My Life on Patos Island Part Two: By Patos Bill LaVergne

Bill Tee Elaine 1953

Elaine and T Titterington with Patos Bill (right)1953

We left off on part one of my Life On Patos where I had arrived on the Island.
The longer I stayed on Patos the more I enjoyed it.
My duty shift was from midnight to eight am. Everyone else were in bed sound asleep. I went to bed at 8am.
I then got up for lunch and got busy with chores all afternoon. We did a lot of painting, building new cement sidewalks as the wood ones were pretty much ready to be retired. They sent us two CG guys from Seattle to help with gathering sand and gravel to make the cement we needed. They took buckets down to the beach area with our skiff boat and brought the gravel back up to the mixer that sat next to the tram in front of our houses. Needless to say it took quite a few trips to collect enough to make enough for a batch of cement. It was a long Summer task.

Our Island life was like living on a farm. We planted a large garden and we raised Chickens and  had a few goats also.Patos garden 1953
Summer time was also time to get some fishing time in.
We  had family and friends that would come visit as well as boaters who would come view the lighthouse. So it was always a time looked forward to by us.

One of the enjoyable things I looked forward to was our weekly runs over to Orcas Island to pick up the mail and buy groceries. That was good because we made friends there and it added to our not forgetting how to interact with people other then the 6 people on Patos.
Andy and Kathleen our Canadian light keepers across the water from us would visit in the Summer.
We would often get called out for a rescue of people who had run their batteries down ETC. One time it was a group of Navy personal that we helped get their craft running again. Did we ever love them having to ask the Coast Guard for help. I’m sure they never told anyone about that. We of course told every one about it.

Birthdays were celebrated with a dinner of the Birthday persons choice. It was just like a family get together at one of our houses.
When TV came to the islands we received a set and it sure was great for keeping up on what was going on in the world and to watch programs.
As I stated before Patos became the” Light In My Life”.
Patos Bill

National Monument Committee!

Lopez and San Juan Island  Island Conservation Corps kids waving to us from the Lighthouse

Lopez and San Juan Island Island Conservation Corps kids waving to us from the Lighthouse

National Monument Advisory Committee Nominations Open Tomorrow

As someone on our informal Management Planning email list, you get a bit of a head start on this news. Tomorrow should see the publication of the official Federal Register announcement of the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee (the official name of our RAC). This will open nominations, which will have a deadline 45 days later. We should see a press release from BLM when the publication happens and that announcement will go to my broader list, facebook, etc. Start thinking now about who you’d like to encourage to apply for this and who you are able to write endorsement letters for.

The Federal Register has made the announcement available in pre-publication form and it will become official on February 6. The announcement indicates that the press release from BLM will contain more information about nominations. The form of the nominations will likely follow the application linked to from the BLM’s RAC page.

There are no surprises in the announcement, which is copied below. Some key points are highlighted in bold.

This document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 02/06/2014 and available online at, and on

Bureau of Land Management
Notice of Intent to Establish and Call for Nominations for the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee, Washington
AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.
ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is publishing this notice in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The BLM gives notice that the Secretary of the Interior is establishing the San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee. This notice also solicits nominations for members of the public to sit on the Committee. The Committee will provide information and advice regarding the development of the National Monument’s management plan as stated in the Presidential Proclamation establishing the Monument.

ADDRESSES: Nominations should be submitted to Daniel Picard, BLM Spokane District Manager, 1103 N. Fancher Road, Spokane, WA 99212, Attention: RAC Nominations.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Picard, BLM Spokane District Manager, 509-536-1200.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FLPMA (43 U. S. C. 1739) directs the Secretary of the Interior to involve the public in planning and issues related to management of lands administered by the BLM. Section 309 of FLPMA directs the Secretary to establish 10-to-15-member citizen-based advisory councils that are consistent with FACA. The rules governing RACs are found at 43 CFR subpart 1784. As required by FACA, Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) membership must be balanced and representative of the various interests concerned with the management of the public lands. The San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee will be composed of 12 members: 2 members representing recreation and tourism interests, 2 members representing wildlife and ecological interests, 2 members representing cultural and heritage interests, 2 public-at-large members, 1 member representing tribal interests, 1 member representing local government, 1 member representing education and interpretation interests, and 1 member representing private landowners. Individuals may nominate themselves or others. Nominees must be residents of the district in which the RAC has jurisdiction. The BLM will evaluate nominees based on their education, training, experience, and knowledge of the geographic area of the RAC. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to collaborative resource decision-making. The Obama Administration prohibits individuals who are currently federally registered lobbyists to serve on all FACA and non-FACA boards, committees or councils. The following must accompany all nominations.

  • Letters of reference from represented interests or organizations;
  • A completed background information nomination form; and
  • Any other information that addresses the nominee’s qualifications.

Simultaneous with this notice, the BLM Spokane District Office will issue a press release providing additional information for submitting nominations, with the specifics about the number and categories of member positions available.

CERTIFICATION STATEMENT: I certify that the BLM San Juan Islands National Monument Advisory Committee is necessary and in the public interest in connection with the Secretary’s responsibilities to manage the lands, resources and facilities administered by the BLM.
(Authority: 43 CFR 1784.4-1).
Dated: Jan. 24, 2014.
Sally Jewell,
Secretary of the Interior.
[FR Doc. 2014-02536 Filed 02/05/2014 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 02/06/2014]

Copyright © 2014 Tom Reeve, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in remaining closely involved with the process for creating the Resource Management Plan for the San Juan Islands National Monument.
Our mailing address is:

Tom Reeve

778 Flint Road

Lopez Island, WA 98261

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Work Party and Closing the Lighthouse


Well, the summer has flown by and yesterday marked the final work party of the season and the closing of the lighthouse for the coming winter.

Before our group took off from Orcas in the pouring rain yesterday, we received a safety talk from Ranger, Steve Sabine, and Ranger Liz skillfully  transported us over to Patos Island. At the lighthouse, Team Leader, Sandy, checked us in and gave out work assignments for the day.

Miraculously, the rain had stopped (a common occurrence on Patos Island) and as some headed off for  trail maintenance and campsite cleaning, others stayed near the lighthouse for sidewalk clearing and the never-ending task blackberry removal.

I spent the day in the lighthouse, sorting, cleaning, and packing up for the winter.

All packed up

All packed up

At lunchtime as we gathered to share food, stories, and amazing views from the lighthouse, Tom spotted Humpback Whale, a rare sight for visitors to Patos Island.

After our day of work, we met Steve and Liz back at Minnie’s Beach for the trip back to Orcas Island. But not so fast! About 2/3rd the way back, the Sea Bass’s engine conked out and after futile attempts to restart her, a small State Parks boat was called over from Sucia Island to tow us in.

All’s well that ends well and we were all back in time to catch our ferries to Lopez and Anacortes.

A great big thank-you to participants, Sandy E, Patty, Mike, Tom, Duane, Rhea, Sandy B, and as always, Sucia State Park Rangers, Steve and Liz. (and our rescuers from Sucia!)

That’s it for this posting…enjoy the pictures of our amazing closing day!IMG_9633

IMG_9602 IMG_9611 IMG_9614   IMG_9619 IMG_9620 IMG_9636 IMG_9646 IMG_9648 IMG_9650

In the news….

We are sure enjoying these stories,,,,video this time!

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