On Board ‘Seascape’ 1968, Part 2

The North Channel in Ontario, Canada
July 27 – August 8, 1968

The last six days (days 8-13) of our 1968 summer vacation on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. Accompanying us on this voyage was the Playmate II with the Phillips family – Ron (captain), Joyce (first mate) and Carolyn (greenhorn) along with their friends John and Lois. I don’t recall the boat type and size of the Playmate II, but it is in several of the photos.

The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

SHIP’S LOG – Saturday, August 3 (day 8)
What a lovely morning. Had breakfast, and before we left, the girls and I took a nice swim. John took the sailboat back to base camp to get his sunglasses. We were just about ready to send out the Rescue Squad when the red sail appeared around the corner. Picked up all our things and also a little of the debris left by some other boats and headed for Killarney on our way to Collins Inlet. Had a nice ride but the sky wasn’t looking too good. Stopped at Killarney for gas and the boats that were tied up there we’re talking about thunder squalls. Took a vote and decided to stay and head for Collins tomorrow. Got a chance to vacuum and straighten things around. Went to Jackman’s for a few supplies. Late in the afternoon we did get a small shower. Had dinner up in the Georgian Room of the Sportsman’s Inn. Very good. Docking rates went up from last year – $4 plus a dollar for electricity. All to the fellows rode around town on the motorbikes. Suzie got real friendly with the owner of 42-foot Pacemaker. Had a little Canadian Mist after dinner and us girls played one game of cards. Joyce won. The fellas girl-watched on the dock. Lights out around 1.

42-foot Pacemaker

SHIP’S LOG – Sunday, August 4 (day 9)
Another fabulous day. I think this is about the hottest we’ve had so far. Had our breakfast and headed for the second red spar to do some fishing. Got a few but there not biting like they usually do. Fished for about an hour and a half and started for Collins Inlet. Trolled all the way to Mill Lake and nothing. Tied up at the little dock by the Rock of Gibraltar. Got a party together and went back to the waterfall. Again the ice had changed things. No large waterfall at all. Found a natural bathtub and everyone had their Saturday bath on Sunday. Hunted for garnet and had almost given up when for the first time in 3 years I found what looked to be hard (quality of the stone?). Took all of them back to the boat and spent the rest of the evening washing them. Lots of mosquitoes.

Saturday’s bath on Sunday

SHIP’S LOG – Monday, August 5 (day 10)
Another real nice morning. Sky looks funny though to the South. Decided to walk back to the fishing village again to see to the dachshund and back to see the waterfall again. This time, everyone went further down and played in the small falls. Found a slide and even Nick went sliding, but not by choice.  Liz grabbed him because she was slipping, and in he went, clothed and all. Hunted for some more garnets, but only found soft ones. Did get some pretty stones though. Had a little lunch and moved down to Mill Lake. Anchored by the Verneta, Jackie, and Lake Drake from Flint. Tried to fish off the boat, but all we caught was cat fish. Nick and I went in the dinghy, but the rains came and all we got was wet. To make things worse, Liz said Elmer (the dog) had to go so we took him to an island in the rain and nothing. Oh well, a nice shower. Got really foggy towards dark. Ron heard Soo Control say that the locks were closed and all boats should drop anchor and take cover until further notice. What an eerie night. Lightening, wind and fog. Played cards, and Joyce and I couldn’t get a thing. Fellas beat 4 to 3.

Map of Mill Lake and Collins Inlet playgrounds for us

SHIP’S LOG – Tuesday, August 6 (day 11)
Morning dawned very peculiar. Around 7am, it was quite foggy, but the sun was trying to break it up. By 9:30, it was a beautiful day. Nick and Liz went fishing. Suzie and I slept in or tried to. They came back with 7 pike, Liz taking 5 and the biggest ones at that. Got things squared away and headed for Killarney. Needed supplies. Sky again looks like a real storm brewing toward the southeast. Weather very humid. Pulled into Cover Portage Cove for the night. Caught 0 fish, but had a real community fish dinner. Joyce sick to her stomach all day. Went to bed very early. Loris taught Liz to play pinochle. Sat until 11:30 discussing the world situation. Weather very funny. A full moon with a few clouds, but down towards the end of Killarney Bay, lightning.  

