We recently sailed out to Cat Harbor with two power boater friends. The trip was to be for the weekend and we would meet up at the island and have dinner on our sailboat. The two power boater friends of course motored to the Isthmus because that is the shortest distance to the island from the mainland. As usual, we sailed around to the back side and anchored at Cat Harbor. The crossing was pretty uneventful and we had the chance to raise the new mainsail!
The next day we ended up picking up our dinner guests at the dock and ferrying them out to our sailboat. Because the Isthmus is usually rolly even on a mooring ball, they were in for a bit of a surprise when we brought them aboard. Cat Harbor is so calm almost all the time, so when they came aboard their first comment was about how being anchored there is like being tied up at the marina.
At dinner we all talked about how they could have saved mooring fees, which have gone up quite a bit in recent years, by motoring around to Cat Harbor and dropping their hook. Savings on the cost of the mooring fees would offset the cost of the additional fuel, and they would have had a much more comfortable night. The next day they picked us up at the Isthmus and ferried us to their boat for drinks. The difference in motion at the mooring ball was so noticeable that we ended up not staying for very long. Being there for that short a time brought back memories of rolling all night long both on a mooring ball and at anchor. The Isthmus can be that uncomfortable.
Depending on your fuel burn rate, it could easily be more cost effective to motor to Cat Harbor and anchor for free. As of this writing, mooring fees for our 41 footer for two days will run you $126 plus a $20 “booking fee”, whatever that is. The topper is that anchored at Cat Harbor you will spend a really comfortable night and have beautiful scenery! Bald Eagles nest on one of the hills and we were actually buzzed by one as he circled our boat. We’ve even had sea planes land and take off on occasions from the back side while we were anchored there. Of course there are no water taxis to bring you to shore, so you will have to have a skiff with an outboard, but most boaters do.
So, yes, some power boaters do motor all the way around to the back side. Calm, beautiful, quiet, are all things you will enjoy if you anchor at Cat Harbor. We’ve been sailing there for 10 years now, and we have always preferred it.