We started our travels on Drummond Island. One day turned into two days and we already fell behind on our ‘schedule’. It’s important to understand that the ‘schedule’ is always changing with the evolving weather, friendly encounters, and in this case, boat issues.
First, we anchored around Harbor Island. This incredible place was only the start of great views in Northern Michigan and Canada. We had a secluded and safe anchorage surrounded by a steep tree line. This anchorage immediately reminded me of our travels to the first day of our Honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands and our anchorage in The Bight within Norman Island. We knew from there that our travels to the North Channel would be some of the best cruising and some of the best times in our lives.
Our first night was uneventful but very relaxing. We hiked some of the small trails around the vicinity of the boat for the dogs and researched our Canada travels to come. These are the times we appreciate to sit around, relax, and truly enjoy the sailing life. The boat was anchored tight and we had a great nights sleep before getting out into some wild winds pushing us towards Drummond Island the next day. We needed to grab diesel, pump out the tanks for a fresh start, and top off the water. It was a blustery day and the Yacht Haven Marina provided us another day of safe coverage. We had high hopes to leave after the wind died some but we had some alternator issues that kept us busy at the marina instead. It was a pleasant marina and gave us time to prepare, repair, and continue our theme of relaxing. It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. We met a few other sets of cruisers and because of them we had a great lineup for the North Channel. Thanks guys, you know who you are!
The next morning, we stuck around much longer than we thought but had to make sure we were on track towards a safe journey in Canada. After finally feeling confident about the alternator, we said our goodbyes and told them of our plan for future meet-ups. It seems we always see people we know along the way but we unfortunately didn’t see them again. They had a larger version of our S2 and we absolutely loved the progress of their outfitting. I believe their boat was named Giverny, like the rose. If you meet them, you’ll know they are very inviting, appreciative of life, and constantly hard-working.
We left for Blind River later in the afternoon which gave us plenty of time to reach customs before sunset. The sail was sufficient but we still motored along the way. We lost the crazy winds from the day before and kept a speed of 5.5 knots almost the entire time. Not bad. Hailing Blind River was painful. Calling them and hailing them did not work. We had heard great things from others about the Harbor Master, Darrell, but could not reach him or anyone in Blind River by any means. We were getting close but still had no access to communicating with them. Bummer.
As we pulled around the breakwall at the marina, we decided we’d just take an open slip and hope for the best. It ended up we chose a very short dock for our length of boat but we managed a VERY smooth docking. We noticed soon after that many other boats were also sticking out so didn’t mind our setup. From there, I went to check us into customs as we would not be able to leave the boat until properly informing them of our arrival and plans for our travels. All went smoothly with a quick phone call which was far less than I imagined. We left for town soon after to grab drinks at some of the recommended pubs.
Exploring the town was interesting to say the least. Most of the town was closed up and the streets were empty of activity. The place we were most excited about was Riverside Tavern, a traditional Irish pub that provided Men & Women enter in different doors and stay on their designated sides. Men would only be allowed on the women’s side as long as a woman invited them over but there would be no other cohabitation unless it was initiated by the woman. Interesting to say the least and we’re still not 100% on how traditional the bar would have been. They were closed when we arrived and apparently only open from 3pm until 7pm most days. We settled with the Iron Horse instead. It was empty but we didn’t mind. We ordered pizza and and enjoyed some Alexander Keiths before our long walk back.
We left the next morning after a delicious breakfast at the marina and officially meeting Darrell himself. They redeemed themselves and gave us a warm goodbye. Overall, it wasn’t what we expected right away but new places are always different than what we visualize.
This Blog post is just the start of our North Channel Adventures. Cheers and thanks for reading!