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Day Trips on the Water

Little Current
Little Current is a great place to visit by water as well as car.


On the way to Little Current 20 kilometers (12 miles) by boat.





There are many interesting places to visit in the upper parts of McGregor Bay.  Here we are working our way carefully through Dog Home Pass.

It's always a challenge, we did not make it that year.  The water level needs to be fairly high.









These pictures of Pot Hole Portage were taken quite a long time ago because the kid sliding down the shoot is Travis.  This is another interesting destination up in McGregor Bay


Visit the Wreck of the India






This ship, built in 1899 has sunk in 10 to 25 feet of water just off the north east corner of West Mary Island.  The island is between McGregor Point and Little Current and is just south of  Little La Cloche Island.   Look for a temporary float marking the spot of the wreck.  West Mary Island is kind of crescent shaped and the wreck is about in the middle between the points of the crescent.



Sandy beaches are rare in this area but they do exist.  This one is about  2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) south of the island.

The kids are Dave's two nieces.





Dave and his mother canoeing on Kirk Creek.  Kirk Creek flows in to the pool at the end of Baie Fine.  To find it search for a small channel that comes in through the lily pads.  It is then about a 0.5 Kilometer portage to a large beaver dam and the lake.




Hike to the top of Dreamer's Rock
This is a very sacred site for the people of the Whitefish River First nation.  The North Channel and St. Mary's River: A guide to the History says the trail to the top is open to visitors MondayLink to picture of the top of Dreamer's Rock to Friday 9 AM to 4 PM except for special events in the spring and fall.  It is closed on the weekends.  I am not certain this data is current so check at the First Nation Center at Birth Island, 705-285-4532.  Turn towards Bay of Islands at the Roman Catholic Church.  The First Nation Center is just a short way down the road.  The top of Dreamer's rock is 775 feet above sea level, 200 feet above the lake.

Hike to the top of Quartz Rock
Quartz rock is the high point just up the bay from McGregor Point at the mouth of McGregor Bay.  It is just across from the Island.  There is no established trail but you can work your way up from either side of the the peninsula or do a hike from one side to the other and arrange for a pick up. The second island from the left is the island featured on this web site. The peak is 1075 feet above Sea level, 500 feet above the lake.

The two people on top are Dave and Ava.  Notice the climbing rope in the background.  We were doing some rappelling off cliffs on the south side.  The rocks had not seen much use and consequently had loose spots.  At one point a rock that weighed much more than a man came crashing down.  The sound was worrisome but no injuries resulted.  Early 90's.


Hike to the top of Frazer Bay Hill
Double Click on the panoramic picture above for more pictures and a detailed description of the climb.


Take a boat trip up Baie Fine  
The bay was originally named by the Voyageurs or earlier French Explorers so that is why it is usually spelled the French way.

Okeechobee Lodge at the mouth of Baie Fine.
The lodge was built in 1947 and has been in private hands since 1999.   YouTube has some videos or reunions held there in 2009 and 2010.  They show some interior shots.





A boat heading up Baie Fine




An Island in Baie Fine





Both mountain sides are shown of this 13 kilometer (8 mile) long narrow fjord of Bay Finn.





A typical shore scene along Baie Fine.




These two ships are tied up in The Pool at the end of Baie Fine.  They are used in a coed youth program, with about 15 kids each


  David Whitaker and Charlie Barklay 1958Fishing has long been popular here.  This picture of David Whitaker and Charlie Barklay dates from 1958
The Barklays were regular visitors to the island in the early years.  My favorite story about Charlie was of the time he was heading out one rainy day.  His wife, without looking up from her book, reminded him to take is rain coat.  Dave was watching him at the time.  When he got the reminder, he was reaching for the rain coat.  Upon hearing the reminder, he withdrew his hand and headed out without it.


Explore the Benjamin and Hook Islands
The Benjamin islands are made of red granite and are considered the crown jewels of the North Channel. It is a great place to see a few sailboats in a beautiful setting. Boating magazine described it as "One of the best cruising places in North America". 


Benjamin Islands harbor, 42 kilometers (25 miles) from the island.





Relaxing on a Benjamin Island. (1998)




Hook Island is just west of the Benjamins and is a non-descript looking island but is a great place to look for fossils.  The most common type are called Nautiloids and look kind of like a stack of small cookies.


