Sailing Lake Huron Shoreline Part 2 

Sailing Lake Huron Shoreline Part 2 takes us through the most treacherous part of our voyage and also a most interesting part as we visit some unique islands.

The last leg of the journey may be the most difficult and dangerous of their voyage. After passing Deadman Point, our next stop is Johnston Harbour. This is a deep inlet which provides shelter from the winds that sweep across the lake. Johnston Harbour originated as a lumbering staging point where hookers loaded timber from the nearby forests and headed to markets in southern Ontario, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. Now it is a summer retreat, for cottagers wishing to enjoy the many scenic wonders of the Saugeen/Bruce Peninsula. 

Passing Little Eagle Harbour and Dorcas Bay, we head to Eagle Harbour. Following Commodore Wakefield's suggestion, we approach the harbour in clear weather with the sun to our back in order that we may find the "glacial groove" which lies about midway between Warner and Pendall Points. Carefully crossing the reef, we are once again in deep water and head into the harbour. 

Continuing our voyage, we head to another glacial groove, Baptist Harbour. It is well protected in all directions, except from the southwest. From Baptist Island to Cape Hurd, we must be extremely careful. The shoreline is etched with several shallow inlets and our passage will necessitate watching the depth of the water carefully. 

From Cape Hurd onward, there will be many reminders of the dangerous stretch of water we are traversing. China Cove, Wreck Point and, off in the distance, Devil's Island, offer up tales of shipping tragedies of the past. 

Tobermory is not far off. However, we are going to make a short but worthy side-trip. We swing away from the coastline and head in a northerly direction. Our destination is one of the most beautiful and tranquil spots that I have ever visited. We are heading to Cove Island. 

As Cove Island appears on the horizon, almost the first thing we see is the lighthouse. I have often thought of a favorite book of my youth, Robinson Crusoe, and considered how wonderful it would be to be stranded for a time on this wonderful island. 

Alas, it is time to conclude our adventure. We board our vessel and head to Tobermory and our comrades. As we sail along, I watch for Bear’s Rump Island and Flowerpot Island. We will make a short detour around Flowerpot to look at the majestic flowerpots, a testimony to nature's handiwork. Sailing by the island, I think of the native legends about the island and native "Romeo and Juliet" who may have spent their last days on Flowerpot Island. 

Sailing into Tobermory, we have reached our destination. Tobermory is the summer home of thousands of tourists each summer. Some come to dive among the shipwrecks, others come for scenery, while still others wait for the Chi Cheemaun to take them to Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron. 

Tobermory originated as a fishing village. Owen Sound newspapers in the 1850s report visitations to that settlement of fishermen from “Tupper Murray” to sell fish and to buy supplies for the winter. Fishing is still an active commercial enterprise in the area and the only fitting way to end our voyage is to enjoy fish fry with fresh whitefish. 

A version of this story originally appeared in my Local History column in the Owen Sound Sun Times on August 10, 1996.

More Georgian Bay Sailing Stories

Recreational Boating on Georgian Bay  There is a long tradition of recreational boating on Georgian Bay. Reports indicate that regattas were being held at Owen Sound as early as 1852.

Great Lakes Recreational Boating  Great Lakes recreational boating has been a popular pastime in the summertime in the Georgian Bay region for many years.

Yachts on Georgian Bay  A history of yachts on Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay Ferry Boat Service between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island has a history that is more than a century old. Today, the Chi-Cheemaun continues that tradition.

Ferry boat service after 1930 increased in activity between Tobermory at tip of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island

1867 Election Meant Sailing to the Soo. There was only one polling station in the Georgian Bay region in the first election after Canadian Confederation and that was in Sault Ste. Marie!

A Flowerpot Island boat trip takes you to one of the many Georgian Bay islands  dot the landscape of the waters around Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. One island features not only unique landforms and vegetation, but also a mysterious indigenous Romeo and Juliet tale of romance.

Georgian Bay's 1st Pioneer Settler In 1825 or 1826, depending upon the source, a lonely figure in a birch bark canoe could be seen paddling the waters of Georgian Bay. 

Chicora the first stage of an 1871 Great Lakes tour aboard a cruise ship on Georgian Bay.

Chicora the final stage of an 1871 cruise a foggy voyage on the Great Lakes.

Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park  Historic Vacations: King's Royal Park, opulent adventures for the wealthy of the day. It was the late 19th century and tourism was beginning to bloom.

Sailing the Lake Huron Shoreline is a step back in history and a delightfully scenic trip. But beware of the big waves that can arise anytime!

Sailing Lake Huron Shoreline Part 2 takes us through the most treacherous part of our voyage and also a most interesting part as we visit some unique islands.

Georgian Bay Sailing Georgian Bay Sailing history is a rich tapestry of tales of heroism, tragedy, and exploration. Sailing vessels traversing the rugged waters of Georgian Bay predate the arrival of European explorers and settlers.


  1. History Articles
  2. Georgian Bay Sailing
  3. Sailing Lake Huron Shoreline Part 2