Speculation abounds about where along the coast of the Pacific Sir Francis Drake landed during his long voyage between 1577 and 158 to claim Nova Albion for Queen Elizabeth I. Because of political shenanigans to keep the uneasy truce with Spain, the exact location of where Drake made the claim was to become a state secret. Some say Drake landed as far north as Comox, British Columbia in Canada, while others single out Drakes Bay in West Marin. Still others point to, well, Point San Quentin and the San Francisco Bay, which is where I was when I took today’s photograph of the mountain, along with Dennis Patton’s 30-foot representation of the adventurer looking more like the limber Don Quixote of the imagination than the bedecked English knight of history.
For us in Marin – and I can safely assume to say this as a fact – the name of Sir Francis Drake is constant currency and a definite presence, regardless of the historical facts of his actual presence in these parts of the world. By the way, the same cannot be said with our familiarity with the name of Dennis Patton, who created Drake’s likeness along the path some of us traverse several times daily, perhaps. Had it not been for this project, I wouldn’t have come to know it this surely either.