A Wonderful Winter Day On Patos Island

First glimpse of the lighthouse

First glimpse of the lighthouse

We have received funding (from the BLM) to “hire” an intern to help us plan our first real Museum in the Lighthouse on Patos Island. Our advisor and wonderful fan of all things Patos, Erin Corra, has come up with the wonderful idea of recruiting a student at Bellingham’s Huxley College of the Environment.

We took our first intern candidate, Christine, out to Patos Island for a look-see last Thursday and we had a wonderful day! This was the first time I had been out to the island in the winter, but we had no problem with the wintry wild waves which I have seen in some of the historical pictures. The day was sunny but cold, and the water smooth.

After we landed on the island, we all headed up to the lighthouse to discuss our ideas with our potential intern, Christina. Right now the displays in the lighthouse consist of poster boards propped on easels and lots of note books with historical photos and documents. We are dreaming of incorporating all the information we have into real museum/interpretive center displays.

The lighthouse interior

The lighthouse interior

Ideas were discussed, views were appreciated and then we headed down to a campsite to share lunch with the state park workers on the island who are installing the new composting toilets. Yes, by spring we will have new efficient and environmentally correct toilets to replace the rumoured-to-be 40-year-old pit/outhouses.!

Lunch with the crew

Lunch with the crew

As we headed back to Orcas Island with Steve, our ever wonderful state parks ranger, we all agreed that it was a terrific day with much accomplished towards presenting a future learning experience for visitors to the  island.


Patos Bill’s Response…

If you read the last post, you will know that a mystery man from Tacoma was mentioned. Well he is none other than our very own “Patos Bill”! Here are Bill’s recollections from those days….

“Well, yes I was that guy named Bill and I remember romping on the North beach with a cute gal that was at the North Beach inn. Oh the water was cold. But the gal was cute so who cared…Not me.
We always came ashore there when we came over to get our mail and groceries.We shopped for our food at Buzz and Esters meat and groceries shop at the ferry dock on Orcas.
I visited Chief and Arline when they lived on Whidbie Island. I lost track of chief after Arline passed away.
My time on Patos was living the life of an island person. The weather directed your day.
Great memories.
Patos Bill”

Always fun to reeceive these flashes from the past on Patos Island.



Flashes From the Past

From time to time. we receive emails from people who either used to live on  or visit Patos Island in the past. This is our latest Flash From the Past email: (Thanks Lisa and Nancy!)


My name is Lisa Jacobs and I am a member of a 4-H Natural Resources group that periodically takes kayak trips to Sucia and Patos Islands.

This past summer when we were on Patos, the lighthouse was open and we spent some time inside reading the materials. I used my camera to take pictures of some of the stories and pictures to send to my mother, who grew up in Bellingham and spent time in the San Juan’s in her late teens.

In case you are interested, here is some history from her regarding Patos:

I met the chief and his wife from Patos when I worked at North Beach Inn directly south on Orcas Island, about 1951 or 1952. They kept their vehicle garaged at the resort and would come in when one of the guys went on leave or when they wanted groceries. Chief was A.C. Schultz (Alvah), aka “Speed”, and wife, Arline. We became friends and I was invited over to spend a night or two on Patos. Which I did a couple of times. Sometimes the crossing was made in extremely rough weather and it was a bit scary. We became fast friends for life. 

The large house is where the ‘sailors” stayed and the small house was where the chief and his wife lived and where I was their guest. One of the sailors was Bill from Tacoma, don’t remember his last name. Might have been Blake. He was cute.

They had the cutest little parakeet on Patos which said, “Let’s eat, Arline!” and, “Let’s go fishing!” He had the freedom of the house. There was no road, just a path up from the dock.

When Speed retired, they bought a home on Orcas on the west side of Eastsound looking toward Rosario. Not on the beach, tho. They had an old model A (or  T) which I loved to drive. I believe Speed retired rather than face another assignment going to Alaska on the Ice Breaker Northwind out of Seattle.
Later, Speed and Arline moved to Whidbey Island just south of Coupleville in Ledgewood Beach area.
Arline died and Speed eventually remarried. I imagine he has since passed away. We didn’t correspond after Arline died but he took me dancing once. He was a terrific dancer.
I loved the salt water, the sound, sights and smells.  I used to sit on the beach and watch for their boat to approach Orcas.
A family by the name of Jukes was headed home on a sailboat one stormy evening, I saw the boat
. . . it was never seen again. They had a photography studio in Bellingham.
A nice time in my younger years, good memories.

Nancy Goodliffe (Barnett)

Patos Island in the early 1950s

Patos Island in the early 1950s