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Day 12 
Monday July 10th    Croker Island to South Benjamin Island

Today we take a short ride over to  that special destination we've been longing to get to; the Benjamin Islands. After finding an ideal anchorage in our own private cove, we take a great dinghy and walking tour, before putting an exclamation point on the day with dinner cooked on the grill, and watching the sun set from our elevated 'porch'.

Miles Today:
2 via Boat
4 via Dinghy

South Benjamin Island

Miles To Date:


On the Porch at South Benjamin Island
Relaxing on the 'Porch' at our Anchorage

I woke up about 8:00 this morning to check our anchorage. The lines were still  holding tight, so I went back to bed for a while I finally rolled out at 10:30.

Shortly afterwards I fired up the generator and ground up some beans and made a pot of fresh coffee. 

I cleaned up the back deck, and then emptied the water out the dinghy, which with the rain from overnight had accumulated about four inches in the bottom.

Gina made me an omelet for breakfast, and she had an egg and some bacon that we shared. We noticed that the 33ft. Doral was gone this morning, but three other boats came into the northeast corner of the island. No rain yet today, but a lot of gray sky, and it was cool and hazy.

I tried to raise Lime Cutter and Mytigood on the VHF, since they were scheduled to go to Little Current today and thought they might be in radio range. No contact though, and with the inclement  weather they might have held off for a while.

At noon Gina was finishing dishes and cleaning up while I decided to take a nice hot shower. I had thought about just jumping in the water to clean up, but it didn’t quite look that inviting. An hour later, two Canadians in a dingy stopped by from the boats across the harbor. We invited them aboard and they shared their tips on where to anchor around the Benjamin Islands. Their GPS chip was not working too well, so they had to navigate very carefully.

The weather was improving every hour, so at 2:30 we pulled up anchor and started to make our way for the short hop across to the Benjamin’s. We retraced our track back west out into the open waters and then headed directly northwest, aiming for between North and South Benjamin Islands, just a mile and a half away.

I had researched a couple of potential anchoring spots, mainly between the two islands. As we got closer, we could see several boats anchored on the south side of North Benjamin, so Gina directed us near the shore on the northeast tip South Benjamin. Here there was a small cove that was surrounded by high cliffs and trees on two sides, and a large flat rock area on the other side.

At Anchor at Croker Island
Preparing to Leave Crocker

Setting Port Stern Line

I spun Tick Tock Too around and started to stern into the cove. I watched the depth sounder, but the water was so clear I could see bottom, as we got closer in. Gina was on the bow and started setting the anchor as I slowly kept backing up, pausing to walk to the swim platform to check the depth and watch for rocks.


Anchored at South Benjamin

Lots of Rocks!

There were two or three large boulders on the bottom close to shore, but we were able to maneuver to stay away from them.

I yelled to Gina that were at a comfortable spot in the back, so she secured the bow anchor and I set it. We kept the engine going for a bit as I launched the dingy. We were very protected spot, facing directly north across the harbor towards North Benjamin. We had less than 100 feet on both sides to shore, so I rowed the dinghy, and took the long stern line to the eastern shore, tying it around a tree. I was then able to use the rest of the long starboard anchor line, and fastening another line to it, wrap it around some rock on the port side shore.

It was now 3:45, and we were completely secure. The tripometer was at 435 miles, and we had what I thought was the best anchoring spot we’ve ever had anywhere.

At 4:00 we took our first dinghy tour of the area. The wind relented some, but it was still blowing just enough where we couldn’t motor too fast without getting wet. We started heading west along the shore until we reached a cove (labeled ‘shallow’ in the Ports book), where we beached in sand that met the granite rock shore. 

We walked up the hill that was entire rock and looked back across the water to North Benjamin Island. Wow, what a view. Once near the top, we could look back East through some tall pine trees and just barely see our boat at anchor. After taking numerous pictures we got back in the dinghy and headed towards the northern tip of South Benjamin. 
Here, we passed a nice private cottage with a large Canadian flag flying from a pole out of the rocks. On the way north tip of the island we went through a small passage between the rocks. 

