Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Classic



He had rolled up the cliff walk with style all leather jacket and uggs, then stretched out his leg on the rail as he watched the surfers, commenting every now and then about the quality of the evening's surf. Then he touched on why he was no longer able to get out in the water, the neck injury that was too dangerous to surf with. All told I was finding out a lot more about this guy than I thought I ought to know including the 26 surgeries he'd undergone, I didn't want to ask. Despite the toll time had taken on his body, his mind was beyond sharp as he discussed the SUP in the water and how it would be a better fit than kayaks.


I asked him if he used to surf Steamers and his answer was a solid "I used to CHARGE Middles!". When anyone in his eighties has that kind of response, you know he's for real. He followed up with a somewhat resigned, but definitely disgusted "I was relegated to Cowells until I stopped surfing at eighty!" He was surfing here when I was four. His first surf here was in 1960 and it was a quieter place back then, turned out he was local doctor. Damn I thought this guy must be somebody!

We introduced ourselves Nance and I and he said "I'm Doc, my daughter has a wetsuit company you may have heard of, Hotline and I make earplugs for surfers." Between surf sessions and while checking The Lane we had met Doc of "Pro-plugs" fame, a sweet guy who was doing his own surf check well past his prime surfing days. We left a little before sunset as he stayed watching, still surf stoked after all these years.



Happy New Year to you all, get some surf in ya!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Surf report.

No wind really, sunny but cool. Surf head high plus out of the north west. Surfed a couple of reef set ups, north of town out of the crowds. Friendly and low key all around. Checked out surf city and on the late afternoon low tide a couple of nuggets rolled through the kook school. one little ripper held court in the corner, a grommet shredder which are like fleas on a dog around here.

Surf picking up tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Frosting on the cake


Oh yeah stranded and isolated. All 3 highways closed, no emergency lines. Now if the surf would cooperate this would be paradise!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hawk-eye



This hawk wasn't stoked that I came too close to the feast it was perched on and walked me off it two days in a row...... "Move along folks, nothing to see here!" in it's best cop on the beat kind of way.

She's a good sized red tail and I kept on moving as she flew from tree to tree. I think it's a she as the females tend to be bigger than the males. Up close and in the wild those talons and beak give one pause when they approach, they're impressive and hawks have raw power that's very apparent. I once had the urge to aid an injured hawk down near Pistol River but thought better of it and just waited for the bird to recover, which it did and it was those same two tools that kept me in check.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peaks in snow


Not my cup of tea, when the air drops to 22F and the windchill drops it into single digits I much prefer coffee! Taken from comfort of the truck. Clouds look lovely though.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dawn's shadow.

A log in the dark as you make your way, becomes a jarring reminder at first light. Crabbers sit just a mile or so out, overhead lights blazing like mad candles in the middle of the sea. A beautiful morning, light offshores, filling tide making for regular lines, no one around. The sun pushes away shadows from crevices, and an eagle sits high, watching for an hour. It's mate calls and flies in over the peak, and they both sit unmoving in the spruce. Clear water the bottom appearing through some sweet head high reelers, small talk with a couple of regs who paddled out. Before work quiet session.

The wind stays light and two hours go by, back on the sand, not more than a hundred yards down the beach is the body of a sea-lion missing it's head and a big chunk of it's chest, before first light that was the log. A couple miles away lies another in the same condition, it's been a busy season. I wonder no more why it skeeves me to surf alone, I am reminded.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Annual Ejection Day


52 years ago I was making plans to move out. From a quiet but somewhat dark space into a very bright and noisy place filled with others. It was a voluntary move but not without it's own loud protestations and pain filled moments. I'm sure it's a lot like moving a piece of furniture through a narrow doorway, there's bound to be a hurt finger or two.

Ejected from the Mother-ship so to speak but right onto another, floating in space. What luck! For the better part of 46 of those years, I like a few people on this earth have simulated that first ride over and over again on the surface of the sea. It's a rare thing to have been so fortunate.

Sometimes I think life in the 20th century for many has not been easy, if you lived without having personally gone to war, or fled from war, always had food on your table, money in your pocket and a roof over your head you have lived well. Add to that governments that were voted in by the people(whether or not you agreed with them....) then fortune has been kind to you. If you have traveled to foreign destinations merely to indulge yourself in your interests you have been fortunate. Many others have been less so in almost all those areas.

Some 6.7 billion people on earth right now and more to come. Enjoy your stay.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you get a bowl of your own....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A fishy story......



A line snap..... a bobber gone..... later swims itself up stream.... to dive down and disappear.... a chase under way... up and down a pool below Highway 101.... as we search for the float which shows and tells then is gone again.... "Let's get back to fishing."..... "Well we are and this is kind of fun, we'll get her yet!"

I feel like a minesweeper looking for a sub, it's not far off of an analogy Moby Dick and Capt Ahab. We do this for about fifteen or twenty minutes. Then in desperation six casts across the last known sighting and a line comes in.... Grab the billy club and start wrapping line around it, I wonder if the fish is going to rip it out of my hand..... as the bobber rises, the fish starts to flail and after a couple of short runs, tries to hide under the boat. I hold on against it and after a few minutes it's exhausted and quickly netted. We celebrate like madmen at this crazy way of catching a lost fish...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good night Rock....


Evening falls fast when you don't want it to..... heaving and wheeling down the line.... offshore wind wrapping around my back as I paddle out and over for one last ride before I can't see a thing anymore, trust the feet to find the board and the board to find the bottom of the wave.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Misunderestimated



From what was first thought to be a cutthroat trout, it grew. A soft bite, barely any resistance in the first fifteen seconds.



