Down bound for Port Severn. Big Chute is 8 miles from Port Severn. Here the waterway runs through heavily wooded country in a generally north western direction.
Down bound vessels this is an exercise in boat control, as there is a strong current in sections.
The main channel follows a gentle curve as you depart the docks on the down bound course toward Horseshoe Island. As you leave the Big Chute docking area you will be looking to pick out S95 a black day marker located on Horseshoe Island. For the first time captain it is a good idea to try to focus as there is some helm work required shortly. The water moves very quickly in places here and captains of down bound vessels require extra care.
Once you round the tip of Horseshoe Island you want to begin to plan your entry into Little chute. It is important to note that once you are in the channel there is very little room, and picking a safe time to transit the short section is critical. If you swing wide as you approach the chute you have a bit of extra time to choose your timing.
At the downstream end of Little Chute there is a very beat up dock and picnic table if you feel so inclined.
The channel takes another sharp bend below Little chute headed downstream for Gloucester Pool. North from S83 you enter Gloucester Passage which continues west for just under a mile passing R S80 R S78 on the south shore. This bring us to Gloucester Pool.Gloucester Pool which is just a bit over a mile from Big Chute. The lake is 1.3 miles in width and roughly 5 miles in length. The lake has many islands and shoals with the west and northern sections being more suitable for cruising.
If you wish to explore the lake rather than make a direct transit there are alternative channels which begin in the vicinity of the S78 Various channels branch off here to head toward Little Go Home Bay , Whites Bay while the main channel now turns quite sharply west passing on the inside of Wigwam Island.
Gloucester Pool is a popular cruising area and deserves a look. If you wish to follow the eastern section Gloucester Pool containing Buena Vista Point, Lilly Pad Bay, Little Go Home Bay, Whites Bay continue here. We will begin by working counter clockwise along the shoreline.
The closest facility to Gloucester Passage is O'Hare Point Marine Park (705) 756 2284 which is located on the north east shore of Gloucester Pool. The marina is well signed and you will spot it easily. There are shoals on the approach so use CAUTION and follow the yellow banded channel markers to the dock watching for the rock on the north side of the bay.
The facility is dedicated to transient visitors with slips for 25 boats with a few spots capable of 48 feet and 5' of draft. However the fishing or small boat basin is much better protected. is There is also campground a bakery and an antique outboard exhibit at the marina.
North from O'Hare Bay, close to the eastern shoreline is Marie Island which has a picnic table. On approach remember there is are shoals between the island and the mainland along with overhead cables running to the island.
Whites Bay is in the north part of the lake and has no obstructions as you approach from the west around Basswood Point to Pickerel Point or if you are in channel near Marie Island to Pickerel Point. Pickerel Point extends eastward creating the sheltered bay.
As you enter the bay Whites Point lies to the east and Pickerel Point to the south. Half way along the east shore of the bay is White Falls Marina (705) 756 2525 and can be identified by its Petro Canada sign dockside, monitors VHF 68. The marina has 100 slips of which 10 are kept for transient use.
Service facilities include life out via hyd. trailer for power vessels of up to 45' in length along with general minor repairs. The marina operates a water taxi service to surrounding cottages or local tours. There is a convince store that sells basics and fishing supplies along with boat and motor rental. They have gas and diesel fuel available.
Turning west along the shore from Whites Bay you pass Pickerel Point and make your way past a few cottages to Lily Pond Bay. Lily Pond Bay holds roughly 8' of depth in it's middle with 4 to 6' shallows as you move from its center.
From Lily Pond Bay to circumnavigate Glouscter Pool you will have to turn south to round Basswood Point where you rejoin the alternative channel, and pass above Union Jack Island. The water is deep along the approaches to the Point but to pass through Basswood Run require care as there is only a small gap with 5' of depth to the Basswood Point side and rock to the south.
Once west of Basswood Run the alternative channel runs closer to the Union Jack Island side than the mainland and then passes south of the small Herb Island. From this point the alternative channel divides again with one spur turning north to Little Go Home Bay while the other heads directly accross the pool to pick up the main Trent Severn Waterway at S58 Broadview Island.
Nicholson's Marina (705) 756 2763 is located in Little Go Home Bay on the southwest side of the bay. You will be able to spot the metal roofs and white building on the rock as well as the gas pump. Little Go Home Bay no longer has a transient marina as Nicholson's's has became a co-op and is private.
Gloucester Pool - Main Trent Severn Channel
There are daymarker's on the both ends of Wigwam Island with the center of the passage behind the island further marked by S75. If you have come up the Trent Severn the cottages here are reminiscent of Sturgeon Point, the entire shore is a homes and gardens for "Cottage Life".
There is an alternative channel that runs outside of Wigwam Island passing between Wigwam Island and Liberty Island with good depth and few hazards as long as you remain mid way between the islands. The main channel runs across the east shore (note N orientation of chart) of Gloucester Pool. As you pass from behind Wigwam Island your course will be 180° T. This will put you just off the tip of the small Clare Island then very quickly into Deer Island Run.
