Summer arrives - finally!

Respite in the marina at Manitowaning. Respite was only the third visiting boat in the marina this summer and that was in the middle of August.

It has been a cool, windy summer until the last two weeks and then the most beautiful weather has arrived. Winds perfect for sailing, water perfect temperature for swimming and kayaking, nights perfect for sleeping.


The busiest time here is the North Channel is the last week in July and the first week in August as Canada has a four-day holiday the first weekend in August. Many Canadians decide to come north in a rush to spend their "holiday" here. Even with the added boaters, there are still many anchorages with few or no boats, marinas which still have slips and stores looking for customers.



Sunsets across the North Channel

Sunrises have been spectacular, I hear as I am rarely up in time to see them as have the sunsets.


My late brother-in-law Mark Heffron, who was a marvelous architectural photographer, used to tell me that sometimes it was best to put the camera away and simply enjoy the moment. We have tried to find a balance between taking enough photos and allowing our eyes to record the sites and sounds of the North Channel.


Sometimes pictures give the impression that one anchorage is like the next, water surrounded by rocks. The truth is that each anchorage is unique and special and the experiences from each so very different.

We chose to ride out four days of high winds and rain in Covered Portage late in July which turned out to be a great decision. Winds surrounding the cliff-protected anchorage hit 35-40 MPH while inside the water was flat.


Duncan growing younger

When we first arrived this summer, Duncan acted as if age had finally caught up with him. at 11-years-old . He walked slowly, didn't seem to want to climb on his favorite rocks and was sleeping more than normal.


Over the last six weeks however, people keep asking if he is a pup as fast as he runs, as much as he likes to ride in the kayak and just how he behaves.


It has been a real joy to watch him bounce from rock to rock, leap over others, and just act as if he has had a ball.


Seems the North Channel is his Fountain of Youth as it is ours.










Repairs


We knock on wood every day that we have had few repairs to make on Respite. We replaced a battery and battery switch early in the season and this week said goodbye to our head. It was seven years old, traveled about 8,000 miles and managed to support us for thousands of uses. Not a big job but a messy one in, completed at a dock. Seems everyone who came by had something "crappy" to say about the operations


New and old friends

We have run into old friends that we haven't seen in years and made new friends. Today I was asked to dive under a 70-foot yacht which had run aground and limbed into the marina we are at for the night. The captain hoped I'd find minimal damage. He was disappointed when reported that his two 40-inch props were bent into the shape of a sunflower closing for the night. Beautiful pieces of yard art but no good for props.


We watched a family of otters play in the marina we were at last evening, listened to another couple of boaters talk about the bear they had seen in the area a few days before then rose this morning to find a muskrat swimming behind the boat.


Another couple we had met earlier this year, saw us in a restaurant in Gore Bay. The wife shouted across the dinning room, "There is Cindy and Jeff. She can really sail and you should see her dock a boat." Everyone stopped eating and looked at Cindy as if they were seeing someone famous.


Some of the boaters we meet have literally sailed around the world and returned to the North Channel because they have seen everything and this still ranks at the top. Others are setting out on their first real test.


We met a couple in Little Current who had emigrated to Canada from Hungary years before, They had just that day bought a 37-foot Hunter sailboat. They had sailed a little but never owned a boat. Cindy spent more than an hour talking to the wife about how to anchor and where to go their first time. We crossed paths two weeks later. The wife ran up and hugged Cindy, words just rushing out of her, explaining in somewhat broken English, that yes they had taken her advice and yes they had spent two night at anchor and loved it.


Adventurers

We met another couple in a 24-foot center console fishing boat that were doing The Great Loop. Six Thousand miles in a boat meant for day fishing. They had added some canvas to sleep under and had several plastic storage for their possessions. They were going about 100 miles a days the days they traveled and seemed to love every mile of it.






Flowers

Wild and domestic flowers are blooming across the entire area. It is so nice to even if they are late according to local residents. The cool weather in June and July, combined with just enough rain seem to have brought out the very best .




Restaurants


There are few restaurants in the North Channel which are an easy walk to from the marina. We found that North Channel Pizza in Spanish is happy to deliver pizzas to the marina which is more than a mile away. Apparently they are the only pizza delivery in the entire North Channel.














Thanks again for following along with us. We continue to hope you enjoy the ride.


Random photos