What Makes A Great Anchorage?

A beautiful anchorage at Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, as seen from the top of Mt. Hobson (photo by The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Sidekick)

One of the best parts of cruising is dropping the hook and enjoying some time in a fabulous anchorage. It seems like everyone has their favorite anchorages. Places you dream about returning to one day. Places that you excitedly tell others about when you hear they’ll be cruising there. Places whose pictures make you smile each time you see them.

It doesn’t seem like there is a simple rule which defines what makes an anchorage great. It might be the rich, vibrant colors of the sunset or the silhouette of the hills against the water as the sun comes up in the morning that you can’t forget. Or it might be the incredible wildlife you had the privilege of seeing. For some, it might be the interesting characters you met at a cruiser’s potluck on the beach. For others, it might be the opportunity to enjoy the solitude of an anchorage all by yourselves. Or maybe you just had so much fun that every time you reflect back on that particular anchorage, you can’t help but laugh to yourself about the craziness you got up to.

Topic Coordinator:  Ellen from The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick

You can read about some of our favorite spots to drop the hook in New Zealand, as well as some of Scott’s favorite anchorages in Europe: 

What Makes a Great Anchorage? (New Zealand)
Great Anchorages in Europe - Pt 1

Check out the links below to find out what other cruisers think makes a great anchorage and suggestions about where you might want to drop the hook next. 

Stephanie & David from S/V Cambria share some of their favorite anchorages in the Pacific Northwest. Check out their post to find out why Octopus Islands Marine Park, Quadra Island and Shoal Bay, East Thurlow Island are some of their favorites. They’ve even included one of their dog’s (Sally) favorite spots – Rebecca Spit Marine Park on Quadra Island! They also share their tips on what to look for in an anchorage.

Favourite Places Along the Way 
O is for Overnight on the Hook: What We Look for in an Anchorage

If you find yourself in Lake Huron, Kevin from Sail Far, Live Free has some great tips about where to anchor in the North Channel. And you should probably get yourself up there and check them out as Kevin thinks the North Channel could be classed as one of the world’s best cruising grounds! Kevin also shares a lovely post on “one particular harbour” in the North Channel and what makes it so special for his family.  

A Cruising Sailor’s Best of Lake Huron’s North Channel: Part 1
One Particular Harbour 

You always remember your firsts – your first kiss, your first boat and the first time you anchor overnight. Cheryl from Mid-Life Cruising writes about the first time they anchored overnight in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana on their boat S/V Nirvana. She has some great pictures, as well as tips on margarita mixes! 

First Overnight Stay 

Don from S/V Hermes has some suggestions on “hurricane hole” anchorages in the Bahamas because, as he points out, one of the things that makes an anchorage great is protection and feeling safe. He has some interesting insights into why an anchorage with a nice sandy beach may not always be the best option as a “hurricane hole”. 

Bahamas Anchorages 

If you’re cruising in Europe (or hope to make it there one day), Robin from Miss Chips has put together a list of recommended anchorages which are perfect for watching the sun go down with a gin & tonic in hand. By clicking on the links in the list, you can get more details on anchorages in Wales, England, France and Portugal.  

Recommended Anchorages 

Mike from Zero to Cruising shares a list of the criteria they use when deciding if an anchorage should go on the “best of the best” list. You might find it interesting to test out how some of your favorite anchorages stack up against Mike’s criteria.  

The Best Anchorage in the World! 

Deb from The Retirement Project has some tips on anchoring in the ICW. Constrained by the size and draft of their boat, Deb & TJ learned a lot about anchoring and what makes a good anchorage as they made their way down the ICW. Deb shares details about their favorite anchorage – Wrightsville Beach – as well as some of the runner ups that they’ve discovered.  

What Makes a Good Anchorage 

If you're thinking of cruising in the Baltic Sea, Antti & Minna from SY Dolphin Dance share their top ten destinations in this inland sea. The Baltic Sea offers lots of islands, sheltered waterways and a variety of landscapes to enjoy. You can click on links in their post to find out more information about specific anchorages.  

Baltic Sea Top 10

Reflecting back on their experiences sailing from the east coast of the States to the western Caribbean, Jessica from MJ Sailing classifies anchorages as good, bad or ugly. After you read her post, you'll probably make a beeline to Double Breasted Cay in the Ragged Islands of the Bahamas as it gets their vote as "the most beautiful". And you'll also get some good tips on anchorages to avoid if you're not a big fan of getting your butt kicked by the swell!

Anchorages: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

You can find Martin Edge's hysterical and informative guide to anchorages, natural harbors and marinas in Finland on Sail in Finland. He describes some amazing places like Jungfruskär which is both a natural reserve island and an "axe murder's paradise"!

105 Rocks - Jungfruskär

Kimberly and Ryan from Sophia Sailing share their adventures anchoring in Guana Cay in the Bahamas. 

Adventures on Guana Cay

Hi blogger! Do you have a blog post about your favorite anchorages and what makes it great that you want to share?  Even if you’re not out cruising now and/or in the process of getting ready to get out there on the water, tell us about those anchorages you dream of heading to and why! Please post your link with a brief description in the comments section below and we'll add it to this list.

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  1. Kimberly and Ryan had some great adventures anchoring at Fisher's Bay on Guana Cay, The Bahamas. Read about it here: http://sophiasailing.com/2015/12/12/adventures-on-guana-cay/

    1. Sorry it took me so long to notice you left a comment here. I've gone ahead and added to the post. Thanks for sharing!