Friends from Berkeley – who now have their boats in Southern California – made plans to spend the 9/23 weekend in Avalon. We can’t resist a reunion, so we made our plans to get to the east side of the island and sample anchorages there until the weekend. Our final destination developed in motion, initially Buttonshell Beach, eventually Willow Cove.

Trip Summary – 9/20/2022

Pulled up anchor at Cat Harbor at 07:40, finished anchoring at Willow Cove at 17:05.

A bit of a busy sail with several projects underway. I re-whipped the starboard genoa sheet during our time in Cat Harbor, so we took the light-winded start to reattach it. Our stackpack is aging, and progressively failing through stress tears. We added fabric in Moss Landing, and I added more during this sail. Once the sewing was done, time for breakfast and fishing.

We put the sabiki rig in the water, immediately caught 3 mackerel, re-dropped the sabiki rig, and immediately caught 3 more. In hindsight, we 100% should have eaten the mackerel, but on the backside of the island we thought there could be dorado or another big tasty fish, so we used some as live bait and some as chum. We caught literally nothing else.

Despite shifting winds, it was a beautiful day on the water. The water colors coming around the southern tip were spectacular, so light aquamarine, and the clouds created wonderful shadows on the land. The Avalon area felt very busy as we were passing, with fishing boats, parasailers, jetskis, and a cruise ship, compared to the lovely, quiet Cat Harbor.

We sailed to the wind and surveyed the anchorage potentials as we passed them. Gallagher’s Beach had a few boats and looked unprotected from the consistent wind coming off the shore. Toyon Bay looked like the only open spot was likely the ferry landing. Willow Cove was empty. Moonstone and White’s Landing were completely unprotected from waves and wind. Hen Rock looked protected, but was full with two boats on a single hook each. Buttonshell looked downright Caribbean with the colorful buildings right on the water, but the anchoring spot was tight and the wind seemed to speed up through the valley behind Long Point. So, back to Willow.

The Anchorage

Willow Cove, 33°22.7′ N     |     118°21.3′ W

Willow felt very close to the rocks, but had a good hold. With the high hills, sun set behind the cliffs by 17:30, so even though there is room for more boats if everyone has 2 anchors out, we decided to hold on just the bow anchor. It was more rolly than ideal, but very protected from the wind, so worthwhile. We anchored in 22 feet of water in the dead center of the cove, first with 150 feet of chain, then scoped in to 105 to tighten our swing.

The lone picnic table on the beach made it easy to identify and very charming. We woke up to deer wading on the beach.