Cover Portage Cove

SHIP’S LOG – Wednesday, August 7 (day 12)
Morning not too good, but as it neared noon, a little better. Decided to get things together and head for Little Current. Got a few things we needed and decided to head for Oak Bay and spent the night there. Explored the eastern end a bit, but the bay we thought would be good, had a cottage built at the end. Moved back to our original spot. Tried to tie up to the rocks, but no place was suitable. Too sloping. No choice but to anchor out. Nick took the girls fishing and Suzie caught a big one. Had a wiener roast on the rocks and got ate up by mosquitos. Big full moon came up and finally peeked out from behind the clouds.

Me and my fish. Look at the smile on face.

SHIP’S LOG – Thursday, August 8 (day 13)
Got up to more gray skies. Girls had a ball playing with the dinghy. After we cleaned up a bit, Nick and I went out fishing. Only the silver flatfish seemed to work this year. Got a real nice pike, and wouldn’t you know it, the rains came. That’s twice I’ve gotten wet for a fish. Had a couple of strikes after, but only the one fish. Had a little lunch and held a conference. All in favor of trying for Meldrum Bay. Has a pretty good run, but were just a little concerned when we got near because there was one cruiser anchored out. Maybe all this way and no docks. Ivan was on hand and there were a couple of empty spaces on the inside. Secured everything and settled down or at least I thought so. The girls were fooling around on a dock that was partly submerged and Liz’s glasses fell in. Nick tried a couple of times, but couldn’t get them. Finally, John put on his suit and went in for them. Success! By this time, Nick had turned from blue to purple from the cold. Had a good stiff shot of Canadian Club with dinner. Wrapped up in a blanket and read on the couch. Girls went to bed and I knitted for a while. Moon came up big and bright. Very clear and would have been really nice if the racket on the docks had quieted down.

My sister and I playing around on the dinghy

This installment concludes our family trip to The North Channel in 1968. I want to thank my Mom for taking the time to document our trips. Although a few years are missing, there are other trips to share coming soon. Up next…1969 trip coasting the American coast of Lake Superior.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad…thanks for throwing caution to the wind and taking us on these fantastic voyages. I’m a lucky girl to have had such an adventurous dad, but I’ll never forget what happened to the Titanic.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1968, Part 1

The North Channel in Ontario, Canada
July 27 – August 8, 1968

The first seven days (days 1-7) of our 1968 summer vacation on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. Accompanying us on this voyage was the Playmate II with the Phillips family – Ron (captain), Joyce (first mate) and Carolyn (crew in training) along with their friends John and Lois. I don’t recall the boat type and size of the Playmate II, but it is in several of the photos.

The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

SHIP’S LOG – Saturday, July 27 (day 1)
Awoke this morning to the beautiful sound of rain on the roof. Rolled over and went back to sleep. Everyone got up about 9:30 am. Got dressed and went up to the (Indian Trail) motel for breakfast. Ron and Joyce and their company came in. Had a northern-type meal and came back to the boat and started to put things away. Meanwhile Nick installed the radio and changed oil. Went up into town for a few last minute items, gassed up, put the bike on board, and finally left the marina at 3:40 pm. Skies over cast with the sun coming out periodically. Winds picking up from the northwest. Got as far as Cheboygan. Only a couple of boats docked. Tied up and settle down for the night. Went out and had a nice dinner at Step In. Turned cool while we were in there. Took the dogs for their walk in bedded down for the night.

Indian River Marina ~ Indian River, Michigan

SHIP’S LOG – Sunday, July 28 (day 2)
Left Cheboygan at 7:20 am. Skies clear, winds seemed to have dropped. By the time we got to Poe Reef, the waves were rolling pretty big. Had a little relief after we past the light, but got hit again from Spectacle light and all the way into Detour. Everyone was really happy to put a shaky foot on solid ground. Had breakfast up at the motel. Suzie (that’s me!) caught the first fish, a nice perch. Gassed up and left detour around 10:45 am. Had a rockin and rolling ride again. Started up the downstream channel, so we had to backtrack a little way and cut over into the right channel. Coast Guard registered our number and name with binoculars as we passed the first checkpoint.    

