Fly Fishing on Vancouver Island

Summertime in Canada, especially the West Coast is about as good as it gets.

Having recently spent six and a half months adventuring around the world we were stoked to come home to beautiful British Columbia in the summer time when it’s light from 5am through to 10pm and the good times are a plenty. From mid August through late November we love getting out into the wild to go camping and fishing. One of my favourite places for fly fishing is in the remote wilds of Northern Vancouver Island.

Some of my earliest memories are of me fishing with my Uncle Dave. I was no more than 4 years old at the time and to me fishing was the best thing in the world. Both Uncle David and Uncle Bruce were avid fishermen and their love of the sport rubbed off on me. We would spend our days fishing for bass in Beaver Lake close to Victoria BC and when they were old enough to drive we would take the canoe to the ocean and would fish for salmon and cod. We never had fancy gear but we always caught lots of fish. They were simple times full of laughs, good fun and amazing fishing.

40 years later I’m still as crazy about fishing as I ever was and just like then, we fill our freezer each fall and eat salmon through the winter. While my brother Jason and I love fishing be it rain or shine, my wife Josi loves it best when it’s sunny and when everyone is catching lots of fish. For all of us it’s as much about getting out into the wild and off the grid as it is about the fishing. One of our favourite places to explore is Northern Vancouver Island because it’s so remote and full of amazing uncrowded rivers with fantastic fishing. On any given trip we are almost guaranteed to see elk, deer, bear, lots of eagles and sometimes the occasional wolf pack, although you hear wolves a lot more then you see them. The rivers are picture perfect, the forests thick and full of wildlife, and the good times are a plenty.

During the day we often break to tie up some new flies because when the fishing is good it’s not uncommon to loose a few. Come evening we cook baked beans over an open flame, tell stories, laugh a lot and camp under the stars.

The video above we shot in about an hour’s time on a remote river that we love to fish. It’s not professionally shot, but it gives you a good idea of what we are most likely up to when we don’t answer our phones. Hope that you enjoy.

Tahiti – A Childhood Dream

Growing up in Montreal, visiting a French speaking paradise island on the other side of the world was always a childhood dream of mine. I remember talking about Tahiti with my cousins Judith and Diane when we were growing up, and to us it was sure to be the best place on earth. With these memories in mind, even exhausted I couldn’t contain my excitement as we flew into Tahiti at 2am. I had no idea planes were even allowed to land so late, but in Tahiti they do. For convenience, we booked a room at the Airport Motel right across the street from the airport. It wasn’t cheap, but it was clean and walking distance from our arrival gate. Still riding my high of finally planting my feet in Tahiti, the steep hill up to our hotel became a fun workout rather than a bother.

Wanting to get to Moorea as soon as we could, Noel and I lost no time and jumped in a taxi to the ferry terminal first thing the next morning. Our taxi ride was only 10 minutes and the fare about $36… a rude awakening to French Polynesian prices. The ferry on the other hand was only $18 each and takes 30 minutes to cross from Tahiti to Moorea. It was beautiful out so we sat outside on the top deck of the boat which provided breathtaking views. It is absolutely beautiful when you approach the Island of Moorea especially when you get close to the reef which contains this stunning turquoise lagoon. The powerful combination of the lagoon and the steep jungly mountains in the background is hard to describe.

For this last leg of our 6.5 month trip, Noel and I decided to take a break from constantly moving around and chose to book 2 weeks at Moorea Surf B&B, which turned out to be the perfect choice. Our plan was to go into full relaxation mode close by to great surf. I had surfed reef breaks before and I was hoping that Haapiti would be fun and mellow enough that I could surf it.

In Moorea the reef where the waves break is pretty far out so having access to a boat is key. Tama, who owns Moorea Surf B&B with his wife Marie, has a small boat that he uses to take surfers out to the break which worked out perfectly. Our first morning, Tama, 2 Brazilian guys, Noel and I woke up early and headed out to the surf minutes before sunrise. Our boards were all strapped onto the front of the boat and we motored out over the shallow lagoon towards the break. When I saw the size of the wave, I knew that I would be the official photographer for the day. I was pretty bummed that they were so big, but Noel was stoked and I enjoyed taking photos. What was really cool is that we anchored the boat just at the edge of the surf so I was able to have front row seats, perfect for taking photos. The next day was even bigger and the following day the waves were so big that we couldn’t even anchor the boat in the channel. The only day, it got a bit smaller, I gathered my courage and paddled out to see if I could catch a wave. I started by hanging off to the side in the channel where the water is deeper so that if a bigger set would come I wouldn’t get worked. Noel saw me sitting way out where the waves weren’t ever going to break so he pointed for me to come inside a little. For the most part the waves were a pretty decent size that day, but every so often a massive set would roll through. When I finally paddled into the line up, my hands were shaking so much that I knew this wave was not for me. Big, hollow at times, shallow reef, currents, not exactly my idea of a super fun wave. Perhaps next time we come back my skills will be good enough that I can surf it, but not this time.

