Sea Kayak Expedition
Before you guys laugh Yeah I'm talking about sea kayaking and not sailing. I need to find good intell on conditions and info from people that have first hand experience with local area. I'm not talking about those people you see poking around in those little things. I'm A BCU (British Canoe Union) 4 star level paddler. I have extensive experience in paddling in high winds 30-40mph and 12-14ft seas and also tidal races. To get my 5 star certification I have to plan a short range expedition 80-100 mile that includes open water crossings that requires dead reckoning navigation, also high winds and currents. I pretty much have to do a write up to show my Coach before I can do my 5 star expeditionary certification which is highest level you can get.
Here is the planned route I'm planing on taking. I was going to post a plotted route from Google earth but ended up being to large. I'm also having trouble finding a place that has the correct chart that covers this area. So one or two of the islands I have no names for or possibly the wrong name for one or two.
1. Starting at Dunk Road beach south east of Tobermory
2. middle island
3. flower pot island
4. bear rump
5. moon island
6. lonely island
7. club island
8. unknown island 4.62 miles 327 degrees from Club Island
9. cross over to Manitoulin Island heading south west along the shore then
cross over Owen channel
10. cross over to Fitzwilliam island over to wall island or snake harbour then heading down owen channel then around the western side of fitzwilliam crossing over to Unknown name island south of Fitzwilliam then cross over.
11. down western side of Cove island making my way south to Tobermory and back east around to the Dunk Road beach.
This isn't going to happen soon. I still have alot of time to train and get all the equipment I need. I just want to get info on conditions I most likely will incounter and warnings. I will check back time to time with other questions. That's if people are willing to help me out.
I'm looking at May time frame of year not this year but a year possibly two from now. what kinda of water, storm and wind conditions will I mostly likely incounter Late spring. What kind of VHF coverage does Canadian Coast Guard have in this area aswell. From what I've gathered I will be crossing over well used route for Sailboats making their way to the North Channel from Tobermory. If you can help me out now and in the future I will be greatly thankful!
I'm not laughing! That's a serious plan.
We have quite a few Great LAkes sailors -- I'm sure they'll offer their advice freely. Best of luck!
Ambitious trip, but if you've been in 30-40 mph winds and 12-14 ft. seas, you can handle Georgian Bay. I'm not 100% familiar with the corner of GB that your headed, but have been on Georgian Bay for years. With the right ( wrong) conditions you will experience the winds and waves you're used to, only difference in GB is the waves will be closer together. I imgaine Manitoulin Isl will protect most of that aea to some extent, but the run form Bears rump to Lonley is fairly open.
Chart #2235 seems to be the most detailed in that area. I have 2201 which is all of Georgian Bay, but is probably not detailed enough for what you want. CHS Charts
White Squall Paddling Centre is in Parry Sound directly across the bay but could probably help you with other info. you're looking for.
Can Coast Guard has 100% coverage of GB, so you should be fine, but that's with higher antennas on sail boat. You may want to consider SPOT or even an EIPRB, just in case the hand-held doesn't reach. There are a couple of others on this forum that have been through this area so may have more first hand knowledge.
Good luck and keep us posted. Kayaking is similar to sailing, i.e. its not a motorboat ;)
8. unknown island 4.62 miles 327 degrees from Club Island
I think this is Rabbit Island, but I didn't plot it.
First thoughts -
You will need Canadian Charts 2274 (Cove Island and Tobermory Detail) and 2235 (Cape Hurd to Lonely Island)
You may also want to get Canadian Sailing Directions CEN306 for Georgian Bay. Chapter 2 covers pretty much your whole trip. My copy cost $19.95 Cdn new several years ago. I would highly recommend it for your voyage since it provides as good written description of the physical features of each island and landmark which may give you clues as to where you can beach for breaks and sleeping (Unless you are planning this as a non-stop afternoon paddle?? :D )
Note that some of the shoreline you plan to visit is not friendly to beaching a kayak although based on your experience summary, I'm sure you'll make out fine.
Canadian Coast Guard Coverage in the area is excellent. There is a CCG base in Tobermory with an excellent antenna visible for miles. Communication with Canadian Coast Guard Radio (Thunder Bay Coast Guard Radio covers this area) and continous Marine WX broadcasts should be good with a handheld VHF although reception will be poor as you get closer to Fitzwilliam Island and through the Owen Channel.
There is usually lots of pleasure craft traffic in this area to relay urgent messages although likely not so much in May. Also, the MS Chi-Cheemaun (365 ft long ferry) plies the waters between Tobermory and South Baymouth ferrying up to 143 cars several times a day starting May 1. I doubt that you would need an EPIRB. My Blackberry worked perfectly well anchored in Rattlesnake Harbour but my handheld VHF was useless and the mast mounted fixed VHF was only marginal.
