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Day 1 
Friday July 9      Lake St. Clair to Kincardine

Our first day takes us to Kincardine along the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Canada. Up the St. Clair River and out into Lake Huron we make a side stop at Goderich for lunch before docking for the night at Kincardine Marina.


Goderich for Lunch

176 Gal

Time on Water:
5 1/2 Hours

Heading Up St. Clair River to Port Huron

We awoke at our home port of MacRay Harbor in Lake St. Clair on Friday to a great day to start our trip. After disconnecting the shore power and making final checks we headed across the lake at around 8:45 a.m. Our cruising partners Bill and Mary in their boat 'Instead Of' arrived the night before from their home port in Leamington Ontario.

The first benchmark we head for is the Bluewater Bridge in Port Huron, the gateway to Lake Huron. The farthest point we previously had been was in 2003 when we visited the town of St. Clair, about 10 miles south before Lake Huron.

Our route takes us across Lake St. Clair, into the (local) North Channel and up the St. Clair River to Port Huron. Along the way we pass several freighters which use the same waters to traverse between Lake Huron  and Lake Erie. At 11:30 .am. and after 62 miles we pass under the Bluewater Bridge and out into Lake Huron. The Lake is fairly calm and we are able to run at about 3200 rpm and 28 mph. At this pace, It makes for a fairly nice ride. 

We set out on a northeasterly course, heading about 50 degrees NNE and passed Kettle Point seven miles off shore. The entire route in Lake Huron is Canadian waters.

Running with the Freighters

Bluewater Bridge

After an hour or so of traveling up the Lake, we talked on the radio and decided that since we were making good time and getting hungry, we would stop at the port of Goderich for lunch. Goderich is about 20 miles south of our destination Kincardine. I had the Goderich approach already logged in the GPS, and we checked the Ports Guide to get details on the entrance. There are two ways into the Harbor, but the South side is what we wanted. Tick Tock Too went in first, and after clearing the channel decided to go in the narrow entrance to the local yacht club marina. There really wasn't much room, so we exited and tied up along the wall in the harbor, and Instead Of joined us.
Gina and Linda prepared us some Crispy Chicken salad for lunch. Hank and I took a short tour around the docks, noticing that there were quite a few sailboats moored here and a lot of smaller fishing boats. Across the harbor was a large freighter at the docks. We understand that Goderich was once the Salt Capital of the world, and it is still mined and shipped out from this port. So far today we have traveled a total of 119 miles.

After an hour or so at Goderich it was time to make the final leg to Kincardine. We cleared the piers about xxx:00 and the lake was still calm and it was a great cruising. The weather today was close to eighty degrees with little or no wind. It did seem a  little surprising that we didn't see hardly any other boats cruising in our direction so far today.

Heading on to Kincardine, we rounded Point Clark, about 20 miles north of Goderich. After passing the Clark Reef Buoy #V6, you can pretty much follow the coastline another 8 1/2 miles to the Kincardine channel. At 3:45 The Instead Of headed in first, and after hailing the Marina on the radio, we went straight to the fuel docks.


The Kincardine Marina is run by the Kincardine Yacht Club, and the staff there was very friendly. Two dock boys immediately began fueling our boats. This is a pleasant surprise, as compared to what we are used to in  Michigan, where we gas up the boat ourselves. We were assigned a slip directly across from the gas dock. Gina used the office phone to call and check us through Customs. The marina manager said that the weather today was really the first it had been this nice, and certainly the best they've had in this area all summer. I had made reservations here  via phone back in the Spring, when we knew the exact dates we would be on the water.


After getting our boats docked at our slips, we had cocktails and relaxed a bit, while discussing the accomplishments of the first day of our trip. We took a short walk up the steps and across a bridge into downtown Kincardine. The gals ducked into a few quaint little shops on main street, while Hank, Bill, and myself rested on the street benches taking the sights in.

One of the shops we found sold hand-made wicker chairs which were quite elaborate. One of the more unique chairs was about eight feet tall and looked like a giant high chair, with several ladder rungs to get to the seat at the top. I joked about buying it and put it on the boat, thinking it would be like a true "fly bridge". A woman closing up the store mentioned to us that it was actually made to come apart for handling purposes. Oh well.

We walked the streets of downtown admiring some of the architecture of stone and brick buildings, many which were turned into restaurants. We walked into the bar at one interesting place call "Capone's".  We decided to have dinner here. For some reason we were the only patrons here at this time during what you would think was "peak" dining hours. The place had a very comfortable atmosphere, complete with a bar, nicely arranged tables, sofas, a pool table, and a large screen TV. The food was 'OK', but nothing spectacular. A roving cat came in the door and was begging for food from Bill at the table.

After dinner we stopped for an ice cream cone. The small shop specialized in what is supposed to be some  famous Canadian ice cream. It was quite expensive, but sure hit the spot. Bill and Mary had decided to take in a play at the local theater, so the rest of us headed back to the beach by the marina. There we caught the sun starting to set while watching all the locals play volleyball. Cheap entertainment.

A little later, Gina and I set off for the showers, and as the sun set, a bagpiper on top of the Lighthouse "piped the sun down". Evidently the "Phantom Piper" is a tradition, and really does add a flair to get the local experience. Luckily, Linda had grabbed the video cam and taped the action so we could see it later.

Docked at Kincardine

Bill and Mary returned from downtown after their 'night out' at the Playhouse and we sat up and talked for a while. We all agreed that our trip has gotten off to a pretty fantastic start. I am very pleased with the way the boat performed today, considering this was the farthest we've gone in one day, as well as our first time out on "big" Lake. 

The plan is to head out  the tomorrow morning for Tobermory, which is approximately 75 miles north up the coast of the Bruce Peninsula.

After a long first day, we ended up turning in 'early' at 11:00 p.m.