The further north we got, the harder the winds blew. Tried calling the cruising club but they didn’t answer. So we decided to spend the night at the Municipal Dock. Had a terrible time getting into the slip. The winds kept pushing us around. Ron made 3 or 4 trips before he got in. We caught a piece of molding on our way in and bent it off. Have to put a couple of screws in before we leave. Got Ron settled and then made some sandwiches. All of a sudden the wheels of the bike appeared on the dock. Somehow the fellas got it off without dropping it in the drink.   

The wind has begun to blow harder. Overheard the Flying Gull talking to another boat. They were coming in from Superior. Waves running 16 feet. The other boat was in Lake George. Winds blowing 35 steadily with gusts near 40 miles per hour.    

Nick went exploring. The town is about 3 ½ miles. Just a short walk. Decided to settle down for the night. Joyce came over and soon Ron strolled in. Decided to play cards. Us girls got beat 4 in a roll. Finally won the 5th game. Going to sleep in a bit tomorrow.

SHIP’S LOG – Monday, July 29 (day 3)
Got up at 9:30 am. Skies clear but still windy. Had breakfast and we all decided to go into town. Rented 2 taxi cabs and off we went. Started out at the Soo Locks. Boy, what an operation. Watched the Alva C Dinkey lock down. From there we walked across the street to the Old Town. All sorts of antiques. Took the train ride around town. It took us across the International Peace Bridge. What a sight: the locks, St Mary’s rapids, and a real good view of Superior. Had lunch at the Lamplighter. From there we walked down to the freighter Valley Camp. That was quite a tour, from stem to stern, on deck and below. Called for a cab in the Captain’s quarters.

All very glad to be back. Winds have died right down. Checked over the charts and big black book and decided to gas up and head for Dead Boy Cove in the St. Joseph Channel. Had a beautiful ride from the Soo but when we finally found it, there was a sailboat at anchor in the middle. Decided to poke our noses around the corner. Found a nice rock wall to tie up to. Much better than Dead Boy Cove. Explored the rocks, watched chipmunks, picked blueberries and tried the fishing. Ron sailed around in his little boat. Had dinner about 10:00 pm and settled down for the night. Temperature in the forties. Weather clear and winds 0.

I couldn’t find any links about Old Town and the Lamplighter. Also, Dead Boy Cove is referred to as Dead Boy’s Bay on the maps, etc. However, Great Lakes Cruising Club boaters still call it Dead Boy Cove.

SHIP’S LOG – Tuesday, July 30 (day 4)
Awoke to very grey clouds. Started to rain even before we actually got out of bed. Had breakfast and took the dogs out on the rocks for a walk before we left. The girls picked another batch of blueberries. Can’t really recall exactly when we left but it must have been around 11:00 am. St. Joseph Channel wasn’t bad at all. A little choppy. We really started to take a beating about halfway across the North Channel. We hit one wave so hard that the dingy broke loose on one end. Had to turn the boat and take the waves on the stern (at an idle) and Nick went out to fix it. Suzie about this time was completely hysterical. Liz was able to get her a Dramamine tablet.

I have vivid memories of incident. In my child’s mind, my dad was going to die! The boat was violently tossed about especially at an idle. I was certain he was going to get knocked off the davit, and he was going to drowned before we could get him. Or the boat would get pushed over him when we tried to pick him up.

Please note that Dramamine includes the word “drama” and there was definitely drama on board.

