A light mist turned into a steady rain while making a pit stop at Roche Harbor for water and a few extra provisions on cool Friday afternoon in January. The wind was blowing a steady 15 or more from the southeast, but you couldn’t tell from the protection of the harbor.
With our “errands” done, we nosed Yahtzee’s bow out of the harbor and made a course north and east for Patos Island. The steady rain was now a full on torent and the wind followed suit by kicking up into the 20s — which, given the direction, which was fine by me. I always welcome a good downwind jaunt and we rocketed north between Stuart and Walrdon Island at 7.5 to 8.5 knots and topped out at 9.6. All the while, Porter slept soundly in his room and Jill and Magnus cuddled in the warmth of the cabin. I checked on them every so often and though I wished they were up in the cockpit enjoying the spirited sail with me, it was nice to see them so happy, dry and comfortable down below.
Due to the weather — and the fact that it’s mid-January — it came as no surprise that we didn’t see a single other boat for two days at Patos Island. The northernmost isle in the San Juan chain, Patos Island is a small marine state park with one narrow harbor that has two mooring buoys, some campsites, a USCG lighthouse and that’s about it for manmade objects.
What Patos did have, though, was a massive amount of juvenile and adult bald eagles. There were so many that it was actually tough to get an accurate count and at first we didn’t know what the juveniles were because they don’t share the iconic white head and tail of the adult eagles. Their unique call and cry was the first thing I heard on Saturday morning from bed and they were omnipresent overhead and in the trees throughout our time there. It felt like we were their guests for the weekend and I really wished I had a good, high-powered lense for my camera because the opportunities for photographs seemed endless — National Geographic type stuff.
When we sailed away from the island today, the American flag streamed from Yahtzee’s stern and Jill and I broke into a hearty rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Porter loved it, and though we didn’t say so, it was probably provoked by our weekend spent amongst the bald eagles of Patos Island.