The North Channel πŸ’§ Boating Adventure in Lake Huron, Ontario

Embark on a boating adventure to explore the stunning North Channel of Lake Huron in Ontario, a hidden gem of the Great Lakes region 🌲

The Magnificent North Channel of Lake Huron

The North Channel of Lake Huron is one of the most spectacular freshwater cruising grounds in the world. This intoxicating boating paradise stretches over 160 nautical miles along the northern shore of Lake Huron, protected by Manitoulin Island – the largest freshwater island in the world. With hundreds of islands dotting its pristine waters, the North Channel offers a labyrinth of adventures for boaters exploring its secluded coves, provincial parks, historic lighthouses, and picturesque ports.

The cruising season in the North Channel runs from July through August when boaters can experience near-endless daylight to appreciate the region’s astonishing beauty. This part of Northern Ontario comes alive each summer as sailors, cruisers, and fishermen flock to the North Channel’s uniquely rugged landscape. While traversing these waters, you’ll be awed by windswept pine trees, granite cliffs, hidden waterfalls, beaches with fossils from an ancient sea, and the dazzling night skies illuminating the Northern Lights.

The North Channel is connected on its western end to Lake Superior via the St. Mary’s River which flows between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Ontario. On its eastern edge, the North Channel meets the open waters of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay through the French River. The town of Little Current serves as the gateway into the North Channel with its famous swing bridge – an engineering marvel dating back over 100 years. This iconic bridge pivots open hourly during boating season to allow vessels to pass into Little Current’s picturesque harbor.

Little Current is considered the hub of the North Channel, offering full-service marinas, shops, restaurants, and provisioning for boaters. It also hosts the popular Cruisers’ Net radio broadcast each morning at 9 am on VHF Channel 71. Through this net, boaters share weather reports, announcements, and swap stories about their adventures in the North Channel and surrounding waters of Lake Huron.

West of Little Current, cruisers can spend days exploring the islands and coves tucked between Cockburn Island and the northern shore. Highlights along this western stretch include the Benjamin Islands, known for their distinctive pink granite and idyllic anchorages, and the Whalesback Channel with its wealth of secluded hideaways.

Venturing east from Little Current leads into the spectacular Killarney area and famous Baie Fine (Fine Bay), considered the best example of a fjord in North America. A sail through Baie Fine rewards travelers with vistas of the rugged La Cloche mountains jutting straight up from the calm turquoise waters of the bay. At the end of Baie Fine lies The Pool anchorage, a perfectly protected harbor ringed by quartzite cliffs where boaters gather beneath the stars.

Continuing east, boats can dock at the quaint port town of Killarney itself before navigating the maze-like channels of Collins Inlet. Beyond Collins Inlet sits the expansive and island-dotted Beaverstone Bay and eventually the shores of Georgian Bay.

A North Channel cruise isn’t complete without experiencing the historic and lively harbor town of Gore Bay set in a protected bay on the north side of Manitoulin Island. Gore Bay provides a picturesque downtown lined with shops and restaurants catering to tourists and boaters. It also serves as an ideal spot to restock provisions.

On the mainland along the entire length of the North Channel’s coast, cruisers will find various full-service ports and marinas such as Meldrum Bay, Blind River, and Thessalon for re-fueling, pump-outs, repairs, and hot showers. While the mainland side of the North Channel lacks the beauty and cachet of Manitoulin Island, it does offer convenient access to civilization, food, and services.

Ports and Harbors of the North Channel

Dotting the North Channel are numerous full-service ports and harbors providing crucial amenities for cruisers. On the mainland along the North Shore, key ports include Blind River, Thessalon, Bruce Mines, and Sault Ste. Marie. Blind River offers a well-stocked marina and easy access to supplies, while Thessalon’s attractive municipal marina lends bicycles to visiting boaters. Sault Ste. Marie sits at the western terminus of the North Channel, connecting to Lake Superior.

On the southern side of the North Channel, nestled in bays and inlets across Manitoulin Island, boaters will find vital harbors like Gore Bay, Little Current, and Killarney. Gore Bay’s downtown harbor provides shops, restaurants, and provisioning. Little Current serves as the gateway to the North Channel with its iconic swing bridge, full-service marinas, and status as a boating hub. Killarney gives boaters access to the eastern North Channel including Collins Inlet and spectacular Baie Fine.

Beyond ports, cruisers can drop anchor in countless hidden coves and bays in the North Channel’s islands. One delightful anchorage lies at Half Moon Bay just north of Frazer Bay’s rugged shoreline. West of Little Current, Fox Island West Harbour offers an idyllic spot surrounded by pink granite. On Strawberry Island, Beaver Island Harbour provides protection behind a sand spit. With so many anchorages, sailors could spend an entire summer discovering new favorites.

Looking to dock? Join Invme Dating App!

Invme.com is a free city social network app to discover and share what is happening here and now in your city. Share, discover and connect: invme.com offers both locals and tourists the way to share events in the city in an easier way.

Exploring Ashore

Stretching legs on land offers North Channel boaters a wealth of hiking trails, beaches, lakes, waterfalls, and other natural wonders. On Manitoulin Island, adventurers can conquer the iconic Cup and Saucer Trail with its panoramas and ancient petroglyphs. The island also holds Lake Manitou, the largest lake on a freshwater island in the world. Along the North Shore, hikers delight in over a dozen trails including popular routes at Gros Cap and Point Grondine Park.

Visitors also enjoy swimming, picnicking, and lounging on perfect sandy beaches lining the North Channel’s shoreline and islands. Favorite swimming spots include Misery Bay, the Pool in Baie Fine, and the beach at Half Moon Bay. More secluded areas like Pine Island invite beachcombers to explore for unique rock formations, agates, driftwood, and other treasures.

With so much beauty ashore, a dinghy or kayaks allow North Channel sailors to fully experience these special places along the waterfront. A dinghy also enables boaters to visit small fishing villages and cabins dotted along the mainland and islands. By balancing time on a boat with hiking, swimming, and exploring ashore, cruisers can make the most of their North Channel adventure.

Beyond its ports and anchorages, the North Channel allows boaters to get a taste of Canaidan First Nation history and culture. Various islands and much of Manitoulin in the North Channel constitute the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg people. Today, visitors can learn about indigenous history at cultural sites and reserves around the North Channel. The famous Cup and Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island winds through sacred native sites decorated with petroglyphs.

For outdoor lovers, dozens of spectacular hiking trails spread across Manitoulin’s interior and along the North Channel coast. Popular natural attractions include Bridal Veil Falls, the rugged Cup and Saucer Trail, half a dozen provincial parks, and the unique Wonder Trail that combines plane ride and hiking adventure. On the water, cruising boaters may spot loons, kingfishers, herons, otters, mink, beaver, deer, moose, black bears, and even wolves or coyotes along the shorelines.

With endless anchorages and attractions to explore, one could spend an entire summer in the North Channel and barely scratch its surface. Each bay and harbor provides a new realm waiting to be discovered. Even veteran cruisers find new corners and delights each time they return. The North Channel offers some of the most stunning and rewarding freshwater cruising grounds in the world, preserved in their natural splendor. For boaters craving adventure, scenery, freshwater sailing, tranquility, stargazing, swimming, fishing, wildlife, and exploring scattered islands – a North Channel trip provides the perfect getaway.

Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: