Monday, September 13, 2004

Beautiful Earth

We are back from our holiday in the North Channel. Five glorious days of water, wind, and sun.
First day, we couldn't go out in our 27' sailboat: 25 knots, gusting to 40 (that's over 80km/hr or 50 miles/hr), with over 2 meter waves. Bit much for our little craft. The next day, and all the others after, were compensation. The sky was steel-blue clear, with only a few clouds for variety. Ten to fifteen knots, half a meter to a meter waves. Perfect.

Then, a solitary anchorage, surrounded by pink granite and white pine. The water of Lake Huron is so limpid that we could see our anchor sitting on the bottom, 15 feet down.

Of all the places in the world I've visited, from Europe to South America, the Benjamin Islands is truly the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The contrasts of pink, smooth granite --sensual and calming at the same time--, blue-green water, and sky are stunning. The environment is pristine, despite the thousands of visitors every year, as if it the landscape itself prevents you from littering.

At night, an infinity of stars, the Milky Way walking over our heads. Shooting stars. Water lapping against the boat, loons calling.

We were well prepared, but our trip confirmed to us that knowledge of navigation and how to read a nautical chart is a must. The North Channel is full of rocks, reefs, and shallow bottoms, and you have to know where you're going. A GPS isn't enough. If you want to see more pictures of our trip, just go here.

Our charterer, CYC, was extremely professional. Their boats are clean, well-appointed, and in excellent --and near-perfect, for the new boats-- condition. We didn't miss even a corkscrew or a pencil. Pam and Ken and their staff go the extra mile to make your trip enjoyable and worry-free. They are located in Gore Bay, Ontario, on the North side of Manitoulin Island.

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