Burnt Island to Tobermory

Traveling along the long southern shore of Manitoulin Island one feels very isolated.  No towns and very little boat or ship traffic.   You are on your own out here, as neither the Canadian nor the US Coast Guard patrols this border area.  Should be great for smuggling though!  There’s no place to stop for 40 miles (8 hours in our boat).  As we motor along (no wind) we read “no customs entry” for  our next port.  Oops!  So now we turn south for Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula, where we will find the special dark blue Canadian Customs phone booth. 

This is the high-speed car ferry that connects Tobermory, on the Bruce Peninsula, with Manitoulin Island.

This lighthouse marks the entrance to Georgian Bay.

As we round Chove island approaching Tobermory, we get some wind and put up the main.  And then the engine dies….no luck starting it either. Our fuel was running low and gunk on the bottom of the tank clogged the fuel line and killed the engine.  So we had to “short tack” up the narrow  channel to the dock in Big Tub Harbor.  One fellow, watching our predicament from shore, read our minds:  “Its deep right to the wall!”, he yelled to us.  So we were able to keep sails drawing right up to the last second on each tack, throwing the tiller over just before striking the sheer granite cliff.  We took a day off to remove the gas lines and blow them out with compressed air.  We also bought a few extra gas filters just in case.

Tobermory is charming, a busy harbor, a wreck diving and hiking center.  A harbor walk is always a way to meet interesting people.   Al and Fran have been sailing this area for 12 years in their cosy Grampian 26.  Purchased after sinking, she’s been brought back, and is a compact, homey cruiser.  We get out charts and get their tips for routes all through the 30,000 islands area.

Tobermory is at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.  Lots of great hiking around here with dramatic rock formations carved by the waves.

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