|Loc: north coast Santa Cruz||Lat: N34-03.3||Long: W119-46.1||Last visit:July 2021|
|Tide/Sun/Moon/WX||Dist: 9||Prisoner’s Harbor, Santa Cruz||WX|
|Chart||18728||Santa Cruz Channel||NPS Alerts|
|Skipper: Capt. Dan||Boat: S/V Sancerre||Capt. Dan||Port: Channel Islands|
|Landing Permit||Required||Nature Conservancy||permit app|
The harbor lies about 6 miles east of West End. Proceeding from the west, the harbor does not open up until well past Arch Rock. From the east, if you get to Arch Rock, you’ve passed it by a half mile or so.
Nothing that’s not on the chart, it’s just awfully narrow. The tricky part is that you need to anchor bow and stern. If there is an appreciable crosswind, I’d go somewhere else.
However, on a nice day, with our transom over 18′ of water (12′ under the keel), our bow anchor ended up in 35.
A fairly gentle crosswind moved Sancerre quite close to the rocks even after resetting (twice!).
Think about going somewhere else if much more than 10 knots of wind is getting into the anchorage and have a solid plan for bailing out if things turn sour during the night. If you decide to stay in deteriorating weather, post an anchor watch.
Our first venture in here brought rain around midnight and zero visibility. We were a little uncertain of the exit heading. We now make sure we have a preplanned escape heading in any anchorage and a crewman assigned to the bow with our best flashlight in case we have to feel our way out.
Baby’s, also known as Little Lady’s, is the anchorage to the east. It would be insane to take a yacht of even modest size into that patch unless it is absolutely glassy. And then, what would be the point?
If you intend to go ashore, you’ll need a landing permit from the Nature Conservancy. Go to permit for a pdf form, mailing and e-mailing instructions. Early spring is a great time to be here. Giant Coreopsis (right) cover many slopes and even cling to rock faces. The harbor teems with harbor seals with pups. One mother and pup swam to within 10′ of the transom and took a good look at us. After a few seconds of staring mom pointedly warned junior that we were a species to be avoided.
If you have new or amplifying information concerning this Harbor or the surrounding area, please contact Capt. Dan. His e-mail link and phone are top left.