I could definitely have surfed some of the smaller waves coming through, but knowing myself I would have panicked when the big sets rolled in. I was very disappointed as I couldn’t imagine coming to Tahiti and not surf at all, but oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes. Luckily, I discovered a new passion for taking photos and to Noel’s pleasure, he will have a great selection of surf pics to choose from for his next blog. I’m the kind of person who get antsy when I watch other people do stuff because I want to be doing it too, but to my surprise, I kept myself entertained watching the spinner dolphins doing their tricks, swimming by the boat, taking photos and watching the surf.

As you saw in our previous post, we also checked out Teahupoo and it’s massive surf which was totally mind blowing and a highlight of this trip for both Noel and I. The adrenaline rush we got from just being on the boat in these conditions was insane. Even the journey to get there was super cool, the 3 of us, Noel and I and our new Swiss friend Christian were so excited driving through a bunch of small towns and so anxious to get a spot on a boat. One day on the Island of Tahiti was enough though and I was ready to go back on it’s sister island of Moorea.

Renting a scooter is definitely a must as there is so much so see and do on the island of Moorea. The roads are in pretty good conditions and the traffic is almost non existent which makes for an easy ride. If you don’t stop, you can go around the whole island in about 1h30, but we took a lot longer because we found ourself stopping several times along the way. In my opinion, the highlight of our time in Moorea was swimming with the sharks at Tipaniers Beach. You can rent a paddle board to get to the spot in the lagoon where you can see hundreds of sharks and sting rays. Sometimes when I go surfing, I know in the back of my mind that there could be sharks around, but rather than dwell on it I take the, if I don’t see them, they don’t see me approach. I know that it makes no sense, but I don’t like sharks and it works for me so I’m sticking to it.

When our Brazilian friends invited us to join them to go snorkelling with the sharks and rays, I was a bit hesitant. The fact that we would be on paddle boards eased my mind a little because I knew that I was going to be above the water on my personal viewing platform. The sharks are only reef sharks, but they are still sharks! Not to mention get pretty big. Once we paddled our way over to where they were I somehow got comfortable enough to swim with them. At one point I was swimming along with about 10 sharks all really close to me which was amazing.

On the North side of the Island we did a great drive up into the mountains to a spot called Le Belvedere where you get a panoramic view of Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. Along the way there are old ruins of where they used to sacrifice people just like in the movies.

The absolute best was to hang out with my amazing husband at Temae Beach which is the most stunning beach on the island. It’s beautiful and post card perfect! It’s exactly how I pictured things would be if I were to go on the best honeymoon ever.

On our last day the only thing I wanted to do was to go back and lay in the sand and to swim in it’s aqua blue waters so that my last memories would be exactly that. Two weeks in Tahiti, complete with it’s French romance, crystal clear waters, gorgeous sunsets and the love of my life has truly been a dream come true.

Cruisin’ through New Zealand’s North Island

In sharp contrast to New Zealand’s South Island, the North Island is far less rugged and quite a lot busier. We left the South Island at 10:30am and arrived in Wellington at about 1:30pm. Seeing as the ferry dropped us off right in the centre of town we decided to stop for a quick look around. Josi was thinking that it might be nice to treat ourself to a real bed for a night, rather than sleeping in the van again, but after a few hours of walking around we both decided that we had seen enough. Wellington has some cool shops and plenty of great coffee shops. I’m not sure what it is, but Australia and New Zealand have the best coffee per capita out of anywhere I have ever traveled. After buying a merino wool first layer shirt that I had been considering buying for the better part of this trip, and a great cup of coffee, it was time to hit the open road.

Rather than finding a camping spot as soon as it starts to get dark like we usually do, we chose to keep driving into the night. The main reason being that we have been listening to the audio book, Think and Grow Rich, the 21st Century Edition. I had brought the book on this trip and rather than reading like I normally do, I have been spending my evenings catching up on emails and work. For anyone who spends a lot of time in their car, and has dreams of greatness, I highly recommend that you get this audio book. Josi and I have been fully getting into it, working our way through the many thought inspiring questions it asks. It’s been great because instead of just reading a book like this and putting it down, we are committed to actually working our way through it and incorporating it into our daily life. Apparently the key to really getting this book is to read it 3 times in a row. I have listened to it 1.5 times and I’m loving it. I have to thank Darrell Kopke, Chip Wilson, Glen Taylor and all of my other business mentors for their recommendations on great books to help with my life and career.

