Friday, August 17, 2007

Canadian Lake Superior, and now back in the USA

Hello all: After a couple of months in Canada, now we're back in the U.S. This map shows our approximate route from John's Harbor, forever known to us as "the Bear Anchorage," to Bruce Mines, and then up the St. Joseph River towards Sault Ste. Marie (Canadian side) and Lake Superior.
The lower part of the map is our route from Lake Superior's Batchawana Bay (we were actually in Harmony Bay north of Batchwana Island) in Lake Superior, thru "the Soo" down the St Mary's River, to our present location in St. Ignace, Michigan.

Here's a photo of our buddy boat Tom-Kat going up the St. Joseph River, near the little town of Richardson's Landing (Ontario, Canada).

This is Sault (pro: "soo") Sainte Marie, Ontario as we turned into the shipping harbor. Back in the old days of the fur traders, this was the site of rapids as the waters of Lake Superior tumbled down towards the sea. The "Sault" in the name comes from the French verb "to leap." In 1797 a small canal was built to improve trade; now there are 4 parallel locks (3 US, 1 unused; 1 Canadian) to handle traffic.

Speaking of traffic... this is not a skyline pic. If you look closely, you can see a huge ore freighter coming thru the U.S. locks at "the Soo."

Sault Sainte Marie is a pretty town; this is a public building from 1906, formerly the Post Office, now an excellent museum about local history.

Just to the north & west of the town of Sault Ste. Marie, the shore becomes very rocky & steep, and the hills are topped with wind generators... must be over a hundred of them.

We headed up the eastern side of Lake Superior, passing close to Ile Parisienne to take a look at the great beaches there. More nice beaches are to be found at Batchawana Bay, much more easily accessible than Ile Parisienne, and a few cottages to take advantage of this access.

Batchawana Bay is a very scenic anchorage on the Canadian side of Lake Superior

(link to GoogleMaps)

The bay is quite large but there is good holding ground in many places, allowing boats to get behind shelter of a windward shore. This photo shows fog spilling between the hilltops in the early morning.

Returning from Lake Superior, we again locked thru the Soo and headed down the Saint Mary's River. We found a great anchorage just south of the West Neebish Channel (GoogleMap), between Neebish Island and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Hank is getting to be an old pro at dinghy trips by this point.

The Saint Mary and Saint Joseph are two rivers that run nearly parallel, taking water from Lake Superior down to Lake Huron. Both have navigable channels but the St. Mary's goes towards where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan and is for the big ships, whereas the St. Joseph's River spills into the North Channel of Lake Huron.

Along the DeTour Passage is an unusual building project: the forward part of a ship set up on land. If you zoom in, this photo shows a man working on putting a conventional foundation wall around the base of it. Is this going to be his home? A museum? We don't know, but it sure looks interesting!

Monday night we anchored among the Cheneaux Islands of upper Michigan, which were much more populated than we expected.
(link to GoogleMap)

And of course, any visit to this area has to include Mackinac Island. As we passed by the Mackinac Harbor heading west towards St. Ignace, Kathie took this photo of the town and the fort up on the hill.

We took a catamaran ferry to the island and did some tourist-y stuff on Mackinac (pronounced "Mackinaw"); here is another view of the fort and a sign that tells about it.

What a beautiful place! The hills are a bit steep for our boat bikes, but we sure got exercise. Good thing, too, because it seems like 50% of shops on Mackinac Island are fudge shops! (Of course, we did our best to boost the local economy...)

Another tourist attraction... Skull Cave! Now those of us who remember "The Phantom"... the adventure comic-strip hero, not the lame movie... would perk up at this. Unfortunately most of the cave was bulldozed by the gov't because too many people got hurt inside. What remains is, well, bigger than a breadbox.

We are in St. Ignace, Michigan, a very nice small town on the north side of the Straits of Mackinac. We have been holed up here waiting for high winds (producing high waves) to abate; Lake Michigan can be very unforgiving in storms. There are worse places to be "stuck," and we have plenty of boat and household chores to catch up (remember the Eileen Quinn song about the non-boaters query: "what do you do all day?").
(link to GoogleMap showing our location)

We hope that you all are well & happy
Doug & Kathie


Bill Davis - said...

Is there any sort of border security as you make your trips from the US to Canada and back? Have you encountered any Atlanta attorneys trying to swim over and back with TB?

Winnie W. said...

No Atlanta attorneys with TB, but we did have to attest that we were not harboring any New York attorneys with rabies ;) ^_^

Border security between Canada and the U.S. was not a problem. We had passports, customs decal on the boat, and a relatively new bit of red tape called an "I-68." This front-loads the admin overhead and enabled us to check back into the U.S. by phone.