Islas San Benito

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Islas San Benito
Islas San Benito
Islas San Benito

ISLAS SAN BENITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA NORTE, MEXICO lie in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the Mexican state of Baja California, 15-1/2 miles west of Cedros Island. They are part of the Cedros Island delegación, a subdivision of Ensenada (municipality), Baja California.

The group consists of three islands, evidently formed by the erosion of a single large island, which at a remote time was undoubtedly connected to the mainland. Islas San Benito have a total area of 1-1/2 square miles, which are surrounded by rocks and patches of kelp. This group lies about 5 miles across from east to west by nearly 2 miles from north to south. There is no fresh water on any of these islands.

  • West Benito, the largest island, measures about 2 miles from east to west by 1-½ miles from north to south. Its shores are bold and rocky and the surface consists of an elevated plateau, with a rounded hill near its middle rising 660 feet above sea level.
  • Middle Benito, the smallest of the three, is a low flat island, its highest part being only 82 feet above the sea.
  • East Benito, the second in size, has four prominent hills, the highest of which reaches an altitude of about 420 feet.

The census of 2001 recorded a population of two on Benito del Oeste (West Benito); the other islands (Middle Benito and East Benito) are uninhabited.

The 1905-1906 California Academy of Sciences expedition to the Galapagos aboard the schooner Academy, stopped at Isla San Benito on July 14-17, 1905. Expedition participants included:

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In the News~

October 31, 1872 [San Diego Union]: “A Profitable Venture. The schooner Lark, Captain Thomas, arrived yesterday from the San Benito Island, after a fifteen days run. She brought with her 270 fur seal skins and 30 barrels of seal and sea lion oil, taken upon the Island by the crew of the vessel. Our readers will remember that the vessel was only fitted out eight or nine weeks since by Mr. Bruschi and dispatched to the Island to engage in the sealing business. Her catch proves that the business is extremely profitable. We are glad to see Bruschi succeeding so well, as his enterprise deserves success.”

December 23, 1897 [San Diego Union]: “The schooner Freia, Captain Burke, arrived yesterday from San Benito Island with a cargo of abalone shells and meat.”

April 15, 1898 [San Diego Union]: “The schooner Freia arrived yesterday from San Benito Island, a short distance down the coast, with abalone shells and meat.”

November 16, 1898 [San Diego Union]: “The schooner Freia, Capt. Burke, arrived yesterday from San Benito Island, Lower California, with guano.”

[1919]" A sea otter was killed at San Benito Island, one of the last known in Lower California.