Coches Prietos Bay on Santa Cruz Island
From Smugglers, it was a short two hour trip under motor, or about 10 miles, to
Coches Prietos. Along the way, I fashioned a jury-rigged Flopper
Stopper from a milk crate and some other junk parts. The scenery was
nice, the morning was cool, and when we arrived at the anchorage we
were the only boat there.
This is relevant because there is one choice spot to park a boat,
way inside the inner cove. We anchored in about
25 feet of water, perhaps 100 feet offshore, with rocky cliffs
a hundred feet to either side. To keep from swinging
into the rocks, in addition to the bow anchor, we also deployed
a stern anchor using the dinghy to kedge it off to within
20 feet of the shore behind the boat. This also helped
to mitigate the effects of the swell by keeping our bow pointed
into the swell. Then I deployed my new flopper stopper and we
had much less movement than we had the night before.
During the day, four other boats came to the anchorage, but they all
had to stay in the outer part, about 400 feet offshore, so we were
very happy we had gotten there so early and had the choice spot.
We took dinghy out for explorations several times,
once exploring the cove and outer waters, once going around and playing
"meet the neighbors", and then finally, beaching the dinghy
on-shore where we went for a short hike
around the cove. We were surprised by how much man-made trash had
made it's way onto shore, so we collected and disposed properly of
a bunch of items including sandals, many balloons, and a frisbee!
There was lots of signs of wildlife where a small stream met the
tidewater in an estuary. We explored the tidal pools around the
bases of the cliffs, and went swimming again in the afternoon
when it got hot. We were particularly taken by these birds
with red feet and long red beaks that made a very loud squeaky noise.
The next morning, when it was time to depart, it took us almost
an hour and a half to retrieve the stern anchor, put the dinghy
and motor away, and finally weigh the main anchor and depart