Lat: 48° 50.017 Long: 087° 31.206
Rossport Ontario is a delightful village that is a must-stop location for many sailors cruising the north coast of Lake Superior. Originally known as McKay's Harbour, it was a small fur trading post until the CPR railroad came through in the early 1880's. Renamed after the CPR contruction manager, the village became a large fishing port. At its height, Rossport shipped hundreds of tons of fish annually. In 2009, the Wilson Islands, a group of 8 islands lying offshore from Rossport, were acquired by the Government of Canada. At 4,700 acres / 1,900 ha, they will form the heart of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. This will be the largest protected freshwater area in the world. Although small (population less than 100), this has always been a favourite stop-over for me.
You can approach Rossport Ontario from several directions. Regardless of direction, it is very important to pay close attention to your charts. There are shoals, rocks and small, unnamed islands that can pose a significant threat to an unwary sailor who is not navigating carefully.
FROM THE EAST
The eastern approach to Rossport Ontario is via Schreiber Channel which runs generally east-west between the mainland and several islands in the Wilson archipelago - the main ones being Copper, Wilson and Healey Islands. The channel entrance is marked with a GREEN/RED/GREEN marker buoy on Bread Rock. Give this buoy a wide berth. Further along lies McGarvey Shoal, marked with a GREEN buoy. This shoal is where the steam yacht Gunilda foundered in 1911 so it is wise to give it a wide berth as well.
When you approach the east end of Healey Island, you can choose to pass on either side of it. If you go north, you will find the water is deeper. As you reach the west end of Healey Island, you will pass between it and Boone Island. Nichol Island will be on your bow. Alter course to the port so that you keep Nichol Island on your beam. As you round the end of Nichol Island, you will pass between it and Whiskey Island. Whiskey Island is marked with a Fl WHITE light. Altering course to starboard will bring you into Rossport harbour.
If you choose to go south of Healey Island, keep its shoreline on your starboard beam for about 1.5 nm. As you pass between Healey Island and Channel Island, be aware of a shoal and rocks marked with an unlit GREEN buoy. When you see a narrow channel on your starboard between Healey and Quarry Islands, alter course to starboard to pass up this channel. Nichol Island will be dead ahead. As you approach Nichol Island, alter course to port and follow the shoreline around, past Whiskey Island and into Rossport harbour.
FROM THE SOUTH
There are two routes into Rossport Ontario from the south. You can follow Wilson Channel north between Wilson Island on your starboard and Vein Island on your port. Note: Vein Island is sometimes shown or referred to as Salter Island. Generally, the course to follow is approximately 345°T. Be aware of an unmarked shoal at the north end of Wilson Channel - Tracy Shoal. Once clear of Wilson Island, alter course to starboard to approximately 010°T for about 1.5 nm. Quarry Island will be off to your starboard and Whiskey Island will be on your starboard bow, marked with a Fl WHITE light. Pass between Whiskey Island and the mainland to enter Rossport harbour.
The other route from the south lies up Simpson Channel. This is a wider channel, lying on the east side of Simpson Island. The entrance is marked by the Battle Island Light, Fl WHITE and visible approximately 13 nm in good weather. A course of approximately 330°T for about 4 nm will bring you to the north side of Vein (Salter) Island, on your starboard. Just off the NW corner of Vein Island lies Rolette Shoal, extending .5 nm offshore. Give this wide berth as you make your turn to the NE to begin your run into Rossport harbour. Alter course to approximately 075°T and hold for about 3.75 nm. This will bring you to Whiskey Island. Pass between Whiskey Island and the mainland to enter Rossport harbour.
FROM THE NORTHWEST (NIPIGON BAY)
Follow Nipigon Bay on a course of approximately 114°T. Make note of Barwiss Rock, marked with a Fl RED buoy. Also be aware of Rollete Shoal, extending .5 nm offshore from the NW corner of Vein Island. Once you have reached Vein Island, alter course to approximately 075°T and hold for about 3.75 nm. This will bring you to Whiskey Island. Pass between Whiskey Island and the mainland to enter Rossport harbour.
Local magnetic anomolies have been reported in and around Rossport Ontario that can result in significant variations (5o or greater).
As has been stated previously, there are numerous unmarked shoals and rocks in this area. Exercise caution as you sail through these waters. Pay very close attention to your charts and watch your depths.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
Rossport Marina (807) 824-2106 VHF 68
Rossport Marina is the Government Dock, operated by the municipality. It is a large, L-shaped dock at the head of the bay. There is room for about a half dozen transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water and power are available, as is internet service. There are no washrooms, showers or laundry facilities.
Anchoring is an option on the northwest side of the harbour.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
There are no maintenance or repair facilities in Rossport Ontario.
There are no grocery stores for provisioning
There are no banks or ATM facilities.
The nearest hospital to Rossport Ontario is McCausland Hospital (807) 825-3273, located in Terrace Bay, 21 mi/35 km east.
Stewart Pharmacy (807) 825-3666 is the closest pharmacy. It is located in Terrace Bay, 21 mi/35 km east.
PLACES TO EAT
Serendipity Gardens Cafe offers fine dining with views out over the water. Recognized throughout the area as an outstanding restaurant, guests have the option of enjoying an excellent meal on the outdoor patio in a beautiful garden setting.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
Forget-Me-Not gift shop offers a nice range of high-quality gifts. They also have a small tea shop/cafe. Island Pottery is located on Nichol Island (connected to the mainland), about .5 mi/1 km from the village. They make and sell a range of handcrafted stoneware and porcelain.
Rossport Ontario is home to the Rossport Ontario Fishing Derby every July. Started in 1937, this is the longest-running fishing derby in North America. There is also the Rossport Ontario website that will give you a bit more information on this northern gem of a community.
Rossport is surrounded with stunning scenerey and this little village of barely 100 people is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the wilderness of the north coast of Lake Superior.
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