The North Channel is the northern portion of Lake Huron west of Georgian Bay. It is a beautiful area covered with small and large islands and more than a few anchorages. In fact, the Great Lakes Cruising Club has well over 100 harbor reports covering the anchorages in this area – many that the published government charts indicate are inaccessible but in reality have plenty of deep water for keel boats.
The cut through the Benjamins is one where we were too afraid to do it on our 22′ Rhodes Blue Loon. The day we attempted was quite rough and this shortcut demands calm water so you can see the shoals on either side. Of course when you see the shoals, you also have a heart attack as they come so far out into the passageway.
A bow watch (me) is mandatory through the Benjamin cut. If you look at the chart below, you will see there are no depths listed along our track except for those that indicate negative numbers (bad, very bad). There are also no channel markers, unless you count the submerged boulders! And for those of you who believe that hand signals are adequate, this is one of those areas where I disagree. When you have to make subtle turns to port or starboard and back with in a very short time frame, headsets keep the communication channels open and calm!
Our friends Steve and Liz Rose on Tai Chi captured us coming through the cut in August as we were heading eastbound.
Videos of the Benjamin Cut
To see the trek from our perspective on the boat, click here to see Gaviidae following Magic Carpet going westbound on August 13 – the video is just over 3 minutes long. We came back through the cut on August 15, this time on our own and the first time we went through eastbound. This video is under 3 minutes and the lighting clearly shows the shoals on the left side.
Note: I took liberties accelerating the videos at various points.
August 13 and 15, 2017 The Benjamin Cut – North Channel Lake Huron 46°05.444’N 82°15.365’W 1408.1 Nautical Miles