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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Great Lakes > Lake Superior
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Old 01-01-2015
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St Mary's River

Hi all, I'm starting to plan for next-years season. We are probably heading up to Mackinac (from Penetanguishene).

I've been giving some thought to poking up into Eastern Lake Superior as we'll be (sort of) in the neighbourhood.

I am trying to establish the feasibility of motoring up the St Mary's River. From what I understand it is about 67 nm long. I also understand that there is a significant current (running 2 1/2 to 3 kn) that can increase when the sluices are opened.

Has anyone made this up-stream journey? I expect that it would be at least 30 hours of motoring, against a current, in a narrow seaway, with lots of commercial traffic. Is this a pretty accurate description?

Would this be worth it? I would only have 1 - 2 weeks to spend in Superior once I got there.

Any insight will be appreciated.
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Old 01-01-2015
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Re: St Mary's River

I've done the trip a few times, up and down. It's not that hard. I've seen up to 3 knots of current at times, but only in a couple of narrow areas. Mostly the current is not that noticeable. There can be a lot of freighter traffic, but it's only an issue in some of the narrow sections around Needish Island or as you approach SSM along Ferry Island. These are relatively short stretches, so you can usually get through without having to share the channel with the big boys. If you have AIS, it's easy.

Going up, I've started early from Milford Haven anchorage. If I'm in a hurry I've pushed all the way to Bondar Marina in the Sault. I prefer to either anchored or docked near/at Richard's Landing. The marina there is a sweet little operation. Great people. Cute little town. Can get busy in the summer though. Once in the Sault, take the Canadian locks up to Superior. It's easy, fast and free.

With two weeks on Superior you'd be able to get to some pretty spectacular spots on the Canadian side. Anchorages are bit thin until you get up to Batchawana Bay, but after that they become more plentiful. Sinclair Cove is a great spot. Gargantua, Warp Bay, Indian Harbour ... lots.

If you get a good weather window a great trip would be to jump from Whitefish Bay to Michipochoten Island. It's an 80+ nm jump, but Quebec Harbour is a well worth the visit. Three wrecks, sandhill cranes, a qhost town fishing village. Love it. From there you could jump back to the east shore, and hop your way back down to SSM.

Despite cruising on Superior for eight years, I have never traversed the American southern shore from Bayfield to Whitefish Pt., so I can't comment on that. There are a few nice communities and ports along that shore, but not much in the way of anchorages.

Make sure you get a copy of Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way. It is THE guide for Superior. The Great Lakes Cruising Club is another good source.

Happy to share more info flyingwelshman. Anything I can do to help, just ask.
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