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Day 11 
Sunday July 9th    Killarney to Croker Island


Time to get “back on the road again”, and continue our trek west, after a day and a half at Killarney. We stop at Little Current for fuel and groceries, before avoiding a storm on the way to the Benjamin Islands, where we decide to anchor at nearby Croker Island for the night.

Miles Today:
40

Destination:
Croker Island

Stops:
Little Current

Miles To Date:
433

 

Sunset at Croker Island
Sunset at Croker Island

A little while after getting up this morning I opened up the engine hatch and checked the oil and sea strainers. Everything is all right.

After a few cups of coffee, I secured the dinghy to the swim platform, and we made the rounds to say goodbye to Lime Cutter and Mytigood. We weren't sure if we'd meet up with them again this trip or not.

We cleared the dock at 11:00 and headed out Killarney Bay, and through the Lansdowne Channel, exiting at the southern portion of Frazer Bay.

We neared Boat Rock waypoint (buoy E26), where the ‘true’ North Channel begins, and headed west, passing Heywood Island a mile to our south. From there we turned northwest, heading five miles to the lighthouse at the tip of Strawberry Island.

I decided to take the ‘shortcut’ once we got around Strawberry, heading just a little northwest to go the 2 ˝ miles to Little Current channel entrance at buoy J32. Back in 2004 we elected to take the marked route that sent you more westerly to pick up the buoys starting at E24.  We arrived at the Little Current Swing Bridge just as it was opening at 12:00 noon.

A half mile later we pulled up to the dock at Wally’s Fuel Service, which is on the east side of town. While the dockhands gassed up the boat we took a look around Wally’s. The small building (a large ‘shack’) is filled with boating supplies, charts, and mostly fishing gear. We took on 116 gallons total, at $1.19 per liter. I also put 3 liters in the dinghy gas can as well.

We shoved off and made our way west down the channel to the town docks. Wow, have these changed. Instead of a long wall offering the only docking, they now have installed brand new finger docks, and lot of them. There were hardly any boats here, so we picked a dock to tie up to, and several dock boys came running out to give us a hand. They were going to add hydro (electric) to the docks next week they said. There was no charge for just tying up in order to head into town for a while. They were sure friendly.


We Made the Noon Opening
of the Little Current Swing Bridge

We walked into town, just a block off the docks. Gina wanted to get some groceries, and I headed to the hardware store to get some replacement bulbs for our dinghy lights and flashlights. After getting up the hill several blocks away, only finding that the store was closed on this Sunday, I proceeded to go back downtown to try to find Gina.

After checking several stores on Main Street, I asked where the grocery stores were, and then headed back up hill on the outskirts of town. I went into one and didn’t see her, and decided to head back through downtown and to the docks. She wasn’t back yet, so I headed into town once again, finally finding her walking main street, loaded down with a bunch of bags full of groceries. We dropped them off at the boat, and then went up to get some ice cream cones a little ways down the docks.

Little Current Docks
At the NEW Little Current Town Docks


Weather Looking a Little Ominous

At 2:30 we left the docks to head west to the Benjamin’s. We cruised by Spider Island, where we picked up the buoyed channel leading past Picnic Island, and into more open waters. The wind was kicking up now, and the skies were dark in spots. It was looking a little ominous, and the VHF announced a thunderstorm watch. As the waves built a little, I asked Gina if she thought we might want to retreat, but we decided to press on.

Once we passed Narrow Island and buoy J63 we veered slightly southwest to round the James Foote Patch lighted buoy, about five miles away. Then we turned northwest for the run into the Benjamin’s. It was nine miles to go, and as we went between Clapperton and Amendroz Islands, it seemed that we went right between two dark clouded thunderstorms.

We decided to anchor at Croker Island, which is just a mile and a half east of South Benjamin Island. With the weather still questionable, Croker offers a nice protected spot to be in. I punched in the route I had programmed in to the chart plotter earlier. It took us close to Secretary Island, away from the rocks that make up the outcropping of the Sow and Pigs to the west. Just north of Secretary we took a hard right turn, keeping away from the shoals off of Porcupine Island just to the north. We went east into the horseshoe shaped bay of Croker.

My preferred anchor spot was the furthest southwest corner between the main island and a large islet, but there were several boats already in there, so we kept going around the islet, and headed south towards shore. Gina kept a bow watch as we hooked back in behind the islet. The water was very clear and mostly a nice sandy bottom, with no weeds. It was a little narrow passage and there was a boat tied up to the islet, but we found a nice spot nearby. We are way in the backside, and it is too shallow to make a complete loop around this small island in the harbor of the island.

Gina set the bow anchor at 3:40, and I sterned in towards shore to set it, ending up about 40 feet from shore in about five feet of water. I then rowed the dinghy to shore and wrapped a stern line around some rocks. We were now secure for the night. , For a change, anchoring was easy, and it was fast. The tripometer read 433 miles on our trip so far.

Shortly, we could see another front about to move through. It started raining lightly, as we relaxed for a drink along with some pretzel sticks and cheese. We could hear thunder in the distance. We were both a little tired after all the walking in Little Current, and we fell asleep about 6:00 or so.

Waking up from our nap at 8:30, and we were treated to a nice sunset a little later. Gina made salads for a late dinner, and I had a piece of fresh bread she had bought at the grocery store this afternoon.

About 100 yards off our port bow, there is a 33ft. Doral anchored up against a rock on the opposite shore as us. Four guys are sitting outside with a nice fire going on the rocks. Around 10:00 the rain returned, with lightning in the distance, finally chasing these guys into their boat.


Looking West Towards Benjamin's
After Securing the Stern Line


Sterned In Near Shore

We started the generator up at 10:30 to charge the batteries for a while, as the rain intensified. Gina decided to back up all the photos we’ve taken so far on CD, and she burned five of them. At 11:00 the lightning and thunder was right on top of us, but not much wind. I put up the side glasses, but kept the center back screen intact. Wow, it was quite a sight seeing the islands light up with the lightning flashes.

The camper top started leaking just a little in a few spots, so we moved the laptop down to the cabin, and watched a DVD movie until 2:30a.m. We enjoyed the company the last several days, but it also felt good to be back on our own, exploring areas that we haven’t been to before. So, it's Westward Ho! It was still raining hard off and on throughout the night, but boy are we going to sleep well tonight!


Day 11 July 9th 2006 On to Day 12
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