So we completed the locks on July 27th and we still had to go through Georgian Bay and the North Channel before getting to Drummond Island to re-enter the U.S. I gotta tell ya....after 28 days I'm pretty tired of Canada. It is a pretty country but food and alcohol are very expensive and sales tax is 13%. A case of beer (Coors Lite) is $41.95 and a box of wine ranges between $30-$40 per box. Really?????
Anyway, we kept hearing how beautiful the Bay and Channel are; that there are beautiful anchorages. I was looking forward to anchoring because, up to this point, we had not tried it. So, we're in the Georgian Bay and following our boating buddies Ele and Jim. I don't know how many islands there are, but many have houses on them.
On the way to our anchorage, there was some pretty skinny waters. I was very uncomfortable at times. For all the beauty of the Georgian Bay, if a person wasn't cautious or paying attention, it would be easy to run aground on the rocks. Notice the red and green markers. We had to go between them. I really didn't think it was deep enough for our boat. look how tight it looks for the 34 foot boat....ours is 48 ft. Once again, the captain did a good job of manuvering, I wanted to turn around. it was nerve racking.
Rocks were everywhere!
We got to our anchorage, tied up and took the dingy for a ride. Our first time anchoring came off without a hitch. We felt really good about anchoring. We left that anchorage and headed for Kalarney where we stayed at the Marina. Met some people from Sturgeon Bay WI. August 3rd we decided to anchor again in a place called Maryann's Cove. We met a looper in that anchorage along with a couple of other boaters. Took a hike up the mountain and had docktails on the looper boat "Miss Utah". It was a pleasant experience.
The next day August 4th, 2017 we awoke to rain. We were planning on leaving for Little Current, spend the night there, anchor another night and be in Drummond Island by the 6th or 7th. We wanted to get to Sturgeon Bay WI for the family gathering on August 12th. We waited a while and the rain subsided so we pulled anchor and headed out.
We were excited that we were so close to the states. Only a couple more days in Canada. We're traveling along, tuning into a cruisers radio station to hear what's happening in Little Current. Suddenly Tom notices that he missed a green marker. He no sooner got the words out "darn I missed that marker" and crash. we ran aground on the rocks. The time was 9:08. It was surreal, I couldn't believe this was happening. We had no cell service. Tom radioed the Coast Guard.
the state rooms, galley, heads and salon were a mess. Doors opened stuff flew out, dishes broke. Things on the shelves and tables fell to the ground. What a mess. Poor Tilly. It took us quite a while before we found her hiding in the aft cabin. the coast guard arrived. they made sure we weren't taking on water and that no one was hurt. Their boat wasn't large enough to pull us out. They received a radio call from a commercial operation that was on the way to assist.
rocks right next to the boat. notice how shallow. The commercial vessel (Pelican) came. The boat looked a little small to pull us out. Our keel was lodged between the rocks, causing the boat to sway from side to side. I don't mind telling you that I've never been so scared in my life. It felt as though we were going to tip over.
The Pelican (on the right) was the first boat at the scene. they wanted to pull us forward, Tom said no because he was afraid pulling us forward would cause damage to the shafts, props, etc. After several tries from behind, they couldn't get us off the rocks. They called for reinforcements. the fishing boat (on the left) came and made several attempts to pull us from behind. They couldn't do it. It was finally determined that the boat was going to have to be pulled from the front. Seemed like that was the only way. So the Pelican and the fishing boat worked together and eventually we were free. As stated, the nightmare started at 9:08 and we were finally free at 3pm.
Meanwhile, boaters are passing by, taking pictures, again I wonder how many facebook postings we were on.
Fortunately we weren't taking on water, the boat started and we were able to motor to the marina under our own power.
So this is where we've been since August 4th. The props and rudders had to be sent out, the shafts were fine, no holes in the hull and there is some fiberglass work to be done. Hopefully if all goes well, we will be able to leave Friday August 18th.
I'm typing this at the library because the marina has poor internet service. that's kind of been the theme throughout Canada. No or very poor internet at the marinas.
This was a hard and expensive lesson learned. ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION! The most important thing though is that there were no injuries.
I learned that there is a saying among boaters "if it hasn't happened yet, it will happen".
Side note: when we arrived at the marina, there was a boat that came in a couple of days before who had cut a corner to close and ran on the rocks, another boat came in last Monday...same issue.
I'll keep you posted.