Noel Fox

Noel Fox

I have been reading about an abundance of great fly fishing in New Zealand so I was really looking forward to checking it out. Being that it’s almost their winter, the South Island’s fishing season had all but come to an end. In the North Island though, reports from Turangi, a small town on the edge of lake Taupo, was calling for good fishing. We arrived late at night and pulled into a small park close to a river to get our bearings. It was here that I noticed a fly fisherman getting his gear ready to go fishing. I was surprised that he was fishing in the night so I pulled up to talk to him, but I think that I must have startled him because he only seemed to speak Russian and didn’t seem to know what was going on. I figured he was fishing illegally because it was night time, but in talking to the guys at the fly shop the next morning they told us that it’s OK to fish up until midnight. I talked to the guys from the shop for quite a while and they were really helpful. They told me that the big trout in the rivers this time of year are actually steelhead that were introduced many years ago from California. Lake Taupo acts like their ocean and the rivers in this area are their spawning grounds. The fishing had been really good, but the river was a little low and had slowed down a little.

The fishing style here is very different then back in Canada in that they use a floating line with about 13 feet of non tapered 6lb test line tied to a larger beaded nymph with a barbed hook. Then, from that hook, they tie another smaller nymph about 12 inches away. I talked to the guy in the shop about how in Canada we only use barbless hooks in the rivers and how I liked it way better. He told me that their local fisheries office thinks that barbs on the hooks actually makes it better for the fish’s chances of survival because it acts like a anchor and doesn’t move around as much. I told him that in my experience I see way less injured fish when using barbless and that’s it’s the only way to go in my books. Right where the fly line attaches to the mono they use a bright mono indicator which is needed because they cast upstream so there is never any real tension from your hooks to the line. By the time I left the shop I had spent $80 on flies and a licence, luckily they lent me insulated waders for free which came in super handy because the river was really cold. Rather than learning a new casting technique I decided to start with what I know casting a sinking line with a olive wooly bugger which I had been told also works well. It wasn’t busy, but there were other people fishing which got my hopes up. After a few hours of having no real bites and seeing no one else catching either we packed up and drove down river to have lunch and fish some more. Everyone at this spot was fishing with the double hook and using the casting up river technique. It looked easy enough so I tried it as well and it turned out to be easier than I thought. This said, no one was catching fish at this spot either, regardless of fishing style. We tried one more spot that’s known to be popular and once again got skunked. The plan was to stay and fish for a few days, but because the fishing was so slow and there was no rain in the forecast, which was needed to bring new fish into the system, we decided to head out. Had we saw fish being caught I’m sure that I would have stayed until I caught a few. For someone who loves fishing as much as I do, I really don’t love getting skunked.

The upside to our leaving early is that we got to the little town of Raglan sooner than expected. For some reason I had always thought that Raglan was in the far north of New Zealand, but it’s really central which worked out perfectly with our schedule. Out of all of the places that we visited in New Zealand, Raglan is the one place that I could imagine myself spending some time. It’s a super cute little surfing town with really nice people and a few great restaurants. When you drive down the hill toward the main point you have the most amazing view of the world famous point break. The waves were less than epic, but there were still lots of people out and a few good rides were being caught. I hadn’t brought my shorty because I knew the water here was way too cold and I figured that if the waves were epic I would rent a wetsuit. Josi and I watched for a long time and after much consideration I decided that it wasn’t worth the drive back into town to get a pee’ed in rental wetsuit. At the time I was thinking to myself that in a few days I was going to be surfing perfect point breaking waves in the tropical warm waters of Tahiti. In retrospect I wish I had even just bare balled it and caught one wave in my board shorts.

Our next stop was the city of Auckland where we treated ourself to a fancy hotel right downtown for two nights. The weather was less than perfect, but we still ventured out on the town. We walked through all of the hip and cool areas of town and treated ourself to a really great steak dinner on our last night.

While New Zealand is a wonderful country we are excited to be trading it’s cold Fall weather for the sunny warm beaches of Tahiti.

Road Trippin’ in New Zealand’s South Island

It was really cool to wake up in New Zealand to a beautiful sunny day overlooking the lake and snow capped mountains in the small ski town of Queenstown. Our B&B was perfectly situated only a few blocks from where we picked up our Toyota Hiace camper van. As far as renting a vehicle, it was definitely the best $35/ day I have ever spent. It came complete with a fridge, fold down bed, kitchen table, lots of storage space, bedding, towels, dishes, stove, you name it. Additionally, for only $116 NZD for 15 days we rented a GPS and a electric heater. Having a GPS is a God send, and given that it was so dam cold, the heater was well worth it. Josi and I have always talked about possibly getting a 4×4 camper van so I was stoked to have the opportunity to see what it was all about for two whole weeks. At some point we will be getting one for sure!

