Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boating To Tobermory, Lake Huron + Georgian Bay

Part Three of the Big Boat Delivery HOME From Michigan to Lake Simcoe

 After departing Kincardine, we headed northward across the last half of our time on Lake Huron. To clarify, that would be the last time this time.
 Another 80 miles of open water traveling brought us to our turning point at Cape Hurd. This is where Georgian Bay begins - or ends, depending on your orientation - and Lake Huron (proper) is left behind;

Video taken just before rounding 'Cape Hurd';

Video of us passing through 'Devils' Island Channel' - leaving Lake Huron and coming onto Georgian Bay and passing dangerously close to the North Channel ;-)

 Upon arriving at Tobermory, we found out that there were no more empty slips available and that we would have to raft off one of the tour boats already tied to the wall. The only catch was that if said boat was to head out, we would have to untie from him, drive out into the harbour, allow him to leave, tie up to the wall ourselves and wait for him to return, upon which redoing that sequence again in reverse.
 Well, my approach and docking was not the most stress free, considering the traffic, congestion and strong winds, so I asked the dock attendant is there was any chance of us NOT having to be subject to that scenario. Thing was, that after more than five hours on the water, I was looking forward to relaxing with an ice cold beer or two which meant I wasn't going to be doing any more driving that day. Fortunately, we got word that the tour boat was planing to stay put for the rest of the day and the following one, so we could look forward to some down time.

I took this clip of the Blue Heron cruse boat - one of the many - coming back into Little Tub Harbour.This 'glass bottom' boat takes passengers out to see some of the many wrecks lying on the bottom in the area, as well as a tour of Flower Pot Island;

Here's a look out of our port hind quarter. Tobermory is the only spot in the area for boaters to re-provision and has pretty much everything one would need, including a full Foodland grocery store, laundry mat, boating supplies (we picked up our Canadian bow flag here) as well as a liquor store and fuel dock.
 Beyond that, there is a launch ramp and is ground zero for tour and dive boats, as well as the many private vessels that come and go and, of course, the overnighting transients, such as ourselves;

Here's a shot of Boogaboo tied up alongside the steel hulled tour/dive boat that was our companion for two days and nights. I'm glad he was tied well to the dock as we would have some really high winds the second evening we were here;

Looking north east from the town docks. I tell ya, this place is not one for the faint of heart to get into for the first time, but I guess that's part of the adventure. And it keeps the blood pumping ;-)

Here's something from this same spot, just looking around;

I went for a walk up to see the 'Chi-Cheemaun', a car and passenger ferry that runs between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island.To give you an idea of the scale of this vessel, it is capable of carrying up to 638 passengers and 143 cars. That is a big boat;

Yes, this big boat is big enough to carry a full sized tractor-trailer;

The 'Cheech';

Here's a look at one of the great lakes fishing boats in the area. This is similar to the one we encountered on Lake Huron when we came upon the unexpected fishing nets out in the middle of nowhere;

Anchor Girl looking forward to doing some shopping - and picking up that Canadian Flag for the boat;

OK, so I just had to throw in another picture of my new boat. Don't groan about it just yet - there's gonna be a few more before we are done with this thing;

Another look from the bridge. The sail boat in front of us had put up all these pennants on his mast, but I'm not sure of the significance. Any ideas?

A busy day on the water. Boats were continuously coming and going from this SUPER busy, congested port;

Here's another panning shot I took of the harbour from one of the finger docks. Little Tub Harbour is oriented along a mostly north/south line, affording it some protection from the prevailing north-west winds. Given the force of these winds, sometimes that protection is quite limited. The last night we were here, the winds were blowing very strong from that same north-westerly direction and the fetch was funneled down into the harhour. Fortunately for us, the brunt of the waves produced didn't get to us, but the boats on the floating finger docks in the distance were moving a solid 4' up and down. The result of that was the boats tied up to them being flung up and down along with them! There's no way that the occupants on board any of those boats would have been able to sleep that night!!

