Grand Bend

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Great Lakes, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Great Lakes

    Great Lakes Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    215
    Oct 11, 2016
    Lake St. Clair (MacRay Harbor)
    2005 390 Sundancer
    8.1
    We're planning a trip to Grand Bend for 2018..

    Looking for any tips from a navigational stand point and also things to do while there.
     
  2. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    For those of us not in your area, where's Grand Bend?
     
  3. Great Lakes

    Great Lakes Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    215
    Oct 11, 2016
    Lake St. Clair (MacRay Harbor)
    2005 390 Sundancer
    8.1
    It's in Ontario on the eastern side of Lake Huron. Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 5.51.31 PM.png
     
  4. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Interesting. I had never heard of it, but that's not saying much.

    BTW, my boat came from MacRay.
     
  5. Blueone

    Blueone Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    790
    Jan 24, 2007
    St Clair Shores, Michigan
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Grand bend is a great destination. There is a smaller town Marina starboard as you enter. They have power, water to accommodate you. The bathrooms, showers are average. The attraction is the main beach and the main drag, both are on the other side of the river. The marina offers a free shuttle across the river and will pick you up to return. When your over there, there are a lot of shops, restaurants, bars etc. there are really no attractions to visit ...it is a people watching place.
    Make a reservation early if your going on a long weekend. You will need passports to make it easy. Just call in to customs prior to entering the harbor. Most of the time you will go thru each persons pp information and declare what you have on board as far as alcohol and tobacco. It is then their decision if they want to board you when you land...... Most of the time they don't.

    When your coming back ... Call us customs if you only have passports when you get to the north channel. Let them know your coming back and where your going. They will decide if they want to meet you...

    It is no big deal to enter Canada and return ...just be honest and give them lots of notice. If you have nexus and everyone on board has it... Then it's a different number to call and a lot less information is exchanged and you are rarely boarded. There is also an I68 (I think that's it) and it is similar to nexus.

    Make the trip... It is worth it
     
  6. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Active Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    About the only thing that you have to watch for is the buoy off of Kettle Point. You don't want to be south of that buoy until you are to the east of it. Seriously, its one nasty area with huge rocks making up a shoal that extends all the way from the land. Once your past Kettle Point, the bottom is all sand.

    Grand Bend is known for being a bit of a party place. Lots of active bars along the strip. It's a great place to visit and can be entertaining for sure. There is a nice golf course at Oakwood Inn on the outskirts of town if you like. If a quieter setting is preferred you may also want to cruise a bit further North to Bayfield. It is quaint, quiet place with a more sophisticated clientele and more varied restaurants/shops.

    Whatever you choose, Sarnia Bay Marina is a great place to dock before heading out to the big lake! Be sure to say hi if you visit:)
     
  7. Blueone

    Blueone Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    790
    Jan 24, 2007
    St Clair Shores, Michigan
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    This pic gives you an idea of the view from the marina to the other side. The wall on the other side is part of the town Marina but no power over there
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Timeflys

    Timeflys Member

    170
    Dec 7, 2013
    Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada
    "Frequent Flyer"
    2002 Sundancer 360
    Merc Horizon 8.1s
    I would call ahead for fuel prices...it can be a bit of sticker shock... 3.78 litres = 1 us gallon. Marinas in the 1000 islands were charging about $1.60/litre this summer!
     
  9. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    Check regulations if you are bringing handguns or any guns for that matter. Very different gun laws over here.

    Grand Bend is a typical small beach town. Sand, burger joints, beach shops, and the typical beach bars. Google earth street view will give you a decent idea of the town. I used to go there quite a bit when in my late teens and early 20's. Place to try to meet girls, hang around the beach, and get drunk at night. Beach is nice, but crowded on weekends. Lake and beach is exposed to prevailing westerly winds so not always feasible to anchor off the beaches. Being in my early 50's now, it would not be a destination of choice for me, but was fun in my day.
     
  10. Great Lakes

    Great Lakes Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    215
    Oct 11, 2016
    Lake St. Clair (MacRay Harbor)
    2005 390 Sundancer
    8.1
    I noticed that and read your story on your transport process, etc. We love MacRay's, it's our resort living every weekend

    Wow, thanks for all the awesome replies. This is the kind of info I was looking for. Myself and another boat will be heading up the week after or before the 4th of July. It will be a no kid trip so the idea of fun changes a bit..

    This is my major concern to be honest. I've heard about these suckers and why I've been making excuses for not going. Well we're doing it next summer.
    Def plan on putting a few back especially without the kiddos

    I knew about calling customs. My neighbor is a Customs officer in the marine division on Lake St Clair :D
     
  11. Great Lakes

    Great Lakes Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    215
    Oct 11, 2016
    Lake St. Clair (MacRay Harbor)
    2005 390 Sundancer
    8.1
    Seem like nice docks too
     
  12. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    The municipal marina continues with more transient dockage on the other side, upstream of the basin. They have full hook-ups there.

