SSM to Hilton Beach, ON

You never know…

You never know what you are going to see on the water.

Before leaving Sault Ste Marie, we carefully review the Marine Traffic App to see if there were any big ships heading up or down the channel we would be on. Nothing. Yay! That is really good luck.

We were not a mile down the river when…it looked like a ship was coming toward us. What? How did we miss that? We checked the app again. Still nothing, but it was definitely a ship and it was coming towards us.

Turns out it was a Canadian Coast Guard boat. Apparently they don’t have to publicize their location, because it didn’t show up on any AIS app or chartplotter until it was quite near.

We moved over to the edge of the channel to give him plenty of room.

A few miles later, we could see something in the channel in front of us. We both looked through our binoculars but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Was it a navigational buoy or lighthouse? Was it a submarine top? It wasn’t shaped like any boat we could imagine and it was clearly between the red and green buoys. There shouldn’t be a rock right there without some kind of marking.

We determined it was moving away from us. When we got closer and passed him, we still weren’t sure what it was, but best guess is that it was someone moving a couple pieces of a dock from one place to another. He was driving a dock. We slowed down for him and waved.

Navigational challenges

Our first few miles were in a shipping channel that was dredged and had large ATONS (aids to navigation) throughout. The main concern was meeting a large ship.

After that we turned off the main channel and encountered a different set of challenges. This area is full of low lying or barely submerged ROCKS and you have to be very careful to follow the marked channels.

We both had our binoculars out and were alternating keeping a close eye on the buoys and a close eye on the Navionics chart which showed us what our route ahead looked like.

Low lying rocks. Their cousins might be just under the surface.
These two towers are called “ranges”. You line up the red lines and follow that heading…in this case under a bridge and then almost right up to the rock cliff. You pass between the land and the green buoy to the right.

We made it safely through the narrow channels and are tied up at a marina called Hilton Beach.

We met another Looper couple here and had lunch with them at the “Tiltin’ Hilton” restaurant.

Chris and Kim from Pura Vida II

One Reply to “SSM to Hilton Beach, ON”

  1. Love this Brenda and Lance! It is so interesting, particularly all the navigational intricacies. I love the “ranges”,I didn’t know about those😁 Love you❤️

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