Baie Fine to Drummond Island
Posted on September 28, 2018
Mon / Tues, Sept 17 – 18. Baie Fine. Departed Killarney and headed to anchorage known as “The Pool” in Baie Fine (pronounced Bay Fin). It’s about a 10 mile stretch from the entrance to Baie Fine to the area known as “The Pool”. On the way in you pass by beautiful high rock cliffs (fjords) of the La Cloche mountains. The anchorage on a summer weekend is very popular and we were told by a local cottager that he has seen as many as 40 to 50 boats anchored there. Fortunately for us there was only one other boat there when we arrived.
After our wonderful fresh grilled Pike dinner (topped with butter, garlic and lemon), Bob took the dinghy over to check out the area and stopped to talk to Wayne and nephew Chris that own one of the only 3 cottages in the area. The Evinrude family owns one of the other two cottages and apparently won a lawsuit against the Crown when the government wanted to take over their property in this area that is now a Provincial Park. While Bob was sitting with them on their porch, they spotted a moose and beaver swimming across the bay.
On Tuesday morning, we took the dinghy over to the dock at the base of the trail to do the 30 minute hike up to Topaz Lake. Normally it takes 30 minutes and its pretty steep but we missed the turn to Topaz and kept going on another trail. 30 minutes turned out to be 90 minutes on a fairly rugged trail. When we came back up the trail and turned to what we thought might be the right trail, Bob decided to mark it with his hat to make sure we were coming back the correct way. Fortunately we found the hat and our way back.
Wayne had given us tips in the event we came across a bear such as “don’t run; dinner runs” and “stand tall, make noise, make eye contact, etc.” Well since we are a couple of Florida crackers with no bear experience, we were quite anxious on our hike so we played music the whole time to let the bears know we were coming! The lake was a beautiful topaz green and the return trip only took 30 minutes. Stopped in to chat with Wayne and Chris on return then spent the day relaxing. While we were on the trail, another boat came into the anchorage and we were invited over to Gary & Karen’s trawler “Slo M Ocean” after dinner. They had another couple with them and we all chatted away for a couple of hours. The dinghy ride back to boat was pitch black.
Wed / Fri, Sept 19-21. Spyder Bay Marina, Little Current. Weighed anchor in the morning and headed to Little Current. Gary & Karen on “Slo M Ocean” keep their boat in Little Current so we decided to follow them to their marina. The weather forecast was calling for up to 56 mph wind gusts & rain in the next few days so we decided to hunker down at the marina until it blew over. Wednesday evening, Bob and I dinghied over to the town docks and walked the main street stopping at Anchor Inn for dinner. On Thursday, Gary & Karen invited us to a First Nations event just outside of town on the reservation. Here is Canada, what we refer to as our Native Americans, they are referred to as First Nations. The event was intended to show off the traditional culture of several First Nations tribes in the area. We then drove to Gore Bay for pizza and visited Lookout Point and Glenn Veil Falls. (photos)
On Friday, we caught up with all the mundane maintenance stuff and then Karen drove me into town to the grocery and LCBO. By now it was getting windy and by 4:30 it was gusting bad. The marina’s floating docks were not holding up very well and the ramp to our dock had moved significantly and we feared that the ramp to our dock would give-way so we offloaded our laptop, tablets, passports, and some personal items, adult beverages (of course) and headed to the Captain’s Lounge by the marina office. A backhoe was brought in to secure the dock & ramp we were on with line and chains. Originally I wanted to stay on boat to protect it but then realized that we would not be able to do anything in this wind so we opted for safety. This wind seemed worse than some of the hurricanes we have been through. Scary! 5 of us had our own hurricane party in the lounge then drove to town for dinner. It was cold and blowing really hard. So glad we weren’t anchored out somewhere by ourselves.
