the next morning under reasonable conditions. In between, we had a good night's sleep with the security of being tied to the leeward side of the wharf. With a small micro-cruiser one has to make a few compromises. In our case, it meant sailing with the gear filling the cabin during the day and then moving all the gear to the cockpit under the awning for the night so that we could sleep inside the tiny cabin. I compare it to camping with a floating pup tent. Standing headroom? There's not even sitting headroom. You crawl in feet first for the night, and back out headfirst in the morning, but at least there's no shortage of legroom for sleeping.
The morning of day two dawned very similar to day one. The winds were still out of the north-east and blowing strongly. A charter fisherman shared the weather forecast with us and we headed out through the narrow harbour entrance. Don wanted to be a purist and sail out, so I consented, but advised him that due to a slight twist in the channel, it would bring us nose to the wind and he would have to be fast at starting the outboard to keep us off the rocks. It did and he did! I had charted a course to take us on a tack between Timber Island and False Duck Island and then change course for a reach straight across to the harbour at Main Duck. Again, we had three to four foot waves and wore our rain gear to protect us from the spray that would occasionally be blown into the cockpit. We were able to stick to our charted course until nearing Main Duck, when we had to take a heading that paralleled the shipping lane while a west-bound freighter went by. I had Don maintain a healthy separation from the ship in anticipation of the wake. I guess the separation was sufficiently healthy, because we never did encounter the wake.
I had remembered from the previous trip to Main Duck that there is a channel marked by buoys to guide boats into the harbour entrance, and had reconfirmed their presence on the chart in advance. As we neared the island, however, as I was searching for the entrance and the buoys, I failed to notice that we were approaching the entrance parallel to the island and inshore of the buoys. When I finally spotted the buoys, I couldn't see bottom and thought that perhaps with an 18" draft, we would be able to skim over any obstructions to the channel. Carefully watching for the bottom through polarized lenses, all of a sudden I spotted rocks below and instructed Don to start the engine, while I tacked us out of there heading for sea room to take the prudent approach out around the buoys. Later, a fisherman on the island told us that we probably had about eight feet of depth there, but hey, I did not want to take chances with my newly refinished bottom. Because of the wind direction, I had planned a glorious sailing entrance into the harbour and the anchorage, but upon spotting several masts, I again asked Don to start the motor, preferring humility over anxious skippers on much bigger and more expensive yachts. While Don motored us in, I lowered sails and prepared the anchor for an uneventful stop well into the upper end of the harbour, an advantage of having a shallow draft.
I had thought we might be able to use the wharf to tie up to and save using our small vinyl inflatable dinghy, but there was a humongous beautiful motor yacht tied up there when we entered. I admit to feeling too intimidated to dock my micro-yacht so close. Besides, trying to fit both of us into the dinghy for trips ashore made for a few laughs.
Again, it was a big disappointment. I had remembered a beautiful island, almost Caribbean in appearance, with a tended lawn, clean toilets, walking trails to the lighthouse end of the island, and some cruiser camaraderie. The camaraderie was still there, but the grass had grown into hay, the toilets had been vandalized by both human and animal intruders and were even filthier than at Long Point, and the walking trails were so overgrown with poison ivy that we finally turned back. Commercial fishermen were set up with floating accommodations in the north-west corner of the harbour and recreational fishermen were setting up their tents immediately in front of the "No Camping" sign. The latter advised us that another hundred of their kind would be arriving the next day for the weekend.
With our arrival, there were about six sailing boats at anchor. Two in the over forty foot class, two in the over thirty foot class, one in the over twenty foot class, and us in the over ten foot class. Crew of one boat thought we must have had a difficult time coming across to the island, but I responded truthfully that it really wasn't all that bad. Don had enjoyed his time at the tiller over the last couple of days, but it was to be his last for that trip. In the early evening, we paddled back and forth to shore, walked a bit, visited with some of the other boaters, watched the wildlife, and watched one of the couples sail their dinghy slowly around the anchorage in the light evening breezes. Later, as it got dark, the wind switched from easterly to westerly and it blew hard all night. In the harbour, we were well protected and slept feeling very secure.
In exploring the south shoreline of the island, we had noticed an abundance of garbage just above the waterline similar to what I've seen elsewhere along the north shore of LakeOntario over the last few years. Plastic floats in from all over and is not biodegradable. Somewhere, someone is dumping all of their plastic cigar tips and tampon tubes into LakeOntario. Finding that stuff on an isolated shore is really disgusting! But, that is what we can see: what is going into the lake that we can't see?