Exiting the Porcupine Island cut you have an alternative channel choice. As you clear S68 down bound for Port Severn the channel opens into a wider bay at mile 235.7 and Tucker Island marked by day markers S63 & S65.From here you , the main channel angles northward toward the middle by-passing Burrows Island.
Deer Island Run is a constricted bit of water between Porcupine Island and Deer Island, marked with S66 to the south (downstream) and S70 north (upstream). There is not enough water for anything but small fish boats behind Porcupine Island and the mainland for most cruising boats.
You now have another (unmarked) alternative channel you can explore that runs behind Burrows Island and the mainland which has adequate depth throughout.
Down bound you depart the main channel just after S65 following the mainland. This alternative channel rejoins the main channel on the other side of Burrows Island near S55 and George Point. There is one exception and CAUTION which is unmarked Conner Rock with only 4' at datum, found almost mid channel slightly north east of the turn behind the island. There alternative channel in fact squeezes between the shore, which also has a 4' deep ledge extending from shore and Conner Rock. Use extreme caution if you are gunk holing as these are rocks not shoals and you loose depth with almost no notice. As you round Sunrise Point into Burrows Bay there is a picnic facility on the east shore of the island with small dock. Depths within the bay average mid 30 feet.
South (You are headed south on a down bound course now) the main Trent Severn Channel angles toward the center of Gloucester Pool after S61 Tucker Island bearing 180° T. You want to pick up S60 which is approximately one half the way to the marker S58 off the tip of Broadview Island. This is also where the alternative channel to Buena Vista Point joins the main channel.
From her Gloucester Pool narrows with several hazardous rocks to the west of the channel near Jubilee Island mile 236.8 marked by S55, with a 1' depth between the marker and the island you do not want to be off course. In rapid secession now you are running out of open water passing between Richardson Point to the east and Samuel Point to the west.
Mile 235.4 to 238.6, Gloucester Pool to Little Lake
Time to sharpen up as you reach Dog Point. As you pass Hawkins Island S64 there is a 2' shoal extending from the north end of Hawkins Island for some distance. The entire section is well marked and in most conditions you can easily see the next set of markers. One look at the chart and you will notice a proliferation of named rocks. Needless to say more than one prop has fallen prey to the hidden dangers here. This is a narrow busy section of waterway and you will need to be patient as it can become a parking lot.
Turning around Dog Point mile 237.33 the channel jogs around the point marked by a series of markers in sequence running from S52 pretty much abreast of the point, and S50, S48 the on Salisbury Island day marker. To the south of Beechwood Island mile 237.7 there are two nasty rocks close to the channel. S41 marks Beechwood Rock, while on the other side is S42 marking Beman Rock, off Beman Point.
At mile 238 the up stream end S40 of Back Channel begins. It runs between Beechwood Island and Gouette Island looking like an appealing route. CAUTION: local residents routinely use the Back Channel and there may be a number of boats headed this way. However this is not recommended for transient boats as there is a string of shoals and awash rock at the Little Lake end that is not marked and restricts passage to where local knowledge is essential for safe navigation.Photo is looking out from Regina Bay SE toward the main channel.
The main channel continues roughly west crossing the bay formed by the Back Channel through a series of buoys S40, S39, S38,then near S37 there is a 6' shoal close NW (Back Channel side) of the main channel. You will need to stay between S35, & S36 as there is a 2' shoal south of the channel. This will bring you to the narrow gap between Pilkington Island to the south and Gouette Island to the north. Red day marker S34 is found on Pilkington Island while S33 is on the tip of Gouette Island.
The next section is called The Narrows and is just that, narrow and treacherous for close to a half mile before finally leading out to the east end of Little Lake. S31 is on the Gouette Island side with a rock between it and the shore while red day marker S30 is on an islet with a 3' shoal downstream forcing the channel to make a zig. On the Gouette Island side again, on the downstream side of a tiny bay is another 1' spot with rock. The final set of buoys are S27 & S28 with another very nasty shoal with rocks on the Gouette Island side. From here is remains narrow to Little Lake.
The Narrows Marine Resort (705) 538 1203 is located at the Narrows some miles for Port Severn and is tucked behind Pinkington Island just off the main channel on the upstream side. You can spot them by their sign on the water and the blue trimmed white buildings with flags and the Shell fuel sign. Graham & Shirley Conolly are your hosts and provide a bonfire pit for campers as well as boaters, a basic convince store and hot dog stand.
They have 79 berths with some transient having a maximum length of 30', 30 AMP power and 6' of draft. Only gas is available at the pumps, with Propane, a pumpout. They offer repairs to boats and motors with parts & accessories available. Their service staff provide friendly and helpful assistant to boaters who need overnight delivery parts as well as service with a haul out capacity of 2 tons with a fork lift. There are rental boats available for fishing.
From the Narrows to Port Severn is a distance of 1.5 miles across Little Lake. Your course will turn behind Green Island then cut across roughly mid lake to round Calf Island. It is important when crossing Little Lake to remember that there are numerous private bouys and strange obstruction markers. Keep a close watch for the Trent Severn markers.Little Lake to Port Severn continues on the Port Severn Page here.