From Dream to Reality - The BEST Sailing Locations

"You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." - Walt Disney

I've been pondering favorite sailing locations and am finding it difficult to narrow the list to a reasonable number. I'm beginning to realize that the problem isn't necessarily that the Great Lakes are an amazing cruising ground (they are!) full of "best locations", but rather that my true favorites are usually the last place we visited or the next place we're planning to sail to.

The reality is that the memories of quality family time spent getting there and being there make just about any place we've sailed part of my "best" list. Old Walt had it right when he singled out people as the key ingredient.

Still, I'll give it a shot to identify just one location in response to LOOK's quest to find the world's best/most exotic sailing locations (see here) based solely on places I've visited on my own sailboat.

The one place that stands out among all others I've visited is that one little gunkhole on the south side of South Benjamin Island. This spot is truly nature's own pink granite marina with slips carved into the rocks by 1,000's of years worth of wave action.

Hard to beat watching Hannah and Izzy scrambling on coastal boulders

Yup, South Benjamin has all the boxes checked for a classic "best sailing location":
  • Island location - Check!
  • Protected anchorage - Check!
  • Beautiful scenery - Check!
  • Crystal clear water - Check!
  • Wilderness ambience - Check!
We've spent time here on a couple of different occasions, once in the company of other cruisers and once in complete family solitude. Both were great experiences.

If you decide to visit, look for the narrow natural channel on the very south end of the island that cuts through from west to east and stay to the middle. As you wind your way through, you'll see plenty of tempting coves and nooks among the granite shoreline to tuck in for a night...or a week. Don't forget to look for the iron rungs embedded into some of the granite that can be used for a shore tie.

Welcome to the pink granite marina! That's s/v Island Bound in the background.
Hopefully we'll take s/v Bearly-A-Wake there soon too!

Once settled in, you'll enjoy hiking on the giant pink rocks, exploring the little pine forests that dot the island, and collecting wild blueberries for pancakes the next morning. I'm sure you'll also find plenty of perfect places for a sundowner campfire among the bowls in the granite. As evening falls, watch for ursine creatures coming down to the water on the main part of the island to the north and keep an eye skyward for stars so bright and clear you'd swear they're heavenly LED's.

I guess it's no surprise that I've written about South Benjamin Island several times before, so if you're planning a visit or want more details to help you decide, try here and here.

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