Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 2 (cont): How have we gone 4 years without going to the Benjamin Islands??

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Day 2: Saturday, July 16 - Depart Spanish Marina 11:30am, Arrive Bay of the Benjamins 12:30pm

That's right, this was our 4th trip to the North Channel, and we STILL HAD NOT anchored in the fabled Benjamin Islands!  So this time, it was our first priority.  And luckily, although the Bay of the Benjamins was a little crowded when we arrived, there was still plenty of space in the anchorage. We met our friends Kurt and Beth outside the bay, and Ben and I went in first to try to find a spot. 
Checking out anchorages - this is actually the South anchorage on South Benjamin

Meeting friends from Indiana in the North Channel!
Help tying up from some friendly local boaters
A group of local boaters who were rafted together saw us looking for a spot, and zoomed over in their dinghys to help us out.  We're always so grateful when people take the time to help, especially in a place we've never been before!  In the N.C., you never know where underwater rocks or shallow spots are lurking, and it just makes it soooo much easier to have help!

We anchored and tied to the rocks behind us, and just took some time to celebrate, relax, and take it all in.  One of our favorite things about our North Channel vacations is that it does not take long at all to settle in and just let the relaxation start.  A big part of that comes from taking our little home-away-from-home or our "floating hotel room" with us when we travel!  No matter where we go to sleep or wake up and have our coffee, we're already feeling like we're at home.

So, first order of business once we are anchored and feeling good about things... lunch!  And for lunch in the Bay of the Benjamins for the first time?  Can't top grilled pizza!

Captain RJ had us securely anchored in no time!

The best pizza is on a grill (the scenery doesn't hurt either).
Kurt and Beth on their dinghy out exploring
Seapickle and Petry's Pet at anchor in the Bay of the Benjamins

After lunch we set out to explore the area behind where we anchored first, and then took the dinghy over to the area referred to as the ski slope due to its steep incline and smooth pink granite.  It was definitely different and a little tricky loading RJ and all our gear into the dinghy just to travel ashore, but so amazing to experience it with him.  And yes!  I did say "dinghy" this time... we decided that the kayak may be too difficult with a baby, so Kurt and Beth generously loaned us their old dinghy for the trip!  We missed the quiet of the kayak, but the dinghy was much more convenient.

We agreed that the Benjamins are regarded as the best anchorage in the North Channel for a good reason! It was absolutely breathtaking.

Having a little picnic and playtime on the rocks
Ben and baby in his Osprey pack doing some exploring

The days are long in the North Channel, and we still had time for some playtime in the boat with RJ before he went down for bed, and we met up with the crew of Orca - fellow GLCC member Paul, and his friends Jamie and Sara, on the rocks for a few beers.  The quintessential North Channel day... and this was just the beginning!

RJ catching up on some Beach Baby reading

Watching Orca anchor - Ben "met" Paul on Instagram and we met for drinks with Paul, Jamie, and Sara that evening

Baby RJ hanging out in his baby piano gym in the V-berth

Bay of the Benjamins from the "ski slope" area