A Big Day On Patos Island!

RangerSteve reviews safety rules for the KOPL crew

At 8:30 this AM, I left Orcas Island with a crew of 8 work group volunteers for the ride over to Patos Island, with Ranger Steve taking us over on the big State Parks boat, the Sea Bass. The Sea bass has been out of commission for 1+ years so it was nice to once again get a team of volunteers and their gear onto one boat for the trip over.

New docents, Barb abd Buzz, watch porpoises off the bow of the Sea Bass.

Our special occasion on Patos was to meet and great the new BLM supervisor for the Wenatchee District, which, oddly, includes the BLM properties in the San Juan Islands. Our ability to continue to open the lighthouse to the public hinges on her approval, so we wanted the trails and the lighthouse complex area to look much more than presentable.

After our pep and safety talk on Minnie’s Beach, we headed off in various groups to mow the campsite areas, weed eat the path near the lighthouse and work on the overgrown island loop trail. The rest of us headed up to open up the lighthouse.

Keepers hard at work spiffing up the lighthouse

As usual, visitors started up the path as soon as we opened up, so two of our newer docents got to hear me talk to visitors about the recent lighthouse renovation and lighthouse history. When Nick, our leader from the BLM, arrived with his new supervisor, I gave her to tour, told stories of reminiscences of old Coast guard men, and told stories from the book, Light on the Island. She seemed mightily impressed with the work our volunteers have done and continue to do on the island and at the lighthouse.

We all agreed at the end of the day that everyone had done a great job and once again we had all worked as a team to do it!

A wall of Dials and Gauges….DeCoded!

Generator Control Panel, Patos Lighthouse mid 1950’s

In my previous post, I mentioned a young man who was very interested in one of our photos taken by Coast Guard Officer, Dale Nelson, stationed on Patos Island in the 1950s.

We have received a descriptive email about the panel, so without further ado, here is the description of the photograph:

Description of Generator Control Panels and gauges Patos lighthouse.

The top row of three gauges are Current Meters showing amps in each phase.

The second from the top shows three gauges, the one on our left is unknown (PF?), the center is voltage, the one on our right is unknown (VAR?).

The third row from the top has a gauge likely Exciter Voltage , the center is likely a selector switch for the volt meter above it with the following positions A-GND, B-GND, C-GND, A-B, B-C, and C-A, and on our right a gauge possibly Exciter Current.

The fourth row has a rheostat for the exciter which controls generator voltage, the center meter is a reed frequency meter and the dial on the right is likely governor control.

The fifth row has three synchronizing lamps.

The sixth row has two toggle switches. The one on our left is likely for selecting manual voltage control or automatic voltage control. The one on our right is likely for selecting manual governor control or automatic.

The seventh row has the cabinet door handle, the Generator main breaker, nameplate and a 50/51 protective relay with target showing (the three red stripes).

The bottom section is likely a battery charger with voltage and current meters. It appears to have been recently upgraded possibly to a system using the latest, for the 1950’s, Germanium Power Diodes.

A big thank you to lighthouse visitor, Jeff Brown, for this valuable information! Jeff does want to add that, “…. point out it is a work in progress and encourage anyone recognizing the equipment in the photos or familiar with Lighthouse power systems to make contact.”

 

Docents and Fog

Our new docents pose with Ranger Steve on Minnie’s Beach, Patos Island

Yesterday, June 16th, dawned as a Very Rainy Day, but we headed out to Patos Island for a docent training day, none-the-less. Docent trainees, Pat & Pete, and David W and I, left with Fearless Ranger Steve from  Orcas Island for the trip over to Patos island at 8:30 AM.

When we got the island, we headed right up to the lighthouse to go over the ropes, expecting no visitors due to the weather conditions, but surprise!, we had several groups of visitors in the hours that we were open.

The husband of a young couple with their toddler daughter, told me he had a 105 year old grandmother living in Bellingham who had known one of the Semiamoo lighthouse’s  lightkeepers. Since our very own Edward Durgan, (the  lightkeeper in “Light on the Island”) worked at Semiamoo lighthouse at the end of his career, we asked this young man to interview his grandmother and then contact us with any information.

