Friday, July 19th- Sault Saint Marie. Bob and I flew back to The Soo from Fort Lauderdale and arrived back at the marina just after 4pm. We caught up with some of our new friends from the marina. Judy & Randy, on Tuition Free, who are locals and are building a house in Venice, FL; Jody & Norman from Fort Lauderdale, on JoJoFa, who are loopers that we met last year at Shady Harbor Marina in NY (who are also on the multi-year plan) and Don & Glynis from the U.K. who are also loopers. Sadly, when Don & Glynis arrived into the marina the day before I flew out to join Bob in Fort Lauderdale, Glynis fell off the back of the boat and was seriously injured with a broken right wrist that required surgery and a plate, a broken left elbow, and a collapsed lung which resulted in pneumonia. Don and I were corresponding via email while I was home and Glynis spent a week in the hospital. They will most likely be at the Soo for a month while she recuperates enough to continue on their trip.
Saturday, July 20th -Portlock Island. We set off early in the morning to grocery store to provision the boat and then promptly cast off our lines and set out for Portlock Island (across from Hilton Beach) to finally anchor out. We crossed over to Canada, cleared into customs via telephone, and had a nice leisurely cruise down the St. Mary’s River to our anchorage. We selected a secluded spot away from any boats or cottages and enjoyed a quiet evening listening to the Loons. We had some exciting news today that our 7 year old grandson, James, won his breast stroke swim competition and is going to the State finals! Way to go James!
Sunday/ Monday, July 21 & 22 – Bear Drop. In the morning, we took a cruise around Portlock in our tender then weighed anchor relatively early as our next destination was approximately 65 miles away. Due to the distance we would travel today, we extended our tow harness so we could get up on plane and cruised at 21 mph. The wind started to pick up in the afternoon so we were glad to have picked up the pace. We selected a spot just west of several sailboats and the 4 power boats that were rafted off together with a stern tie to the trees & rocks (photo). Beautiful anchorage so we decided that we would stay 2 nights. We enjoyed lots of exploring via the tender, fishing (got a couple of pikes and a bass), relaxing and reading, listening to the loons and just enjoying life. On the back side of Bear Drop there were a couple of Looper boats; one a gold looper and one a platinum looper (gold has done the loop once; platinum has done the loop twice or more).
Tuesday/Wednesday, July 23 & 24. Hotham Island. Our friends, Nancy & Dan Dickerson, had told us about their favorite anchorage in the North Channel and even sent us a screen shot of the anchorage location so we headed out it. At this particular anchorage at Hotham, there is a cottager that invites all the boaters anchored in their bay over to their cottage for docktails. Elaine & Norm have lived in this cottage for 12 years and host this cocktail party every night (during the summer of course) with the caveat that the boaters bring their own drinks, an appetizer to share and a bag to haul out your garbage.
Well, when we arrived and peaked into the anchorage and saw so many boats, Bob and I decided to anchor around the corner in a spot all to ourselves. But at 5pm, we dinghied over to the cottage (with our drinks and appetizer) and joined in the fun. We arrived and announced our greetings from Nancy & Dan as Elaine seemed to be confused as she didn’t have us on her “roster” of boats anchored in their bay. Of course she & Norm welcomed us warmly and we enjoyed meeting all the boaters anchored in this cove (photo).
Turned out to be a very busy day. Earlier in the day, we met Wayne from Red Dog as he passed by on his dinghy while fishing. Found out that Wayne and Barbara were new Loopers having started a month ago from Lake Simcoe, Ontario. (We anchored out in Lake Simcoe last year). And Wayne had recently retired from a career in Corrections. Later in the day, Bob and I took a cruise around the area and stopped to say hello to a fellow Tiara owner. Max & Samara, on Lady Sam, own a 42′ Tiara Open and keep it at Sturgeon Bay, WI most of the time but live in the Chicago area.
Then even later, we were visited by Karen & Gary whom we had met last year at Baie Fine and reside in Little Current, Ontario. They recognized our boat and tender and stopped in to see us. While they were visiting, Max from Lady Sam came over so he could show us some favorite spots in Door County, Wisconsin on the charts as we had mentioned we would be crossing over to WI on our way down Lake Michigan. So by the time we arrived at the cocktail party, we knew several of the guests and felt quite at home.
On Wednesday, we enjoyed a nice relaxing day and took the tender out to cruise the bay and do some fishing. Across the bay in a secluded anchorage, we came upon another Looper from Fort Lauderdale. Turns out they use to live on Coconut Isle and next door to Charlie Bay that Bob use to work with at FLPD. Small world when you get out there and travel. The winds were starting to kick up so we headed back to the boat and decided to move Island Time for protection from the wind. Turns out the winds died down that night and it was pretty hot and buggy and not a good sleep night. We also discovered that after 6 days and 5 nights at anchor our tank was out of water which wasn’t a problem since we were headed for a marina in the morning.
Thursday, July 25-27th – Gore Bay. We headed out from Hotham Island for the 20 miles south to Gore Bay and passed the 4 boats that had left an hour before us. It was a beautiful day on the water so we kicked up our speed to 21 mph and were in our slip and fueled up by the time the 4 boats arrived. We were delighted to discover that this weekend in Gore Bay was their Harbor Days celebration with lots of activities planned throughout the weekend. And there were at least 4 or 5 other looper boats here. While introducing myself to Deborah & KT on Mountain Wave, they told me about another Gigi looper. Sure enough, that afternoon the other Gigi (who had heard about me) came down to introduce herself. Gigi and husband Mark are loopers from Gulf Shores, AL on Misadventure. Gigi told us they were headed down to the Brew Pub at 4:00 so we joined the group and ended up having dinner with a group of 12 of us at Buoy’s. Fun time with loopers and future loopers.
Friday, July 26th. Happy birthday to our daughter Colleen! We enjoyed a leisurely day of catching up on chores, going to the farmer’s market and meeting more loopers. Mark and Patty on Speedy Delivery stopped by to find out about our tender. Turns out that Mark is a retired federal judge and Patty is a retired medical examiner both out of New Mexico. During the day, a big Viking Sportfish pulled into the marina towing a 32′ inflatable tender with twin 250 hp engines. While most people we meet on our trip are envious of our tender with a 90 hp engine, Bob had a bit of tender envy seeing this monster.
In the evening, Bob and I went to dinner then to see the local play. On the way home, the deer that frequents town, crossed right in front of us. She is apparently not to bothered by cars or people.
Saturday, July 27th. Started the day with a pancake breakfast hosted by the local Rotary Club and joined in with other loopers; watched the raft races, cardboard boat races, water skiing & flyboard exhibition, and face painting. In the afternoon, our boat neighbors on a 39′ Tiara Sovran, John & Lynn, wanted to chat about boats. They had heard that I was a yacht broker. We ended up talking for several hours and shared two bottles of wine. John and Lynn live about 20 minutes away. She is the CEO of the two local hospitals and John is retired Lieutenant Colonel from the Canadian Air Force and now works for GE managing a local wind farm. Afterwards, Bob and I decided to skip going to dinner and enjoyed cheese and crackers as the sun set.
Well that wraps up our action packed week! Stayed tuned for our next adventures as we start to head south to Michigan.