Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-04-2016, 15:40   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Planet Earth
Boat: 2001 Bavaria 37
Posts: 75
Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

My sweetie & I are thinking about circumnavigating Lake Superior this or next summer in our 37' sailboat. We usually sail Lake Huron and Lake Michigan but are looking for a little more adventure/excitement/training as we prepare to head out the St Lawrence and around Nova Scotia in a few years.) We're members of the GLCC and use their harbor guides and Active Captain's, but would appreciate learning about other good cruising guides, blogs, or resources. For those who sail regularly on Lake Superior, I'd love to know what your favorite or most useful Lake Superior cruising guide is.

Our home port is about 1 day away from the Sault Ste. Marie. While weather will certainly determine our direction, I was thinking about heading around CCW. Also, I'm wondering if 6 weeks is enough time to see the beauty (and at times wait for a weather window). We'd want to hang around in some places (Sleeping Giant Prov Park, Isle Royale, Apostle Islands, etc.) for a little while but we know there are many other places off of our radar that would be nice to explore. Any tips on good places to drop anchor, explore, hike, take photos, play musical harbor gigs, resupply, etc. would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

- Jim

Possible harbors/anchorages/destinations on our route:

Ganley Island
Sinclair Cove
Red Rock
St Ignace Island
Fluor Island
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Isle Royale
Grand Marais, Minnesota
Apostle Islands/Bayfield
Ontonagon
Keweenaw Waterway
Copper Harbor
Lac La Belle
Marquette
Grand Island
Grand Marais, UP MI
Whitefish Point
????
__________________

__________________
Jim Krause is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 17:12   #2
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Jim,
You are on the right track, you've listed some great stops. ..Bonnie Dahl's Lake Superior Cruising Guide is the bible up here.

The North Shore is self contained spectacular wilderness cruising. The Canucks will treat you right. Clear customs while going through the Soo. Use the Canadian Locks, way nicer.

No pets in the park boundary of Isle Royale. You can clear customs back into the US either on Isle Royale (Rock Harbor or Windigo) or in Duluth.

I lean toward the wilderness cruising and/or small town harbors myself so don't have much comment about the US side. In Canada you are missing Rossport, Silver Islet, Thompson Harbor, Loon Harbor, Slate Islands, Pic Islands, Otter Head, Thunder Bay, and many others. There is over a 1000 vertical ft of relief on the land.

Dress warm and bring bug repellant as it is different on Superior. It is not Lake Huron or Lake Michigan. Send me a note when you get to the Keweenaw Waterway.
__________________

__________________
LakeSuperior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 18:15   #3
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,023
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Good plan and good list Jim. LS is bang on, and you should definitely lean on his knowledge. I used to sail Superior, and know it quite well, but am now down in L. Ontario with plans to head east to NLFD.

GLCC is good but Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way is an absolute must. Active Captain is pretty useless b/c of the limited number of cruisers. Waterway Guide is another source, but it too is pretty scant up there right now (it will be better soon ... I'm helping to improve it). Anyway, here's a summary of some of my favourite anchorages I put together for WWG. Perhaps it will help.

Going north from SSM:

In general: There are fewer anchorages in this immediate stretch. Distances between spots are greater than elsewhere.

These are some of my favourites, or important ones.

Ile Parisienne: This is a nice anchorage, but is completely exposed to easterly winds. By tucking in close to the little open bay you can get descent coverage from NNW winds/seas. Beach is sandy, as is the anchorage bottom, so good holding, and very picturesque. But again, beware the easterly.

Batchawana Bay: A large bay with lots of anchorage possibilities. North of Batchawana Island just off the isthmus is well protected from typical wind patters. Beware the easterlies though. Good sand holding. There is (or was, as of a few years ago) a government dock in the NW part of the bay around Corbeil point. It was in rough shape the last time I was there about five years ago, but was still structurally sound. Approach cautiously as there is fouling in the area.

Mamainse Hrbr: I’ve never gone in here due to limited depths, but for shallow-draft boats it is apparently quite easy. It is a the home base of the commercial fishing fleet in the area (Ferroclad Fishery), so fishing tugs take priority at the dock. Apparently transient boats are allowed to tie up, but I’ve never done so.

