Trip North 2011 – Part 2

After four straight nights of playing music by the Red Rock campfire into the wee hours of the morning, we slept late on Monday. The plan was to have coffee and breakfast with folk music friends then join a couple from Thunder Bay to cruise the islands.

Arctic Fantasy

Rudy and Joy are among the first people we met when we started cruising the north shore. They introduced us to some of the wonderful harbors and anchorages in the area. They built their boat from scratch many years ago and are still cruising on Arctic Fantasy.

They were ready long before we were and they set out east on Nipigon Bay. We finally got ourselves organized and prepared to depart. We got the motor running and heard a call from Arctic Fantasy. Their engine was overheating and they were turning back. We might have to go out and tow them in. We suggested they call a mutual friend in a power boat that had recently departed Red Rock. He might be better situated to help. That worked and they got safely back and tied up. Simple repair, late in the day so we spent another night in RR.

At anchor, Powder Islands

Next day, we headed out with Arctic Fantasy and anchored in the Powder Islands for two nights. We now had a brand new regulator that should be keeping our batteries nicely topped up while motoring (which we did a lot of). After starting the engine, we check the charging numbers on the battery monitor. That is how we discovered the failing regulator in the first place. This morning, the numbers looked good, pumping plenty of amps into the batteries.

Black Spruce

But after a short time, we were getting NO charging current. Volts were back to normal battery levels with negative amps. Damn! We shut down for several minutes then restarted. Numbers looked fine, pumping amps into the batteries. But after a few minutes it stopped charging. Our batteries were still in good shape so we continued on to Rossport.

In Rossport, I got called tech support. They were quite helpful. I reset the unit to factory defaults and it seemed to work. So we continued our trip. Batteries would charge but not most efficiently.

CPR Slip from the overlook

We had a nice but slow sail down the Wilson Channel then west to Morn Harbor to anchor for the night.

Allegro in CPR Slip

The next day in light wind, we motored with Arctic Fantasy to CPR Slip which is a wonderful little wilderness spot that has been cleaned up and maintained by the local boating community.

Raspberries along the shore

There were lots of raspberries pushing up through the stones on the beaches. Judy picked enough to make a dessert that she served to the boaters in CPR.

Some great hiking trails that have been carved through the boreal forest. Some were overgrown and hard to follow.

Larry marking a trail, CPR

After taking a wrong turn on one of the trails, Judy and I spent much of a day doing some trail maintenance by finding and marking the trails with red surveyor’s tape.

Gathering driftwood

Then we took the dinghy to some nearby beaches and brought back driftwood for the evening campfires.

We spent four nights at CPR with our solar panel gathering amps to keep the batteries from dropping too low. Each night there was a campfire and Judy and I played a few songs.

After CPR, we headed for Loon Harbor, one of the favorite anchorages along the western part of the North Shore.

Morning in Loon Harbor

We spent one night there then headed south to Walker’s Channel where for two more nights swinging at anchor and visiting friends at a fish camp on Porphyry Island which forms the east side of the channel.

Rudy and Joy aboard Allegro

We left Walker’s and parted company with Arctic Fantasy. Rudy and Joy had to return to Thunder Bay and we still had a couple of weeks before heading home. By this time, SW winds had set in and home is southwest. We were also quite far west in our travels. We could either turn east again or continue west and south. Turning east would be easy and downwind – but returning would require more bashing into the SW winds again.

Allegro in Tee Harbor

We decided to continue SW and do some hiking at Tee Harbor. Tee is at the base of the Sibley Peninsula and is a provincial park with lots of great hiking. So Arctic Fantasy continued on; we slipped into Tee. We were the only boat, took our choice of  mooring balls, lowered the motor and scooted the dinghy ashore to stretch our legs.

Next morning there was another boat, also on a mooring ball, and we met Jeff and Samantha on their J-35. Judy and I hiked to the top of the giant – about 900 feet above lake level. Judy’s new aortic valve is functioning very well. She made the climb with no difficulty.

The 'Sea Lion' on the trail to Silver Islet

The next day, we joined Jeff and Samantha for a hike to the settlement of Silver Islet to get ice cream at the store there. It about 4 miles each way.

Closed on Tuesday!

We got there on a Tuesday. The store is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. We did not get ice cream! Other boats had arrived in Tee Harbor and we had a campfire on shore – and played some music.

From Tee, we headed SW, passing Thunder Cape and Pie Island and on to the harbor of refuge on Thompson Island. This is a great little wilderness harbor built by local TBay boaters over the years. There is a sauna, nicely built wharfs, a fire pit and hiking trails with scenic overlooks.

Campfire at Thompson Island

Some boats were there when we arrived and others came and went. We did some hiking and played music by the camp fire each night. This was our last stop in Canadian waters and after two nights we headed SW. We thought about heading down the shore to Grand Marais for a day or two. But after making a couple of phone calls and learning about a strong hurricane moving up the east coast, we decided to head back to the Apostle Islands. We know that the hurricane will not directly affect our weather, but it could have an affect on the low pressure systems that generate the winds on Lake Superior.

Sunset on the crossing home

We had settled conditions and a decent weather window for crossing back, so rather than take the chance of getting caught at Grand Marais, we crossed. We were treated to a spectacular sunset as dark approached. Then we watched the lights of five freighters pass in a  downbound parade in the dark. We continued into the Apostles, dropped anchor off Rocky Island about 0300 and got a few hours of sleep. The next day we completed the return into our marina and tied up in our slip. We had spent 5 weeks in the north shore waters and were not ready to get off the boat yet.

At the dock, I rewired the battery charging arrangement and tried the new regulator again. I saw the same ‘drop out’ in the factory default settings and in the settings specific to our battery type. Tech support walked me through trouble shooting. When it dropped out, I was seeing only 0.4 V on the field wire. Should have been 6-8 V. Tech support declared it bad and shipped me a new one, actually an upgrade to the next type. I got that on the Friday before Labor day, opened the box and found a nice new 24 V regulator. Problem is my system is 12 V! Damn! Called back they apologized and shipped the correct one but it could not arrive until after we returned home. So, now I am home with both 24 V and 12 V regulators and cannot install the new one until we get back to the boat. Not sure when that will be yet.

All in all, we had a good year on the water, not all on our own boat. See the older posts under “Home” on the menu above and scroll way down and look at the archives to read about our early season trip from Bras d’Or to St. John’s Newfoundland. There is also a link to all our photos taken on this trip.

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