Readers’ favourite Anchorages of the World

Showcasing your favourite anchorages.

Canna Harbour

From Ocean Sailor Reader Chris Chandler

Location: Canna Harbour, Inner Hebrides, Scotland, UK

Cordinates: 57° 3’22.372″N 6°29′ 39.664″W

Seabed: Good holding in mud

Protection: Good from all directions in the anchorage as marked with an anchor

This idyllic little harbour in the Scottish Hebrides has gained a special place in our hearts. My late mother spent several summer holidays on the island when she was a child. Her father was a ministry vet and used to visit the Western Isles as part of his job. Canna was his favourite and he would leave my mother and her siblings with their mother for a week or so while he went off inspecting farm animals on the other islands. When we started sailing together as a family, in the late 1980s, one of our first charters was from Dunstaffnage, just north of Oban, and Canna was one of our first ports of call. Happily, it has lost none of its charm, as we discovered on a family pilgrimage there in 2018 in memory of our mother who sadly passed away in 2005.

The approach from the north, east or south is unobstructed. When approaching from the west beware the outlying rocks extending some 2.5nm off the SW tip of Canna. The harbour entrance now has a red can marking rocks to the south which are usually covered with basking seals at low tide.

The harbour is well protected from most directions. Ten moorings have been laid around the edge although with an easterly wind, in particular, some swell may enter and you will be more comfortable at anchor than on one of the more exposed outer buoys. Most of the harbour has charted depths of 3.5m, holding is good in mud once you are sure that you are through the kelp. 

Ashore there are magnificent beaches and several walking tracks with amazing views particularly from the top of Compass Hill just north of the harbour. The island boasts evidence of its long and varied history from bronze age remains, early Celtic carvings and Norse burial sites.  Sadly the “only bridge across the Atlantic Ocean” (as the footbridge to neighbouring Sanday was told to me as a child) was washed away in 2005 and replaced by a road bridge. There is a tiny unmanned honesty shop selling basic provisions and also a fabulous restaurant serving fresh crab and lobster. It is cosy and very casual but the food and the ambience are amazing. Call in advance to give them fair warning if there are more than a few of you wanting shellfish! +441687482488 or VHF Ch8.

Salt Whistle Bay

From Ocean Sailor Reader Greg Frucci

Location: Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, St Vincent & the Grenadines

Coordinates: 12°38.855’N 61°23.441’W

Seabed: Good holding in sand

Protection: Well protected from wind and swell apart from the NW/W

This picturesque anchorage is located on Mayreau Island, the smallest inhabited island in the Grenadines. Great holding in sand and mooring buoys are available for about 40EC (€12) a night, however, due to the popularity of the bay, it’s recommended to arrive early. The beach is pristine and the waters are clear. There are a few bar and food options on the beach, with Nadie’s Cafe being a very popular spot. There is a famous barbeque available on the beach at night, serving lobster or chicken.

The island is lovely to hike, swim, snorkel and on the other side from the anchorage, there are some rock pools to bathe in. It’s only a short sail over to two other magical anchorages at Tobago Cays where you can anchor in the channel between Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau or drop the hook in what seems like the open ocean, but is actually a protected anchorage behind Horseshoe Reef. The sound of the waves crashing on the coral reef while you sit in perfect calm will keep you in the cockpit sipping your G&T until long after sundown.

Double Haven

From Ocean Sailor Reader Mawgan Grace

Location: Double Haven 印洲塘, Hong Kong

Coordinates: 22°31.188’N 114°18.002’E

Seabed: Good holding in sand/mud

Protection: Very well protected from all directions. There are multiple anchoring spots within the sheltered bay to ensure complete protection.

I’m sure remote unspoiled beautiful bays are not the first thought for many readers when I say Hong Kong, however, about 75% of the territory is green and 40% is national parkland. Double Haven is located at the very northeastern end of the New Territories in the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and as its name suggests, it is remarkably well protected from heavy weather and typhoons. Known for its natural beauty, its remote nature is too far for day pleasure junk boats and even too far from the city for crowds of people, so cruising here is the more favourable option if you have a boat up to the task. 

Arriving from the choppy waters of Mirs Bay we entered the narrow channel that stretches between Crescent Island and Double Island. Once through the channel Double Haven opens up in front of you, the flat mirror waters make it seem like a large inland lake. Some of the Haven is part of the Yan Chau Tong Marine Park which protects the local marine wildlife and is off-limits anchoring, however, there are plenty of protected spots so please consult your charts for details.

Try the anchorage at old pearl farm on Crooked Island, named for its shape, the Chinese name is  吉澳 Kat O (Lucky bay). The island itself has been a bustling fishing village since the 1660s and the Tin Hau temple was built in 1763 and definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately, the village has suffered the fate of many of Hong Kong’s remote villages and many residents left the villages to live in the city or overseas, leaving a handful of the older generations behind. 

While at anchor we also strapped on the diving equipment and jumped in. We were pleasantly surprised the underwater visibility was so good and we had a very enjoyable dive. The waters of Hong Kong are generally very warm, reaching almost 30°C in the summer, so swimming off the back of the boat is lovely. The whole Sai Kung and marine park area are fantastic for cruising but Double Haven especially is a charming step back into old Hong Kong away from the fast-paced city life.

What’s your favourite anchorage?

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