Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail
away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
Here are a few time lapse video's to remind our viewers how spectacular Georgian Bay night skies can be:
Here are some favourite anchorages. They are listed in three categories - GEORGIAN BAY SOUTH, 30,000 ISLANDS & NORTH CHANNEL. In these categories the anchorages are shown alphabetically. Each has its own unique attributes and charm. All are considered reasonably sheltered. Obviously Georgian Bay has hundreds of other suitable anchorages and many of these are no doubt some cruisers favourite anchorage and missing from our list. They all have their unique charm and attributes.
If you would like to share your favourite anchorage with the boating community ... please send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. We know you all have at least one secret anchorage that is exceptional ... so be nice and share.
GEORGIAN BAY SOUTH
Beckwith Island and the attached Little Beckwith are owned by Beausoleil First Nations. There is no development on the islands There are two anchorages on the north and south sides of the islands where the narrows of the two islands meet. Sand beaches are at both anchorages. You choose your anchorage according to the wind conditions. There is reasonable protection from the east and west. With winds from a southern quadrant, you anchor on the north side ... and vice versa. Good holding sand bottom and clear blue waters. You can go ashore but must pay an honour fee at landing to the First Nations.
Click here to watch Beckwith Island video
Tobermory - Big Tub Harbour
Located close to the village of Tobermory, about halfway down Big Tub Harbour and across from Big Tub Harbour Resort. Offering forty feet of water with mud bottom, the anchorage is not far from the Enterprise shipwreck at the foot of the harbour, so bring your snorkel gear. Dive boats go in and out of the harbour so it can get busy with a bit of chop but the harbour is well sheltered from Mother Nature.
Click here to watch Big Tub Harbour video
Wingfield Basin anchorage is on the northeast corner of the Bruce Peninsula, which is also a Provincial Nature Reserve and very close to Canada's Bruce Peninsula National Park just west of the Reserve. It is also known as the Cabot Head where there is a large lighthouse (Cabot Head Lighthouse) which is also a museum open during the summer months for visitors to tour and enjoy. This anchorage is a natural basin providing excellent protection for winds and waves from any direction. It is well marked with red lit range markers, and three sets of red and green buoys. The depths entering with current Georgian Bay water levels is 12 feet minimum. The rocky bottom entrance was dredged in the 1890's to allow larger vessels to enter this natural harbour. The author has entered this anchorage, in the past, at night in a major storm and had little difficulty navigating into the anchorage. The anchorage itself has a very good holding with a mud and clay bottom and between 8 and 12 feet of water throughout the basin. The best spots to anchor are to the west side of the anchorage as one enters the basin - do not venture towards the east side of the basin as that is too shallow for anchoring, but fine to go by dinghy.
The location of this anchorage provides an excellent refuge in heavy weather for boaters travelling from Southern Georgian Bay and headed to Lake Huron or the North Channel. There is an old wooden steamer called the “Gargantua” that is sunk and tucked away in the northwest corner of the basin. Some boats in the anchorage will actually raft (tie up) to the “Gargantua” on its south side. In the Basin, there is the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory that does have open house tours at varying times of the season.
Bad River - Devils Door Rapids
It's not really a bad river and it is many cruisers favourite anchorage. Turn off for the Bad River is past Bustard Islands Harbour. Carefully follow the channel up to the basin just southeast of the rapids. The bottom is silt and weed and the water is warm. There are pink granite cliffs and the bluffs offer great views and plenty of exploration. There is room for about 30 boats in this anchorage.
Click here to watch Bad River video
Beausoleil Island - Frying Pan Bay
Part of Georgian Bay Islands National Park this bay offers a completely sheltered anchorage. It is a popular anchorage with the Honey Harbour boaters. Located on the northern side of the island, Frying Pan Bay has a good clay bottom and can accommodate ten boats at anchor and a half dozen boats on two Park owned docks. There are some Park facilities on shore.
Click here to watch Frying Pan Bay video
Beausoleil Island - Ojibway Bay
Another totally protected harbour with anchorage for ten boats and docking for eight boats. Ojibway Bay is in Beausoleil Bay right beside Chimney Bay on the south side of the northern hook of the island.
