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Day 8 
Friday July 16      Tobermory to Bayfield

Day Eight finds us retracing our route south from Tobermory, west through the Cape Hurd channel, and then south to Bayfield.



Cape Hurd Channel
Kincardine Fuel Stop
Bruce Peninsula

Leaving Tobermory

This morning we got a fairly early start, waking up at 6:00 a.m. I brewed a couple of pots of coffee, and Hank wiped down the glass, and even Linda was getting up. As the bright rising sun was shining  there isn't much activity stirring in Little Tub Harbor.

Today we would head south over 100 miles to Bayfield, for what should be our last night of the trip. I had made reservations for both boats last winter at the Harbour Lights Marina. Bayfield was only the second marina where we had made plans to stay overnight  Kincardine being the first on the 'way up'.

At 7:00 a.m. we untied from our unique docking arrangements for the night (rafted off the Instead Of, which was rafted off a tug), and did a 180 degree turn-around to head out the harbor. It was looking like it was going to be a nice day.

Bill and Mary were still getting up and around, and said they'd be leaving shortly. As we idled out of Little Tub Harbour we went by the large 330 ft. ferry M.S. Chi-Cheemaun moored at its' dock. This ferry is billed as the largest passenger/car vessel to sail the Great Lakes. Passing by so close it really does look big.
Heading west out the Tobermory Harbour, we sped up to get on plane, staying close to shore on the mainland. On our starboard side to the north we passed Doctor Island, and the larger Russell Island, before turning southwest into the Cape Hurd Channel. We then split the TE7 and TE8 buoys marking the passage off of Wreck Point, and the shoals of China Reef.

We stay on this track for two miles until Cape Hurd, the head due south to run down the Lake. This area gets a combination of wave action due to the shoals and the convergence of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It was not nearly as calm as on Day Two when we were traveling north on this route, but it was fine cruising weather. After our rough ride from Little Current yesterday, this was definitely a welcome relief.

Into Bayfield

Eighty miles from our start this morning, we stopped at Kincardine to fuel up. There is no gas dock at Little Tub Harbour in Tobermory, only the Big Tub Harbour. It was now 10:30 a.m., and while the dock boys fueled the boat, I walked over to the phone booth to call Harbour Lights Marina in Bayfield. Much to my surprise, they had no record of the reservations I had made in the spring, but said they did have room. The crew stretched their legs a bit and then we headed back out to the Lake a half hour later.

Downtown Bayfield

We rounded the Point Clark Reef buoy and the headed south. Still no sign of the Instead Of. I kept a watch on the radar, thinking I might pick them up. As we came up on  Goderich we slowed down, thinking that maybe we'd stop for there lunch again. But we decided to press on the final 11 miles to Bayfield.

A little after 1:00 p.m. we hit the entranced to Bayfield. I hailed Harbour Lights on the radio, and they gave us instructions to head all the way down the river and turn left before the bridge to find our assigned slip. We slowly idled all the way to the back, and I was a little surprised at the hair pin turns we had to make to get to our spot. Then with hardly any room, we had to turn around and back into our slip, close to the wall.

Two people from the marina helped guide us in and make sure we got tied up. It was a nice slip. The nice thing about docking 'stern in' and the low floating docks is the fact that you can walk right off the swim platform and onto the docks.

The first thing we noticed about Bayfield is the brown murky water. Being in the back with and on a river I guess that is to be expected, but we were spoiled by the clear clean water of up north. After a short while, the Instead Of hailed us on the radio and I gave Bill directions to get to his slip which was next to ours.

After they got moored and situated, we took a short walk around and walked up some stairs off the parking lot up a hill to the restaurant at the marina. Still in the mood for fish, Hank and Linda and Gina and I all ordered the standard fish and chips. It filled us up, but it wasn't nearly as tasty as the Red Bus in Killarney.

After lunch, we stopped over to the dock masters' office and inquired about a ride into town. The marina provides a free "shuttle" service, using an early 60's style classic fire truck. A mechanic was inspecting the brakes and said if it passed the test, it should be ready to roll in about a half hour.

We went back to the boat where we overheard that one of the boats near us had a random inspection from a customs agent. Evidently they just walked on board, woke up the captain, and went through the entire boat.

Hank decided to take a nap, and the rest of us piled on the back of the fire truck shuttle for the fifteen minute ride to downtown Bayfield. They dropped us off at the corner of main street and told us to just give them a call when we wanted to get picked up.

The "Shuttle"

The downtown area is very nice, a cross between "quaint" and artsy. There are several hotels, bed and breakfast places, and shops lining the main street. Bill and Mary ducked into the local library, while Gina, Linda, and I perused the many shops. A lot of looking at clothes and gift shops. There was also a nice art gallery we went through. Gina bought a little golf key chain for Linda.

I took off for a walk to the local grocery store to find some hot dogs to grill for dinner and then returned to find Gina and Linda still looking through the shops. The best "shop" we ended up at was the ice cream store. I called the marina to request a ride back, and then we found a nearby bench to relaxed with our cones and watch the people. A short while later the fire truck returned. Driving back through town, we passed one of the hotels where we saw Bill and Mary sitting at a table on a porch having dinner. They would return to the marina a little later.

Docked at Harbour Lights

Back at the marina we took nice long hot showers up at the Pool House. In front of our docks was a picnic table and fire pit. Hank made a nice fire and we sat around talking for a while. The marina people were very nice and told us we could use one of the gas grilles they provide for their guests.

So Hank cooked hot dogs and Gina prepared some potatoes to be grilled. It was a nice leisurely dinner after a long day. After we finished eating we sat around the fire for a while for cocktails and talked, making plans to start out early in the morning, hoping to get to Port Huron in time for the start of the annual Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race.

A little after dark, it was a "silent vote" to turn in early.