Sinclair Cove: A beautiful cove with room for four or five boats. It’s right around the corner from one of the best pictograph sites on Lake Superior. You can dingy over there in calm seas. The Cove is completely protected, but most of the bottom is hard-packed sand — almost concrete-like. Only close to the beach does it soften up enough to get a good set, The anchorage is so well protected that I’ve always been able to sit on the weight of our anchor/chain.

Tug boat channel: It’s a short but interesting passage that takes boaters by the Devil’s Chair. Beware the depths. They are thin in places.

Indian Harbour: This is a smallish anchorage that is a near hurricane hole. Beware the shoaling going in.

Old Woman Bay: Gorgeous to pass through, but no anchorage.

Brule Harbour: Small, well protected in the pond, or tuck in tight to the shore in the northern bay. Beautiful and safe. Beware of deadheads close to shore.

Michipicoten river: It is possible to enter the harbour, especially for shallow-draft boats, but the entrance is constantly shifting as it is the outflow of the river. Best to radio Buck’s Marina as you approach to get current knowledge. If you can get in, the bay is scenic and safe.

Buck’s Marina: Located a short distance up the Michipicoten River, it is an oasis of boater services on this part of the Lake. Owned by Brad Buck, he will do whatever it takes to help cruisers. Fuel, water, pumpout, chandlery and access to provisions in Wawa (Brad will lend cruisers his car if he can). Unfortunately, deep-draft boats may not be able to make it up to the marina every year. Depths vary, so do radio ahead. Brad has a service boat that will deliver small amounts of fuel (jerry cans), water and other items. Can do a pump out on the water.

Oak’s Cove: Good anchorage for all but easterlies, with good holding (watch the underwater cable). Buck’s Marina will service deep-draft boats here (pump out, deliveries). Quaint fishing shacks all around.

False Dog Harbour (or Little Dog): Good for all but easterlies. Good sand holding. Nice beach.

Michipicoten Island (Quebec Harbour): A definite must-see. Big beautiful harbour. Can get protection from any wind, but may have to move to one end or another. Good holding everywhere. Lots to explore. Three visible ship wrecks in the eastern section, and an old fishing village. Home of one of the most southerly (perhaps THE most southerly) caribou herds.

Imogene Cove: A largish bay with various anchoring options depending on wind. Excellent holding, great sand beach. There is the remains of an old logging village called the Pukaskwa
Depot.

Otter Cove: Beautiful deep anchorage. Go in far, but watch depths near the end as it shallows out quickly. Nearby waterfall.

Old Dave’s Harbour (N end of Otter Island): Small, beautiful anchorage with remains of fishing shacks. Shallow entrance, but deep inside. Probably have to tie to shore with stern anchor. Hike to lighthouse.

Cascade Falls: Across (NNE) from Old Dave’s; it’s a sight worth seeing. Could dingy over from Old Dave’s if weather permits. Cascade river dumps right into Lake Superior here. Stunning in Spring, or in wet summers. Can climb, bathe or shower right here.

Oiseau Bay: Large bay with a number of anchorages. Big sandy beaches. Huron rookery. Access to the coastal hiking trail. In benign weather I like anchoring in the north part of the bay. Nicole Cove and Dampier cove (south part) are well known hurricane holes, but are small, with shallow entrances. I couldn’t go in with our 6’ draft last time we were there (three seasons ago).

White River: I have never gone in with our deep draft sailboats. Shallow draft boats can enter the mouth and anchor not far up. Only do it in calm seas; the mouth can be boiling with large standing waves if Superior is producing big seas. Dingy up the river to the falls where there is a short hike to a swinging bridge. Stunning!

Picture Rock Harbour (Dahl wrongly calls it “Pitch” Rock): A couple of nice spots. Good protection from most winds, good holding. Small. Nice little beaches and places to explore.

Pulpwood Harbour: Go in deep past small islands. Beautiful, protected, and good holding. Beware of deadheads and logs on the bottom, especially deep back in the anchorage. Dingy around to Hattie Cove, which is houses Pukaskwa National Park visitor centre and car camp. Nice hiking trails from here.

