North Channel

We departed Baie Fine under overcast skies, cool, damp and windy! Winds were out of the WSW at about 15kt, but a tolerable cruise day to head to Little Current, gateway to the North Channel. There’s no other way into the North Channel without heading around the south shore of Manitoulin Island and traveling west, so Little Current has a long history as a crossroads, of sorts. It’s a small town, but it’s an urban center for the area, and the largest town on Manitoulin Island. There is an overview chart that’s highlighted to depict the North Channel and Georgian Bay to give you an idea of the geography if unfamiliar.


Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world, and the island itself has 108 lakes, some of which have islands within the lakes, and some of those islands within an island also contain ponds. Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake in the world. What a confusing claim to fame! Manitoulin is a popular vacation destination for its outdoor activities and beautiful settings. The Port of Little Current is a municipal-run marina, the facilities are excellent. Docking there can be interesting, as there is a current, and, depending on the wind direction can be more than a little. We had some minor west-east current when we arrived shortly after 1300 hrs, but not worrisome. Access to the harbor is limited by the Little Current swing bridge, that opens on the hour for vessel traffic. The one lane bridge provides the only road access to Manitoulin Island, the bridge itself is a converted railroad bridge, thus the single lane.

We took advantage of our relatively early arrival and the proximity of the grocery stores (one across the street from the other) to do some provisioning, and made the grocery run without getting rained on, as the cloudy weather persisted. We spent some time later doing some shopping, visiting Turner’s Store, an historic purveyor of all sorts of goods, now in its 5th generation. The store hosts a small museum on the 2nd floor that provides a very interesting, if casual overview of the local history and in particular how the family-owned store played a part in that history over the years. Very enjoyable! Just an overnight stay, we slipped lines the following morning and left the pier with the current flowing in the opposite direction that it had been going upon our arrival! Only remarkable because there is, of course no tide in the Great Lakes, and the only thing creating the current in Little Current is the effect of the winds on the water levels on either side of the cut. A bit unususal! With the promise of clearing skies, we stopped at Wally’s dock for a pump out before heading north to the Benjamin Islands.

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