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When I arrive at coves in Southern California (Catalina Island & the Northern Channel Islands) many of the anchorages have boats anchored bow & stern. Usually this is due to the limited space for swing - either from other boats or the size of the cove. I must anchor as the earlier arrivers have done.

My original question had to do with the problem of letting out the bow anchor to bring in the stern anchor when departing. I intend to let some off of the bow, gather the stern, and repeat until I can get over the stern anchor. I can see problems if other boats are nearby and/or conditions are not fairly calm. I've done this plenty with crew onboard but never solo. I'm just looking for any advice. Thanks again for all comments.
I can feel your pain. I've always had to do bow and stern at Catalina as the anchorages are always tight. It also makes for a more comfortable night as the wind and the waves never line up.

I use a small Bruce-knockoff as my stern anchor, and use my dink to set and retrieve it, even when solo. At Catalina, it seems like the bow anchor is always in deep water and the bottom comes up fast. I doubt that I can get in close enough to drop my stern anchor anyway, so why try. When I need to retrieve the anchor, I don't motor. I simply pull myself to the anchor by using the rode, bring the anchor into the dink and then use the rode to get back. Once back, then I deal with the bow anchor.
 
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