The North Channel stars in premier cruising magazine

MANITOULIN—Nestled amidst the pages of Cruising World, North America’s premier magazine on cruising the waters of the globe, sharing space with tales of charting one’s way through the salt waters of Sydney, Australia or the south Caribbean, competing for the eye with in-depth and informative articles on refitting sailing ships or coating venerable woodwork with “a glasslike sheen” rests an article foreshadowed on the magazine’s cover with the teaser ‘Explore Huron’s North Channel.’

Written by Pixie Haughwout and Ralph Folsom, two intrepid world sailors and travel authors whose hearts and souls were captured years ago, quite by chance, by what the North Channel Marine Tourism Council’s refers to, quite rightly and hitherto unchallenged, as “The Best Freshwater Boating in the World.”

The authors of ‘Heaven on Earth,’ as the Cruising World article is entitled, are clearly captivated by both the scenery and the populace of the passage from Mackinaw to Killarney and beyond. Sprinkled amidst sparkling (literally) prose describing the pristine, clear waters of the protected channel running between Manitoulin Island and the North Shore of the Ontario mainland are references to many familiar establishments and personalities, including Shirin and Elena (Grover) at the Meldrum Bay Inn, with a shout out to their famed bumbleberry pie, Little Current’s Anchor Inn, the traditional fish and chip run to Hebert’s in Killarney and, of course, the redoubtable Roy Eaton and his VHF Cruiser’s Net broadcasts.

The authors describe in glowing terms places like the Benjamin Islands, The Pool at Baie Fine and Covered Portage Cove, revealing unashamedly and unabashedly the secrets of the North Channel with wanton abandon, lavishing prose upon the region as only people who have spent years plying those waters in a beloved 24-foot Dolphin sloop could manage.

Sprinkled liberally through the pages of the article are stunning photographs easily recognizable by most boaters in the region.

So thoroughly has this couple infiltrated the North Channel mystic that they wrote the latest edition of the late Majorie Cahn Brazer’s ‘Well-Favoured Passage: The Magic of Lake Huron’s North Channel.’ Judging by the pace and polish of the copy contained within the Cruising World magazine’s covers written by these two, this edition of the seminal 1970s classic will soon ensnare the souls of many other trailer sailors—setting the bar for any other experience of the world’s well-favoured boating waters impossibly high.

We had all better brace ourselves.

mike@manitoulin.ca