Saturday, December 8, 2018

2018 North Channel Itinerary - What Trip Planning Looks Like for Us

What Trip Planning Looks Like For Us

Truth be told... I LOVE planning trips and mapping out sample itineraries. BUT we've found over the years that the best plan is to be flexible and follow the wind. This allows us to travel along with new friends we meet along the way, meet up with old friends when we hear them call in to Cruisers Net from an anchorage, and explore new destinations upon the suggestions of seasoned North Channel cruisers.

Even knowing that plans will change, the planner in me still cannot give up mapping out a few sample itineraries before we leave on our trip, and I even have a list of the best anchorages based on wind direction ready in case we need to make a fast decision! 

Here is the Sample Itinerary I developed before we left and thought we might follow. (I always try to add at least 2 new places)  I also know we're most comfortable with a marina visit about every 3-4 days, to recharge batteries and empty garbage, so I try to build that into our plans. 

16 day NC Sample Itinerary (my 4th revision)
Week 1
Thursday - Begin overnight drive from IN to Spanish, ON
Friday- Arrive Spanish Marina, launch and anchor in the Whalesback
Saturday - Long Point Cove
Sunday - Long Point to Benjamin Island
Monday - Benjamin Island to Kagawong Marina
Tuesday - Friday - McGregor Bay (East West Channel)

Week 2
Friday - Sunday - Killarney Mountain Lodge - *The 1 reservation we made in advance
Sunday - Tuesday - Thomas Bay or Covered Portage
Tuesday - Little Current Town Docks
Wednesday- Friday - Le Cloche area (Sturgeon Cove, Bell Cove, etc)
Friday - Spanish Marina
Saturday - Drive Home

2018 Actual Itinerary
Week 1
Thursday - Overnight drive from Indiana to Spanish, Ontario
Friday - Arrive and launch in Spanish, secure overnight dockage
Saturday - Fox Island
Sunday - South Benjamin Island
Monday - Little Current Town Docks (decision made to drop off outboard to Boyle Marine)
Tuesday - Wednesday - Heywood Island (to meet up with friends from home port)
Thursday - Little Current Town Docks (had to go back to pick up outboard from Boyle)

Week 2
Friday - Sunday - Killarney Mountain Lodge (advance reservations)
Sunday - Covered Portage Cove (to meet up with friends)
Monday - Wednesday - Baie Fine, The Narrows (by way of loonnngg trip through McGregor Bay)
Wednesday - Little Current Town Docks
Thursday - Matheson, La Cloche hike (to meet up with friends)
Friday - Croker Island (to meet up with friends)
Saturday - Spanish Marina & Drive Home

As you can see, a few things stayed from our planned itinerary, but most changed mostly so we could meet up with friends along the way. The one reservation we had in advance (since april!) was dockage at Killarney Mountain Lodge. I've found it to be increasingly difficult to secure dockage in Killarney in the past couple years, and this year a weekend at Killarney Mountain Lodge with their pool, coffee shop and amenities just sounded like a nice "vacation within a vacation" for this mama.

We usually decide on one main "goal" for the trip - a new anchorage, or a place we love. This year is was McGregor Bay. As you can see from our actual itinerary... we didn't end up anchoring there! It was a beautiful cruise through the bay for us, but Ben just didn't find anywhere he felt fully comfortable with that we loved more than Baie Fine... so to Baie Fine we went (and found our new favorite place)! That's the beauty of being flexible...and also of having a power boat.  :-) 

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