Sat, Sept 22. Meldrum Bay. We were originally going to anchor out a few more nights before heading to Drummond Island but the weather this time of year is unpredictable. The wind direction can change hourly and come from all directions; unlike in Florida, where it may change after a day or two. So we bypassed a couple of anchorages and went to Meldrum Bay Marina and our last stop in Canada. Tried reaching the marina earlier in day via telephone and left message. Tried hailing them on the VHF when we arrived and no response so we just docked at one of the empty slips as the marina was virtually empty except for a few local boats. We heard that the restaurant at the Inn was excellent and called about a reservation but the owner’s said they close for the season September 15th. The owner felt really bad about being out of town as they probably would have accommodated us in some fashion so we will just have to go back upon our return next spring. We had a quiet night to ourselves but were rewarded with seeing two foxes, two beavers and a couple of loons. Later in the evening, two of the community leaders came by to chat and agreed to meet us in the morning so we could pay our dock fee.
Sun, Sept 23. Drummond Island, MI. Back in the USA! After two wonderful months in Canada, we departed the docks at 9:00am for the 35 mile trek to DI. Our weather apps were reporting light winds from the north but once we got into the bay, it was bumpy and getting worse. The Canadian Coast Guard put out a broadcast that strong winds were reported in Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay and we experienced it. We were getting tossed around quite a bit so ended up heading to the southside of Drummond which would be the lee side of the island. This route would add another two hours but it would more comfortable cruising. A Canadian Coast Guard Cutter was patrolling the border between Cockburn Island (CA) and Drummond Island (US) and we were delighted to have them for company in the rough seas. As we made our turn to the U.S. Bob hailed them on the VHF and thanked them for the escort.
The winds were blowing pretty hard (and cold!) by the time we arrived at Drummond Island Yacht Haven so the dockmaster directed us to the fuel dock which would be easier for docking. It was a long stressful day getting here but we are now where we will leave the boat until next Spring. We used our new Roam app to check in with US Customs and had a video chat with them and were given our clearance. There are certain items, such as citrus, produce and lamb, that you aren’t allowed to bring back (or into) the U.S. which they question you about but other than that it is a fairly simple process. Because it was cold and windy, we opted to stay in even though the marina offered a courtesy car to drive into town or a restaurant. Low tonight will be 46 degrees.
Mon/ Thur, Sept 24 -27. Drummond Island. Monday we finalized the deal on our new Ford Explorer that we are buying here in Michigan to drive home. Since we have been car less since starting this trip, we decided that it would be a better option for us to buy a car here since we needed to offload quite a bit of stuff from the boat. Now its time to pack our belongings, and prepare the boats for storage until our return in May 2019.
On Tuesday, we were dropped off in Petoskey (2 hours away) at the Ford dealership where we picked up our new car. On drive back, we drove through the “Tunnel of Trees” which is a beautiful and famous 20 mile drive along the coast of Lake Huron. Caught the Drummond Island ferry which runs almost 24 hours per day year round. Yes, even in the ice.
On Wednesday, we packed and loaded up the boat ALL day. In the late afternoon, we were invited to join Dan & Nancy for dinner at the local restaurant. I asked what restaurant and they said there was only one in town! Dan & Nancy own a 74′ Hatteras motor yacht and will be storing here for the winter as well. They have spent most of their summers in Georgian Bay, North Channel & Lake Michigan and just rave about it. They live outside Chicago. Had a fabulous time with them at dinner and hope to see them when they come down to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. We also got a chance to see quite a few deer on the way to and from the restaurant.
On Thursday morning, the travel lift hauled “Island Time” out of the water and we sadly said goodbye to our Tiara and dinghy as we won’t see them for 7 1/2 months. It will be strange not to have a boat at the house but hopefully we will keep busy with other things. So this will be our last blog posting until we resume next year. We will enjoy a road trip on the way home visiting friends and family. So thanks for being part of our trip and for all of you that offered supportive comments. It’s been a wonderful journey and we look forward to taking you with us next year!