Northwest Anchorage Bechers Bay

Sail to Northwest Anchorage Bechers Bay with Capt. Dan Ryder and Sail Channel Islands.
Low lying hills give some protection from strong westerlies and protection from swell action from NW to SW.
Loc:East coast Santa Rosa Lat: NN34-00.5 Long: W120-02.8 Last visit: Oct. 16
Tide/Sun/Moon/WX Dist: 0 Bechers Bay, Santa Rosa WX
Chart 18728 Santa Cruz Channel NPS Alerts
Skipper: Capt. Dan Boat: S/V Sancerre Capt. Dan Port: Chan Islands
Landing Permit Not Required Local Notice to Mariners

Description

NOAA chart 18728
NOAA chart 18728

Northwest anchorage Bechers Bay on Santa Rosa Island is well protected from swell, but the wind can come whistling over the low hills. Nevertheless, Fagan deems it good enough to be a refuge anchorage in NW winds to 39 knots.

We were in there in time to enjoy a sundowner, which made the rigging whistle, but not much more. Tough to light the barbecue, however.

Approach

It’s a straight shot into the anchorage, but if you’re doing it near sunset, which seems pretty likely, you’ll be staring into the sun and will be unable to see much of anything.

The shoreline near the anchorage is unremarkable. What you’re looking for is the pier, but that blends in with the cliffs and may not be visible until you’re within a mile or two. Even on a severe-clear day it’s hard to pick out the pier sometimes. The pic at top makes that point pretty well. We frequently spot the ranch buildings first because of their reflective roofs or the windsock on the dirt runway south of the pier.

Anchoring

View from our anchoring spot at Bechers NW anchorage
View from our anchoring spot at Bechers NW anchorage

Once you’ve got the pier located, set your hook to the north and seaward in 20′ of water. The sand bottom offers excellent holding.

There were some kelp patches on our last visit, but nothing too formidable. Also beware of setting your hook shoreside of the  end of the pier, particularly near high tide as you may find yourself perilously close to the breakers in the morning. The water does look flatter in there and it might be tempting, but be wary.

Night Approach

Anchored close aboard but seaward of the pier in about 20'
Anchored close aboard but seaward of the pier in about 20′

There are three very bright steady red lights mounted on the end of the pier, making close-in navigation a lot less tricky than using radar alone.

Going Ashore

Though the National Park Service has total control these days, there are still some places that they don’t want you to tread. Check out NPS ALERTS for details. Note: scroll  all the way to the bottom of that  page to ensure you get all pertinent information.

BTW – the Torrey Pines are an easy hike from the pier; however, I do not leave my boat unattended.

Sail for just a few hours …. or several days