Bone Island Area - Hockey Stick Bay
Named because of it's hockey stick shape this is a great anchorage although it can be crowded on summer weekends. There are several anchorages locations along the Bay on the way in that are well sheltered but the preferred anchorage is right at the end of the Bay where there is good anchoring in 12 feet of water. In this anchorage there is enough room for up to a dozen boats - more if some stern tie to the rock shore. It is a totally protected anchorage and very scenic. This used to be private land but it is now designated a National Park - and no camp fires or camping on shore. There are a few trails that lead across to other anchorages on the north side of the island. Stay in the middle when entering the base of the Bay and once your inside the main anchorage favor the Port side as there is a weedy shelf on the Starboard side of the anchorage. Great swimming as the water really warms up in the little harbour.
Click here to watch Hockey Stick Bay video
Bowes Island - Twelve Mile Bay Area
Follow the channel around O'Donnell Point and west of Bowes Island (C152, C153, C154) and head up Twelve Mile Bay staying close to Bowes Island.. Adjacent to the Georgian Bay Islands National Parks land (past the east end of Bowes Island) - cross the bay to the north side and post a watch as you enter east of the unnamed island and the mainland. There are shoals on the south and east side of this unnamed island. There is about 15' of water through this cut and once inside the bay about 20' with clay/sand holding with many anchorage locations to choose from. Watch the edges of the bay for shallow water.
North west of Beausoleil Island and right across the main channel from Hockey Stick Bay is Brown Bay. Right at the end of the anchorage there is a little hurricane hole which will hold two boats in 12 feet of water. The bigger part of the Bay also has great anchoring however there are two private cottages in the Bay so avoid anchoring in front of them. There are also a couple of power cables underwater near the end of the Bay so watch where you drop the hook. This surround is private land so don't go ashore. This is a somewhat quieter anchorage than hockey stick on most weekends and perhaps a little less sheltered in an east blow but a very pretty anchorage. Note if you are anchoring near the beginning of the Bay - just off of the main channel the water can be 50 feet plus so use lots of chain to set yourself in for the night.
Click here to watch Brown Bay video
Gibson River - Bone Island Area
From the main Muskoka Landing Channel exit the main channel east of buoy C102 and head up between Starr's Island and Dinnicks Island and then heading north of Wigwam and Webber Island passing through the cut between Bone Island and Webber Island and continue past Cook Island on your port and then stay east of the small unnamed island (which the 79 50' longitude line runs right through it) and while posting a lookout for rocks you can anchor anywhere to the northwest in the bay towards the Gibson River.
Gilman Island - Moon River Area
Gilman Bay anchorage is part of the Massassauga Provincial Park. Leave the main small craft channel at mile 40 (you'll see Henry's to the north west) and cruise towards Hewson Island. Stay east of Crooked Island and pass the twin day markers at Fry & Dudgeon Points. Watch for rocks off of Flint Island and head into Gilman Bay. The island in the bay is private.
Click here to watch Moon River Area video
Weber Island is south of Bone Island. Locate the harbour on the south side of Weber. Mostly private undeveloped land inside the harbour with room for over twenty boats.
Hope Island is uninhabited and is part of Beausoleil First Nations. It has a beautiful hard pack sand beach on the south end and it is protected on both ends by land spits curving to the south. The water is Caribbean like clear blue with sand bottom clay base offering excellent holding. The anchorage is large and can handle many boats swinging. You can anchor well out off the beach and the water is still relatively shallow. It offers good protection from north, east and west winds but watch out for wind shifts from any of the southern quadrants.
Click here to watch Hope Island video
Located as part of Kilbear Park, Kilcoursie features a long sand beach and high rock shore. A great place for sunsets and an onshore Park interpretive centre.
Head up the Musquash Channel past Browns & Hockey Stick Bay and west at Longuissa Point down Longuissa Bay. Just inside of the bay lies the Wales tug wreck in fifteen feet of water. Follow the centre of the bay staying west of the un-named island and continue to the foot of the bay where you can anchor in seven to thirteen feet of water or in a pocket off the small island on the north side of the island at near the end of the bay in six feet of water. Watch the edges of the bay which are shallow.
Click here to watch Longuissa Bay video
Lost Bay - Beausoleil Island
Right on the north west corner of Beausoleil Island lies Lost Bay. Heading up the west side of Beausoleil stay west of buoy M9 & MH2 rounding the Osprey Bank and head for the day marker on the west point of the island. Post a lookout and pass the small island on your starboard and then turn east into Lost Bay staying in the centre to avoid the sets of old wood cribs in front of the cottage to your port side. The Bay is sheltered and provides good holding. There are places to go ashore that are part of the Park but avoid the private land on the north side of the harbour.
