Sunday, July 29, 2018

Half Way to the North Pole and Ducking into Alexander Passage Due to Wind

There were seven boats that stayed in Hopewell Bay anchorage last night. A blood moon rose over the Bay and the pair of Loons in our anchorage reminded us we were in northern waters.  In fact, we are a little over 45 degrees north latitude, halfway to the North Pole!

 The sky began to lighten in the east, anchor lights were switched off and anchors were weighed on Viridian, Dash Away and Gypsy Spirit. The three boats slipped away and headed into the north channel to take us to Wright's Marina, some 30 miles northwest along the Georgian Bay.  However, the weather forecast, once again, was nowhere close to what we saw once becoming exposed to the Georgian Bay.  After leaving the protected waters inside the wall of islands we were almost instantly hit with 3-4 foot waves coming from every direction.  They were bouncing off the granite boulders that lined both sides of the narrow channel and made a mess of the water.  Gypsy Spirit headed for deeper water out past the marked channel but soon turned around and headed back in the channel because it was too rough out there too. We all managed to safely navigate the short run that lead back into the protected waters behind barrier islands. 

After regrouping, we looked for an anchorage on the charts that we could stop in and rethink our float plan for the day.  Our route would eventually take us back out into the tempest for a 10 mile run up to the next inlet.  That was too far to go in our slow boats under those conditions.  There was only one anchorage listed on the charts and it was called Alexander Passage.

Viridian pulled in first and got the anchor set and a stern line tied to a tree on the bank.  Once secure Dash Away rafted off to us and also tied a stern line to a tree on the bank.  We were not the only boats here.  There were already two pairs of rafted cruisers with stern lines tied to the trees and another trawler anchored in the middle of the bay.  No sooner than we got situated,  two more large Looper boats came in and rafted with stern lines tied to trees on the bank.  All nine boats were here because of the conditions out in the bay.  Gypsy Spirit decided to make another run at getting further north so she ran back out into the Bay and went full throttle to spend as little time as possible in the chop and made it all the way up to Wright's marina where several other Looper boats had been stranded for weather and forest fire issues.

As it turned out, this was a fantastic anchorage.  There were granite boulders lining the shoars of the bay with juniper and pine forest covering the tops.  There was a hidden pool behind the island where we tied our stern lines with a working beaver lodge and crystal clear water that looked clean enough to drink right out of the lake.  We explored the area in our dinghy and went for a swim in the pool. Took a nap after lunch and read books sitting in the sun on the bow of our boat.  Later this afternoon the Captain of the boat Gypsy invited us over for grilled burgers and brats with the crew of Exhale (not to be confused with Gypsy Spirit) and we made some new friends and had a great meal together.

Tomorrow we expect lighter winds (if you believe the forecast) and should be able to have a nice ride to our next anchorage at Collins Inlet.

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

 An attempt to photograph the Blood  Moon Rising

Local Loon Cruising by

Underway heading for open waters

Lighthouse marking the inlet

Amazing how calm the water was just inside the inlet

So much for the Safe Passage Indicator

Stern lines attached to trees at our "bail out" anchorage

Viridian and Dash Away rafting

Several other boats anchored due to rough conditions outside

Couldn't have stopped at a nicer place!

Exploring the island near by

Looper boats Exhale and Gypsy

Viridian and Dash Away rafted, anchored and tied to a tree

The hidden pool behind the island

Time for a swim!

A view from Viridian


  1. Why the stern tie-offs? Did you not trust your hook set? The Canadian Shield bottom is as smooth as it looks on land I suppose.

    1. There were so many boats anchored there, we didn't feel there was enough swing room and no telling how many other boats would show up wanting to wait out the rough seas out in the bay. The stern tie keeps the boats in place no matter where the wind comes from.