Pirate or Turtle Island?

IMG_20170923_210508 When I was growing up this island was known as Turtle Island. It seems on Big Bass Lake each generation comes up with a new name for the five Islands on the lake. Now this island is referred to as Pirate Island which I have to admit I like it. Elsewhere on Big Bass Lake & Beyond I have a full tour of the island which does have a pathway system. The island is uninhabited.

Fallen Tree at Turtle Island

There has been a tree that for some time remains in the shallow waters of Turtle Island. Now under new ownership, I would hope this will be their first project. Wakeboarders around the lake are causing erosion problems and if there are trees on the immediate shoreline these are the first to go. On a trip around the lake I saw this in evidence. I must have counted nearly 100 trees in peril leaning over the waters of Big Bass Lake. It wouldn’t take much of a windstorm to nudge them into the lake. Any ideas out there? Leave us a comment to start the discussion.

Aerial Four Winds Island

What your eyes are taking in here are Four Winds and Turtle Islands on Big Bass Lake along with never ending Manistee National Forest in the background. What a magnificent view!Thoughts about the view? Leave us a comment.

The Twin Islands in Close Proximity

Sometimes when you come upon these two islands from various directions, it is hard to tell which is which. The main difference is that Four Winds Island has buildings on it whereas Turtle Island does not. For a time, Four Winds Island was owned by Camp Martin Johnson whereas Turtle Island is owned privately. It would be fun to check out the structures on Four Winds Island and hear them “talk” of the days of Camp Martin Johnson. Some have graffiti still on them with a voice out of the past to those that choose to hear.

Turtle Island, on the other hand, would be intriguing to camp upon and explore what little is there. Could this island support even one structure? And what is the distance that separates these two islands?   How far are they in proximity to the channel between Big and Little Bass Lakes?  How have the structures on Four Winds Island been altered to fit the new owners plans?  Is there any option to winterize any of those buildings?

Any answers out there in Big Bass Lake and Beyond  land?

Kennedy Island On Big Bass Lake

Here’s a new island on Big Bass Lake known as Kennedy Island. Turtle Island was owned by a Kennedy family but there are houses on this island which rules out Turtle Island.

My thinking is that Kennedy Island is the Big Island prior to 1954. In other words, no bridge to the Big Island as Clyde Waite put the bridge in during 1954. Any other speculation about Kennedy Island.

Ahoy! Pirate Island Dead Ahead!

What a sensational view! The Manistee National Forest you can see for miles in any direction. In this part of the country the colors a pilot sees are greens and blue. I wonder if this is the yellow plane or maybe Robbie the pigeon with a camera?

The Interior of Turtle Island- 4

Apparently, The center portion of Turtle Island has a camping area under the trees with a defined pathway that runs the length of the island. A warning sign is posted just off that trail by the Manistee National Forest stating that no trees are to be cut down for fire wood.

On the island’s western edge is another more open camping location just down a short hill where wild grasses are found.  Even though the island is the second smallest on Big Bass Lake, it does seem to have its own trail system albeit a short one. 

Under the canopy of trees would seem to make for an excellent campsite.  I wonder if Turtle Island has any mythology to it that would make for great ghost stories?  Maybe our readers can clue us in on that point?  And, why do some now call this island Pirates Island?  There must be a tale or two revolving around that name?  Let us know by way of a comment.

Turtle Island- Part Three

In that first photograph, by Big Buck, did you notice that sliver of a white pier?  Well, who put it in to begin with?  Was this part of the service to the island by the Manistee National Forest?  And, for the first time at Big Bass Lake and Beyond you can also make out that same pier from the interior of the island.

Yes, Turtle Island is full of trees and bushes and wild grasses.  Yet people are not to cut down any trees on the island.  The Manistee National Forest has a posted sign to that regard on the island.  Even so, I would think that the western tip of the island would be best suited for tent camping as there is a type of openness at that point. 

I also wonder how often the National Forest Service comes to Turtle Island to maintain it?  Does anyone know that?  But now that Big Buck has whetted your appetite for the interior of this island, in our next part I shall further enlighten you what is on this island. 

Also, does anyone know how this island came to be made known as Pirate Island at a later date?  Buried treasure perhaps?

Turtle Island- Part Two

I believe that I have solved the “Gap Theory” or at least the one between Turtle and Four Winds Islands.   I wonder what the depth of water is between these two northern most islands on Big Bass Lake?  Have any efforts ever been made to purchase Turtle Island from the Manistee National Forest?  It appears big enough to maintain one house. 

What is the actual distance between these two islands?  And, did Camp Martin Johnson ever utilize Turtle Island when they owned Four Winds?  How about for a primitive camping site?

Is there a good swimming area off of Turtle Island?  Again, my thanks to Big Buck for supplying the pictures and now how about someone else supplying some of the answers found on this post?  The comment box awaits you!

Turtle Island- Part One

On the second photograph, provided by Big Buck, it appears as if a ladder were going up the side of the trees. Can anyone else see that?  In this five-part series, all the pictures are coming via the camera genius of Big Buck who is a regular reader at BBL and Beyond.

In the past, I have shown some actual island footage of Haunted and Four Winds Island, but now, for the first time, you will be able to go ashore at Turtle Island later in the series and see what the internal parts of this island looks like.  In the 1950’s through the 1970’s, this island was known as Turtle Island but in recent years I believe the tag, Pirates Island now applies. 

It is the twin island to Four Winds which was once owned by Camp Martin Johnson.  Overnight campers still use Turtle Island but are not supposed to cut down any timber.  They are to bring their own firewood with them.

Have any of our readers camped out on Turtle Island?  If so leave us a comment as to your experiences on te island.


This is Labor Day Weekend But with the impending hurricane about to strike Florida, snowbirds May be delaying their trip south for a week or two. When is the last time for swimming in the lake? When does ice start to form and about when is it melting?  Where is the best location to fish From?

Whats your favorite fish? What’s the biggest fish you ever landed in Michigan? And what everyone wants to know is how many bears are in the area?


You can readily tell the difference between Turtle and Four Winds Island. Turtle Island has a small hill to climb as soon as you get out of a boat. There is a pathway in the center of the island under a canopy of trees. It was sold last winter. The history of the second smallest island on the lake tells us that the Manistee National Forest NEVER owned this island. That was merely a hoax.