North Channel

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by andy k, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. andy k

    andy k Member

    412
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    2 x Mercury 5.7 carb
    Hello all,

    We will be leaving for our first visit to the North Channel in a little over a week. I have a few questions that hopefully you veterans of the North channel may know the answer to. We are very nervous as this is our first time out of the county and it all seems very intimating.

    1) I just read up that you need to have a VHF license to operate ad VHF radio in Canada, Is this true?
    2) From what I read you need to make your first stop at Telephone Reporting Site and call on a specific phone. Does this look like a payphone? Any tips of this? Any marinas you would recommend for this stop?
    3)I see that Canada has different rules on flares than the US. As a US resident do I obey the laws of the US or the Laws of Canada when it comes to flares and safety equipment? I Currently have an e-flare and 4 hand held flares. However it looks as if Canada does not accept the e-flare and requires 12 flares in a variety of setups.

    We will be trailing to Detour and then heading east.

    Any tips or must see spots on the route.


    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    Not sure about the flares, you do need to report in as the first order of business. We used the free telephone method at Gore Bay and I go chewed out for buying fuel before checking in. Also got chewed out because my family got off the boat to stretch their legs before I was approved to be in the country. Made the mistake of saying there were no persons on board when asked that question. Mentioned they were on the dock when asked a follow up question. Make sure you have your passports or other accepted form of identification. Also the answer to the question about booze is you have a small amount just for personal consumption. Have fun. It's a great place to visit. Remember to fly a maple leaf burgee as a sign of respect. IMG_4230.JPG
     
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  3. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Summers- NY (Lake Erie), Winters- Somewhere Warm
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    1) As far as I know, it is still required...but I have never been asked about it. (we visit Canada a lot)
    2) Not all the places that we visit have the customs phone, and it looks like a pay phone, clearly marked. Any phone will work if you are not nexus etc the number used to be 888 can-pass. We are nexus so we have been calling the nexus number for several years, maybe others know if the can-pass number is still valid.
    3) Safety equipment wise, If you are legal in the U.S., You are legal there for the short time you will be there.
    Assume you know about and have the DTOPS sticker for reporting back into the U.S. if your vessel is 30' or more. The ROAM app works well once you have it downloaded.
    There are a lot of great anchorages, everybody loves The Benjamins, and everybody should go there once, but we usually prefer a little less crowd.
    The waterfall at Kagawong is a must for the first timer. Others can give you some more.
    Enjoy. The North Channel is in our opinion the finest fresh water cruising area, and we've been to a bunch.

    our boat anchored at South Benjamin Is
    DSC_0376.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  4. andy k

    andy k Member

    412
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    2 x Mercury 5.7 carb
    I am not aware of the DTOPS sticker. Is this a requirement or an option.

    I apologize if my questions seem silly, but I am very green to this experience.
     
  5. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Summers- NY (Lake Erie), Winters- Somewhere Warm
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  6. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Chris-380 likes this.
  7. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    +1.... Don't go without the Ports Book. It helps you discover places you wouldn't know they are there... What coves to spend overnite... Marinas etc... It's just invaluable
     
  8. Timeflys

    Timeflys Member

    198
    Dec 7, 2013
    Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada
    "Frequent Flyer"
    2002 Sundancer 360
    Merc Horizon 8.1s
    Here is a site you may have seen for reporting in:
    https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/pb-pp-eng.html

    https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/services/trsm-sdtm-eng.html

    As sbw1 discovered, only the master of the craft is allowed out to check in and that checkin is the first action upon landing. Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) used to require to use the landline/pay phone at the checkin points but now seem to be ok with a cell....to be safe, use the pay phone at the location so cbsa knows you are at the designated point (caller Id).

    Also, our marine enforcement unit is mainly the OPP...Ontario Provincial Police. They are taking a zero tolerance approach to alcohol and boating....no open containers while the vessel is underway. Not just the skipper, but for all passengers! You need to be tied up or anchored with a vessel that has sleeping accommodation, galley, and a head (ie not a runabout). There have also been changes to our impaired vessel operation that allows them to charge you if they have reason to believe you are impaired up to 2 hours after you have been docked!!! Crazy, but that’s what our gq prime minister passed into law.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4769690/canada-impaired-driving-laws/

    https://globalnews.ca/news/5341109/canada-impaired-driving-law-civil-liberties/

    I don’t mean to scare you, but be forewarned. Common sense should prevail.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
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  9. Jaws

    Jaws Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    605
    Nov 13, 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario
    460 Sundancer 2002
    Cummins 8.3 6CTA
    I agree with everything said but don't forget about the most valuable source of Great Lakes information, The Great Lakes Cruising Club. Great bunch of folks at GLCC and a wealth of knowledge particularly the North Channel. That's why the group was founded in the first place. I've been a member since the nineties.

