Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lodge life - Whale Channel, B.C.

The past year city life has worn me out! So in an effort to shake things up a bit I started researching jobs that would take me out of the city for a bit. I fired off a resume to West Coast Resorts, which offers guests an exciting fishing experienced out in the wilds of B.C. (check 'em out here I got a call back but was slightly discouraged when I was told they only had one position to fill for bartending & several interviews already lined up. I told myself "you've got this" & walked into the interview with confidence & a big smile. Nailed it!

On May 29th I flew out of YVR to Bella Bella then boarded a boat for 4 hrs to arrive at the lodge. A floating lodge in an isolated, remote location just off the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest. They call it Whale Channel, & yes whales are often sighted.

Initially I felt somewhat shy, which is somewhat out of character for me. But the staff were all friendly & it didn't take long for me to get into the lifestyle of living & working on a barge. The first week is rig up. Basically cleaning & set up of the entire lodge. The best part about rig up was getting to go out fishing for the staff derby. Maybe it was beginner's luck but I won with the biggest fish weighing in at 25 lbs. The prize? $100 credit in the gift shop! Sweet! My very first attempt to fish was less successful... I got a bite but reeled backwards & lost the fish. Ooops!

Taking the life of an animal was gut wrenching. I felt guilty for ripping him out of the water, heaving him onto the boat & slaughtering him. However, I strongly believe that if I am going to consume meat that I should be able to & willing to kill for that right. I want to be connected to my food in a way that will never be satisfied by buying cuts of meat wrapped in plastic & styro-foam from the grocery store.

Prepping bait.

My first catch! 25 lbs spring salmon.
Reeling backwards!

Learning to cut fish.
Guests are flown in & out by helijet!
Humpback whale.
Salmon berries
Day trip to Lover's Beach.
Huge clam shell.
A nice note left on my bar by a co-worker.
Sea lion rock.
 Everyday is very similar to the day before. It's like the world was condensed. Guests always ask me how we can handle working 10 + hours every single day for 3.5 months & still be smiling. Well, it's just the routine that makes it easy. Also, we have fun too! We are living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Can't complain about that!

One gem at Whale Channel is the hike to the waterfalls & swimming pools. I hadn't been on solid ground in several weeks the first time I was dropped off by boat for this hike. I basically tripped all the way up & all the way back down the trail. Here's a few of us enjoying the afternoon.

I also had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at Bishop's Bay hot springs. Such a treat! We rotated between soaking in the hot springs & cooling off in the ocean. Best day!

As you can imagine, exercise is difficult to get when living on a floating lodge in the ocean.  We do our best to stay healthy & keep active.

Yoga on an abandoned dock nearby.

I think it's really awesome when kids come up here to learn to fish!

I've never eaten so much seafood in my life, particularly salmon, but also dungeness crab & halibut! I even got to try dried ooligans. They are so oily they can be used as candles. I'm loving it!

Catch 'n release.
Dried ooligans.
Half way through the season the lodge is towed to a new location. Bye Whale Channel.

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