The water around Tobermory is notoriously cold and snow is not out of the question in May (neither is sun and 28 deg C). If May is your month, shade toward the very end of May.
Some name corrections:
5. Moon Island is Halfmoon Island
8. I agree with scottbr that the island bearing 327 from Club is Rabbit Island
10. Snake Harbour is Rattlesnake Harbour
10. Unknown Island south of Fitzwilliam is likely Yeo Island which is the largest although there is also James Island NE of Yeo and Lucas Island S of Yeo.
I have not experienced this but Sailing Directions CEN306 cautions about the currents in the Main Channel, Devil Island Channel and Cape Hurd Channel can be hazardous. Quoting form Page 8 "Caution - Currents of 5 to 6 knots have been reported in the channels between Fitzwilliam Island and the Bruce Penninsula after changes in wind direction." Likely nothing compared to what it sounds like you have been through though.
You know there are zero provisioning opportunities on your route once you leave Tobermory.
Heath officials would not smile but the water is clean and fresh enough to drink in my view. I have done so. Certainly no problem if you are boiling water for tea.
How far each day?
Do you have any specific questions?
I'm sure I'll think of more stuff and I'll post a couple of pictures of the area and the islands in future posts.
This sounds cool... keep us informed of your plans.
Well two things that concern me about what you said. the 5-6 currents is a big one. Yeah I've delt with tidal currents that fast but do an 8 mile crossing in them well it isn't done by even the top Expedition paddles in the world. You can cross to an island maybe 1.5 miles but that's a tide that you can predict the speed and time on general schedule. That kinda of current is unpredictable. IF I'm half way through the 8 or the 10 mile crossing and the current picks up and I have no shore references to even see this. I can be in big trouble and I'm hoping having my Gps with me with pre plotted route using bluecharts could possibly give me warning if I'm starting to be pushed off my plotted course So can adjust my course angle. At 5-6 knot I really don't have a chance. I think the key things is listening carefully to the forecast on the VHF. The key days will be the first two days which are compriced of the longest most exposed crossings. My original plan was to make the cross from tobermory, bears rump, half moon and Lonely island in one big push the first day 27 miles. After thinking about it making such a big push the first day would mostly like burn me out way to soon and at the beginning of the trip. So I've decided to stop at halfmoon island and prey there are no storms with large waves or it's going to be like standing outside on the deck of a sub during a crash dive. LOL I don't see alot of elevation on that island at all.
The next thing is the Handheld VHF radio 0 signal you said you were getting in Rattle Snake Harbour and in Ownes channel. Are the weather and water condtions reports broadcast from Tobermory and Fitzwilliam island is blocking them Signal? I could stay on the Southeastern side of Wall island to get a clear line of sight to get radio reports before making the push through Owen channel. Most likely I'm going to push the trip to first part of July or last week of June. I want to avoid the higher lodging prices for support team i.e. my wifey. I don't want go when it's hot either.
Oh I'm going to be doing about 15-17miles a day. This will give me time to setup camp and still explore every place I plan on stopping at. Paddling sun up to sun down just won't be fun if you can't enjoy where your at everyday aswell!
Do you really consider 27 miles to be a big push? Anyway, you may try Watertribe forum, I'm pretty sure somebody paddled the area.
or contact Mark at "Kruger Canoe", he runs races in the area.
Well it depends on the conditions winds and how large the waves are when making the crossings. With 60lbs of gear packed into the boat 30mph winds and 10ft seas with a speed of 3 mph at minimum for suchs conditions Yeah it could get to be a push. I've done 45 mile days but that's because there was no place to land other than to spiderman a vertical cliff. I unually maintain a good touring speed of 4.0-4.3mph in good conditions but always use 3mph to plan out slowest possible speed the conditions could push me down to. IF I had an 18ft 21.5beamed long hall Expedition boat yeah I could move faster and cover more ground but my kayak is 16'7" 22"beam so it's alittle slower for the long range low drag trips.
Thanks for checking back in. It helps to know that the time to respond is being acknlowledged.
Sounds like a good trip. I've done several 1 & 2 week canoe trips in the Algonquin & Killarney Prov. Parks. Now, I prefer a much bigger canoe, although I do miss the tripping.
If you contact Whitesquall in my post above, perhaps they could hook you up with someone that knows the area as far as how strong the currents could be on a regular basis.
I've seen the Bay relatively calm and I've seen it insane. If the current is from wind shifts, I imagine ( I speculating) it would take fairly substantial winds over a couple of days to push the lake enough to cause a backflowe though the slot when it dies down.
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