From the sheltered fire pit on Blake Island, we shined a light towards Yahtzee, which was the only boat sitting in the marina. A set of eyes glared back at us from the cockpit and we watched while a raccoon scoured the outside of the boat for food.

Having been to Blake Island many times before, we were well aware of the raccoons that pester campers and boaters alike, hanging out waiting for any opportunity to find a meal. The rules are simple, though, don’t leave any food out and don’t leave the boat open, and they’ll usually move on after a quick search of your boat or campsite.

Raccoons are a regular sight around Blake Island.

About a half hour later, we returned to Yahtzee and one of the little critters climbed off the boat just as we arrived. Then, while standing in the cockpit, I felt a bump on my leg and looked down the companionway hatch to see a wily raccoon zipping around inside.

“There’s a raccoon down below!” I shouted to Jill and the boys on the dock, and in one swift motion slid the hatch open. Retreating off the boat to give the curious scavenger room, he quickly poked his head out and then nonchalantly got off the boat with an air of, “Thanks for the snack, sailors!”

In this instance, we’d accidentally left a small port in the cockpit cracked and that was all the room they needed to get in for a snack. When we went down below, we found that they’d pulled Jill’s backpack off the starboard settee and found a small zipper pouch that we keep snacks in for the boys when we go hiking. With their tiny, hand-like paws, they’d made a small hole in the bag and reached in just enough to get at some nuts and candy. Other than that, the boat was unharmed and it was yet another reminder to us and others that, when you’re on Blake Island, don’t feed the raccoons and double check to make sure your boat is closed.

Later, before settling into bed, I heard something in the cockpit and looked out of the port. Sure enough, there sat the smart raccoon staring right in at me.

All I could do was laugh.

Take a Blake-ation

Other than the raccoons, Blake Island is a gem in the middle of Puget Sound between Vashon and Bainbridge islands. With its close proximity to Seattle, the marine state park — which covers the entire island — is a welcoming spot for boaters and campers anytime of year. But we particularly love it in the quiet winter months. Twenty four mooring buoys and numerous campsites surround the island, and the marina’s 1,500-feet of moorage can accommodate quite a few boats.

A look at Puget Sound and Seattle on a gorgeous winter day at Blake Island.

While hiking the island’s 3.5 mile loop trail during our recent visit, sunshine burst through tall conifers in brilliant shafts and we shed layers as the day warmed. The trail is beauty at every turn and it felt great to be out stretching our legs. Blake Island used to be one of our favorite Central Sound spots when we lived in the area, and after hiking, beach combing and having fires here again, we realized why. Except for a certain raccoon incident, that is.

The boys love playing on the island’s many beaches.
Fires are always a highlight.
On our latest visit, Yahtzee was the lone boat at the marina.
Porter found a piece of wood to turn into a balance board to practice his “surfing”.