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Main Duck Island

Canadian Hydrographic Charts 2064, 14802

Lake Ontario Canadian shore Wolf Island to Long Point

Main DuckIsland 43° 57' :N 76°36' :W
Main Duck Island Morning

Main Duck Island in the early morning is beautiful and remote, a far cry from the mainland marinas and crowds. The policy of taking your own garbage home says it all. It is above all, worth a visit and one on my favorite islands. There is solitude which can be found here.

Protected from the less capable boats and adventurous crew it has fallen on hard times over the course of government cutbacks.

in this area

Pigon Island

Offshore dangers South West of Wolfe Island to Main Duck Island include Pigeon Island, which is a low lying clump of barely awash rock waiting for the unwary mariner. The island is marked with a skeletal light structure which is visible from a good distance.

Further to the east is South Charity Shoal with its light buoy. South Charity Shoal is an isolated shoal with a depth of 24' located 4.7 miles SSW of Pigeon Island 0.6 miles west of the International boundary. M7 (442.5)

Main Duck Island is 11.7 miles SSW of Wolfe Island and 9.6 miles east of Long Point. Main Duck is the largest of the Duck's. It is different from any other port on Lake Ontario and is the only shelter on the entire lake away from civilization.

Main Duck Lighthouse

On the north and NE sides Limestone cliffs, 30 feet high mark the north -most edge of the island. To the north western corner the cliffs dwindle and you will see the lighthouse and light keepers cottage.

The west shore is largely a rocky beach which is a short walk from the inner portion of schoolhouse bay. There is however no protection and it is not a place to anchor as it is fully exposed. On the other hand larger cruising vessels with adequate anchor systems often tuck in here to avoid the prevailing winds and time consuming process of running the cut to Schoolhouse Bay.

Schoolhouse Bay

Schoolhouse Bay is secure and sheltered. Depths will vary becoming more shallow as you proceed inwards. The entrance is via a narrow channel marked with a range which you should use as the sides of this channel rise almost vertically, so much so that you can watch the shallows fall off to the black within feet of your hull as you enter.

It is critical that you do not try to enter the bay on the north side of the small island. You MUST enter via the channel on the South side on the exact bearing of 232 ° and between the channel markers.

Main Duck Island range and channel markers

The public wharf is on the east side of Schoolhouse Bay with 2 to 3 feet of water and room for a half dozen rafted dinghy or shallower draft boats.

Main Duck Island public dock

Anchoring: Conditions vary from soft and muddy to weedy and the wind can at times blow hard. Make sure your anchor is well set and you have adequate swing room. You may require a second hook if the bay is filling up with other boats to reduce your swing. You will need your depth sounder to pick your way in and might consider a trip line on your anchor for weeds and to mark its location for others.

Main Duck Island Schoolhouse Bay Anchoring

The island itself has an interesting history and was once known as the graveyard before the lighthouse was built. The old icehouse stands guard at the entrance to Schoolhouse Bay with a tattered flag flying proudly. (see above pict)

The area still has outhouses ashore, but no garbage pick up or potable water. The old building now lies vacant and abandoned close east of the dock.

Main Duck Island

If you are cramped from the long sail there is a path which leads to the west side of the island with its rocky beach. An interesting place for a stroll along the beach climbing over the occasional tree which sticks out from the shoreline civilization is far away.

This side of the island shows the unique geological structure of the island as you can wade out in a few feet of water and examine the huge slabs of rock which display the cracks and shelves as they were eroded away over the past millinmum.

Main Duck

This side of the island shows the unique geological structure of the island as you can wade out in a few feet of water and examine the huge slabs of rock which display the cracks and shelves as they were eroded away over the past millinmum.

If you venture interior of the island it is a place where you should know what you are doing off the beaten track. The center part is largely made up of low bush and high grass which conceal unnerving soft spots for the unwary hiker. Within a few feet of leaving the beach your way will become clogged by dense brush which clings to your shoes and wraps itself around your legs.

Main Duck Island western beach rock formation

If you are CAREFUL, remembering that this is a sanctuary for birds and other creatures like its snakes there is a landlocked pond to the norht of Schoolhouse bay where you can watch the cranes in peace.

Yorkshire Island is .3 miles east of Main Duck. Yorkshire Island is low and wooded with a very shallow stretch of water separating it from Main Duck Island its self. The fishing is good around the islands when weather permits.

Carp beaching itself in Schoolhouse Bay on Main Duck Isand

Enjoy your stay here and always remember you are essential for keeping this remote place pristine. In August of 2000 we observed the strangest ecological mystery all over the eastern part of Lake Ontario with countless dead carp floating in the water.

Here on Main Duck Island we witnessed perhaps the stranger event of all when a large carp began thrashing in the shallow water near the dock eventually beaching itself. We managed to get it back in deep with a boat hook, however the more important questions what is driving the fish crazy. Is sit the small waterborne parasites or something more sinister and a litmus test for our handling of our environment.

Main Duck Island History

Point Traverse and the Ducks are one of the remotest parts of Lake Ontario and for many years lived at a speed unhurried by urban sensibilities. The rich land and water provided the residents a good life. There were lumber barrons and rum runners, with a strong government enforcment contingment. No local history story could be complete without the tales of these entrapuners and their exploits.

This information is not for navigation, always use official Hydrographic Charts

Amherst IslI Adolophs ReachI BathI Pryners CoveI Waupoos IslandI Prince Edward Bay
Kingston to Long PointI Long Point to Scotch BonnetI Wellington I Presqu'ile Bay

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