My son and I had a Father/Son cruise to Sucia and Patos Islands this weekend.

When we arrived at Sucia all the buoys were taken. I was going to hook up on the rope line (a thick rope with tie rings anchored in the bay). But Guy encouraged me to set anchor instead. Luckily I’d practiced anchoring last weekend, but this was the first time I’d be anchoring the boat and leaving it while we rowed ashore.

We easily got the anchor set hard and headed for the beach. It was dark by then and we walked to another bay on the island, sat on a log watching the boats and the stars. It was one of those quiet times I seldom get to share with Guy.

By the time we came back I was happy to see our boat hadn’t dragged anchor and drifted out to sea. I’m much more confident about anchoring now.

The next day we motored over to Patos only a few miles from Sucia. The small bay had only two buoys and those were taken. Other boats had already set their anchors there making it too crowded for us to drop anchor.

So, we sailed around the island finding a small beach to anchor by. We rowed in but, after a small trek in the woods, we couldn’t find a trail. So we climbed, skidded, slipped and splashed our way along the rocky sandstone shore until Guy spotted a trail.

It was a long hike along a well worn trail that finally reached the Patos Island Lighthouse on Alden Point. There is a long history behind the light house and you can read about it in The Light on the Island: Tales of a Lighthouse Keeper’s Family in the San Juan Islands [LIGHT ON THE ISLAND 50TH ANNIV] [Paperback] by Helene Glidden.

On the way back to the boat the trail ended. The tide was up by then so we had to force our way through dense brush, stumbling and often falling along the way.  I got stung twice as I passed a hidden hive. A bit painful but no big deal. Then, just a short distance from the beach I stepped in a hornets nest. Guy, who was walking about 20 feet ahead of me, might have inadvertently stirred them up and by the time I reached the hive the nasty buggers attacked from all sides.

The bees ignored Guy as they followed me all the way down to the beach where I dove into the water, wiping the bugs that still stuck to me with their stingers buried in my skin.

Back at the boat Guy counted the stings, at least a dozen on my back, face, and arms. We stayed the night back at Sucia attempting to sleep as rolling waves rocked the boat. We didn’t get much rest but by morning at least the itching pain was gone. We sailed back home joking about our misadventure.

Oh, by the way, during my mad dash through the woods to get away from the bees I lost my $200 prescription sun glasses and my hat. I’d gotten that hat at Disneyland. It was a baseball style cap with a small image of Mickey Mouse on it. I liked that hat.

Damn bees.

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