Visiting the Channel Islands

Visiting the Channel Islands
View from Cavern Point on Santa Cruz Island

We spent a week at the Channel Islands leading into Labor Day weekend. We sailed out from Santa Barbara to Little Scorpion anchorage on the north-east corner of the island. We chose this anchorage because it provided good shore access to a small museum, as well as some easy hiking and a small beach.

Little Scorpion Anchorage
Hiking to Cavern Point from Scorpion

Unfortunately, we had persistent trouble with our stern anchor that caused us to have to leave Little Scorpion after just a couple of days. The wind and waves came at the anchorage from different directions, and our stern anchor was not able to hold us pointed into the waves reliably.

After leaving Little Scorpion, we made our way around the south side of Santa Cruz Island to a very popular anchorage known as Coches Prietos. We barely squeezed Tiamat in amidst the many other boats that had arrived there for the holiday weekend. Along the way were able to watch the water temperature rise 4 degrees on the trip!

Arriving in Coches Prietos
The beach at Coches Prietos
Find an octopus friend
Clearing kelp from our anchor bridle

Nature handed us a few lessons at Coches Prietos. Over the course of our three days there, an unforecasted southerly swell (kicked up by Hurricane Kay far to the south) started to roll into the anchorage. Not only did this become very uncomfortable, but it also made beach landings increasing hazardous. We almost suffered a dinghy capsize while attempting to launch from the beach one time! After that, plus a few sleepless nights, we decided to move on in search of protection from the swell.

Fortunately, we were able to head to Becher's Bay, a large bay on the north east side of Santa Rosa Island. We stumbled upon a large fleet of boats that were visiting Santa Rosa as part of a cruise-out from Santa Barbara Yacht Club. We anchorage on the edge of their group, and enjoyed a much calmer couple of nights, before finally heading back to Santa Barbara.

Visiting the old ranch on Santa Rosa
The big beach ladder to get onto Santa Rosa Island
Sunset at Becher's Bay