6/26/17 – 6/27/17: Because of the constant inclement weather so far in our trip, we’ve been spending many more days hunkered down in marinas than we’ve intended. Needless to say, we were eager to make a little more forward progress. Our next stop was Kincardine, about 25 miles south. We saw a small break in the weather early one morning, and made a break for it. When we arrived at Kincardine, we were happily surprised at the quaint town.
The weather window was small, only a few hours, and about an hour from Kincardine the waves built until they reached about 3 feet. The entry to the marina put the waves at our stern, which caused our boat to veer from port to starboard. The entrance to the marina was narrow, and we had to maneuver between two concrete breakwalls. With the stern of our boat being tossed around, it was a hair raising experience entering, as our bow would point directly at one breakwall, then the next wave instantly pointed it at the other. It took a lot of concentration to insure we kept lined up!
Once in the marina, we met the most helpful staff so far on our journey. Not only did they meet us at the fuel dock and help us to our assigned slip, they also gave us information about the town, the trail system, and other things to do. While we waited we witnessed them do the same for other marina patrons, even going g so far as to be an extra hand on their boats to maneuver into their slips. They were also very visible around the marina, tidying things up, painting, cleaning, etc… When they saw us they always side hello and asked if there was a thing we needed.
The town is steeped in Scottish heritage, and many traditions are still carried out to this day. Every Saturday there is a scottish pipe band that marched down main street, all wearing kilts and playing bagpipes, drums, etc… As they would pass, crowds of people would follow them down the street, ending in the park. While we weren’t there on a weekend to personally witness it, the barber who cut Pat’s hair showed us a video he had made of the event. It was very touching to see a town come together like that every week celebrating their heritage.
Also, on many summer evenings in July and August at sunset, a lone bagpiper plays a lament from atop The lighthouse in the harbor. The story of “The Phantom Piper” dates from 1856, and is about a family who sailed from Goderich to Kincardine and almost lost their way (and possibly their lives). There is a plaque at the lighthouse with the full story, which we cannot reproduce here due to copyright restrictions, but you can read the full story here: Phatntom Piper Story
The town itself was small, only about 7 or 8 blocks long, but had had lots of restaurants, shops, and services available (including a Tim Horton’s at one end of town and a DQ at the other! You get to work off the calories just walking between the two!). Everyone we talked to was extremely friendly, including the guy who stopped us in the street and asked us when Lou had died (side note: Lou owned one of the most popular restaurants in town and had recently died while on vacation with his wife, celebrating their anniversary)
Right next to the marina was an amazing beach and boardwalk that stretched for about a mile and then continued as a trail along the lakefront. The boardwalk was lined with numerous memory gardens, each distinctly different and all beautifully landscaped and maintained. There were benches all along to relax while overlooking the lake, as well as gazebos, deck areas, and overlooks. It was very relaxing, and a great way to spend the afternoon.
We enjoyed our stay at Kincardine, even though we had only planned it as an overnighter. We are glad the winds were too high to sail or we would have missed experiencing one of the more interesting towns we’ve been to so far.
Pics of Kincardine
Video of Lake Huron Waves
These are not the largest waves we’ve seen on our journey, but gives a pretty good idea of what we’ve seen, on average.