I find myself this evening relaxing after a long day with a full belly. Tonight we had grilled cheeseburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad and Dungeness crab. The crab was donated by one of the housekeeping staff. She’s been paddling out on a kayak everyday to a crab trap in the back bay. Today she caught 3 nice ones, I boiled them up for her and she shared them with the crew. It was one one the best dinners we’ve had so far, we’re one happy crew tonight!
It’s been hot, I mean ungodly hot! It’s been around 80 degrees the past couple of days and no relief in sight. It feels much hotter due to the humidity and the angle of the sun. According to the boss, it never gets this hot up here. Everyone’s breaking out the shorts and flip-flops, it’s crazy! Supposedly this is going to go on for days.
It hasn’t hurt the fishing at all however! People have been pulling in halibut left and right. Just today, a couple of elderly gentlemen caught the first salmon of the season, a pink and a chum. They also caught a couple of huge halibut, both around 45 lbs. I was happy for them, it was the last day of their 5 day package and they hadn’t done so hot until the last day. My co-workers and I just boxed up their catch, both of them are going home with around 46 lbs of halibut, rock cod, crabs and shrimp apiece. They’ve caught the most fish out of any of the guests so far.
As the summer heats up, we’re starting to get all kinds of critters coming in off the dock and the nearby creek. As I mentioned in my last post, my fishing has been curtailed by my lack of fishing tackle. My co-workers have been pulling in lots of small trout and an assortment of other small fish. One of the strangest things I’ve seen caught were these sea cucumbers. Today Devon, the dishwasher, was fishing off the dock and starting pulling them in off the bottom! He was fishing a spoon there and kept snagging them. They must be everywhere down there! He says he knows how to clean them, so he started stashing them in a crate under the dock. If I try them I’ll let ya’ll know how they taste. I hear that they are not bad!
So that brings me to the topics I mentioned in the title. First off, I wanted to show off the boats that make this whole lodge possible. Almost all our boats have Mercury outboards and Yamaha kickers. Our main workhorses of the fleet are our 18 foot Silver Streak aluminum boats, we’ve got 4 of them. These come with 150 hp outboards. I really wish I had one of these. They fly across the waves! We also use a couple of boats I don’t know the name of, but they are modified ski boats with 115 hp outboards. These two kinds of boats are used for parties of two or three, plus the captain.
Next we have the boats used for parties of three or four. We have a 26 foot Boston Whaler with twin 250 hp outboards. The newest addition to the fleet is this new 24 foot Hewes Craft Ocean Pro that I am in love with. The boss just bought it for 100,000 dollars. It has just one 250 hp Yamaha outboard on it. This is the dream boat me and my fishing buddies would love to have. It comes with so many bells and whistles you wouldn’t believe it. We could do so much with this boat back in the Monterey Bay! It’d be great for salmon and could even do some long-range tuna fishing as well.
Finally, we have our work boats that are used for moving cargo, towing things and making trips into town. First we have what’s called a Water-Horse. Its bow has a gate that can be lowered to facilitate loading/offloading cargo. The boat occasionally is used to take out/pick up guests as well. It is a speed demon, its twin 250 horsepower outboards really rocket this boat across the water! This boat is the boss’s baby, he loves to dash around in it. It can make the 50 mile run to Ketchikan in less than 2 hours.
Then there is a boat called the AJ that looks like it was a small commercial fishing boat at one point. These days, the boss mainly uses it to pull trees from the bank and to tow them back here to be cut up as firewood. Lastly, we have 3 skiffs that are used to move small amounts of gear, people and garbage around. One of the 3 is a jet boat that can get up the creek next to the lodge, but I haven’t seen it used for that purpose yet.
Here at the lodge, we have four dogs in residence. They roam around everywhere, barking at everyone and everything. Their main purpose is to keep away the bears. Last week a bear was sighted over by the generator, I don’t know if it was a black or brown though. That’s the area I was clearing trail a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky to not run across one. I think that they are pretty skittish, and probably the dogs help keep them that way.
So 3 out of the 4 dogs we have here are what is known as Karelians. They are bred to fight bears by the locals. These dogs look like some kind of husky mix. They are tough dogs, they don’t get sick or infections, and according to the boss they eat anything and can go psycho at any time. These dogs are really protective of their people, and are really well adapted to the environment here. The boss has his own really nice cabin in the woods behind the lodge, and at night that’s where the dogs go.
First we have the one who causes the most ruckus and interacts with us the most. His name is Ty and he is the alpha dog around here. His favorite thing around here is to attack the otters when they come around the dock. Unlike the otters who live in the Monterey Bay, these Alaskan otters are mean and nasty. The boss says they’ve even tried to attack him on the dock before! Ty loves to get in fights with them. He’ll get all cut up but I think he’s killed a few. The otters get up under the dock and Ty has chewed up planks trying to get at them.
Ty is a good dog, but has a really bad habit of barking insanely at you every time you try and fish. I guess he thinks you’ve got a fish on every time you retrieve your lure and gets excited. I suppose people in the past have given him the fish they catch judging from his behavior. A funny thing happened a few days ago. My fellow dock-monkey Jon was fishing off the end of the dock and Ty was barking his head off as usual. Jon got pissed off so he got on a kayak and paddled out a ways so he could fish in peace. Well, Ty barked at him from shore. Then, suddenly, Ty jumped into the water and swam over to him! He then proceeded to climb into Jon’s kayak and shake water all over him, completely soaking him. Mind you, the water here is ice cold and Ty is a very stinky dog! Jon was not happy about this turn of events, being soaked in cold, stinky dog-water was not his idea of a good time. It was funny as hell to witness though!
The boss has two other Karelians named Niko and Kobe. Niko is older, and was once alpha. He and Ty have to stay separated or else they will viciously attack one another. Corellian males do not get along with one another at all. Females are fine, but males always battle for dominance. Lastly we have the girl dogs Juneau and Kobe. Juneau is an Australian Heeler and is the boss’s wife’s dog, and Kobe is very shy and doesn’t really have much to do with anybody. It was hard for me to get close enough to even take a picture.
The dogs are mostly a headache for me. None of them are affectionate and they just bark all the freakin’ time. Ty is the only one who will let you pet him and he won’t let you do so for long. Every time the plane lands or a boat passes by, they’ve gotta bark. They are pretty used to the staff by now, but every time new guests arrive (which is almost daily) the howling and barking starts. They make it impossible to sleep past around 5:30 or so as that’s about when the boss gets up and around. Earplugs are no match for the shrill yelps and barks. Still, I guess it’s good to have them around for the bear deterrence. I long for the day when my life is dog-bark free though!
Well, that’s it for this week! I thought ya’ll would be interested in more aspects of lodge life. Dogs, boats and fish are pretty big parts of life here & I thought I’d showcase them.