On our way. Another beautiful, sunny morning as we leave our berth and head over to the requisite fill up at the gas dock. Thankfully, the high winds from the night before have subsided - but the resulting swells on The Bay haven't;

I had to share this one with you we saw here. What do you think of the bright yellow canvas? Buddy must have got a deal on the material or something;

A parting shot of the Chi-Cheemaun as we leave Little Tub Harbour and get back onto Georgian Bay;

Here is the Big Tub Lighthouse, marking safe passage into Tobermory;

Just beyond Tobermory sits 'Flower Pot Island' with it's world renowned formations;

Here's a more close in view. We took, or at least attempted to take a number of photos of these unique formations, but the rolling waves were rocking us so much it was difficult to get a clear shot. As a result these two were the best we were able to get;

The video offers a bit of insight to the rocking and rolling we witnessed. The really cool part is that despite how close in to shore we got, the water was still over 300' deep!

On our way, cruising eastward toward or destination of Midland at 3300 RPM, doing 22 MPH (statute) in 392 feet of water!

This was the deepest I was able to record at that speed - 462.7 feet! How cool is that?!?

Today's' final photo & video clip were taken just after rounding Hope Island and passing by Beckwith Island.
As I've said a few times before, the photos and videos don't capture the size of the waves, but I must say that this leg of the trip was the roughest, as we were taking the waves on the port beam all the way from Owen Sound to this turning point;

Here's some very moving pictures from here. Note the comments from myself about the "one foot waves . ." we were going through. Anchor Girl follows that up when I loose my footing shortly afterward ;-)


 I'd like to publicly thank my lovely wife for not only supporting me on the whole boat buying adventure, but for making this trip both a possibility and a reality.
 For those of you who aren't aware, driving on the boat - any boat - in rough conditions is, ah, well, shall I say 'stressful' for Anchor Girl and there was more than one time on the trip up to this point when we found ourselves in some pretty big stuff. For me it's all part of the adventure but I was deeply aware of how uncomfortable some of the journey was and made every effort to overcome that part.
 Again, thank you my dear for your enduring help, understanding and patience.

 Next time, we get to set the hook and anchor out for a few peaceful days and nights in Beausoeil Bay and are joined by the crew of 'Water Wings'.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Delivery Our New Boat Home - Big Water

Part Three of the Big Boat Delivery HOME to Canada

 Before I begin this segment, let's start with a Google Map of our route from our point of departure in Michigan to Midland on Georgian Bay. The different coloured lines represent each leg of the journey and the pins being the overnight dockages.
Once we got into Midland and familiar waters, we continued on with our summer holidays with trips going as far north as Parry Sound and then back south to the Trent Severn Waterway, onto Lake Simcoe and home.
 Remember, kids - you can zoom in/out and around this map;

View Sea Ray 400 Sedan Delivery Route in a larger map

 Departure day from Sarnia Bay Marina. A good looking day, on a good looking boat with a GREAT looking first mate ;-)

 These next two shots were taken by the crew of the aforementioned 'Plan B'.
 The boat looks nice except for those black streaks on the hull, a result of the new black dock lines bleeding. . .

 Insight; I've saved a boating magazine since 2007 that has a 'for sale' ad for a similar model to this  boat & I've been hanging on to it as inspiration. The ad shows the boat on the water with a lady crew member on the bow while it's underway. A great boating shot.
 Well, here I am - my boat, my very attractive lady crew mate and a sunny summer day on the water. . . .
 That's what I call a dream come true, my friends!!!
 Thanks again for sending me these pics, Glen :-)

Video from the fly bridge;

Exiting the marina and back on our way northbound for the last part on the St. Clair River;

This would be the final great lakes freighter we would pass by on this voyage;

Approaching the Bluewater Bridge. This is the bridge that joins the Canadian side of the river to the American side. Ya, we spent allot of time waiting to cross the border into the States on that bridge on the many trips we took to see/buy/take possession of the boat. I tell you, it was quite a bit of work to make the deal all come together - but it was exhilarating, exhausting and inspirational - and well worth it!!