We had been told to expect some chilly weather in New Zealand as we were running into their fall so it shouldn’t have been such a surprise to us that it was so dam cold. On our first day Josi bought a warm puffy jacket and wool mitts, and I bought a few pair of wool socks, a merino wool sweater and a toque. For our international friends reading this blog, if you don’t know what a toque is, it’s the proper name for a wool beanie. Warm clothes all on we were ready to tackle driving on the wrong side of the road in what’s sure to be another epic adventure.

Our first stop was Queenstown which is a super cute little ski town with lots of shops catering to those who didn’t dress appropriately which came in super handy. We checked out the shops, had a few great meals, but didn’t get to snowboard as it was too early in the season.

The South Island of New Zealand is the perfect place to practice driving on the right side of the road because there isn’t anyone on the highways this time of year. We started by driving south to Milford Sound which was a great drive. Towering mountains, lots and lots of sheep, and to my surprise, lots of deer farming. And not small dear like I saw growing up on Vancouver Island, but huge big ones that look more like small elks. It was really cool to see. The funny thing with the deer is that even though they were raised on farms, they still act exactly like wild deer. When you drive by, the entire heard of over a hundred will all freeze and look at you. If you stop on the side of the road, they will all run. I liked seeing them, and at the same time I kept wishing I was seeing them in the wild rather than fenced up.

Living in the van was super cool, and after a while you long for a nice bouncy bed with a warm toilet in the next room. We had a chemical toilet, but we chose to not use it, preferring the bushes when driving and at the camp sites at night. It seemed a better option to cleaning it when we were finished. For places to park, you can either stay in camp sites for $6/ person a night, or in a motor park which means showers, kitchen facilities and most importantly, power. Power = Heater Works. We camped without power a few times, but for the most part we opted for the warmth.

From what I have seen thus far, New Zealand is like a mix of small town British Columbia combined with the East Cost of Canada. The people all dress very casual, their cars are practical and everyone seems like good and friendly small town folks.

When we drove up to the top of the south island we chose to follow the coast highway along the West Coast. There are lots of cool things to see along the way, including glaciers, walks and twisty roads that wind along steep cliffs over looking the ocean. There wasn’t much in the way of swell coming through so we didn’t do any surfing. Once we got to the northern part of the South Island the weather had turned on us and it was cold and wet so rather than tour around to wineries and such, we chose to book our ferry to the North Island a few days early in hopes of finding some great fly fishing.

Good Living in Sydney Australia

Coming back to Sydney was like coming home for me. Between 1995 and 1996 I spent a year living in Australia with Mike Cowie, Foozeball Dave and my brother Jed. We were young and mostly what I remember doing was surfing and skateboarding. I spent most of my time in the little beach community called Manly which is just north and a short ferry ride from Sydney’s downtown. It’s a mix between Vancouver and San Diego in that the vibe is super chill and everyone is really nice, the upside being that there are no junkies or bums asking for change here in Manly. Living in Vancouver, Kits to be specific, I guess I have become somewhat used to the sketchy drugged out dudes asking for change every time I go to Whole Foods to pick up groceries. 20 years ago this was never a problem in Canada. North American society, specifically me I guess, is becoming desensitized and such things have become the norm. What happened to people’s values and self respect that such things are accepted as normal?

The beachside community of Manly, and from what we have seen of Sydney, is somewhat void of such things. Much like Kits, everyone is super fit, stylish, happy and are loving life. The culture somewhat revolves around the surf and all of the healthy living that goes with being by the ocean. Cafes line the beach front and every second person is carrying a surfboard, riding skateboards, or riding bikes. The waves out front are somewhat crowded, but even I was able to get more waves as I could count on the best of the 7 days that we were here. Some of the surfers were only wearing board shorts, but I was happy to have a shorty as the water was a little cool due to it being fall now. To my surprise, the waves were really great with lots of overhead peaks firing down the line. I had a blast!

Best of all is that the day after we arrived my good friends Andy and Nick, who I knew from when I worked at Manly Blades, took us camping about 4 hours south of Sydney. The plan was to surf heaps, but a massive storm that dumped 200mm of rain in 24 hours made the surf less than perfect. It was so great connecting with them and meeting their new families. Even though it has been 17 years since I have seen them, it was like we had been hanging out non stop without missing a beat.

We camped at a small beach community called North Durras and the place was teaming with Kangaroos. They were absolutely everywhere and it was pretty cool to see them bouncing all over the place. It wouldn’t be Australia without a spider or snake story. While camping there was a HUGE Huntsman spider about a foot from my head. Josi spotted it and screamed and I jumped. Andy told me that it was a “friendly” spider and that it is Ok to pick it up. He hinted a few times that I should, but I thought skip that, I can’t stand spiders! The next day he tells me that one of the same spiders bit his daughter not too long ago and he decided not to send her to school that day to keep an eye on her. Apparently it’s only poisonous if you react funny to it and regardless they can pack a mean bite. My rule of thumb, never pick up a spider. Luckily it didn’t rain the whole time and we were able to enjoy a big open flame BBQ and lots of stories by the fire.