Island to French River

Aside from this satellite picture courtesy of  Microsoft's Windows Live, I do not have any pictures for the best day trip of all, the trip to the mouth of the French River.  The scenery is not spectacular but it is good.  What is spectacular is the total experience of this long trip.  It takes a long day and is best done when the weather is favorable.

The trip begins with an open passage south across Frazer Bay to the Hole In The Wall, then east to Killarney where one should top off all gas tanks. We then continued through the passage skirting the left shore for 7 kilometers (4 miles) until we got to Collins Inlet. This is a 20 kilometers (12 mile) long channel that goes most of the way to where the French River empties into Georgian Bay. At this point you have to get out into open water and continue east to the mouth of French River. In reality there are many entrances, so it is a bit confusing. Returning, you can continue all the way back to Killarney in the open water of Georgian Bay, or tuck back into Beverstone Bay, and then on to the inside channel of Collins inlet. Finding the entrance is not as easy as you would expect even given that you came out of it only a few hours earlier. The problem is that there is a mass of islands along the shoreline and it is difficult to find the channel amongst them. There is a buoy but we missed it and had to double back.


Circumnavigating Manitoulin Island

This trip does not strictly belong here as it is a two day drip in an outboard. Again I have no pictures (except for the satellite picture courtesy of Microsoft's Windows Live http://local.live.com ) and it is not particularly picturesque anyway.  It is high adventure because you are in the unsheltered water of Lake Huron for almost half of the trip.  Most of that time you are not near any sort of port either as the south side of Manitoulin Island is much less developed because it is so much more exposed.  We have only done the trip once and the only other person we know who did it used a canoe with a small outboard on it.  I do not remember how long it took him.

Our trip began casually enough.  We were heading out to South Baymouth, a challenging trip in itself.  The weather looked very promising but just in case, we brought along all our spare gas cans and Dave's insulin.  The members of the party were Dave, Ava, Dave's dog Ben, and myself, Bill.

When we got to South Baymouth the weather was holding so we decided to try to make it all the way around to Meldrum Bay by nightfall.  We stopped in Providence Bay for gas and supplies (mostly a tooth brush for Ava) and made reservations at the Meldrum Bay Inn.  At the time of our trip, about 1990, Providence Bay had so few visitors by boat that we had to hike to a gas station to get fuel.  The Inn has been substantially restored since we were there which is a good thing.  It is a very historic building and includes a restaurant as well as 8 rooms upstairs.  In keeping with the historic nature, the rooms feature a bathroom down the hall.  It is getting high reviews on Yelp.

We had been warned that the water was very shallow well out from shore on the south west part of the island.  When you get this warning from a canoeist, you have to take it seriously.  Sure enough we almost hit bottom and had to swing even further out to sea.  Aside from that the trip to Meldrum Bay was uneventful.  The weather held, which was vary good because the only alternative to toughing it out would have been to pull the boat up on shore.  

We got to Meldrum Bay well before dinner so we had some time to wonder around town.  We had a good meal at the Meldrum Bay Inn, then retired for the night with Dave in one bed and Ava and I in the other.  Ben was left tied up in the boat which was tied up to the dock.  Ben was not amused and Dave ended up taking a blanket out to the boat and sleeping with Ben.

The next day the wind picked up to average levels which made for a somewhat choppy but uneventful trip back to the island.


Charts of the area:

2204 Byng Inlet to Killarney
        Sheet 3 French River to Beaverstone Bay
        Sheet 4 Beaverstone Bay to Killarney  (Includes all of Collins Inlet)

2205 Little Current to Killarney (and as far north as the Island)
         It includes Fazer Bay hill and most of Mary Island (Where the wreck of the 
         India is)

2206 1 thru 4  McGregor Bay

2207 Little Current to Clapperton Island
         Includes carts of the Benjamin Islands and the Bay of Islands
         This chart was quite new on 2006.

2257 Clapperton Island to John Island
         This chart shows the Benjumin Island on one corner but is more detailed then
         optimum.  I would recommend 2207 although I have not seen it personally.

The charts are available from Turners across from the docks in Little Current.  They are the oldest dealer in charts in Canada.  The store was established in 1879.


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Rev 9/12/16