It was a little precarious. Gina was sitting in front peering into the clear water and as it got shallow, she would yell “lift!”, and I would raise the outboard motor out of the water as we glided across the rocks, sometimes barely touching bottom. This system worked rather well.

We noticed some kayakers had settled in with a tent on shore. We stopped and walked on the rocks some, just a short ways from the big lake. We then snaked back around the large islets and went right between South and North Benjamin Islands. This narrow passageway is only about 25-30 feet wide, shallow, and all rock on both sides. I was a little nervous taking the dinghy through here, but later I watched a 50 footer take this route. So you can cut through this path.

Got Close Up to Rocks on Dinghy Ride

We made a circle out in the lake hugging the shore when we could. After coming back in the narrow passage, we headed east to the southern tip of North Benjamin. This is what could be described as a ‘pink beach’. We beached the dinghy in what seemed like very small pink granite gravel, almost fine enough to be classified as sand. We took a short walk to the eastern shore of the southern tip and were treated to some more great views.

We then headed back south to the tip of the cove on South Benjamin near our anchor spot. We landed at shore, but the rocks were large and jagged, so we walked a little bit to scout out a landing spot for dinner, which ended up being almost across from the boat.

We then took the ‘final leg’ of our tour back around the point to our boat, using the handheld GPS on this tour to record our track.


Looking Across to N. Benjamin

Landing Dinghy at our 'Porch'

Enjoying Sunset by the Fire

At 6:00 I loaded up the dinghy before making our way to shore for dinner. Our ‘gear’ consisted of folding chairs, a portable grill, a small cooler, the food, the cameras, jackets and sweaters, and a thermos of drinks for each of us. We motored over to our ‘landing’ on the rocks, just below our ‘patio’. The dinghy fit in just right, between some rocks which allowed us to beach it and get out easily without getting wet. From there, it was uphill just a little to a nice rock ‘ledge’ at the base of very tall pink granite cliff that soared high above behind us, with some really tall trees. It was awesome.

Gina started the small charcoal grill and prepared a fantastic meal of sausages, peppers and onions, rice pilaf, and a salad. I had a couple martinis with blue cheese olives, and Gina enjoyed a cocktail mix of blue raspberry, fruit passion, and mango vodka. Sitting back in our chairs way up on our nice level rock perch, we had a view to the west and north of both islands, where we could see several boats anchored below. What a sight! It doesn’t get much better than this!

After dinner the waters were flat, and no wind. So at 7:15 we jumped in the dinghy for a  ride. This time we headed to the eastern side of South Benjamin and looked at the Sow and Pigs rock formations. We picked our way between the small islets and pulled right next to one that had a sheer rock face. Gina took some underwater pictures, as the water was nice and clear.

We returned to the boat to drop off some of our gear and grab an after dinner drink. Back at our perch and comfortable chairs, we lit a 3-hour log we had brought. Someone had made a nice rock fire pit that came in handy. “Down below” there were several boats coming in to anchor. We had heard how crowded this spot gets, but tonight there were only three or four sailboats, and maybe seven or eight powerboats. There were a few people motoring around by dinghy, and a couple of gals who were camping on the island came by in a canoe. They were drawn to our location by the fire, and paddle by to say hello.

Sipping some Baileys Irish Cream, we then settled back for a great sunset! We took lots of pictures before the fire dwindled down. Packing up about 10:30, we made our way back to the boat, where we ran the generator for a short while and downloaded the days’ pics to the laptop. We reflected on how we had ‘finally’ made it to this destination we had thought about for quite some time. The stars were out in force, so we crawled into bed with the front hatch open to enjoy the view before finally crashing at midnight.

Day 12 July 10th 2006 On to Day 13
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