Port Elgin and Tobermory, Ontario

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Ontario, Canada

045-15.300 N
081-39.900 W
Marine forecast for this location

Eh from Tobermory, Ontario!

Sorry, but I couldn't help but throw in that colloquialism, but it's certainly true, eh!

Port ElginAnyhow, when I last wrote we were in Kincardine and were headed N to Tobermory. As we were getting ready to put up the sails, we heard a vibration/noise coming from the prop shaft unlike anything that we've heard before. We got the sails up, but the noise persisted. We decided that we should pull into Port Elgin, which was much closer, so that I could try to determine what was going on. Of course we didn't hear it again while pulling to Port Elgin and I couldn't find anything in the engine or while diving to examine the prop shaft, so we hoped that what we heard was simply something that we had picked up on the shaft and that it had fallen off while we sailed there.

Port Elgin SunsetPort Elgin is a major tourist stop for Canadians. Think of a much more laid back Cape Cod without most of the ticky-tack businesses. People flock here to enjoy the moderately warm water (around 74F) and I'm sure that it was much warmer in the protected, shallow bay. I was just amazed at how may people were playing in the water until well after the sun went down. Speaking of sunsets, this whole area of coast is well known for their spectacular sunsets over Lake Huron, and we were treated to a wonderful one.

The next day we departed again for Tobermory, which was a 66 mile sail. I knew that we had to make it there as the weather would have us pinned down for several days if we didn't make it. Unfortunately when we got out of the harbor and started to put the sails up, we heard the noise again. However, the winds were perfect, so we decided to go for it and try to resolve the issue in Tobermory. Thankfully the winds cooperated nicely and we had an incredible sail covering the 66 miles in 9 hours.

Tobermory is basically at the crossroads of the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Anyone who is headed in or out of the Georgian Bay stops there and as a result there is a tremendous amount of transient traffic. There's also a large ferry which makes 4 runs a day bringing people to/from Manitoulin Island. The surrounding waters are also an underwater park, so there's a large amount of people coming here to dive.

Chi-Cheemaun FerryI decided that I needed to check out the diving, so I went on a 3 tank dive. In the Caribbean I'm used to diving in a tee-shirt and wearing 14 lbs of weights. Not here! This reminded me of New England diving with thick wet suits and 30 lbs of weights. The first wreck, the Niagara II, was a tanker which was sunk in 1999 in 90 feet of water. There was an intense thermocline at about 45' where the water temp dropped from the 60s to the low 40s. Burrr! That was a pretty cool dive, but cold. The next dive, the Caroline Rose, was the wreckage of a 1940s schooner which was sunk in1990. All that remains is scattered wreckage and was fairly boring. The last dive, at the Caves, was a lot of fun. There are underwater passages into a grotto as well as house sized boulders elsewhere. I was the first diver to come up into the grotto and all that I could see was a pair of legs from someone standing in the water. Was I ever surprised when I came up and found the whole grotto surrounded by people watching the divers!

Newly Minted FriendsI didn't get back from diving until about 6:30 and found Sue sitting in the cockpit of a boat which was docked next to us. She had spent a couple of hours washing the boat and had made friends with them, and had gotten invited over for drinks and conversation. Not only that, but she had made dinner arrangements with the boat docked behind us! Surprise, surprise! And the next day the whole groups was invited over to the cottage of John and Jean Weichel. They have a wonderfully warm and inviting home overlooking the Georgian Bay and we had a great time getting to know everyone.

We also got a lot of great information about where to go in the Georgian Bay. We had planned on heading S and then N, but they convinced us that there's not a lot to see S of here. As a result we're revising our plans and are headed to Killarney, which is about 45 miles east of here. Unfortunately I still can't find anything which would cause the vibration, so we'll just keep moving and I'll keep looking.

-- Geoff & Sue

For the cruiser: Dockage at Tobermory Marina was $1.50/ft + $12 for 30A service! They closely stack all of the boats and you want to be as far in as possible to avoid ferry/boat wakes. My 3 tank dive was $90 + $30 for air + $ for every piece of equipment that you need.

Log ID: 1376

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