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Old 23-04-2019, 08:53   #1
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Tobermory Area Advice

I'm in the process of planning a trip for a group of friends and a couple sailboats travelling up to Tobermory this summer. We've scanned things to do in the area, and I'm looking for any advice someone with experience can provide.

I'm a Lake Erie sailor, and haven't sailed in Huron at all. Looking around Tobermory we want to make a visit to Flowerpot Island. All I can find with reference to visiting the island are charter trips with jet or glass-bottomed boats. Is it possible to either dock or anchor a 30' sailboat with a 4.5 foot draft on the island, or is it reserved only for commercial operators?

Any suggestions for other places to visit while in the area in terms of day trips? We'll be at the furthest extent of our trip once we get to Tobermory, and we're meeting friends who are AirBNB'ing in town, so unfortunately we won't be able to go much further North.
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Old 23-04-2019, 09:26   #2
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Re: Tobermory Area Advice

There is no dockage and nowhere to anchor on Flowerpot - take one of the tour boats or stand off leaving someone one the big boat while the rest of the crew dinghies in.
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Old 23-04-2019, 10:39   #3
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Re: Tobermory Area Advice

Neat place to go, but the harbor is way too touristy for my taste. Suggest buying and studying the Ports cruising guide for suggestions and accurate info on that coast - Georgian Bay, The North Channel & Lake Huron | PortsBooks.com

If your friends have a car up there, you can explore the Bruce Trail and national parks that are in the northern Bruce peninsula. Nice places in the national parks are several miles away, so a little far for biking, and it's a small town so public transit is not much. I was disappointed by the Flowerpot island tour, and we did it through the commercial ferry. The flowerpots themselves are just eroded rock formations (with good marketing). There's no non-commercial dockage that I know of. You absolutely do not have to worry about depth as it's "binary" - you either have 150 ft of water or rocks! It's scary how close to the shore you can get and still be in 50' depth.

Tobermory (Little Tub) harbor is busy in the summer with dive boats, tours, etc. so there's some wake and that big ferry blows its horn every three hours. The harbormaster and local shops are welcoming, but it's very public. Get used to tourists coming down to the docks to take photos in front of your boat or look in the cockpit like you're in a zoo. There are good anchorages around to the east of Tobermory (Wingfield Bay about 20 nm), but not many on the little islands north of there until you get near Manitoulin. Cove Island has a protected anchorage on the south end that's about as far as Flowerpot from Tobermory (3 nm?), but I've not experienced it myself.

Personally, I liked the tour up the eastern Huron coast more. Towns like Port Elgin and Kincardine are priceless cruising ports. If you've got bikes, there's a short coastal ride from Port Elgin to Southampton that's worth the entire trip. Going north, there's no good anchorage or port between Port Elgin and Tobermory, so it's a full day run next to a lee shore that is entirely rock - pick your weather window well.
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Old 24-06-2019, 07:40   #4
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Re: Tobermory Area Advice

Sailed there last year and loved it. Yes it is a busy harbour and marina but that is the allure of it. We initially wanted to stay for 2 nights but ended staying 3 nights because there was so much activity. The staff at the marina were great and well organized. We sailed around Flowerpot Island and the structures are very unique to see. We took our dinghy around the corner to little tub and snorkeled on the ship wreck which is always a great adventure. It was great to meet and have conversations with the other boaters who come from far and wide. we love to sail into secluded anchorages where there is peace and quite however our trip to Tobermory was different and we loved it just the same. Even enjoyed the horn from the Chi Cheemaun !! We plan on visiting Tobermory again next year on our way to the North Channel.
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