Back in Manly, we stayed at a little guest house/hotel a couple of blocks from where I used to work and a half block from the beach. I loved living here because I was able to fit surfing into my daily routine. The pic above is Andrew catching a early morning wave just before we went for breakfast.

We toured Sydney and some of it’s many beaches with Josi’s friend Stephen, who lives in Manly as well. He is a member of the Manly LIfesaving Club and prefers to surf on a lifesaving board. It’s big and he rides it on his knees and to my surprise he was able to control it pretty efficiently. When we fly out to New Zealand Steven has offered for us to stay at this house right on the beach which is really great.

It was also really great to catch up with Bill and his wife Barb. Bill was my my boss when I worked here at Manly Blades (now called Skater HQ), and it was such a great place to work. Bill was great because he was good with business, and a the same time super laid back and all good times. We also connected with Josi’s Ausi friend Chris from back in Whistler who also lives in Manly. So many friends are now living in the same area!

On one of the days without much surf we took the harbour ferry into the city. SItting on deck and and seeing the famous Sydney Opera House from the water with the city skyline behind it is always a cool sight. We checked out the Museum of Art, which is free, and the art exhibits were all really great. We also had fun passing the time by taking photos for Orb Clothing. Had we had more time here we would have liked to check out a lot more of the sights, but on this trip surfing took priority and we made the most of it.

While there aren’t many, the few downsides to Australia are the distance from home back in Canada and the cost of living. Eating out and buying groceries seems to be about 35% higher than Vancouver. Real estate in the most desirable beach side locations is also hyper inflated. I guess if you are living and working here you don’t notice it as much as we do being tourists. It doesn’t help that we just came from Bali where things are so crazy cheep.

The upsides here in Australia far outweigh the cost of living that’s for sure. It’s nice here because when walking down the street people smile at you and say “good day” and the overall vibe is super friendly. There are loads of cool cafe’s and shops and the surf is right there. I could easily move back to Australia as it’s such good living and to my surprise, Josi totally loves it here as well.

Our next stop is to visit our friend Juliet and her son Ben who live in Melbourne for a week of checking out the city and cold water surfing.

On Safari in Africa

The highlight of our adventures in Africa is the time we spent on Safari at the Mosetlha Bush Camp in the Madikwe Game Reserve.

Often when going somewhere totally new I end up having pre determined visions of how things are going to be when I get there. When we booked our safari I was expecting that there would be a big gate around our camp and that cabins we slept would be fully enclosed just in case a hungry lion managed to break through the aforementioned big gate. I knew that there wasn’t going to be power so I was expecting it to be rugged and bare bones. Given there was no power for cooking I also figured that the meals were going to be mostly cold plates of which I’m not a huge fan of. What I was super stoked for was going out into the wild and seeing all of the amazing animals that I had only seen either in books or on TV.

Driving into the camp I quickly came to realize that there’s only a single cord of electric fence about 7 feet high that circles the permitter which is used to keep out the elephants. This means that every other man eating animal in this reserve, excluding the giraffes, are free to come and go as they please. Even more surprising is that our cabin has huge open air windows and the front door uses a cloth gate, about half the height of a normal door, that one can easily step over. If it had been made of wood it may have at least kept out the local honey badgers which have been know to frequent the camp. The owners of the camp told us about the time there was a honey badger in their kitchen making a real mess of things and none of the men who worked there would come to help get it out out because honey badgers are know for attacking ones genitals. They are already crazy fierce and attack pretty much anything, the last thing I wanted to know was that if I do happen to find one in our cabin it’s likely going to go straight for my private bits.

While I was surprised by the lack of resources that went into keeping the guests at a same distance from the wild animals, I loved that it was exactly as it was. Having it wide open to everything made it that much more of a real adventure. They more than made up for not having electricity by lighting up the entire camp, including the guest rooms, with oil lanterns and the delicious meals were all cooked on wood burning ovens and stoves. To add to the awesome the family who own the camp, and the rangers who took us on our game drives, were all super knowledgable and full of great stories which always kept things interesting.

For me the highlights were too many to list out so I will pick only a few. The first time we spotted a lion I was shocked when we pulled up to within only a few meters. This cat was huge and in one easy leap she could have launched herself straight into our open air game viewing Land Rover. We didn’t have doors or windows to close if things got harry. We were right there, up front and personal with nothing between us and real life wild animals. Within minutes the lion was then greeted by one other big female and about 12 younger cubs. We were told that they don’t take much notice of the vehicles as long as the people inside don’t stand up or get out. If we did either there was a good chance that we may be in some trouble. On another drive we saw a pride of lions eating a wildebeest which was pretty cool as well.

