As I write this report my eight month old golden retriever puppy, Jenny Mustard, is crashed out on her back, asleep on my living room floor. Her head is conked over to one side, her front paws are curled up on her chest, and her two back legs are splayed apart revealing a very dirty tummy. There’s moss and small twigs in her fur, fish scales stuck to her paws, and an unidentified dark substance on one of her ears. Frankly she looks dead, and sort of smells like she might be.
Jenny has a rich cornucopia of earthly and maritime aromas emanating from her at the moment. If I sniff deeply enough I can make out campfire smoke, fish slime, prawn bait, and jalapeño and cheddar smokies. Needless to say, Jenny has been up to some epic adventures lately.
This past week she’s fished salmon and halibut all over Clayoquot Sound with me. The chinook (king) salmon run is incredible this year so it’s keeping Jenny and I busy with spectacular fishing. She gets just as excited as I do when a rod gets a bite and the line starts screaming off the reel. She’s also on cleanup patrol when the fish hits the deck, working her tongue in quick, efficient rhythm to ensure the fishing area stays ship shape and safe.
The other day a sea lion was following us looking to steal a hooked salmon off of our line when Jenny Mustard hopped up on the back deck of the boat, let out a series of guttural roars, and with everything her eighty pound frame could muster scared that nasty old thousand pound sea lion back from whence it came.
Speaking of sea lions she did leap off the boat recently while the guests and I were running back in from checking the prawn traps. I pointed out a sea lion feeding on a fish at the surface and Jenny immediately went into action. Before we could stop her she leapt off the boat, flew through the air, and crashed into the water with an enormous summersaulting splash. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to hit the water at twenty five knots. Needless to say she hasn’t done that since.
Interspersed with all of the fishing trips we’ve squeezed in a couple of Ultimate Adventures this week as well. When we run these trips we usually leave the dock extra early and head straight up to Hot Springs Cove for a soak in the springs before the crowds show up. That means extra early mornings for Jenny. After a soak in the springs we’ll head out to do some more fishing. Jenny never complains about that. Halibut and ling cod tend to impress her more than salmon as they create a much bigger fuss when they rattle the deck.
Wildlife safaris or stand up paddle board tours generally follow next. And Jenny has become an expert on the paddle board I assure you. Her sense of balance is uncanny and it’s truly something to watch a golden retriever cruising nonchalantly along some remote shoreline in search of glass balls or other such treasures.
What Jenny loves most though is to go fly-in fishing and camping to one of our remote camps in the alpine. She struggled a bit with the helicopter at first but once she understood that it wasn’t necessary to chase the rotors she definitely relaxed and began to enjoy the ride. Watching a long fly line reach out into the depths of an alpine river or lake in search of trout is one of Jenny’s favourite ways to spend an afternoon. Waiting patiently for an angler to hook a fish, whereupon she goes into action coaching the angler to ensure the fish makes it to shore for a quick photo and safe release.
There’s no shortage of fun to be had in a few days here in Tofino. Fishing, Ultimate Adventuring, wildlife safaris, hot springs, you name it. This might be Jenny’s first July in Tofino but, if her current state of exhaustion is any indication, I’d say she’s thoroughly enjoying it.
- Captain Josh Temple