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Ocean sailor Feature

Dropping Anchor

Readers’ favourite Anchorages of the World

Showcasing your favourite anchorages.


Whangaroa Bay

From Ocean Sailor Reader Graham Wilding ,SY Chiquita

Location: Whangaroa Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Coordinates: 35°01.30’S 173°46.08’E

Seabed: Good holding in mud

Protection: Good protection from all wind directions

Whangaroa Bay comes from the Maori word ‘Whaingaroa’ which means ‘what a long wait’, commemorating the vigil women endured for the return of their warrior husbands.

The only thing that spoils anchoring in the Bay of Islands area is choice! There are literally thousands of virgin anchorages. 

If steering clear of marinas and yacht quays is your preference, head for Whangaroa Bay. The entrance to the sound is quite narrow and isn’t obvious until you’re quite close, but once through the heads, whatever turbulence the weather may have thrown at you will soon be overtaken by the peace and tranquillity of this huge protected sound with its dozens of small coves and bays.

The Kiwis take their nature seriously and the whole area abounds with well-worked trails and walks. There is even a small harbour town tucked five miles up into the lagoon so you can provision up before heading back out to sea. 

Near the entrance of the sound, there’s a good restaurant at the Kingfish Lodge (Tel: 09405 0164), but you will need to prebook a day in advance. There is a pier where you can moor your dingy.


Korcula & Proizd Island

From Sailing Today’s Editor Sam Jefferson

Location: Korcula & Proizd Island, Croatia

Coordinates: Gradina Bay 42°58.34’N 16°40.45’E  /  Proizd  42°59.04’N 16°37.54’E

Seabed: Good holding in sand

Protection: Well protected except from the west

Croatia tops my list of Mediterranean anchorages, so I’m going to cheat by offering two. The beautiful Gradina Bay is located on the western peninsula of Korcula, in Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands. It is a very safe bay with good holding offering a staging point to visit the rest of the islands. Mooring buoys are available for about 200 kuna and there is actually a delivery service from the excellent Siloko restaurant. 

Proizd, some two miles to the west, is a small island with crystal clear waters, but it is more of an afternoon stop off rather than an overnight anchorage. There is a narrow strait between Korcula and Proizd. I only ever stayed there on pristine summer days when I was working as a charter skipper, but it’s clear from a scan of the chart that swell will be an issue in some weathers due to a lack of protection. Sailing through is quite unnerving as the water is so clear you feel certain you must touch the bottom even though there is actually plenty of depth. I used to drop the hook here, prepare lunch and then let the guests go swimming in the limpid water and take a nap while the cooling breeze fanned through the channel. There is a nice beach nearby on Proizd.

Holding is good and the water is so clear you can see precisely where your anchor is and if it’s set well. After that, you can sit back and let yourself be soothed into sleep by the lapping water and the rhythmic hum of the cicadas.


Matanchén Bay

From Ocean Sailor Reader John Jensen

Location: Matanchén Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

Coordinates: 21°31.13’N 105°14.35’W

Seabed: Good holding in sand

Protection: Good protection year-round apart from the south/south-west

My favourite anchorage is one bypassed by many sailors: Matanchén Bay on the west coast of Mexico. I like it for many reasons. It’s actually quite historic, some of the last ships of the Spanish empire visited. It’s adjacent to the sleepy village of Matanchén, next to San Blas which is also very historic. It was the site of the first/oldest Spanish mission on the west coast of the North American continent. 

The bay is broad and offers good protection from north and westerly weather. It’s flanked by the lush green mountains of Nayarit to the east. It’s never crowded, you can often find yourself totally alone apart from the local dolphins who will visit you frequently. 

A short paddle or dinghy ride to shore will bring you to the beach area where old-style palapas are still the standard, along with a smattering of more permanent structures, most of which turn out to be bars serving food and drink during the day. The best place to land with the dinghy is at Ramadas Restaurant. At night the only sound is the occasional dog barking and the light pollution is nil which is one of the biggest draws for me.

Matanchén is famous for a few things, one of them is banana bread, legend has it that it was first created there, and it’s absolutely delicious in all its various local renditions. Another claim to fame is that due to the geography, the point of San Blas generates what’s known to be one of, if not the, longest rideable surf breaks in the world.  It’s a small wave that can go for miles and miles before meeting the shore. I’ve met surfers who said they rode it ‘til they couldn’t stand anymore, but the wave kept going. 

It’s best avoided during strong south-westerlies.

Matanchén is underrated because sailors believe they will be eaten alive by the “jujenes”, tiny biting mosquitoes that are nearly invisible. But in my experience, when anchored in the middle of the bay, they are nowhere to be found.


What’s your favourite anchorage?

Please tell us your favourite anchorage and we’ll featured it in the next months ‘Dropping Anchor’. Send the anchorage details with a brief description of why you like this anchorage along with some photos showing the layout of the anchorage, plus the primary details: Location, coordinates, seabed type and protection.

Send your favourite anchorage to hello@oceansailormagazine.com

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