Our entire vehicle had a good scare the day a huge male rhino decided that we were in his way. He was walking in front of us when out of no where he decided to take a charge at us. I braced the truck with one arm and kept taking photos with the other. Lucky for everyone our guide pulled forward and the rhino pulled away just a little. If you think that rhinos look huge in photos, I can tell you that they look twice as huge when they are charging at you.

Another day we came across a huge heard of elephants that were making their way to a watering hole that we just happened to be at. One of the big bulls happened to walk right in front of us and with out warning turned and charged toward us. Once again our guide slammed it in gear and backed up just in time. I’m not sure what was going on that day, but the normally peaceful and slow moving elephants were all a bit on edge. After they quickly drank from the watering hole they all ran off leaving a huge trail of dust behind them.

The giraffes were also really fun to watch as they are both graceful and awkward at the same time. Their long front and back left legs move in tandem followed by both of their right legs. They are graceful when roaming from tree to tree, but as soon as they are spooked they run with awkward movements looking as though they could topple at any time.

It was really cool to see packs of wild dogs as they hunted. We never saw them make a kill, but it’s meant to be a bloody mess. The skinny dogs we saw were always running while on the hunt and dogs fresh form a kill were all fat and bloated and were usually just sleeping or relaxing.

We saw a heard of about a hundred impala grazing along with zebras and wildebeests. You often see the three of them hanging out together as they use each other for early detection from their predators. Safety in numbers.

On our way home one night we spotted a huge leopard drinking from a watering hole that was only about 800m from our camp. Our driver had a spot light which was used for the evening drives so we were able to have a great view of the magnificent cat.

Seeing these animals up close and in the wild from a open air convertible is both super cool, and a bit strange. I could never imagine driving up to a grizzly bear, moose or a cougar and observing it from so closely from a open vehicle.

In the night We hear hear wild animals in and around the camp including lions, hyenas and even a buffalo. If it was super late at night we would use a bucket in our cabin for going to pee in the night rather than making our way to the outdoor toilets. I’m sure that it would be fine, but the buckets are in the rooms for a reason so why not use them. Night time is dinner time for the big cats so we figure it best to play it safe.

During the day, between the morning and evening drives, there’s a big gap where you can either read, nap, or in my case wander around and take photos of birds and such. Being right in the middle of the reserve we were told to not wander off for safety reasons. Having seen rhinos, elephants, hyenas, leopards and a bunch of other animals within a few hundred meters of our camp I can see why. Every time my photography finds me wandering away from the camp I start to feel like a snack for a pride of lions or wild dogs, or more likely upsetting rhinos or elephants. Within short order I always found myself quickly retreating back to the camp…

Josi and I love every minute of being on safari. Every and every day was exciting with new and amazing things to see at each and every moment. Equally as wonderful was being totally offline and not having to worry about checking your emails. While I live an incredibly free lifestyle with all of the opportunites for adventure that one could ever imagine, but with that comes a dependency with technology and being connected with the team at FreeBird Agency. It’s more than than just being online for work, when you are connected you end up spending unnecessary time being online. Taking 5 days to be fully offline was a great break.

The next stop in our adventure is being Rob’s guest for Sabbath and then to dinner at his home in Johanisberg before flying out to Bangkok Thailand tomorrow.

As a side note, if you are a regular reader of our blog you may be wondering why we are posting so many posts only a few days apart. We were without a solid internet connection for some time so we are just catching up now.

Our African Safari

We had planned on going on Safari to Kruger National Park, but with the recent floods they just had, we were worried that much of the game reserve would still be closed. After calling one lodge in Kruger Park, we found out that it wasn’t the case, but the lady told us that the wet weather brought a lot more mosquitos than usual and the mosquitos in this area can transmit Malaria. Since I want to avoid taking Malaria medication we kept researching possible safari locations and luckily found the Madikwe Game reserve. They have a few mosquitos, but the park in that area is Malaria free.

Madikwe is the fourth largest game reserve in South Africa. It’s massive totalling over 75,000 hectares and is home to the Big Five, which means that it has Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, Leopards and Rhinos. There are lots of camps that you can stay in at the park ranging from upscale to more rustic and somewhat affordable. We chose Mosethla Bush Camp & Eco Lodge because it had great reviews on Trip Advisor and it was really affordable in comparison to the rest of the lodges. Other pluses include it being located right in the middle of the park, it’s a family run business, and they have been in business since the park opened. Their many years of experience living with all of these wild animals sure made for some incredible stories at dinner time.

