle boat to the other side several times already today.

We had heard about the sticky (cinnamon) buns at the family restaurant, and just had to try them. They certainly lived up to their reputation.  I asked one of the waitresses how many they make each day.  She said most days they make 10 dozen.  They are typically gone by noon.  The bakery also has homemade breads, cookies and butter tarts.  Gateway Marina (and small marine store) was started by the waitress's grandparents.  They then opened the bakery and later the Family Restaurant.  Everything is still made using the grandmother's recipes.  We decided to try the homemade soup and homemade bread for lunch.  It was very good, too. 

I also asked one of the waitresses where they do major shopping.  This town has 420 people and only one small grocery store.  She said that they go to Sudbury, which is an hour and a half away.  She says she goes ever couple of weeks for groceries and other supplies.  Ann was told that the children ride a school bus daily to Sudbury (1 1/2 hours each way)  and, due to weather, can miss as much as 50 days of school due to weather. 

A number of boats pulled out today despite the wind advisories, but an equal number pulled in. 
One of those boats had been anchored when the winds picked up last night, and his anchor did not hold.  He was washed up onto an island and one of his engines was damaged.  He tried to call for help but was unable to raise anyone on the radio. He finally used his I-pad to reach his daughter who notified the coast guard.  A large coast guard cutter came to the rescue and escorted him into Killarney.  Thankfully, they are safe and sound, but may need some boat repairs. 

Duke has had two baths since he arrived in Killarney.  He finds the stinkiest stuff to roll in!  He's in the doghouse!!

Every evening in good weather, the marina has a "boat in movie" displayed on the screen on the bluff. 
The winds are supposed to die down tonight and we will have a good opportunity to go through customs and return to the U.S. by the end of the week. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7 27 14 A day in Killarney

For breakfast, we headed for the local bakery/restaurant, but it was so busy, we gave up and returned to the boat. 

Great view while waiting for the boat shuttle
Lemonade / craft stand on the way to the Community Center fish fry

Local entrepreneurs selling lemonade and art work


The local fish fry, which supports the volunteer fire fighters, was held at the community center a few blocks away.  The fish was really good, but we had way too much. We should have shared a lunch.

Community Center (fish fry)
Space also serves as winter ice hockey rink

 On the walk  back to the boat, we visited their Korean War Memorial and stopped at the cemetery.  By the time we returned to the shuttle, it had begun to rain.
Korean War Memorial


helicopter pad next to docks
Our slip across the Killarney Channel

We took a dinghy ride down the channel to Our Lady Of Lourdes grotto.  It is up a set of steps and through a small wooded area.  Set inside a cave-like structure is a memorial dedicated to those who served in WWI and WWII.


Dinner tonight was at Killarney Mountain Lodge.  The food was ok, but small quantities for the price.  The Lodge itself is worth seeing.  They have a huge fireplace in the bar area which is surrounded by comfortable bench seats.  The restaurant is covered with pine walls and has a great view of the water.

7/26/14 Byng Inlet to Killarney


Finally the winds have died down.  We decided upon an early departure (0630) because we anticipated a very long day (64 miles).  This route took us into some open water on Georgian Bay as well as through small, narrow channels with minimal depth.  Adagio took the lead since we have a draft of 3’8” while Charis has a draft of 4.5’.  As we lead through the narrow channels and I called out the depth to Ken on the radio, he quickly realized that our depth sounder was not accurate.  On one of our gauges, we actually had 6’ less that the reading.  YIKES!  And we were in the lead!!  We came through unscathed, thank God.   For about 7 miles, we had beamy seas with 2 second intervals, so we were bobbing back and forth.  Duke  (and I) don’t like rocking back and forth.
The waterway has changed again and we are seeing some cliffs on the sides as well as low mountains in the distance.

Ken and Ann started calling Killarney marinas early in the morning, but were told that none of the marinas had any openings.  In addition to a beer fest/ fish fry/dance at the community center, a number of Viking boats were meeting for a rendezvous.  As we approached the Killarney channel, we both tried to get a slip and were told no.  As we approached the gas dock at Sportsman’s Inn, I was told over the phone that there were absolutely no slips for tonight.  At exactly the same time, Ken was on the radio with one of the dock hands and he said, “No problem, go to dock 24 across the river”.  We were very happy to have a slip because a front was approaching with winds and storms.  Apparently, boaters had made reservations, but were no shows, so they were beginning to fill those slips. 


Sportsman's Inn

Sportsman's Inn Spa across the river
($120.00 for a 1-1/2 hour massage)
We didn't have massages!

The nice part of being across the inlet from the Sportsman’s Inn is the boat shuttle ride back and forth.  They start the shuttles at 0830 and don’t end until 2 a.m.  You just ring a bell on the dock and they come to get you. 
At 3:20p.m. we registered in the marina office and asked about a Catholic Church.  The girl working there told us there was only one service -at 4:00 p.m. today, so we headed across the street a few minutes before 4:00.  This church has a priest who is Polish.  We believe he rotates through local parishes on Saturdays and Sundays.


We ate dinner at the pub at the Inn and the food was good.