We left Milford Haven, dragging a cloud of mosquitoes behind us. The day started sunny, warm, and calm, but we knew there was some rain on the way. Thessalon was about 15 miles away (2.5 hours), and we thought for sure we’d beat the rain. We were wrong.
We left the bay and set a course for Thessalon, which was pretty much a straight shot from the bay. The first hour and a half were dead calm, but the clouds kept building. One laker passed behind us, going from Bruce Mines to who knows where. The winds picked up, and waves built to about 2-3 feet. About 1/2 mile from the marina, it poured. We got soaked. We pulled into the marina about 15 minutes later, and the rain stopped. Go figure.
The marina can hold about 40 boats of varying sizes, but there were only about 5 in the marina at the time. One sailboat (besides us), 3 fishing boats, and a tour boat. The marina facilities were probably one of the nicest we’ve come early across so far. There’s a separate building adjacent to the office for boaters to use. It looked like a miniature lighthouse. Inside were showers, restrooms, a full kitchen, and a lounge area with a couple couches and chairs. There was also a TV & stereo (which weren’t hooked up). In a separate room were 2 washers & 2 dryers, which we took advantage of.
The town itself is extremely small, having only one main street about 5 blocks long. It seemed to be somewhat in decline – several boarded up buildings, some for sale, and many homes in need of repair. But there were the basic necessities: grocery, pharmacy, hardware, bank, auto parts, a couple restaurants, and, of course, the ice rink (this is Canada, after all). On the first night, the ice rink doubled as a wedding reception hall.
We ate at at one of the town restaurants (KP restaurant, ironic it had our initials Kate & Pat). Kate had roast beef and swiss with fries and (of course) gravy! It was very tasty. Pat had a peameal bacon and swiss burger with fries and (of course) gravy. We had no idea what peameal bacon was, so we asked the server, who quickly asked us “Are you Americans?”. We had to laugh, because obviously everyone but Americans knows what peameal bacon is, right? Anyway, it was a thicker slice of pickled ham, encrusted with corn meal, and fried on a grill. It didn’t taste pickled at all, just like a good slice of ham. It was quite excellent, and really made for an awesome burger. The gravy was good, too!
Our first night the winds roared. We think some of the gusts had to have been 40-50 mph. The boat was heeled (tipped slightly sideways) in the slip, and the shrouds (steel cables holding the mast up) were humming. Kate slowly encroached on my side of the bed due to the slight angle (but I didn’t mind). We stayed one more day at Thessalon, as there were severe storms predicted, but the reports were unsure of when. We decided to err on the side of caution. We watched them develop across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan, with high winds, heavy rain, and hail along the way, which confirmed we made the right decision. They rolled through here about 5:30PM.
The next few days look pretty good, so we’ll probably head east and do some anchoring between here and Little Current. So far this season, though, we’ve noticed that the weather forecasts are changing constantly from day to day. It seems they cannot even predict one or two days out. When we left Sault Ste. Marie only 2 days ago, it was supposed to be clear, warm, and sunny for a full week, but here we are, only 2 days later, hunkered in and battened down, riding out some severe storms. We’ve decided to anchor out, but also keep close to some marinas in case the weather suddenly changes.