A few days ago, we drove down to Bellingham with my brother, Don, and his wife, Debbie. They keep their 42-foot Grand Banks cruising trawler, Change of Latitude, at the marina there. We were off on another water bound adventure. Whoo Hoo! It would be the first time that Mary Margaret and I were returning to the sea since we sold our beloved Leu Cat, at year ago last August. (Except for our fun time in Michigan with our friends, Steve and Linda Hecker on the lake.)
Mary Margaret had suggested that we find some nice, remote island in the San Juan’s to sail to and explore. Don and Debbie decided the most remote place would be the small island of Patos, the northernmost island of the San Juan’s one can go to before entering the Canadian waters. I have posted a Google Earth photo which shows you its location relative to the Canadian border, as well as to Blaine and Bellingham, Washington.
The weather was just fantastic with nothing but blue skies and lots of sunshine. Apparently, a Pacific high-pressure cell was moving into our area and would be dominating our weather for the next week or so. It was bringing this beautiful weather for our three-day cruise. As we motored out of the marina, Mount Baker came into view. What an inspiriting sight: tall and majestic and all covered with ice and snow.
Our cruise was about 25 nm and with a cruising speed of 8 knots, we approached Patos Island after just about three hours. Patos Island is a state marine park and has only two mooring balls in its small anchorage, called Active Cove. It got its name from when the winds blow from the north, the seas enter the cove, making it rather active with the swells bouncing any boats that are moored or at anchor.
At this time of the year, even with good weather, few people come to this remote island. Thus, when we arrived, the two mooring balls were both available. With Don at the helm, Debbie snagged a mooring ball and soon we were safely moored. We joined the Blue Herons, ducks, geese and seals which were making this island their home.
We spent three days at this anchorage, enjoying the peace, beauty and solitude it offered. It also allowed the four of us plenty of time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company. We also lowered the dinghy and motored over to the island to explore. I will post the pictures I took, to let them “do the talking” regarding what we saw.
The island has a very old 1800’s era lighthouse that is still standing. I took a number of photos of it both during the sunny afternoon hours and during the foggy morning hours. I hope you enjoy them.
During our stay, a 36-foot C and C sailboat came in and snagged the other mooring ball. We invited the owners, Sue and Jim, over for sundowners and had a chance to get to know them. Sue and Jim were Canadians, living near Vancouver, BC. They own their boat and have been enjoying sailing these waters for a number of years. They will be flying to French Polynesia in a couple of months to explore a bit and we are so envious. That area of the world was our favorite sailing venue.
During our stay at Patos Island we ate very well with Don grilling each night and Debbie and Mary Margaret putting together sides that paired well with each main. It all went down nicely with the various bottles of red wine that were in the boat. Ahhhhhh, now this is the life and we miss it so much.
During our last two days at Patos Island we had a thick, grey fog roll in during the morning hours and that brought the visibility down to just a few feet. When it did burn off, we were blessed with cloudless, blue skies and a bright, warm sun.
On our return trip back to Bellingham, we had to delay our departure until 1300 because of the thick fog. But, when it burned off, it was an easy cruise with glassy water and bright, crystal clear skies.
Once we docked and cleaned up the boat, we then headed off to Don’s favorite Italian restaurant for pasta dinners and deserts. It was a great ending to a great time onboard Change of Latitude.