Click here to watch Beausoleil Island video
Port Rawson Bay - Moon River Area
Port Rawson Bay is part of Massassauga Provincial Park. Follow the same directions as Gilman Island staying east of Crooked Island past the twin day markers at Fry & Dungeon Points and Round Burgess Point and head along the north side of Keele Island into Port Rawson Bay. The Bay is a huge anchorage and pick a location anywhere in the Bay based on wind. Overall it is very sheltered and the bottom is clay sand with excellent holding. There are places you can tie to shore and a landing with trail. This basin is picturesque and surrounded by fairly high rock. From this anchorage (if your dingy does planning speed) you can backtrack a bit and navigate up to the beautiful Moon River Falls for some pictures. When you get close to the Falls walk your dingy in and beach it on flat rock and take a short hike up to the Falls. This trip from the anchorage to Moon River is about forty five minutes each way and it is a maze so take your charts. There is one marina along the route where you can gas up if needed.
Click here to watch Port Rawson video
Click here to watch Moon River Area video
Shawanagon Island - Hopewell Bay
North of Parry Sound above Franklin just off the Small Craft Route in Shaanaga Inlet enter Hopewell Bay south of Grove Island and Hopewell Island. Go right to the base of the Bay and watch for rocks on the way in.
Click here to watch Hopewell Bay video
Just off the Whalesback Channel and just north of John Island lies Beardrop Harbour. It is open and expansive with great views from shore. It has a lot of bio diversity with rocky outcrops, miniature bogs, dwarf junipers, and large exposed rock faces. The land is owned by the Serpent First Nations. It is your classic bare rock and windswept pine painting. Islands provide a natural protective break wall. Anchor at the east or west side of the main island that protects the harbour. There is lots of anchorage space and you can hike this island.
Bell Cove is on the north side of Great La Cloche Island behind Neptune Island. It is a large deepwater anchorage with lots of room. Great La Cloche is a private island but the land on Neptune is undeveloped and you are best to anchor near Neptune Island. There is good wind protection from everywhere except some minor east exposure.
World famous and offering classic North Channel topography. Named in Cruising World Magazine as one of the top ten anchorages in the world! This is no small feat when you start considering the Bahamas (think Abaco's Hopetown, Little Harbour), Eastern Caribbean (think Nelsons Dockyard), Belize (think San Pedro area around the barrier reef) and the Greek Isles. Located between Gore Bay and Little Current the Benjamins include many anchorages at the North & South Benjamin (plus Sow & Pigs and The Boar islands are skirting the Benjamins). Between North & South Benjamin on the east side is a large bay with sloped granite hills that holds fifty boats. There is another major anchorage mid way of South Benjamin on the east side. And there are many smaller anchorages everywhere. Winds from the eastern quadrant can be a problem for the two big harbours so you need to tuck yourself in (if there's room) according to expected wind conditions. The bottom has good holding though. This is a must stop for North Channel cruisers.
Click here to watch Benjamin Islands video
Located at the east end of Fraser Bay it is not totally protected so duck in behind the island as much as possible. Steep white quartz and deep water to anchor.
Covered Portage Cove
Close to Killarney ... Covered Portage Cove is another all time favourite of many cruisers and the cove is completely surrounded by bluffs. There are some amazing all quartz rock faces. Hike up the highest bluff and overlook the harbour and see all the way out to Fraser Bay. You can anchor bow stern to shore or Bahama anchor in the cove. Room for about thirty boats with good holding.
Click here to watch Covered Portage Cove video
Heywood Island - Browning Cove
On the north side of Heywood Island sheltered by Browning Island lies Browning Cove. The cove has room for lots of boats. The area is not mountainous or as rugged as you might expect for the area but what is does have is lots of wildlife observation and it is known for its diversity of bird species. There are areas you can tie to the shore and there is also a sand beach.
