Pulpito is nothing if not dramatic. The gigantic 400+ foot tall monolith is visible from over 30 miles away on clear days, and provides a stunning backdrop to the anchorage at any time of day or night. The anchorage on the south side is excellent in a norther, although some swell can sneak around the point. There is excellent hiking ashore, although shore access itself can be a bit tricky, as it’s a steep rocky shore in most places. There is fantastic snorkeling and fishing as well. Something for everyone!
Coming from south, the approach is wide open. Coming from north, one must first beware of the strange currents that run off this point, mostly supplied by either direct or eddy currents flowing out the south end of San Nicolas bay, just to the north of Pulpito. These often run 90 degrees to your course, pushing you out from your destination, but can also add a wicked chop. It’s often best to stay offshore a bit further and then take a higher angle into Pulpito. This has the added bonus of helping you avoid the various pinnacle rocks that lay offshore of the large rock face on the SE side up to about 200 meters off. After clearing them, head into the corner of the bay. Note that there are large underwater rock formations along the shore projecting out 200 yards in some places, beginning where the rock wall onshore turns dark brown, down past the 20 foot free standing pinnacle.
For all boats approaching Pulpito, note the currents and that an increasing breeze near the large rock formation is common. This area seems to accelerate breeze.
This is a large bay with room for a dozen boats or more. The best protection in north weather is of course tucked up into the NW corner, but what little wrap there is seems to us to be about the same anywhere. Holding is excellent in a sand bottom at 20-35 feet.
The obvious shore attraction is Pulpito itself, which we for years mistook as a sarcastic attempt to name the place after a diminutive octopus, like giving the biggest kid in your grade school class the nickname “Tiny.” But the Shawn and Heather books note that it’s really a pulpit rock, which makes a lot more sense. From the top of this thing you can project your own gospel out onto the Sea. The hike to the top isn’t too hard to work out, starting from near the top of the hill on the short road from the anchorage itself, in the shadow of the big rock monolith.
Getting ashore can be tricky, as it’s a steep rocky shore. If not everyone in your party is going ashore, it will certainly be easiest to drop crew off on the rocky shore in a touch-and-go maneuver. Otherwise, paddle in on an SUP or something light. If you’re nimble and strong you can probably find a place for the dinghy to pull up, but we found it easier to go south to the second beach (mind the rocks!) and pull up there. It added probably 3/4 mile to the walk one-way along a well-defined two-track road, but it was worth it.
Snorkeling in this place. Wow, were we pleasantly surprised! If the visibility is decent, the huge rock chunks sprinkled along the shore south of the anchorage make a stunning playground loaded with fish. Not a lot of large game species, but all the usual suspects are there, and in a very aesthetically pleasing area.