We were real lucky we didn’t lose the motor. Had to cut our speed because of the banging. One time took green water right over the windshield. Nick headed for the shore of Cockburn Island to get some relief. Then we could pick up speed again. Pulled into Meldrum Bay and it was jammed. Had to wait in the bay for about ½ hour before we could get in for gas. Tied up across from the Normac ramp. Seeing no one was leaving and the Normac was due in at 7:00 pm (this about 5:00 pm) decided to try anchoring at the end of the bay. Maybe we can get some relief from the wind. Tried a couple of spots but the anchor wouldn’t hold. Finally after the 3rd try, success. Playmate II tied alongside. Everyone completely beat out especially me. Wind really picking up again, but out of the south this time. Nick made one more trip to shore. Dog run this time.

SHIP’S LOG – Wednesday, July 31 (day 5)
Awoke again this morning to grey clouds. Thunder in the distance and, and before we even got out of bed, rain. Had breakfast and cleaned up the cabin, still raining. Along about noon, the skies started to clear and at 1:00 got the MAFOR weather. Winds were supposed to change and reach gale force by evening. That will make this bay very rough. Still no docking space at Meldrum. Took a vote and decided to make a run for Harbor Island. Seas will be at our stern so the ride won’t be so rough. Got a call from the Pretty Baby tied up in Gore Bay inquiring about the waves and also Meldrum Bay.

Pulled into Harbor Island just behind three other boats. Probably no dock space left. Very lucky Joe put us up at the very end where he ties his boats. He remembered us from last year. Walked around a bit. Toured the Club house. After dinner, Nick rented his boat and we all went fishing. Suzie, her same nervous self (Clearly, I was traumatized!). Did catch two, a rock bass and a small mouth bass. Rest of the late evening very quiet.

SHIP’S LOG – Thursday, August 1 (day 6)
Well, had something different this morning. Sun for a change. Nick and Liz went fishing even before they had breakfast. Just took the cookies. Suzie and I had our breakfast and I cleaned up the floors, sewed my slacks, and by that time, it was really getting warm in the sun. Decided to wash my hair and gave Elmer a bath. The more I looked at that water, the more I felt like a swim. So I did. Both Suzie and I went in. When Nick and Liz came back from fishing (didn’t catch a thing), they went in to. Water was real cold when you first got in, but after it felt really good. Had lunch, got the weather in decided you had for Little Current and some supplies. Only had 2 small catastrophes. Carolyn was fooling around on the dock and fell in. No emergency. She had on her bathing suit and a life jacket. Liz was walking along side of the boat by the antenna, saw fly and went to swat it and fell onto the dock. On the way down scraped the side of her leg.

Left Harbor Island about 2:25 pm. Had a nice ride to Little Current. Stocked up and food, goodies, etc. And left for Bay Finn (Baie Fine). Check out the map in link. Had another real good ride. A number of boats in the Pool but our rock was untaken again. 4 times in a row is record. Got everyone tied up and started the fire for charcoal broiled steaks and were they ever good. After it got dark, the boys shot off their fireworks. Pretty good show. This side of the pool looked like the Fourth of July in August. Us girls decided to play cards. Called it quits after four games.

Surprisingly, there is not a lot of information about Bay Finn and the Pool on the internet. At least, I couldn’t locate much at all. Maybe, it is good if these beautiful secluded places are off the beaten path. But I think they are more widely known and traveled than what my searches located.

SHIP’S LOG – Friday, August 2 (day 7)
Woke up at 7:00 am. Sun shining bright but rolled over for another 40 winks. Finally got up about 9. Had my coffee on the back deck. Joyce was the early bird on the Playmate II. Within half an hour everyone was hustling about except Nick. He was the last one out of the sack today.

We did get things underway and Nick played taxi as we all went ashore for a mountain climbing expedition. Lois only made it about half of the way because of height sickness. As we climbed over the rise at the one-third point, we met up with a big furry black bear. Suzie almost had apoplexy. John and Liz went after it but we must had scared the poor thing silly. Probably never expected us up there.

Had a short break after that and Lois decided to stay there. The rest of us forged ahead. Reached the top and headed down the other side by Crater Lake. Got about halfway and down decided to stop. Kids getting tired. Had our lunch under some pine trees. John went off himself. He did reach the lake and said water was quite warm. Sat for a while admiring the view and getting our second wind.