Marathon (Peninsula Harbour): Can anchor in various locations, but little protection from any serious winds. Dock is not available, except in case of emergencies. There is a small boat dock in behind Skin Island. Shallow draft only. Provisions are available in town, but is about 1 km walk. No services at the docks, but could jerry-can fuel/water if desperate.

Port Coldwell: Beautiful secure anchorage with stunning sheer-wall entrance. Anchor around the point to the west, close to an old wreck. Beware though, it shallows up quickly.

Allouez Island: Great little anchorage. Very secure except for strong westerlies. Fun to explore the small islands. Climb up to get a great view of Pic Island.

Slate Islands: Lots of great anchorages, both on the inside and outside. Slates hosts a herd of caribou. Depending on where they are in the population cycle (cycles from boom to bust) they can be very plentiful. Inner area tends to get busy with local small-boat fishers, especially on the weekend.

Outer:
Patterson Cove: Probably my favourite of the Slates. Small, very secure from all directions except very strong southerlies/SE. Little beach.
Sunday Harbour: Go to the end. OK anchorage, although long fetch open to SW. There used to be private moorings at base for lighthouse boats. Can access lighthouse via dingy dock. Walk around and get a great view.

Inner: You can anchor all over the place, but it is very deep until you get close to shore. Often this means a stern anchor and bow tie to land. Anchoring between some smaller islands is possible in reasonable water.
Pike’s Bay is the most common place cruisers anchor. Be careful entering the bay. Good, secure holding. Some slash/deadfall on bottom so I always use a trip line (although I’ve never been fouled).
Lawrence Bay: Go deep and stern anchor with bow tie. Beautiful and secure but deep (hence the land tie).

Rossport: The village has a community-run dock with water and pump out. Fuel was discontinued a couple of years ago due to ridiculous regulations (they used to have gas/diesel). Check to see if fuel is back. Great restaurant (Serendipity), a couple of B&Bs. No supplies, but dockmaster will bend over backwards to get you what you need.

Rossport area: Lots of anchorages in this group of islands. Old Man’s Pocket and Boat Harbour are my favourites. Battle Island houses a lighthouse. Can anchor in the bay, just avoid the underwater cable. Hike up to see the lighthouse.

Morn Harbour: Secure from all winds, good mud holding. Marshy. Lots of bird life. Moose.

Woodbine Harbour: A favourite of boaters. Secure from all winds. Go deep to find reasonable anchor depths, or tie off to shore (stern anchor). Someone has places steel eyes in the rocks, but lots of trees to tie off to. Good place to explore with dingy.

McNab Harbour: Very picturesque and secure, but hard to spot until you’re right on top of it. Deep water, but good holding.

CPR Docks: A set of docks and camp buildings set up by local boaters. Very secure, but entrance is shallow. Deep-draft boats will have trouble in low-water years. Docks, fire pit, horseshoe pits. Sauna. Be prepared for impromptu party, especially on summer weekends. Great hikes.

Moss Island (north and south anchorages): Beautiful and secure. Pick side depending on predicted winds. Shallow draft boats can cross between mainland and Moss Island. Deep draft and large boats are advised to go around.

Otter Cove (another one): One of my favourites. Long way in, but very secure and good holding. Follow creek on north side up to a waterfall. Hiking trail goes up to small lake. Waterfall is great place to play and bathe. Excellent fishing.

Loon Harbour Area: Lots of anchorages in this island group. Most are very secure, with good holding. Some deadfall on bottom.

Loon Harbour: Most popular anchorage. Fairly large, good holding. Secure except can kick up with strong north winds. Small wreck visible. Can dingy to sauna on Spain Island (in Chapleau Is. anchorage).
Borden Island anchorage: Narrow but long. Good holding, secure. Less busy than Loon. Pretty marsh lands to south.
Chapleau Is.: Smallish and secure. Good mud/sand holding. Sauna on Spain Island. A bit tricky to get in due to shoaling.
Root Bay: Secure down deep. Marshy. Entrance sometimes silts in, making it a challenge for deep draft boats.

Walker’s Channel: Beautiful and secure anchorages, both in behind the islands on the north side, and in “the pond” on Porphyry Island. Be Aware! The dock and camp next to The Pond is private property. Can dingy over to dock to get to lighthouse on Porphyry.

