West Cove or Fraser Cove

Loc:Western tip Santa Cruz Island Lat: N34-03.7 Long: W119-55.3 Last visit: July 2021
Tide/Sun/Moon/WX Dist: 5 Bechers Bay, Santa Rosa WX
Chart 18728 Santa Cruz Channel NPS Alerts
Skipper: Capt. Dan Boat: S/V Rainbow Capt. Dan Port: Chan Islands
Landing Permit Required Nature Conservancy permit app
Local Notice to Mariners

Getting to West Cove

NOAA chart 1827
NOAA chart 1828

We stopped here for lunch on a very calm Fall day, anchoring in the drying area on the four fathom line.

Fagan says this is a good spot if you get caught in a Santa Ana, which would appear to be true as the mountains are between you and the wind. If you’re fleeing a Santa Ana, you won’t be totally sheltered, but the forces of the storm will be blunted by the high bluffs. Other than a Santa Ana, anchoring here is foolhardy unless you are in very calm conditions. We were: zero wind and no swell. Here’s a link to an excellent airborne shot.

Approach and anchoring

Fraser Point and Cove/West Cove. Note the crashing surf - that's the normal condition.
Fraser Point and Cove/West Cove. Note the crashing surf – that’s the normal condition.

We scoped out both sides of the anchorage. As there are many rocks near datum on the south side, we stayed in the northern half of the anchorage.

There’s nothing particularly tricky about the north side of the cove, though in past years kelp has made passage very difficult. Since about 2007, the cove has been largely clear of kelp.

Forney's Cove
Fraser Cove/West Cove looking south. Note: there is a memorial cross on headland in the distance.

We dropped our hook in 25 feet. Since we were only here for lunch and conditions were sublime, we did not set the hook, but veered out 4:1 chain. In the right conditions, this is a most beautiful spot, reminiscent, I think, of Maui. My guess is that you can only do what we did in the Fall and only on very calm days, otherwise the swell and wind will drive you onto the beach. Take a look at the satellite photo above – that’s some nasty surf. A normal day in these parts.


None that aren’t charted or visible.

Landing Permits Required

If you intend to go ashore, you’ll need a landing permit from the Nature Conservancy. Go to permit in the grid  for a pdf form, mailing and e-mailing instructions.

BTW – going ashore in West Cove would be tricky, but right around the corner,  Forneys Cove provides one of the easiest beach landings on the entire island.


If you have new or amplifying information concerning this anchorage or the surrounding area, please contact Captain Dan


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