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Sail to Baie Fine

The weather finally clears and a stable air mass settles in, bringing days of clear sky and steady light wind. One late-morning we pack our provisions for a full-day's journal, and prepare to sail as far as we can towards Baie Fine. Well known for its spectacular scenery of tall, quartzite-rimmed cliffs guarding a narrow channel and resembling a fjord, Baie Fine is about 25 km away. This distance is too far for a single-day's sailing voyage, but the journey itself should be rewarding. One needs to head south-west from Killarney and down Lansdowne Channel, cross Frazer Bay, and round the narrow entrance by McGregor Point. This area represents the eastern tip of the famous Northern Channel, an area of sailors' watery heaven, rated by Sailing Magazine as one of the ten best sailing grounds in North America.

To reach Killarney Bay towards Lansdowne Channel, one crosses an area of submerged shoals and isolated rocks - good reasons for an operating lighthouse to be located here. Navigation buoys clearly mark the channel, but one sets course at the mercy of wind directions, and no self-respecting sailor on a shoal-draft dingy stays within a straight-line course that's marked for power boats!


Light House at Partridge Island


Lansdowne Channel is a one-km wide waterway guarded by islands on one side, and one the other side by a long finger of land known as Badgeley Point. This channel runs a distance of 14 km before one reaches Frazer Bay. Shores are mostly rocky and not good for beaching, but along the length of the Point there are  two small coves providing excellent anchorage: Portage Cove and Snug Harbour. These coves are well sheltered and are deep enough even for large keel boats, and on this July afternoon there are a dozen yachts lying peacefully at anchor. In Snag Harbour we aimed at a stretch of sandy shore too shallow for the larger boats, smartly tacked and let the bow run up the sand, the center board gently rises as it rests on the muddy bottom. Perfect place for a lunch stop. 

Snug Harbour Lunch Stop


Snug Harbour


The channel is relatively busy with boat traffic running between Killarney and the Frazer Bay. The southern breeze keeps us on a close-haul all the way with the occasional tacks, and three hours later we are almost at the end of the channel. Here lies a narrow waterway that reaches over the narrow strip of land to Frazer Bay on the other side, called Hole in the Wall. Armed with only a topological map and no charts (no need for charts, is my theory), but never ones to turn away from such a challenge, we charge up the narrow water path to investigate. One can see the sandy bottom through the clear water, no more than three feet down and barely clearing the center board, and boulders on both sides. Shortly we reach the open Frazer Bay, the tall cliffs of Killarney Ridge in the distance. Here is a shot showing our passage through the Hole, in the center of this picture, between two imposing rock cliffs:

Hole in the Wall


Entering Frazer Bay


By then it is well past 4:00PM, and allowing for the two-hour trip back (assuming there is wind), it is time to turn around for the return journey. Sailing on a run with a gently breeze behind us, we retrace the course back to Killarney. Within an hour the wind dies to a whisper, and power boats and sailboats on power keep overtaking us and leaving us bouncing in their wakes. We logged a total sailing distance of about 30 km this day, the longest distance we have ever sailed yet. Back at the campsite, another beautiful sunset awaits us.

Sunset at Camp




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