Horseshoe Cove (“The Hook”): Go in and tuck around in the east nook. Tie off to shore. Hurricane hole. Very small and secure. Entrance to hook part is shallow, but I’ve been in with our 6’ draft boat.

Edward Island Harbour: Good deep in to find picturesque secure anchorage. Get in behind shoal at NE corner to get all-round protection. Good holding. Pretty.

Silver Islet: Dock is no longer maintained (as of 2014 … although there are discussions to change this). Can still be used, but be wary of staying overnight. Can get very rolly with any seas. Village has a general store which is sometimes open during tourist season. No services, but quaint.

Tee Harbour (east): Three locally-maintained moorings. Beautiful anchorage, high rock walls. Access to hiking trails, fire pits. Good sand holding. Can be rolly, and exposed to east.
(west): Good protection, except from west (prevailing) winds. Gravel/sand bottom. Beautiful. Same access to trails.

Sawyer Bay: Large bay, good holding. Three locally-maintained moorings. Secure from most directions, but open to NW. Strong SE winds can funnel through valley and make anchorage dangerous as well.

Thomson Island: Docks, buildings and sauna built and maintained by local boaters. Beautiful spot, but busy in summer, especially on weekends. Expect to raft out.

Jarvis Bay: Go deep and anchor close to steep rock walls. Shallows out quick by river mouth. Well protected from all but easterlies.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 18:53   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Planet Earth
Boat: 2001 Bavaria 37
Posts: 75
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Thank you so much. Your help and information is GOLDEN! I'll likely post/contact you both as the plans become clearer and the date draws nearer.

Mike - Are you heading out this coming season? I'm sure it will be a spectacular cruise.

Many thanks

- Jim
__________________
Jim Krause is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 20:14   #5
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Nice job OReilly you are certainly an overachiever and I mean that in a good way. You nailed my favorite shore of Lake Superior.
__________________
LakeSuperior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 20:44   #6
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,023
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Krause View Post
Mike - Are you heading out this coming season? I'm sure it will be a spectacular cruise.
The plan is to head for NFLD via the St. Lawrence this season. Like all cruising plans, it is subject to change, but so far things are on track. We just launched and will get the mast up, complete with new radar, in about 10 days. We still have some engine issues to sort out, but if all goes well we'll head off by mid-June. Am greatly looking forward to it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Nice job OReilly you are certainly an overachiever and I mean that in a good way. You nailed my favorite shore of Lake Superior.
I've always wanted to be an overachiever . Actually, I had already written all this for the Waterway Guide updates. It was an easy cut&paste. Hope it helps.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-04-2016, 20:49   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Duluth, MN
Boat: Islander 30' MKII
Posts: 10
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

I'm planning the same thing for this summer. Except starting in Duluth and spending most of my time on the south shore so I can't really be useful for your anchorages that you have listed. But I have been using Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way and it has been so helpful. I don't actually think I would feel as ready if I didn't have that guide.
__________________
_wason_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 05:50   #8
Sponsoring Vendor

Community Sponsor

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Heathsville, VA
Boat: Gemini 105Mc 34'
Posts: 1,459
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Awesome list, Mike...you're the best!
Waterway Guide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 06:33   #9
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Mike - I predict that while you are cruising south and wherever whim takes you; on one day and in one instant you will realize that of all the shorelines, ports, and harbors you've past, no cruising has been better than your north shore of Lake Superior.
__________________
LakeSuperior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 07:57   #10
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,023
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
Mike - I predict that while you are cruising south and wherever whim takes you; on one day and in one instant you will realize that of all the shorelines, ports, and harbors you've past, no cruising has been better than your north shore of Lake Superior.
Funny you should say this Bill. By the time we hit southern L. Huron the constant mantra on our boat was: "Remind me again... why did we leave Superior?" There really is nothing like the north shore of Superior. It's rugged, unspoiled beauty is hard to compete with. This is partly why I'm drawn to going out the St. Lawrence (which as we know, is the harder way to go). I'm hoping it will compare to Superior.
__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 08:17   #11
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Funny you should say this Bill. By the time we hit southern L. Huron the constant mantra on our boat was: "Remind me again... why did we leave Superior?" There really is nothing like the north shore of Superior. It's rugged, unspoiled beauty is hard to compete with. This is partly why I'm drawn to going out the St. Lawrence (which as we know, is the harder way to go). I'm hoping it will compare to Superior.
Admittedly, going out the St. Lawrence is grand starting at Quebec City. Gaspe is rugged-beautiful. Breaking out on the Atlantic side of Nova Scotia invoked a yearning for high adventure. There are some great parts.

