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Major Upgrade to Angel Island Anchorage

The lovely double-ender Sonamara was one of the first boats to try out Ayala Cove’s new buoy system.

© 2016 Woody Skoriak

Here’s some excellent news for Central Bay boaters: Just in time for Easter weekend, all 28 moorings in Angel Island’s popular Ayala Cove anchorage have just been replaced with a new system that has a much cleaner look, and are rigged with ground tackle beefy enough to hold even big, heavy-displacement boats in a strong blow. 

If you’ve never spent the night on a mooring here, you’ve missed out on one of the coolest resources the Central Bay has to offer. Even with every mooring ball utilized — which only happens on midsummer weekends — overnighting here is normally a peaceful experience that will have you feeling as if you’re many miles from the hustle and bustle of urban living. And if you can get away for a midweek overnight, you may find yourself alone in the anchorage.

State Park staffer Rick Hastie and Diver Dave installed 28 of these ball-and-chain moorings this week. Note the size of the lower chain section draped across Dave’s lap. 

© Woody Skoriak

Moorings are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and cost $30 per day (or any portion of a day), with a seven-night max. Slips are available also ($15), but all boats must be off the docks by sunset. By contrast, visitors on moorings can access the island by dinghy until 10 p.m. Given that the last tourist ferry leaves at 3:30 p.m. (5:30 in midsummer), that gives overnighters loads of potential ‘quality time’ ashore. Make note that moored boats must tie up bow and stern to similarly colored buoys. (Rafting to a moored boat is allowed also.)

The rule in the anchorage has always been to moor to buoys both fore and aft. Color coding now makes that process less confusing. 

© Woody Skoriak

Longtime Latitude contributor Woody Skoriak helped Diver Dave Gissendaner and Angel Island State Park staffer Rick Haste with the installations yesterday, and was impressed by the ruggedness of the new system. "Each buoy is attached to a short piece of 5/8" chain, which is shackled to about a 20-foot length of 1" chain," he reports. Yeah, very beefy stuff. On the seafloor, the mooring chains are attached to Heli-Coil screws that extend down roughly 20 feet into the seabed. Although the anchorage could certainly stand to be dredged, this new buoy system is an enormous improvement. In fact, we can hardly wait to check it out ourselves.

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