For me the beauty of this Bush Camp is that it’s raw, no electricity or running water, and at the same time very charming and upscale in it’s service and overall experience. For about $350 a night Noel and I got a really cute little open air cabin, 3 great meals and two 3 hour game drives each day (one in the morning and one in the evening). Oh and I forgot to mention that except for a really high electric fence to keep out the elephants, the whole camp is totally open allowing all of the wild animals to roam freely through the camp! For peace of mind they fenced the toilet and shower area, which made me feel way safer when I heard a lion roar when I was in the shower one evening. Most nights you could hear animals wandering around outside your cabin and I often wondered why the front of the cabin was open with only a 3 foot cloth door to keep the lions out.

On our first day, Noel and I arrived at the Bush camp just in time for a great lunch and were lucky enough to be able to go on the evening drive that same day. There were only six of us, including Noel and I, who all arrived at the camp that same day. We were all so excited to go on our first drive and our excitement and great energy must have brought us some luck because we saw so many animals that day. The amount of different amazing animals that we were able to get up close to was way above all of our highest expectations. Justice was our Ranger and Guide and he was incredible. He knew the names of all the animals, including the multitude of birds, and he had answers for all of our many questions that we threw at him.

On our first drive alone, we saw elephants, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests, kudus, cheetahs and as a real treat, right before getting back to the lodge, we even saw a leopard drinking out of a nearby water hole. After our drive we then had dinner, chatted a bunch with our new friends from the camp and went to bed. Noel fell asleep within a few minutes and I was so wired and attentive to all of the wild and new sounds going on outside that I could barely sleep all night. As I laid on my bed my head was full of images of the wild animals that we had seen that afternoon. Our open aired cabin with no real door, in combination with the leopard that we had seen only a few hours ago, which we spotted only about 800 meters from our camp, made my imagination work overtime. Poor Noel, I kept waking him up to tell him that there were animals outside. I guess I should have expected that considering that we are smack in the middle of a game reserve full of wild animals. I’m not sure what I expected, but I think that I was expecting a fence to keep them out and then a front door just in case they managed to get through the fence?

Wake up call comes early in Madikwe and every morning we got up at 5:30am. We basically had time to throw on our safari gear, grab a quick coffee and a rusk and jump into the 4×4 for the first game drive of the day.

The drive is about 3 hours long with a quick coffee/ snack break in the middle.You then come back to the lodge for a proper breakfast and then you get to do your own thing until lunch, which is around 2:30pm. It would have been great to be able to go for a run in between the first drive and lunch, but since we are not the fastest runners of the jungle, we we were on strict orders to not leave the small area of the camp. To keep ourself busy Noel took some photos of all birds and things and I did a bit of yoga, read and caught up on my sleep. The evening drive starts at 4:30pm and brings you back to the camp an hour after dark at around 8:30pm, just in time for dinner. Coming back to the camp at night was one of my favourite things because the staff lights up the entire area using oil lanterns. They are scattered all over the camp, in the rooms and around the dinner table making for a most romantic and exotic setting.

I have to say that I had some reservations when I read about the shared bathrooms and the fact that you have to heat and carry your own water if you want to take a shower, but after having experienced it first hand, I can say that it was part of what made the camp so great. Let me explain how the shower works. There is no running water so you fill a bucket from a portable water tank. Then you empty about half of your bucket into a something called a Donkey Boiler which instantly transforms it into boiling hot water that pours into another bucket. You then mix the hot water with your left over cool water so that it’s your desired temperature. The donkey boiler looks like a homemade wood stove elevated from the ground allowing you to make a little fire underneath. The water must travel through a lot of mini conduits to make it so hot in the matter of seconds. It actually looks like something my dad could easily weld in his garage. Perhaps one day when we have our off the grid house I will have him make us one. I loved the rustic feel of the camp and even the whole experience of taking a shower. It was neat to see how much water you are using and the fact that you are carrying your own water to the shower makes you a lot more conscious of your consumption.

The whole experience was incredible and the best part in my opinion was to see the wild dogs of Africa. They are one of the most endangered species in Africa and are just a fascinating creature to watch. One day we saw 2 seperate packs, one of about 8 skinny dogs running around on the hunt for something to eat, and second was a pack of 22 dogs, adults and puppies. This pack was hanging out by a drinking hole with their bellies so fat from a recent kill that they could barely move. Only a few of the younger ones were wrestling and playing around. I could have watched them for hours.

After a couple of days, more people joined us and the camp was at capacity with 18 guests. It’s so great to see people’s expression when you are only a couple of meters from a pride of huge lions. Through these experiences we met some amazing people, and for me it was a great bonding experience.

This was truly the experience of a lifetime and I can’t wait to return.