    The river is exposed to westerlies, so the entrance has been responsible for plenty of pucker factor. My dockmate approached years ago in heavy seas and hailed the dockmaster for advice. The advice was, "stay on-plane until you can read the price on the gas pumps." Note: the pumps are upstream of the basin!

    If you run out of anything while in Grand Bend, the grocery store and LCBO are within walking distance. You won't want to carry lots of heavy stuff back, but if you need to re-provision...
     
    Gofirstclass likes this.
  13. PatSea

    PatSea Member

    54
    Aug 9, 2008
    Lake Erie
    boatless
    boatless
    My wife and I cruised from Port Clinton in western Lake Erie to Grand Bend a few years ago. We left the week after Labor Day and the weather was fantastic. One word of caution. As we proceeded north of Port Huron we soon ran into an area that was full of commercial fish nets. Had to be very careful as we motored out of the area. Otherwise it was a great trip.
     
  14. Jaws

    Jaws Member GOLD Sponsor

    532
    Nov 13, 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario
    460 Sundancer 2002
    Cummins 8.3 6CTA
    We visited Grand Bend for a couple of nights in August and it's an interesting place. It's where we started our boating 25 years ago. Lots of dining choices including Smackwater Jack's on the south side where we were docked. The basin there is a bit tight especially when you are beside a 70 Marquis and a L65 Express like we were.
    Two things I do not like about Grand Bend, is entering the river and the fact that you have to tie up at the dockmaster's office, pay your dockage, and then proceed to your slip. When entering the river you normally have a following sea and as soon as we got past the breakwalls this time, there were two novices on PWC's in our path. One went right in front of us then flipped his craft, laughing. I couldn't see him but had to put the boat in reverse to avoid running over the idiot. Later I took the dinghy over to the rental site and gave them some advice but it's a party atmosphere there.
    Overall Grand Bend has a lot to offer but I prefer to avoid it on weekends and instead go to the next town north, Bayfield.
     
  15. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Active Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    There ARE fishing nets along the lake which can extend a half mile from shore (depending on where the fish are of course), but you should not have to worry about them. They are placed a minimum of 6' under the surface and I've been on our local dinner cruise ship who passed right over many of them without issue. That being said, they are fairly easy to read once you know that they are placed and marked a certain way.

    Starting with the Green/Black flag closest to shore (this is the bottom of the "V") the nets continue away from the shore and are periodically marked by orange flags on either side of the net. Once there are no more orange flags the net will come to its end point marked with a simple floater (brown colour and no flag). There is then a gap before another Green/Black flag indicating another net laid out. If you don't want to pass over a submerged net, pass through in one of those gaps (just South of those Green/Black flags but North of the little unmarked floaters).
     
  16. Blueone

    Blueone Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    790
    Jan 24, 2007
    St Clair Shores, Michigan
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    We have been going there a few years now and just call in on the vhf a few miles before entering the harbor and they assign a slip and the dock hands are there and are very professional and helpful. It's a small tight Marina very tight with wind but all doable with patience.

    A few have mentioned a party atmosphere and that's true but only in select places/bars... There are plenty of very nice restaurants/bars on the marina side and the main drag.... Just explore and find your your spot... It's a great destination.
     
  17. Jaws

    Jaws Member GOLD Sponsor

    532
    Nov 13, 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario
    460 Sundancer 2002
    Cummins 8.3 6CTA
    Yes, it's odd why we were directed to the fuel dock to pay our dockage first despite having a reservation. Haven't run into that anywhere else.
    BTW, great information on the fishing nets from Jimmy Buoy.
     
  18. javenius

    javenius Member

    52
    Mar 24, 2011
    Mac Ray Harbor Lake St Clair
    '10 450 Sundancer "Lime Cutter", '16 280 Outrage "LLC"
    T-Zeus Cummins QSB 380, twin 250 Verados
    Leaving the St Clair River into the lake, if you stay in the shipping channel until buoy #8, you can then turn in a northesterly direction toward Kettle Point without any concern with the fishing nets.

    We visited there last August and the diesel fuel was $1.15 per liter. Wow.

    Enjoyed our stay. Try the FINE restaurant. Great meal!
     
  19. Yorkshirelad

    Yorkshirelad New Member

    20
    Oct 21, 2017
    340 Searay 86
    454 Mercruisers with v drives
    Ray-marine radar and gps
    454 mercruisers
    Hi Guys,
    I used to dock my boat in Bayfield, beautiful cute village, lots of trendy shops and pubs. My local was the old Albion great food and charm. The harbour is nestled in a valley with marinas on both sides of the river. Worth a visit.
    Cheers Rob
     

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