Day 9: South from Hammond Bay

Baking bread

We awoke refreshed and with a great desire to press on but decided to spend some more time working on the boat before setting off. We took advantage of Fred's facilities again and also stocked up on ice for the icebox. We had gotten ice in the supermarket in our previous stop but it had been crushed ice and with the heat generated by the engine it had melted in the preceding two days. The blocks of ice we purchased here were to last considerably longer.

Checking the windvane

Even with all of this domestic activity we were out of the harbour before noon only to be presented with another flat sea, however the wind was kinder to us and was heading straight down the lake. We did motor for a while due to the weakness of the wind but soon gave that up and wallowed in the luxury of a mirrorlike lake, bright sun and fair wind.

Relaxing 1

We spent the afternoon in this dreamlike state - broken by the occasional harsh stings of reality, embodied in this case by the remaining flies that we had picked up on the passage into Lake Huron. However even they weren't sufficent annoyance to dispel our good mood.


During most of the day there was (barely) enough wind for the windvane to do its job but we took advantage of the wonderful conditions to goosewing for a while, heading in the wrong direction but so enjoyable we couldn't help but try it anyway!

After our supper we started to hear the Coast Guard warning us of potential electrical storms, a warning full of dire statements. For example:

If you can hear thunder you are close enough for lightning to hit you.

Lightning is nature's number one killer.

Relaxing 2

As we passed in front of the Presque Isle (one of four so named peninsulas we were to encounter) lighthouse, we kept ourselves amused riffing off the coast guard warnings - "doctor, doctor I think I have lightning" being one of the more memorable lines.

Sun sets behind Magnolia

As night fell we reefed in (a single reef) and made ourselves ready. The wind had increased a little and we were now moving at a nice steady pace, counting off the landmarks as we passed them and examaining the chart ahead for the shoals and islands that we would pass that night.

As we passed Stoneport we were spectators to a magnificent storm, lit by the last rays of the sun and by the occasional flashes of lightning in the clouds. At that moment the coast guard warnings did not seem quite so funny but we soon recovered and enjoyed the show as the storm moved off over the lake ahead of us.

Dressed up for the night

We soon dismissed the storm from our minds and concentrated on the upcoming navigational hazards, the lighthouse on Middle Island was soon identified and we relaxed as the most difficult part of our overnight passage fell behind us. Once passed it and on a fixed course that wouldn't vary until we reached Thunder Bay I went below to spend my off watch in sleep's blissful embrace.

I was woken for my watch by the words "get up, it is a wonderful night" and once on deck I couldn't help but agree. The few clouds that had been left behind by the storm had cleared and we could see the entire universe just shining down on us.

By this stage we were well across Thunder Bay and so I altered course to bring us further south and then left the windvane to take care of things while I spent the night enjoying the stars. My quiet meditation was disturbed when I noticed a freighter behind us, but as her course was not going to intersect ours so I gave it no further attention until my next sweep revealed that she was using her searchlight on the water to one side of her. Shortly afterwards the searchlight started to approach our position and soon illuminated us as if it were daylight! The beam was held on us for a few seconds, and then continued on its journey. The reason for such a search was soon made clear as the freighter started a slow clumsy turn. Even though I had been assured that they had seen us a brief chill passed over me in the moment that both port and starboard lights were revealed but it soon passed as she continued to turn and headed inland.