On your way up Baie Fine as you pass along Fraser Point you will come to Marianne Cove or as some call it Mary Ann Cove. The Cove sits behind an island on your starboard side as you head up Baie Fine. It is about 20 miles shy of The Pool. There are a couple of small cabins on the island and the chart shows 10' but there is really 25' on most places. The water is clear and gray blue. It is said that the 185' Mizpah owned by Commander Eugene McDonald (founder of Zenith radio) used the harbour in regular summer visits in the 1930's and it is named after his daughter. There is a remaining large steel mooring buoy. After an interesting history, stretching from Georgian Bay to South America, the industrialists boat was finally sunk as an artificial reef off of Florida. View the video here
North of Killarney off Fraser Bay at the foot of the Baie Fine fiord lies the holy grail of anchorages know as The Pool. Now there are many nice anchorages along Baie Fine as you make your way into the Pool. These are very good anchorages with better swimming but, The Pool is like its own brand, and everyone must visit The Pool. With the La Cloche Mountain Range running south of the fiord and the Blue Ridge South Range guarding the north it is a spectacular area to visit. The Pool is an anchorage right at the very end of Baie Fine with a weedy muddy bottom. The weeds grow almost to the top of the water. The water is warm and little fish will swim right up to your swim platform begging for food. The area is part of Killarney Provincial Park wilderness area. The location is beautifully scenic and one you won't want to miss. There are spectacular views overlooking The Pool and everyone but everyone wants a picture of their boat in The Pool, shot from the mountains above the harbour. You can hike up the Artist Trail to Topaz Lake and go for a swim or cliff dive in this warm topaz coloured lake nestled in the mountain. There is bow to shore mooring and swing anchoring in the harbour. Holding is great once you are set (albeit muddy bringing up the anchor) and the area is as sheltered as shelter can be ... for a boat.
Click here to watch The Pool video
Georgian Bay Boaters and Cottagers Code
- Respect private property. Absolutely do not go ashore without permission if land is posted or has a cottage or building on the site. If you are a landowner, you are encouraged to post your property. Property owners should be polite and reasonable in asking trespassers to leave their property. Trespassers should comply promptly with a request to leave private property.
- Anchoring near cottages. All stakeholders are entitled to maximum privacy. Anchor and camp out of sight of cottages whenever possible. While cottagers don't own the water, they cannot move their cottage the same way that a boat can be moved. Conversely many bays have traditionally been used as anchorages.
- Anchoring locations. Occasionally it may be necessary to anchor close to a cottage for safety reasons. This may be due to wind, water depth or other safety concern. When this occurs, boaters and cottagers should engage in open and friendly communication. If you have anchored close to a cottage because of an emergency or safety reason, explain your situation to the affected cottagers as soon as possible. If cottagers are unhappy about proximity, let the boater know that you are the owner of the adjacent land and would appreciate a little more space. Suggest an alternative anchorage that would be more suitable for both parties.
- Going ashore on crown land. Always leave with everything that you brought ashore. This includes refuse. It also includes dog feces where reasonably possible.
- Fires on crown land. When going ashore for a picnic, always abide by fire safety rules including temporary fire bans. Some sites are posted for "No Camp Fires". In such areas, the best alternative is a cooking stove. If you must have a fire and you are in an area where fires are allowed, attempt to use safe public fireplaces and be sensitive to overuse of "deadfall" which upsets the ecological balance of the site. It's best if you bring your own fire wood. Always drown your fire before leaving.
- Minimizing noise from vessels or cottage. We are all entitled to quiet enjoyment of the water and shore. This applies especially during the evenings. Keep noise to a reasonable level. Use of PWC's is a growing concern. Use of these or other noisy craft should be limited out of respect for both people and the environment Use of un-muffled exhausts is prohibited by law within 5 miles of shore.
- No wake in anchorages. All boaters should make no wake in bays where boats are anchored. Beware of anchor lines, swimmers and small watercraft.
- Responsibility for wake impacts. All boaters must be aware of the impact of their wake and abide by speed limits. Minimize your wake in narrow channels, near cottage docks and in government posted speed zones. All boats should minimize wake for small runabouts, kayaks and small sail craft whenever possible.
- Respect the difficulty of maneuvering larger vessels. Smaller craft should maintain a reasonable distance from larger cruising yachts. Larger craft need longer to respond and can't see smaller craft close to them. Please refrain from recreational activity such as tubing, fishing, windsurfing and swimming in major boat channels.
- Gray and black water. We all have equal right to enjoy the water and responsibility to keep it clean. Polluting the water with unlawful black water and other discharges is a crime. We can all go further by using environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products, refraining from bathing in the lake, ensuring septic systems are operating within code and limiting gray water discharge in enclosed/confined bays to the extent possible.
**Pictures on this page do not represent specific anchorages but rather Georgian Bay & North Channel examples in general.