Big Current

Glenda mentioned in her post how we’re spending an extra night in Little Big Current. It’s still blowing 30 knots or more this evening, and even if we wanted to brave the wind, the namesake current prevents us from leaving. It’s a bit reminiscent of our experiences cruising on the west coast, where the tides create strong currents that ebb and flow around the archipelago of BC islands. The big difference however, is that while those are completely predictable in their timing, direction, and strength, here the currents depend on the weather.

How is it possible have strong currents on a lake? When we arrived here in Little Current, the water was flowing from the east to west under the swing bridge. I actually found it a bit tricky holding our position in the channel while we waited for the bridge to open. The name “Little Current”, dates back to the days of the Voyageurs who recognized the effect; the main fur trade route west passed right through here. Southerly winds were blowing through most of yesterday on Georgian Bay, and that pushes water up towards to the north end of the bay, and through the small gap between Manitoulin Island and the mainland. Most days, it’s just a “Little Current” of a knot or two, as it was when we arrived.

Starting later yesterday (once we were at the dock), however, the winds shifted to the west, and it’s been a blow… 30 knots or more most of today, and that has been pushing the waters of the North Channel to the east and through under the bridge here. Since this morning, the current has been flowing past the end of the docks at 4 knots or more. Flat out, our engine moves our boat at maybe 7 knots. Straight into 30 knots or more we’d be a lot slower, and against 4 knots of more current we might very well be going backwards (dangerously, given the narrow channel and bridge we can’t fit under). An extra night at the dock seems like a good deal by comparison!

So, we wait… worked on the autopilot, fixed the hand pump in the galley, tracked down some more propane for the barbeque, and plan ahead for tomorrow.