With another couple, from Alberta, Canada,  the husband was a power electrician technician, who became fascinated with our photographs taken inside the lighthouse in the late 1950s. These photos  were takenby USCG Lightkeeper, Dale Nelson, and are the core of our collection of historic photographs in the 1950s. The young man stared intently at the pictures of dials and knobs and gave of a narrative of what each one did. We even gave him a magnifying glass so that he could see even more detail. I arranged to send him the photos via email so that we could get him to write down all his observations for lighthouse posterity!

Losta Dials!

After lunch, I gave our trainee docents a break and off they went to hike the beach and the island trail and by the time they made it back, it was time to meet the state park pick up boat at Minnie’s beach.

Despite the rain, we had a terrific training day and a good time was had by all!

FoggY Ferry on the way to Patos Island

A Docent Experiences Patos Island

Here is our second year Docent, Katy’s, description of her recent weekend on Patos Island:

Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2012 19:07:16 -0700 > Subject: Patos trip >

> To: patoslightkeepers@hotmail.com > >

Hi Linda, > oh, my goodness, we had fun and adventure on Patos. There were five of us, > we were the only visitors to the island, and it was magical. We went to the > lighthouse after dinner, and enjoyed a fantastic sunset. This morning we set > out on the trail around through the woods, and when we got to the beach on > the other side, decided to go south rather than north, as it was the lowest > tide of the year and we thought we could maybe walk around. > Wrong! We ended up doing a LOT of bushwhacking, finally making it back to > the beaches towards the harbor, and I must say, there are a lot of tired > cookies relaxing in a hot bath tonight. It was a great adventure, and I feel > I got much more educated about the island! I will definitely recommend that > people do not attempt to go to the south end unless they are in a boat. > > We had planned to go to the lighthouse again today, but by the time we got > back to camp and had some lunch, it was time to go. > >  I could see that there is a lot of work to be done on the trail, some > energetic folks with clippers is in order. > > > >

View of beautiful Active Cove from the Docent Campsite

Thanks again for all your work on this project. It is a truly magical place. > >

A Flash From the Past

Out of the blue last week, we received a postcard from a “Dave Malland” asking us to call him. Who was this guy? Well, Carla and I soon found out when we sat down to call him on the speaker phone.

Dave, who lives in Port Angeles, Washington, is a retired Coast Guard Master Chief,  who served 5 years active duty and 34 years as a reservist. In 1985 he and a crew of men were sent to do some work on Patos Island, on the 180ft Buoy Tender, “The Fir“. The crew spent two weeks (from August 12 to August 23rd) working on several projects on the island.

Projects included: electrical work in the lighthouse, bulldozing foundations and covering them with soil, ( which/where, he did not remember) and removing an empty diesel tank from the east lighthouse wall and sinking it in the bay. He mentioned that environmental regulations were not what they are today!

He mentioned that the bulldozer that they used was helicoptered in from Bellingham.

One funny story was that one of the crew was also a house restorer and he decided to keep an” antique” porcelain toilet which was found in one of the buildings. Unfortunately, he dropped it and it cracked. They then dumped it somewhere in Active Cove. Apparently Dave has a friend who is a scuba diver who later showed him a photograph of himself sitting on an underwater toilet and Dave told him that he knew exactly where it was!

Dave then started to tell us about his years of CG active duty. In 1957 he was stationed at CG Base Seattle and apparently they “didn’t know what to do” with him, so he was sent to be a Relief Keeper at Alki Lighthouse in Seattle, then to Burrows LH(near Anacortes) and finally to Lime Kiln LH on San Juan Island. He said he had some good stories about Lime Kiln, but we decided to leave those for another conversation.

Last but not least, Dave wondered why we didn’t have any of this information on our website and we told him that we didn’t know. As far as the years between when the Coast Guard left Patos Island and when the BLM took over in the early 2000s we have little to no information about what was happening on Patos. With conversations with people like Dave Malland we are filling our knowledge gap!