More Images

Chart & Tracks


Day 1 
Thursday June 29th    MacRay Harbor to Grand Bend

A late afternoon departure on Day One of our 2006 North Channel Trip gets us a great head start up into Canada. After stopping at Port Huron to top off fuel tanks, we make way across Lake Huron for a great late night dinner with our friends from Sport 'n Life. A fantastic beginning indeed!

click images to enlarge

Miles Today:

Grand Bend

Port Huron


Entering Grand Bend Harbor
Pulling Into Grand Bend Harbor

We left our MacRay Harbor slip at 3:20p.m., heading out across Lake St. Clair to start the trip. Our goal this afternoon would be to get to Grand Bend Ontario, some 85 miles from our homeport, and meet up with our friends (and our "winter dock mates") Marc, Seth, and Ingram from Sport 'n Life II.

Starting out it was fairly warm, with a mix of sun and clouds, and the water had a slight chop with a wind out of the NW at 10-15 knots.

An hour later we were in the St. Clair River heading north past Algonac and Gina made a salami, cheese, and tomato sandwich for us to split. As we passed Algonac State Park the water turned calm, and the sky was a contrasting color of black and blue. 

Port Huron Entrance

Not much boat traffic as we traveled about 25mph. At 4:30 we passed under one of the black clouds and got some rain, but it quickly turned back to sun after a few minutes.

We pulled into the Black River at Port Huron at 5:15p.m. for fuel. This was our first time into Port Huron, with the entrance unmistakably marked by the railroad bridge permanently in the "up" position. Just inside the River entrance we pulled up to the Desmond Marine gas dock. We were the only ones here. The odometer read 42.6 miles. We took on 54.3 gallons of 89-octane gas, priced at $3.43. The goal was to purchase as little fuel as possible in Canada on the trip, due to their higher prices and no relief from the exchange rate

At 5:35 we left the fuel dock and after a short 10-minute ride we went under the Bluewater Bridge, passing the down bound freighter Canadian Navigator and out into Lake Huron. 

The Lake was nice, with 1-foot rollers with occasional 2-footers. We headed NNE following the US / Canadian border for about two miles before setting a course for the V4 buoy off of Kettle Point on the Canadian shore. At 6:00 the lake calmed down some and we were comfortably cruising at 28mph.

After rounding Kettle Point at 6:40p.m. we changed course slightly to 79 degrees for the last 13 miles in to Grand Bend. By now, the sky had turned very blue, and the clouds were gone. We called Grand Bend Harbor to make sure there was a docking spot available for the night.


Lake Huron

We also called to make reservations at Port Elgin for Friday night, where we had originally planned to meet up with a group from the MacRay Yacht Club, including Ed & Wendy (Mytigood) and Jim & Jana (Lime Cutter).

Docked on the Wall

At 7:00 the entrance to Grand Bend came into view. I buzzed Seth on the Nextel to let them know we were close. This is the first time for us coming into this harbor. As we got close, I could see there was a buoyed channel extending about a hundred yards from the narrow entrance, with a green-capped white tower on the north side.

Just inside the entrance, we pulled up to the Village of Grand Bend Marina dock at 7:15. Fuel here was $1.13 liter (we didn't get any).

Seth pulled up in his dinghy as were pulling into the dock. Once we got tied up, Gina called Canadian Customs to check in while I settled up the slip fee of $57.00 with the dock master. He gave us a key to the washrooms, which were located "in town". 

We shoved off and followed Seth in his dinghy down the narrow river to a spot on the "wall" on the north side, just behind Sport 'n Life. There are mainly slips on the south side of the river, but the bulk of the transient dockage is on the north side consisting of a long dock running parallel to a tree lined shore. There are a few entrances through the trees that lead into town. It's a fairly peaceful serene setting.

Once we got Tick Tock Too tied up and the water and electric hooked up, we started cocktails at 8:00p.m. on Sport 'n Life. It was a great summer night. Actually it looked a little like "winter", with all the cottonwood trees shedding like crazy. 


Dinner on Sport 'n Life

It was getting later and a little cooler, and we were invited to stay for dinner.

Seth set up two tables on the back deck of Sport 'n Life along with battery operated candles. He also put up some of the canvas. Marc along with Ingram made a fantastic meal of tuna with wasabi; salad with tomato and avocado; rice and beans with Canadian bacon; and grilled corn on the cob.

Wow, this was definitely worth waiting until 10:00p.m. for! We also had a bottle of Australian Syrah wine to compliment it all.

Great dinner and great company! We turned in at 1:00a.m.

Day 1 June 29th 2006 On to Day 2
More Images from Day 1 Charts & Tracks from Day 1 Video of Day 1