BTW, after hearing about a number of trips through the canals out the St. Lawrence might be much easier and plus you get to sail.
__________________
LakeSuperior is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 09:19   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Switzerland
Boat: Outbound 46 -Callisto
Posts: 149
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

I don't have anything like the experience of some of the previous posters, but we did a week-long charter in the Apostles a few years ago, and had a glorious time. If you get a chance, strike up a conversation with one of the lighthouse keepers. They are volunteers, and usually very happy to chat.

I did feel a bit sorry for the grandfatherly-type fellow who was there with 3 young children, swimming off the boat. They kept him in the lake for more than an hour. Brrr.

By the way, we listed our hailing port on our Outbound 46 as Isle Royale, even though we've never visited the island. It has been a useful conversation starter with cruisers in the Caribbean.

David
s/v Callisto
__________________
DMCantor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 11:01   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
RolfP's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Pensacola and Minnesota
Boat: 1982 Morgan 383
Posts: 202
Images: 1
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

You will want at least a week on Isle Royal and you could spend well more than that seeing a lot of the Apostles. I like stopping in Grand Marais on the North Shore. I enjoyed going through the canal on the Houghton peninsula and also enjoyed the stop at Copper Harbor at the North tip. Those places and, Duluth/Superior are my favorite on the South Shore and US North Shore. I'm going to see Canada when I bring my boat back. As others have said, I found myself wondering why I left, as I moved all the way down the east coast and through Florida 2 Pensacola. You will have a great time, but dress warm, the only thing missing is daily swimming.
__________________
RolfP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 12:41   #14
Registered User
 
rosatte's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: belleville ont.
Boat: catalina 34
Posts: 147
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

If and when u go to nova scotia take fenderboards with u to use going threw the lock system will save u a lot of dirty greasey fenders
__________________
rosatte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2016, 14:35   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Port of Call: Duluth, MN
Boat: Gozzard 37
Posts: 3
Re: Lake Superior - Cruising advice?

Lots of good advice already posted today about Lake Superior. Definitely get Bonnie Dahl's Superior guide and plan to cross-reference it with GLCC harbor reports. Also expect to not have Internet or telephone access for much of the Canadian shore, so download your GLCC reports before you leave. VHF can also be spotty.
My wife & I cruised most of the Canadian shore last summer in our 37-ft cutter. We cruised east out of the Apostles June 29 and returned Sept 5 by way of Wawa, Rossport and Isle Royale. Our 1100 NM trip included 3 weeks on Lake Huron. An account of our trip can be seen at www.GaviidaeSails.com.
We are heading east again this summer to revisit the North Channel but not before we detour back up the east shore to hit Michipicotin--which we bypassed last year--then over to Old Dave's Harbour on Otter Island. We recently became GLCC port captains for Old Dave's and have some business to take care of before heading to the Sault and off Lake Superior for an extended cruise east and south.
We expect to hit Batchawana Bay early July. If some part of your float plan intersects with ours, perhaps we can rendezvous. Our proposed float plan is mapped out at the blog site; timetable is weather-dependent. If we can be of any service you can contact us via our blog site.
__________________

__________________
It ain't the way the wind blows,
It's how you set your sails.
Web Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruising, lake superior

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Crew Wanted: 24 y/o Male Looking for Female Cruising Buddy - Lake Superior / Bahamas SV.SummerSalt Crew Archives 1 28-01-2016 11:22
A mad Run from Lake St. Clair to Kewenaw Bay in Lake Superior. Capt. Strapfoot General Sailing Forum 6 04-05-2015 20:04
Crew Wanted: cruising Lake Superior tri-man Crew Archives 6 09-08-2012 03:26
Lake Superior Cruising Bretticus Our Community 4 13-07-2012 07:22
Ranger 23 in Lake Superior OK? austi012 Monohull Sailboats 1 04-08-2005 12:53



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:01.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.