To the fifteen pound range at the first sight of it's silvery side. It went for the bottom and stayed there refusing to show itself again. When it did it cleared the water in an amazing jump, right next to the boat and in Lance's face. I thought it was gone then.



A half hour later it was closer to twenty five. Landed on a steelhead rod and ten pound test. Blood on the boat just behind Lance's left elbow....

One of the reasons people love this upper corner of the country, small rivers with wild salmon that get in the forty pound range, swimming right under you. On their final leg of a five year cycle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Redemption fish




Woke up at o'dark thirty, went outside with coffee and toast in my waders and tackle(whoops!) toolbox in hand. Dropped toast, hit the car seat ate it anyway, today was gonna be a toughie. Raining sideways as the stormfront rolled into town. Hit the boat launch, second driftboat in the river. An hour later rounded the deep bend without so much as a bump. Anchored up just above the next riffle and kwik fished for about 10 minutes, zzzt,zzztttt as line peeled off. Yelled at my partner to grab the pole. He didn't believe me that he had a fish, no headshake, just a slow pull as he reeled, like a back-eddy, but there isn't one any eddy in this section of the river. The fish just created a force of it's own.

As the line got near the boat the water exploded as a silver flash turned away from us. It had to be at least 35lbs just from the girth of the belly. Jack had the fish on for about ten minutes, it would hide under the boat and we would stamp our feet to force it out. After a few of those and at the crucial moment we were about to net the beast, the rod exploded under the pressure of a high stick. The line separated and the fish disappeared downstream.

Stunned and bummed we just sat there, a few minutes later at the bottom of the run a fish jumped completely out of the water and tried to throw a yellow kwikfish from it's mouth. We just shook our heads. And for the rest of the morning talked about her.

This beauty hit Jack's bobber bait about thirty minutes later and we at least felt redeemed when we netted it without any drama. That and the rainbow against the hillside a few minutes later were lovely respites from the winds and rain.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do-able



If I wasn't already wiped out......

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dance of the dead fish.

Strange art. God knows why I thought of Greek columns when I saw this. That and "this is one busy place to die."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hedgehog mushroom.



Sauted in bacon grease, with the usual suspects..... salt, pepper, lemon a touch of wine over high heat....... mmmmmmmm good!

Chasing ghosts.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the bubble.



Offshore and raining. Grey waves, pretty faces with an acne bump. Light fading in an hour. Nobody out gotta get some before dark, the north west windows swinging open and closing in tune with the weather. Paddle with the rip, get pulled into no man's land and take a set on the head. Big males come by bellowing and leading their harems, throwing themselves toward me they disappear under the surface to no doubt get closer. At least they're here, my mind conjures up worse scenarios when they're not. Especially dark grey evenings.... "Screw you guys, do that circus trick where you clap your flippers and then leave me alone!"

Solid head high-plus peaks on sets, trying to stay on the bubble against a relentless pull. Best it's been in a while. Thumpy but not shallow enough to hit bottom. Fading left and drop into a turn, left knee scrapes the surface of the wall as I lean back into the right, the new board skates through with acceleration, nice feel. The chop is there but the wave reforms through the middle and races across the inside. An hour of waves ensues as it begins to clean up a little, punchy sets keep swinging across to see if I'm sitting in the right spot, drop and go. Paddling back into the dimming light, the horizon is a smudge which no longer moves. Lights coming on in houses down the beach and headlights swing across the dune as people do a last minute check.

Time to go in......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Christmas tree.

I fished til dark and waited for this guy to pull up to the launch area, he had caught a fish just downriver from me about 30 minutes earlier. He was stoked about his fish but had forgotten a camera, so I shot this for him, it's also about as close as I've been to a fish so far this season. I asked him what he'd used and he said a kwik-fish with sardine, my favourite way to fish for chinook. "At first I thought it was a coho the way it softly mouthed the bait before it started to really fight. We were surrounded out there" he continued, "the finder was light up like a christmas tree, so many fish swimming under us!" It belied the quiet river where just the heads of seals seeking out dinner, rolled to break the surface, .



An eagle had landed just above my head in the trees and called his mate, I hoped it would trigger a fish to the spinner it's funny how the mind works that way..... but no such mystical event happened. The flock of ducks across the river had all hit the water to avoid the eagle long before it showed and they swam nervously until it quietly flew off.

I could hear them coming before they flew over, thousands of geese from the north and out of the fog, honking loudly in their ever changing V patterns. As they flew over a light rain began to hit the water, but it wasn't rain, just quiet goose shit dropping into the water. I pulled the hoodie over and stopped looking up.



Up in the hills with the north wind pushing sea air into the firs I dug out chantrelles that had grown to the size of my hand, delicate tops of the unseen life below. Left a lot of small ones in the hope that after the weekend there will be some left if not the forest will just push up more soon enough......

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some niceness...



With security helicopters patrolling the break...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fo' sale........



Fully green machine for the beach with board rack....... low, low fuel costs!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spit

Drove out to the sand spit, watching the weather ahead of the storm front due today. Quite a few boats out, fish starting to hit. Sealions lazing on the sand, last week they were out at sea, must be an indicator that either fish or weather is keeping them close.



Out of the water darted a salmon about twenty pounds, and right behind it shot out a sealion. It was all over so soon that it was hard to say if the sealion grabbed it or if it swam back into the water on it's own. Either way I wasn't able to pluck a free meal off the beach for the second time this year.



A friend of mine motored by in his tin can.... "You want to fish today?" he asked, "Sure!", I pulled waders from the truck and climbed in. We fished the seams of outgoing water, just missed a couple of hookups. A little activity on a couple of other boats, the wind hitting us, just a reminder that this storm is for real. Right before noon, the rains began and he dropped me off on the sand and as I walked to the truck he raced away up the river for cover.