 Some video of the approach to the bridge, complete with commentary from yours truly ;-)

The lighthouse on the U.S. (Port Huron) side. Yes, it's the very same we took pictures of from the bridge on the road trips to see the boat & would be the first of many we would pass on this journey;

 On Lake Huron. I've heard the term 'Big Water' used by my fellow boaters, but nothing we've experienced compares to heading out onto a body of water that stretches for hundreds of miles before you.
 One is privy to many emotions, to say the least;

To keep everyone traveling (with pink toe polish) aboard 'Boogaboo IV' as happy as possible, I took a route that at least kept us within view of land;

 A zoomed in shot passing by Goderich and the Sifto Salt Mines operations located there.
 Note also the electrical generation windmills on shore. There are many of those things - 200+ in this region;

 Just before Goderich, we unexpectedly came upon a series of small, bobbing buoys in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. Good thing my eyeballs were on the ball, as the buoys came upon us without warning.
 I suspected they were marking fishing nets and shortly afterward, spotted this commercial fishing boat well off in the distance.
 A little disconcerting initially, to say the least, as this was something that I had totally NOT anticipated;
 Some video of me talking about what we saw.
 Note also the bounce we experienced at slower speeds. Although the video doesn't quite capture the essence of the water conditions, we were running through solid 5' - 6' swells and they picked up to 6' - 7 footers the next day. Remember that this is taken from roughly 12' above the waters' surface on the bridge, making it hard to get a feel for.
 You'll get a better representation of what I'm talking about when we come to the Flower Pot Island clip. . . .Stay tuned . . .

Safely in Kincardine Marina on yet another glorious day.
 I hadn't even got the boat into the slip here when a Canada Customs officer came over - and waited at the end of the dock - to talk to me. Seems they are continuously looking for out of province registration numbers on the hulls (note the Michigan registration or 'MC Numbers' on Boogaboo). Those fellows roam around from marina to marina to check to make sure everything is in order - proper checking into the country, vessel registrations, taxes paid - you know, the important stuff.
 This wouldn't be the last time we were to be questioned by Custom's guys either, as we would meet up with their compatriots again in Parry Sound;

A shot of the marina from the bridge, looking out on to Lake Huron. Can you see the Big Boy in the distance?

 The Kincardine Lighthouse - this shot taken from the road bridge next top the marina.
 We took a stroll for a bite to eat and were impressed by this neat, clean & well preserved old town;

 The view from the boat, looking north east across the marina. Another spectacular day;

Here's a close up shot of the lighthouse from our vantage point;

Anchor Girl relaxing after another long day on the water and walk around town;

 . . . And myself, relaxing in my own, unique way - capping off the day. HA!

  Here is the storey of the 'Phantom', as told on the Kincardine Scottish Piper Band web site. . .
 Way back in 1856, on a cold, October day, a small vessel left the Port of Goderich carrying a family from the Isle of Skye, Scotland. It was the final leg of a journey for the immigrant family that intended to farm at Penetangore (now Kincardine).
 The weather was cloudy with a light breeze out of the southwest when the vessel left Goderich. But as the boat approached Point Clark, the sky turned black and a cold wind started to blow out of the west making for heavier and heavier seas.
 As the vessel slowly beat its way north, late afternoon turned to dusk and the captain feared he would not find Penetangore in the dark.
 Donald Sinclair, fearing for his family, went down into the hold and fetched his pipes. He prayed for safe passage and then played a lament. The sound of the pipes carried across the water to Penetangore where another piper heard the rich sound. The settler on shore retrieved his pipes and played another lament in return, just as the sky suddenly cleared in the west and the sun set beneath the cold waters.
 The captain, knowing he had to be near Penetangore, headed for the drone of the bagpipes and eventually made his way into the harbour.
 For many years after the narrow escape, Donald Sinclair often went down to the harbour to play the pipes at dusk. They say it was a way to remember his good fortune and to remind others of the power of the pipes. And it's in the memory of Donald Sinclair that the Kincardine Scottish has decided to play at dusk atop the lighthouse on sunny summer evenings. The piper will only appear when the sun sets and will pipe the sun down.

As good fortune would have it, we were lucky enough to witness the 'Phantom' playing on a perfect summer evening. Here's some video of that event, including a panning shot of the marina and the sun setting over Lake Huron;

 A look from the bridge towards Lake Huron and the setting sun;

 Beautiful . . .

 Next time we cross the last half of Lake Huron and enter onto Georgian Bay & Tobermory.