It was after 1100 by the time we got around to raising the anchor. I suppose that we needed the rest and a hearty breakfast after the rollicking day at sea. This one, however, was an easy day with northeast winds less than 5 miles per hour and mostly calm seas. As we approached Copper Mine Point, the winds picked up and it rained. We piloted through the following white caps from the lower helm the final two hours of the 65-mile trip. The rains cleared when we passed Pancake Bay and slipped into Batchawana Bay. We anchored in sand in 25-foot depths for a beautiful night – our last in Lake Superior.
This bay was our first anchorage on the lake in July of 2015; it was bittersweet to make it our last.
It is a 50-mile cruise from the anchorage to Sault Ste. Marie, and it took us 7 hours to complete, including the transit down through the lock. We tied up on the north side (Ontario) of the St. Marys River at the Roberta Bondar Marina. After two days enjoying the town, we crossed the river to the U.S. side, cleared customs, and spent two days at the George Kemp Marina.
At 0630 on Thursday we fired up the engines to make the trip down the St. Marys River to where it empties into the western corner of Lake Huron. The dawn was calm and beautiful. At 0650 we encountered a bit of fog on the river but it wasn’t too bad; we could just make out the Lakers as they ghosted by us. And, we had their mournful fog signals, AIS, and radar to give us a heads-up.
By 0815 the fog was extreme and after another 45 minutes of white-knuckle navigating, we finally found a safe spot to anchor well off the main channel and far-removed from passing Lakers. We enjoyed a pancake breakfast and the lack of anxiety during the next two hours as the fog lifted. The rest of the trip to De Tour passage at the river’s mouth was delightful.
From De Tour Passage, it was a hop, skip, and a jump to the Mackinac Bridge, gateway to Lake Michigan. A few miles west of the bridge, tiny and uninhabited St. Helena Island shelters boats from southerly winds. As the sun set, we ducked in the lee of the island to anchor for the night. It was a 97-mile day.
The 300-mile journey south through Lake Michigan to the river system lay ahead.