Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wherever I am
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Re: Feasibility of cruising the Great Lakes in small steps
We sailed south from Coburn Island in the North Channel. Our first anchorage was around the point from the Bruce Nuclear plant off shore of Inverhuron Provincial Park. We then spent the next night in Goodrich marina. Our final night in Huron proper was spent near Kettle Point. The anchorages were all exposed to the west, and were only feasible b/c of the benign weather. Once you go past the Bruce Peninsula there really are not protected anchorages. You can basically get in the lee of points and the land, but you have to trust the forecasts, and be ready to move.
Lake St. Clair is interesting. For deep draft boats there are no protected anchorages that we found on the Canadian side. Anchor Bay looks good though. If you draw less than 3' you can probably find some near the river mouths. However, the whole damn lake is around 15' or less. Again, with benign weather we just headed off the shipping lane and anchored out in the middle of the lake. It was bizarre, but completely safe. We could put out hundreds of feet of rode b/c, and even if we dragged, we'd have miles to go before hitting shore. I wouldn't recommend it if weather was predicted, but it worked for us.
Nearing the mouth of the Detroit River there were a few places I was tempted to anchor; up around the small islands. We didn't though, and ended up sailing to Pelee Island where we anchored off the NW shore in the lee of Sheridan Point. Again, it's a fair-weather anchorage. You could anchor in other places around the island depending on wind direction, but beware of the ferry routes. They are big, and move fast.
Long Point is a good place to anchor. We spent a night on the south side of the point hooked near shore. The north side offers lots of good protection, but depths are tricky for us deep draft boats. One great anchorage was up the Grand River. We hooked just where the river bends to the east, tucking up near the marshes. It was erie, especially with the duck hunters blasting away very near by (we even saw the scatter from the shot guns. Really beautiful though. This was a very protected spot, but there is a lot of local river boat traffic. I wouldn't leave a boat unattended for any length of time. I'm sure the locals would go and investigate.
That's about all I can recall right now. As I say, I can't think of any place I'd leave a boat unattended on anchor for more than a day. But there are plenty of marinas that I'm sure would be happy to take your money. Good luck. It will be a great trip.
Why go fast, when you can go slow.