The next section of our cruise, called the North Channel, is considered by many to be the best cruising region in the Great Lakes (for a map of this area, go to http://thenorthchannel.ca/map.html). With great scenery, many islands, excellent anchorages, and generally more protected waters than the eastern sections of Georgian Bay, it certainly has the right stuff. Another feature we enjoyed, perhaps because it reminded us of B.C., were the rocky hills which predominate here. Not only did they provide some excellent hikes and stunning views, they also offered an extra treat – abundant and delicious blueberries! Bushes were everywhere on the hillsides – without too much effort, we (well, Ria actually) were able to fill our pint container in less than an hour.
We also enjoyed our three day stay in the small village of Little Current, which is located at the northeast corner of Manitoulin Island (the world’s largest in freshwater). After anchoring out for 10 days straight (a record for us) it was a neat little place to re-provision and socialize with other cruisers. Speaking of other cruisers, we are finally seeing other boats out and about, including many from Michigan and Wisconsin. Lucky for us though, it’s still not crowded.
Many cruisers cross the Canadian/U.S. border at Drummond Island (at the southwestern end of the North Channel) however we chose to travel another 50 miles or so west to Sault Sainte Marie and make our crossing there. We had a number of reasons for doing this, including the opportunity to visit the Bushplane Heritage Museum there, and to travel through the Soo Locks so we could ‘dip our toe’ in the waters of Lake Superior. We liked Sault Sainte Marie, and spent four enjoyable days there.
After 13 months cruising and wintering His Idea in Canada, and a 5 minute crossing of the Saint Mary’s River, we entered into the U.S. at their Sault Sainte Marie. Our U.S. cruising documents were ready when we arrived (the Captain had provided the necessary information to U.S Customs a few days earlier) and we were on our way in less than an hour.
One of the primary reasons for embarking on our Great Loop adventure was the chance to spend quality time exploring eastern Canada from the water. We have not been disappointed, and consider ourselves very fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience.
Coming up – Lake Michigan, the Mississippi, and other waters of the U.S. interior…..