Day 31: Otter Bay to Patos Island via Roche Harbor (San Jaun Island)

Patos Island light house with Canadian Gulf Islands in background
Patos Island light house with Canadian Gulf Islands in background

Yes for Spot Prawns at Roche Harbor (yay!) and it’s nice to be back in US waters. We started off the morning with Bill making our first Orca sighting! A pod of five were heading north as we came out of Otter Bay and we got a little video. A very nice way to end our stay in Canada today and this day also marks Christopher and Brittany’s first wedding anniversary! Cheers! Strangely the radio blew up this morning with tremendous “Boat Rage” as we listened to angry voices and cussing nonstop and it’s not even the weekend…hard to believe people have the gall to vent like this over our coast guard emergency channel. Too bad we couldn’t turn them off.

Roche Harbor was as usual, busier than ever, but we took an hour to grab a few items needed and post a letter. Glad to get out of this huge summer Hub, we much prefer coming here either Spring break or in September (Ranger Tug Rendezvous).

Onward to Patos Island which is our very favorite island in the San Juan’s and one of the smallest. Most people have never heard of it because of its size and that it is furthest north and outside of the main San Juan Island archipelago. It is magical and picturesque and has a lighthouse you can walk to as well as another hike you can take which circumnavigates this lovely oasis. While there are just two buoys, a third can anchor here and so coming mid week is best since Patos does have its regular followers. The tiny cove is really pretty and it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere, completely remote with abundant wildlife to enjoy.

We so lucked out and were able to secure an anchorage here today. Had some really lumpy and muscle-upsetting waters on the way and then with binoculars saw multiple boats and sailboats going into the cove and out again. We were so sure there was no room, but then wait for it…! Suddenly we approached the cove and saw one motorboat anchored at the head, and three sailboats. So needless to say we were able to take the third space and anchored with no problem. Unfortunately there is only one park buoy now – hope they will replace it soon as anchoring is not ideal in this rocky bottomed cove.

It was after 3 pm and we need to wait out the anchor to be sure it has set, so Donna took the kayak in and hiked out to the lighthouse to see if they were open. Unfortunately they were not and also didn’t have a sign to advise. But the upside was that I got to see a large group of seals sleeping on the tidal rocks and they really gave me a show! I unknowingly surprised them from above on the cliff and most of them jumped quickly into the sea. So I sat down and just waited awhile and they all swam back and right up onto their resting rocks, but with a lot of attitude and accompanying complaints! What a loud and noisy bunch of creatures they are and I have never heard some of their strange sounds today but I did catch them on video. On the way back to my kayak I came out to the cove and an eagle flew past and then put his talons down for a serious landing on the point. Right after that a kingfisher flew in front of me and hovered like a helicopter over the water but then decided it’s prey was gone. Back to the boat and so glad we are here tonight because the alternatives are not good. Right after that a great blue heron flew directly over our boat and into a tree, making an astonishing squawking sound that reminded me of our bow and stern thrusters. So funny, we just laughed.

Beautiful long and colorful sunset evening.

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