GLCC Wilderness Rally

We left Manitowaning on the east side of Manitoulin Island, and sailed up the long bay to Beaver Island Harbour, just east of Little Current. We thought, being so close to the Island’s roads that go along the shore, that we would pick up a cell signal, at least a 3G signal and get some internet access, but no-go. We had nothing. We haven’t had much luck getting very reliable internet access to keep in touch via email. I’ve had to pretty much give up Facebook for the summer, which may not necessarily be a bad thing!

We had a quiet, very pleasant anchorage with many trailer sailors, and looked forward to a light winds forecast the following day. Our thought was to head into Covered Portage Cove, a sheltered and scenic anchorage we enjoy. GLCC’s wilderness rally was to begin in 2 days, and since we were in the area, we decided to attend. It’s a laid-back time and a chance to meet up with many sailing friends, and is always a good time.

The wind was from the west and we were having a great sail towards Covered Portage Cove. For light winds, it was very steady, and by late morning had begun to build in strength. As we made the turn towards Covered Portage Cove, the wind was gusting over 20 knots, definitely not “light.” Still, the forecast remained unchanged. As we approached the anchorage, we could see that there were a whole lot of boats anchored on the “outside”, not a good sign for what the inside of the Cove would be.

Ron really hates anchoring in tight areas with lots of boats. He may feel okay about us, but without fail, we’ll have a anchoring newbie anchor too close to us and in tight places like these, there is no other place to move to. As I accessed the situation, I suggested we go on to a different anchorage. There is nothing pleasant about an afternoon and evening at anchor with someone who is sputtering about all the boats that surround us. So we went on.

After very little thought, with the west winds now gusting near 25 knots (and no strong wind warning as yet issued by Environment Canada), we decided that it only made sense to head to the Keyhole anchorage, in Collins Inlet, where the GLCC Wilderness Rally would commence in 2 days. So we would arrive a day early? So what? We could anchor in the far west end of the anchorage, get a good anchorage spot, and just sit in comfort throughout the rally. That is what we did. It was a bit exciting furling the jib when the time came, but we did fine and rode out the rest of the wind in comfort.

GLCC wilderness rally participants gather at Keyhole Island in Collins Inlet, Georgian Bay.

We really enjoy the wilderness rallies. Where the GLCC Rendezvous are spent sitting at a dock (often with little breeze coming through the hatches) and are “event-heavy” where one has no down-time if you’re involved, a wilderness rally is relatively relaxing and just fun. You may or may not participate. And the “floating happy hour”, where you are assigned to a host boat you don’t know, is probably my favorite event. It’s such a great way to get to know people you haven’t yet had the opportunity to become acquainted to. And in the past couple of rallies, I’ve put together “crafting” times, where knitters, crocheters, quilters, and other crafty types get together on a host boat for a couple of hours to work on our projects and the opportunity to learn from one another. I love these times. I love these times with my knitting friends at home, too!

We ended up spending 5 days anchored in one spot at Keyhole. That’s a long, long time for us! At the rally’s end, we spend a night anchored by ourselves in Mill Lake. Ron caught smallmouth for dinner.

From Mill Lake, we headed into Beaverstone Bay and met up with Jennifer and Fred Bagley on “Catamount.” They are from Vermont; Jennifer is an avid reader and supplied me with much of my really good summer reading material. She also makes the most delicious ginger cookies! Fred retired early as a surgeon and now writes magazine articles. He is working on an article for this fall about those of us who use iPads to get into the “white spaces” (uncharted) on charts. He and Jennifer spent a couple of days with a boat prior to the wilderness rally; now it was our time to explore some areas to the east together.

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