Heather and Ethan Arrive

Jeff Ilse bio photo By Jeff Ilse

The rest of the cruise was very different. Until now, I’ve spent all my focus on covering miles and finding cell coverage so I can work. Heather and Ethan joined me for the sail home and it was more like a vacation…time to take it easier. While I still kept up with working, I also took some time off. Another on the want to see list for the summer was the fabled North Channel of Lake Huron in Canada. I don’t generally believe the hype when people talk up their cruising grounds. There are a lot of great places, but they can’t all be the best in the world! This place blew away even the hype. We only scratched the surface in the week or so we were there, and if we’re not for schedules and oncoming fall then winter, I’d probably never have left. It’s that good. The pictures are amazing, but don’t even begin to describe what a gem this place is.

This was our first north channel anchorage and we were very excited to be there. The water was 70F and there was plenty of wildlife checking us out.

It seems that no matter where you are in the North Channel, there's another island group with plenty of good anchorages nearby.

The Benjamin island chain is the most popular and for good reason. Tons of these pink granite islands that were covered in blueberries. The mosquitoes were bad at night, but there were NO bugs during the day. It was amazing to have everything unzipped and open.

Our own little bay. There were 15 boats in here the day before, but the wind was predicted out of the south and they all left. It was totally closed in, so I'm not sure what they were worried about. It was a tiny bit bumpy but not bad at all. 2 hulls makes for a more stable sleeping platform.

There were seemingly countless granite mounds to scamper on.

Me and the boy.

The inflatable stand up paddle board was a big hit with Heather and Ethan.

Flagging trees mean this area gets a lot of wind.

Another private cove.

Although it was a amazing during the day, this turned out to not be a great choice. At night, the wind was blowing us towards the rocks right behind the boat. The anchors (had 2 out) held and we were fine.

Ethan and I decided to watch the sunset from shore.

This is a Canadian provincial park...I think. And there was some sort of ranger station on this island.

We took another hike for a sunset. See Meadowhawk way down deep in the bay.

Many of the anchorages were very deep small bays, so we would anchor and back towards shore to tie on a tree. aka stern to or med moor etc.

We were able to keep greens in a small fridge. We were able to replenish often enough that we were supplied with fresh(ish) veggies most of the trip. See Heather's Green Smoothie for evidence.

We anchored near this solo sailor who had sailed to northern Europe and then south to the Caribbean before returning to the east coast. He sailed out of the anchorage like a pro.

More islnads. Navigation is no joke here. It's deep untill it's instantly shallow. And then it's rock. We saw two other boats have a dramatic meetings with rock shoals.

This was a quick overnight on our way back to the St. Mary's River. It was rough on the lake, so we were happy to find such a tight spot. I once again had 2 anchors out so we could't swing into shore.

As always, my favorite spot.