Started back for the long trip down. No unusual happenings. Reached the base camp and jumped in clothes in all. Got everyone going and pretty soon everyone was splashing about. Boy, did that ever feel good. Stirred up the mud bottom pretty good. Nick started taxi service and back we all went but none for the worse.

Nick went fishing and it was a good thing we didn’t wait for supper. He did catch on fair size pike. Saw two big bass but they weren’t biting on anything. Built a bonfire after dark and sat around for a while. Closed up shop around 11:30.

As with Bay Finn and the Pool, there doesn’t seem to be any information about Crater Lake. A few mentions, but nothing specific about this Crater Lake.

Please come back to to read the last week of our cruise to the North Channel…

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 3

I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 3 is days 7-9. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

Friday, July 8 (day 7)

Got up early again and headed for Little Current about 7:00 am. Had a real nice ride. Pulled up to the dock about 9:00 and we set off for Pickey’s store and some more supplies. Brought about $11.00 worth and on to the gift store for souvenirs. Nick met a doctor from Gaylord who knew Pid (family friend) real well. He had even bought Pid’s house and cottage in Gaylord.

Set off shortly after noon for Collins Inlet. Went through Killarney which hasn’t changed a bit and out into the bay and the beginning of Collins Inlet. Weather holding, but wind picking up. Meet 5 cruisers coming out of the inlet. Cruised a little way down and decided to trawl a ways. Not even a strike for 3 or 4 miles. Came to Mill Lake but decided to go to the end to see what it was like. Entered Beaverstone Bay but decided to turn around because the wind was whipping up the bay pretty good. Tied up to some rocks just passed the Russian settlement and Nick and Liz took the dinghy back to the old barn to look for ruins. Found nothing so we decided to head back toward the fishing camp near the Rock of Gibraltar. Asked the boss (I have no clue who “the boss” is) if we could tie up to his dock and he said okay. Had some dinner and Nick and I went across the other side near the weed beds for pike. Didn’t catch any pike but I caught a huge Calico bass and of big small mouth bass. Decided to call it quits around 9:30 because we were being carried away by the mosquitoes. We even had a few of the dive bombers (mosquitos that buzz your ears when sleeping) around after we went to bed.

NOTE: I have search far and wide to find more information about the fishing camp, the Russian settlement and the Rock of Gibraltar. To date, I have found nothing, but my quest will continue!

LEFT: Seascape moored at the fish camp dock
RIGHT: Seascape at the outer dock

Saturday, July 9 (day 8)

Slept in a little this morning- 8:00 am. As soon as Grandpa stirred, Liz was up and ready to go fishing Suzie got into the act too so Grandpa and the girls headed for the fishing camp to rent a bigger boat. By the time they got back, the rest of us were up and ready for breakfast. Took time for food today and had bacon, eggs and good fried toast. Suzie decided she would rather wash dishes than fish so Nick took her place. Suzie did the dishes with Grandma’s help and then we walked up the hill and into the fishing camp and talked with the owner about the old town of Collins.

The original town stood where the fishing camp was and some of the buildings were the original ones. He told me how to get back to the lake so Suzie, Elmer and I set off along the path he indicated. Got back there with (not) too much trouble. Quite a big lake from what I could see. Took a few pictures and headed back.

LEFT: Some of the abandoned buildings
RIGHT: Elmer investigating the remains from the fire
LEFT: The logging lake
RIGHT: A long view of the logging lake and the dam
Close up views of the dam at the logging lake. This little waterfall was a great source of family fun.

The fisherman came back empty handed a little later. All Nick caught with a couple of bass which he threw back.

