The North Channel, Canada

On our first night out towards the North Channel, we had to motor as there is no measurable wind. Too bad because there is nothing like sailing at night. After a beautiful but unspectacular sunset, I take the first shift. It is eerily strange to look all around you and see this strange glow coming up like spiked hair and uneven intervals. They are the lights from various cities and remind us that we are never far from land. It is only dark straight ahead, north, and the dark appears to be endless.

When you are on watch you need to look around every 10 or 15 minutes to look for other boats. For me, that is every chapter or story break. We look for red lights (going the same way we are), green lights (going the opposite direction), and lots of white lights coming towards you. That would be a barge. While the world sleeps, huge ships pass us by on the water highway. They move so fast it is amazing and you do not want to be in their way!
While looking eastward I see this strange red glow over the water. It slowly turns into a giant red half orb…the moon. I do not think I have ever seen the moon come up so deep color of red. Looked like Mars! It still had the remnants of the super moon of last week so it was quite the spectacle to see. As it slowly rose up it reminded me of the soft glow of the jack o’ lanterns of Halloween. The temperatures feel like a warm October evening. As it rose up it lightened in color casting its white beam directly towards us, giving comfort in knowing that it is still there and will join you on your journey. A comfort that is nice to have in the wee hours of the night.

A brief stay in the very pleasant tourist town of Charlevoix was uneventful. We dined at a restaurant on the edge of the canal, watched the bridge go up one time, walked around a bit, and left early the next morning.

On our way to the Mackinac Bridge, we saw several lighthouses that we had never seen before. One was round and brown and was probably one of the original lighthouses on the lake. There were 4 in one area alone!  A very rocky area and many shallows so I can see that there was a need for so many lighthouses.

Approaching the Mackinac Bridge was truly a sight to see. The bridge is very long and can be seen from a great distance. There was a measure of excitement as we arrived it felt like a true Great Lakes milestone! Once on the other side, you see many ferries coming from all directions, heading towards Mackinac Island. This is a mysterious kind of island as there are no cars allowed on the island. Horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the only mode of transportation. The big Hotel is clearly visible and it is majestic, but I cannot see how I would be willing to pay $20 just to walk onto the porch! Not as large and grand as the Greenbrier in West Virginia, which I always thought was one of the most beautiful hotels in the country.

wide angle-100wide angle-101Mackinac Bridge

De Tour was our next stop.   It is a marina/town located on the narrow stretch where all freighters travel to and from Lake Superior.   There are so many of the freighters coming through that area there is a book written about them and how to identify them.   Kind of scary as they do move very fast and there are a lot of them in a narrow area.

De Tour itself is a small town with an IGA grocery, a restaurant/bar and a bakery/ bar, a Post Office, and a sports store.   Men gather at the sports store to trade fishing stories as well as find that elusively perfect lure.   We found some Canadian charts and bought a book of charts to help us navigate our way through the North Channel.

2014 07 NC Drummond Island sRGB-1

As we leave De Tour we luck out and do not see any freighters.   We are able to get out of the shipping lane fairly quickly and off we go to Canada!

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