    With respect to CBSA (Canada) check-in, if you are a Nexus member, it's a phone call up to 4 hrs. before landing, 866-996-3987; if not phone CANPASS which I believe is 888-226-7277. Sometimes you are on hold for 5-10 minutes so I usually report in while still in a U.S. port. You speak with an agent as opposed to the ROAM procedure for CBP. The agents are direct but polite and will ask about persons aboard, firearms, currency onboard, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, etc. The DTOPS decal (American) is a must but only for reporting back into the U.S. I was once delayed at Detour Village when reporting in and had to go over to Drummond Island in high winds, just so they could sell me the DTOPS decal. I now purchase it annually online during the winter.

    Enjoy the North Channel. Gore Bay is a treat and Baie Fine and Killarney are a must and check out GLCC.
     
  10. Captn TJ

    Captn TJ Active Member

    640
    Sep 19, 2017
    Catawba Island, Oh
    2005 280DA
    Raymarine E80
    5.0 with Bravo 3
    A big A plus for the GLCC harbor charts - unlike Canadian and US charts these are updated continuously by the cruisers that go there as well as by the locals. They'll help you avoid the rocks that like to snag boats and point out deadheads as well.
     
  11. Third Edition

    Third Edition Active Member

    291
    Apr 9, 2017
    NE Florida
    360 Sundancer 2002
    T-8.1L V-drives
    Bear Drop Cove!
     
  12. Third Edition

    Third Edition Active Member

    291
    Apr 9, 2017
    NE Florida
    360 Sundancer 2002
    T-8.1L V-drives
    Bear Drop Cove!
     
  13. play dough

    play dough Active Member

    248
    Aug 29, 2011
    Michigan
    1997 330 Sundancer, 7.4L MPI V-Drive / 2007 Crestliner 1750 Fishhawk
    7.4L MPI Mercruiser / 115 Mercury Optimax
    You could easily spend a month researching ports and anchorages in the North Channel. We've always kind of traveled clockwise around the channel leaving from Mackinaw City. Our stops on the last trip were Harbor Island (near Drummond/Detour), Blind River (reporting station and LCBO), Long Point Cove, John Island, Spanish, Hotham Island, Little Current (good place to provision. Town docks are a little tricky to deal with in the current), Baie Fine and the Pool, Killarney, Collins Inlet, then returning the Benjamin's, Gore Bay, and Drummond Island Yacht Haven (reporting station). The DTOPS thing must be new since our last trip there in 2016. There are hundreds of other spots to drop an anchor. Watch your charts carefully and enjoy the cruise. It won't be your last time there.
     
  14. andy k

    andy k Member

    412
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    2 x Mercury 5.7 carb
    We are planning on spending a few nights at marinas to get water and to restock. Here are a few places that I see that some of you recommend or I see on the map. Is there any places that you would recommend to stay away from.

    Little Current
    Gore Bay
    Killarney
    Spainish
    Kagawong

    Thank you
     
  15. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Little current for sure - its also the only hospital in the area.
    Killarney again for sure
    Not a fan of Gore Bay not much there and a good walk anywhere

    Anchor over night:
    You have to go to South Benjamin island my favorite place - pics below when we chartered a trawler
    The Pool - and hike up to Topaz Lake for a swim, especially if you have mosquito bites
    Snug Harbor - is peaceful and out of the wind

    Bring some long ropes 100'-150' you tie to a tree/rock on shore, off the stern and anchor off the bow

    Have fun

    Benjamins1.jpg

    Bengamin 2.jpg
     
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  16. Captn TJ

    Captn TJ Active Member

    640
    Sep 19, 2017
    Catawba Island, Oh
    2005 280DA
    Raymarine E80
    5.0 with Bravo 3
    that's a bit too close to the rocks for me.
     
  17. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Long stern line and a stern anchor is important. Some places you can run a line to shore and around a tree and back to you boat. ( so when you leave you untie and pull the line back without going ashore. That means you need double the distance to shore. So 150 ft is minimum allowing for extra during set up.

    Also a great tip is to have strong rock climbing nuts or cams to wedge in a crack in the granite if there are no trees on shore as a place to tie the stern line. I have them and they come in handy in some coves. Just be sure you know how to set them.

    B82808BF-F4E1-4930-BB4A-1D106D9AF2A6.jpeg
     
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  18. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    That's pretty cool.
     
  19. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    It's not that bad no different than your dock, you need to step off... The rocks drop almost straight down below water line... Tied 4 corners... Spring... Starboard stern is an anchor. At night you can adjust anchor line to pull away a bit. It's a great spot. Oh ..and don't forget it's a rental :)
     
  20. play dough

    play dough Active Member

    248
    Aug 29, 2011
    Michigan
    1997 330 Sundancer, 7.4L MPI V-Drive / 2007 Crestliner 1750 Fishhawk
    7.4L MPI Mercruiser / 115 Mercury Optimax
    I don't think I've been anywhere that I would say stay away from. Some years ago, Spanish was difficult to get to because of the low water, but that won't be an issue now. Some of the marinas let us dock during the day to provision and do other chores without a slip fee and then we'd leave for an anchorage for the evening. We were usually buying fuel/ice/laundry so didn't feel like we were taking advantage. There is a daily VHF radio broadcast that originates out of Little Current. It's news/weather/information on North Channel happenings. Boaters from across the area radio in their identity and location. It's interesting and worth tuning in but I don't remember the channel or details.
     

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