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North Channel Cruise

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Old 08-08-2017, 09:06 PM
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Default North Channel Cruise

For anyone thinking about a North Channel trip but who worries about navigation, customs and such.....

We managed to get a week and a half off together and decided to do the North Channel again.

Towed to boat to the ramp and put in last Thursday. The plan was to make it to Mackinaw City Thursday, then Friday we'd get to Thessalon and watch the Soo poker run. Nope. It rained and blew ferociously Thursday night, Friday and into Saturday. We made it out Monday morning and ran east, then north through the Mississagi Strait into the North Channel. Then we pointed the Formula east and pulled into Little Current after a four and a quarter run. 40mph and 3500rpm makes a great cruise in calm water.

Customs into Canada
This was one of my biggest questions on our first trip here in 2015. It is easy. Once at our first port of call I dialed 888-CANPASS and spoke with a customs agent. I gave hull number and pasport info for me and the wife, he gave us a clearance number and we were set. They had the hull niumber on record from our 2015 trip apparently and it made things even easier. We are still subject to boarding at any time but that is fine with me. I understand about border security and such.

Little Current
A town with wonderful potential for a marina but it falls very short. The washrooms are dirty and trash over-flows. The town has a great restaurant, the Anchor Inn and has good provisioning resources.

KIllarney
We made a day trip to Killarney and will stay there rather than Little Curent next trip.

The Fish -n - Chips place is OK, but I can get greasy, soggy fried fish anywhere so next time I will skip it. We tied up at the Sportsman's Inn for free for a few hours and the dock staff there were great. This is where we will stay next trip.

Navigation
Navigation is easy with GPS. The many passages and channels and islands make beautiful country. Use caution, slow down and watch your charts/GPS. You will be fine. The key is realizing that you can always stop and collect yourself.

Tomorrow we'll be in Thessalon or someplace else near the east end of the North Channel.

A note on trailering. Is it just me, or is the Michigan online overwide permit system a bloody nightmare to get through?

More to follow.
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:58 AM
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What a cool trip and that area is definitely on our hit list....

1-888-CANPASS has worked smoothly for us when going into Canada.

Not sure where you put in, or how far west you're coming on the return trip, but the area around Hilton Beach is fantastic boating. Also, if you're that far west, Yacht Haven on Drummond Island makes it super easy for checking back into the US when that time comes. Sounds like you've done this area before, but just wanted to put that out there.

Have a great trip - I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:51 AM
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Sounds like a fun trip. Sorry about the fish place on Killarney. I haven't been there in many years but it used to be excellent. Fresh off the boat crisp and not soggy at all. Did you run over to Tobermory?

Padraig
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Old 08-09-2017, 03:10 PM
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Thessalon

We stayed in Thesalon and loved it. The twon is not as busy as Little Current but has everything we could have wanted. Sunset Beack restaurant was very good, the hardware store was close and well-stocked and groceries were a few blocks away. Free loaner bikes are available at the marina.

And, the marina was clean! After Little Current it was nice to have clean showers.

We're now in Hilton Beach. Going to stay here a night or two and then do as bohmi suggests and customs in at Drummond.

bohmi, definitely make plans to do this. It is beautiful. The Cuts and passages here are wonderful.

Padraig, I thnk we got to Killarney at a bad time. Herbert's was slammed, half an hour wait for fish-n-chips, and they were cranking them out as fast as possible. They are probably better most of the time. Didn't make it to Tobermory. Next trip!

This may be our last trip in our 330SS, but happily so in that we plan to upsize after selling this boat. It has been a great boat but we want a bit more room for extended cruises.
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Old 08-09-2017, 04:26 PM
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Hilton to Richard's Landing is a nice boat ride if you're going to be there for a bit - the area around Whiskey Rock is scenic too.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-10-2017, 03:35 PM
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Hilton Beach

We've been here to Hilton Beach before, but it was later in the year, early September of 2015. The marina was just as nice and clean as we remember and the town had a marginally higher level of activity. We ate at the Island Restaurant and Bar. Drinks were good as was the food.

Marina staff were helpful and friendly, answering radio promptly and meeting us at the dock to tie up.

Perhaps most astonishing of all, thre WiFi here in HIlton Beach was strong and fast, Imagine that; marina WiFi that works...!

They have a nice marina lounge with restrooms/showers and a kitchenette area.

We wanted to run up past Richard's Landing and then into the St Mary's river toward the Soo, but with the freighter Calumet aground by Sugar Island we decoded to skip that. Instead, we'll head directly to Drummond Bay for customs and a night's stay.

Last edited by glboatdriver; 08-10-2017 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 08-10-2017, 03:48 PM
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I saw news of the Calumet and thought of you guys - I was thinking it would be worth a trip to go check it out

When we stopped at Yacht Haven on Drummond earlier this summer, they let us borrow an old Lincoln Navigator to cruise into town for $12.... Not too much to do but a cool way to see some of the island and The Northwood is a cool place for a beer or some food.

Hope to hear more about the trip and see some pictures when you're back and settled.

Have fun!
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:09 AM
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Great thread. We are leaving in 1 week on our 370SS, hoping to make Drummond Island before we reverse route back to Holland. Next year we will find the time to go all the way to N Channel.
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Helm View Post
Great thread. We are leaving in 1 week on our 370SS, hoping to make Drummond Island before we reverse route back to Holland. Next year we will find the time to go all the way to N Channel.
I'd like to hear more about that trip when you're back - another good thread in the making.

I'm not sure where the line is, but the water from the Manitou Islands area and north is absolutely stunning and crystal clear. Given our short windows for vacation, and smaller boat size, we trailer up north but it's on our list to run up the coast. I've got a gap from Whitehall to South Manitou to explore.

Enjoy your trip and post back a summary if you can.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:14 PM
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Drummond Island Yacht Haven

We stopped in for customs and to stay a night. Facilities are older but still fine. Staff were great, calling customs for us and helping tie up and fuel afterwards. Customs is easy and efficient if you have your documents ready.

We had an electrical issue that they did not have parts for, but they loaned us some supplies to get is through. We rented an Explorer for 12/day and toured the island, having dinner at Northwoods.

We enjoyed Drummond greatly. Though their facilities are a bit dated they make up for it with helpfulness.


Detour Village
We left Drummond and went to Detour Village. The marina there is quite new and spotless. Not much to do it town but there are stores nearby for anything you might need. The plan was to stay a night and head to St Ignace the next morning. The forecast made us reassess; calm water and rain now, or clear and rough the next morning. We went for the calm and wet.

Stay tuned for St Ignace.....


...oh, forgot to add earlier. I bought some smoked Lake Trout in Little Current at Wally's. Might be the best smoked fish I ever had!
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