Active Cove, which is named for the tidal currents that race between Patos and Little Patos islands contains two mooring buoys and a few camp sites which are managed by Washington State Parks. The island itself is Federal land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The small cove is open to the West, which can subject boats to rollers from passing ships and waves from the Straits of Georgia.Catching a mooring ball in Active Cove requires a bit of luck, since there are only two, along with the right timing. Once secured to a buoy, you will often see boats cruising by, taking a peek to see if there is room in the cove. It is possible to anchor in the cove, but it is shallow and very tight, making it far more suitable for a day stop than overnight.
If you do get the chance to visit Patos Island, you definitely should. It is stunningly beautiful and about as remote as you can get. Yes Please arrived early, dropped her hook for a few hours until a mooring ball was free, then moved to the ball for a worry free overnight stay.We hiked around the island and out to the magnificent lighthouse on Alden Point. With only two boats in the cove, you really do feel like you are all alone on a beautiful, deserted island. I have definitely found my new favorite place to visit in the San Juan Island’s! I highly encourage boaters to take the time to check out Patos Island. You will not be disappointed! Early in the evening, as the wind was picking up and the weather deteriorating, we saw a very old row boat shoot through the tiny gap on the East Side of Little Patos. I was amazed that anyone would row to Patos, especially given the sea state and wind, so went ashore to congratulate them with a frosty cold beer. It turns out that Tate Wester and his girlfriend had rowed over from Waldron Island (where he grew up) in a beautiful wood boat that was hand built by his father (blacksmith Jim Wester, North Bay Forge) twenty years before. Check out the photo of the boat. Is is incredibly well built, tight as a drum without a drop of water inside, despite a three foot chop and a 7 mile journey from Waldron.
The kids appreciated my last cold beer and spent a wet night ashore, with plans to row over the Sucia Island the next day (a three mile journey). We wished them well in the morning after offering to tow then, but they declined the offer and we headed south into building seas for another adventure.