We dropped our guests at Killarney on a rainy Sunday, and left straight away to meander back up the Lansdowne Channel and past the Strawberry Island lighthouse, making perfect time for the 2 pm opening of the Little Current Swing Bridge. Being the only road access to Manitoulin Island, the bridge only opens for 5 minutes on the hour, and the current is anything but “little” so you really don’t want to miss it and end up trying to stay in the same place for the better part of an hour.

We had great wind for sailing most of the day so we made good headway as the day brightened, missing most of the rain and storms that surrounded us. We dropped the hook in South Benjamin Island where two other boats lay at anchor, one being Gabe’s Ghost, the great crew of which we later befriended in the Sault.

The next day we had surprisingly good wind for sailing, though not for the rather exposed anchorage at East Grant Island, so we decided to make a long day of it and, once again skirting most of the storms, we dropped anchor in Milford Haven at the west end of the North Channel. The sun set as we tidied up the boat from the long day (66 nautical miles) and a full rainbow appeared off our stern. The breezy evening turned into a quiet, mill-pond morning. Our only neighbours were a bald eagle, a pair of sand cranes, a calling loon and a family of geese.

The next day we had another great through very gusty sail around St. Josephs and Lime island and up the St. Mary’s River to East Neebish Island, where we pulled off the shipping channel for a quiet night in a protected anchorage.

The best thing about the quick trip was that we arrived in Sault Ste. Marie’s Roberta Bonda Marina a few days early than originally planned and I was able to get an emergency dental appointment to fix a broken tooth, a haircut, do 5 loads of laundry, a major provisioning and regular boat chores. All before our next guests, Paul and Mary arrived on Canada Day. Steve fixed the leaky floor of the dinghy and we some lovely friendly cruisers in the Marina, to swap notes on Superior.

Sault Ste Marie has a Northern small town kind of charm. Despite some parts of down town which have seen better days, it has a real feeling of friendliness and participation. The docks filled up for Canada Day with decorated boats and celebrations in full force in the park next to the marina. Not only was it the 150 special birthday celebrations, but the Sault’s hometown hero, Roberta Bondar, was the special guest and was given the keys to the city. It was also the 25th anniversary of her space flight. She is certainly worthy of the standing ovation she was given – her speech was inclusive and relevant.

After a tediously long bus ride from Rossport where they left their car, Paul and Mary arrived in time for a fantastic fireworks display from a barge conveniently located right outside the marina entrance, affording us front row views from the stern of the boat.

Tomorrow we enter Lake Superior – the weather forecast looks good. We are still bundled up in warm woolies so we pray that summer weather catches up with us there. However, we are unlikely to have wifi for blogging for a couple of weeks at least. So until next time…