Had a little lunch and Liz, Nick, Suzie and I went back to the lake to see what we could catch. Nick caught a little catch. Headed back for the boat but Liz and I decided to take a side road up to a deserted house. It was an old tree house, an old wagon, sled, plow and logging sled. Walked past and on up the road and we found an old barn where they must have repaired the equipment because we found a bench and a lot of screw. Headed up to the road and we found the old dam with a couple of waterfalls. Decided to walk across and see what was on the other side. Climbed up the hill and the lake goes way back and there is a stream or river off a bay a good ways back. Came back across the falls again and back down to the main road. Decided to see where it went. Walked a good half a mile and all we saw was rubbish piles in a family of chipmunks. Came back to the boat just in time for steak dinner.

LEFT: The old treehouse and what looks to be part of my shoulder
RIGHT: My 5 year-old self in front of the plow
LEFT: The original barn in the old town of Collins
RIGHT: The original boarding house in Collins

Weather is brewing up something. Things look a little wild down the inlet. Had a few sprinkles as we were trying to pop our Jiffy Pop but that was all. Nick and I decided to make use of our rented boat and we went trolling for pike. Got all the way down to the entrance of Beaverton Bay with only one small bite. Headed back because the sky looked like we were in for a good storm. Wind picked up all the time. Just about reached the boat and you wouldn’t know it the motor ran out of gas. What a job to get the few yards back to the boat. Made it through in started to batten down for a good blow. Had a little lightning, no thunder, a little bit of rain but lots and lots of wind. In for a rough night.

Sunday, July 10 (day 9)
Woke up this morning to a bright blue sky, and our friend, the wind. Still blowing. Had breakfast and decided to take everyone back to see the waterfalls. Sun terrifically hot. Tramped all over the falls and took a lot of pictures. Was very hot so I decided to take a shower. What a refreshing feeling. Everyone decided to get into the act so we all had a good bath. Too bad someone didn’t think to bring the soap. Scoured the rocks for stones with garnet or silver in them. Found a huge boulder with quite a silver vein running through it. Liz spent the better part of an hour trying to chip out a piece. (And gashed her wrist, leaving a scar she had her entire life.) Did pick up some beauties though.

LEFT: My Dad taking a shower with me looking on
RIGHT: My Dad and me after our showers
LEFT: Grandpa and Grandma cooling their feet in the water as Dad looks on
RIGHT: A upper blurring picture of the vein of silver my sister was determined to get a piece. All she got was a massive gash on her arm and a lifelong scar as evidence of her determination

Came back to the boat and had lunch. Everyone tried to rest a little but the waves were coming in a little bigger as the day progressed. Nick decided to try and get the anchor out a little ways and pull the bow off so we could start up the boat and try and find a smoother spot. Everything went well and we started down towards Beaverton Bay. Found a nice quiet place just around the bend where it takes a sharp curve. Anchored off some lily pads and started to fish. Fish for quite awhile and the girls and Nick were swimming. Almost decided to stop when I thought I had a snag but when it went under the boat, I knew I had a fish. Nick rush up to the bow with the net and sure enough it was a huge pike. With trying to land it and the flies biting, boy we had a time but Nick netted him just fine. We estimated that it weighed about 5 pounds.

LEFT: My Mom’s pike on the stringer in the water
RIGHT: The one that didn’t get away on the back deck of the boat
LEFT: My Mom proudly posing with her big catch
RIGHT: My big sister and me with my Mom and her pike

After that, there was a real scurry for yellow flatfish and three poles started casting off the stern. On the second cast, Nick hooked one but just as Dad (my Grandpa) was getting the net ready, it took a dive and believe it or not the snap where the hook goes broke in two and away went Nik’s pike with a lovely yellow lure lodge someplace in him. Nick decided to do some trolling so I went with him. Trolled all the way down into Beaverton Bay with only one strike. As it neared dusk, the mosquitoes took over and we were forced to make tracks for the boat, trailing a horde of hungry ones with us.

Got back in the nick of time and Mom (my Grandma) was cooking pork sausages and baked beans. While eating we heard a loud hum which we couldn’t figure out for a while. It sounded like the inside of a bee hive. Then we noticed the door and windows. Swarms of mosquitoes Chase the dirty critters half the night before we could get any sleep.

The story continues with the fourth and final installment of ‘On Board Seascape 1966‘.