Jeffery’s Bay & Addo Elephant Reserve

Jeffery’s Bay is one of those places that every surfer dreams of going. The mystique of Africa combined with an epic right hand barrelling wave in the cool sharky waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s considered to be one of the best right hand point breaks in the world and all of surfing’s legends have surfed it. I wasn’t expecting to rip it up like a pro, but I knew that all of my years surfing the southern part of Vancouver Island and it’s many right points that I was well prepared.

As we drove into this clean little beach town sprinkled with surf shops and ocean views we knew right away we liked it. It still had a little of the sketchy feeling that one gets from South Africa, but it’s laid back vibe made it much less of a worry. We booked a room on the hill overlooking the main surf beaches and I was amped to head down to one of the more famous breaks called Super Tubes to check the surf. It was the weekend and unfortunately the swell that I had been watching online had yet to show up so it was small and a little bit too crowded. Monday was sure to be less busy and I figured that if I’m going to put on my wet suite to surf a super shallow reef break in famously sharky waters I want to be able to at least get a wave with out having to battle for one. The week that we were there the big swell that was forecasted never showed up, but I made the most of it and caught some fun little waves. My brother Jason would have ripped it up here even when it’s small, but for me on my back side I really needed a little more size to surf it with any real style.

Other than getting to surf one of my childhood dream breaks, the highlights from this trip were eating daily at a great little restaurant called Nina’s and driving up to Addo Elephant Reserve on Valentines Day.

Nina’s Restaurant was so great in fact that we ate there twice a day for the entire time we were there other than missing lunch the day we went to the elephant reserve. If our hotel had not come with breakfast included I’m sure we would have eaten there three times a day. For about $12 both Josi and I could eat a great healthy dinner and be fully stuffed. They have old surf boards and locally taken surfing photos on the walls and the staff were all really friendly which we found to be rare in SA.

The Elephant reserve was super cool and if you are ever in the area you have to check it out. It’s a huge National Park that you pay to gain entry and then you drive yourself around while checking out all of the wildlife. The only advice they gave us was to not get out of our car. Within a few minutes of our drive we started seeing animals, big and small, everywhere and we were stoked.

At one point we were driving along a skinny dirt road and around the corner came a heard of about 15 elephants. There were big ones, baby ones, old ones, ones with huge tusks. At first we thought that it was really cool as they marched slowly towards us. As you can see by the photos that I was happily snapping away, they took up the entire width of the road. They came closer and closer until Josi told me, with slight urgency in her voice, to stop taking photos and to start backing. They were coming right at us and our little rental car with no sign of clearing out of our way. As I started backing up another huge bull elephant came out of the bushes directly to our left. I watched in surprise as he got closer and in doing so I backed into a bush on the side of the road and got us stuck. I’m blaming the backing up into a bush 20% because I wan’t used to driving on the wrong side of the road and 80% from the shock of being ambushed by the massive tusked elephant coming out of the bushes to our left.

I would have pulled a little forward and corrected myself, but by this point the big heard of elephants was really close to us and they were pissed. Right about the time they started nodding their heads up and down and shooting their ears out to their sides, which made them look even huger and meaner than they already were, Josi went into a panic. Every few seconds between her hyperventilating Josi was able to squeak out “I’m scared”. Shit, I was too, but I wasn’t going to let her know it because I think that she would have passed out.

Josi had visions of them not veering from their path and walking right over us or getting really pissed off and tossing our car around and smashing it to pieces. It was like a scene out of a bad horror comedy where the couple get trampled after the first few minutes. If there was a shower near by I’m sure that she would have gotten naked and jumped in.

They were visibly pissed off that we were in their way, but rather than going Rambo on us they decided to avoid the blood bath and pass us by. They were so close you could smell them as they pretty much brushed the car as they walked by. As the last one finally passed us by he bent his big old head down so that he could give me a stinky, eye to eye, look of disapproval.

It’s not every day that you get to be so close to the largest, wild, land mammal in the world. The rest of our drive through the park continued to leave us in a perpetual state of wonder as we saw one strange and exotic African animal after another.

A big thanks to Skip and Paula for the great recommendations in and around Jeffery’s Bay.

We loved our time in Jeffery’s Bay and it’s surrounding areas, but seeing all of the crazy animals at Addo makes leaving lot easier knowing that we are on our way to bush camp in Madikwe Game Reserve in Northern South Africa.

Cape Town, South Africa

Our trip is one of love, adventures and following our childhood dreams. Ever since Josi was young she wanted to go to Tahiti and for me it was Africa, or as my good friend Bart calls it, Mother Africa. I believe that the “Mother” comes from it being the oldest continent. The landscape here is in sharp contract to that of Argentina where we just came from. Time has worn down and smoothed it’s mountain peaks and the skyline is much flatter than that of the Rockies or the Andes.

Like many of the nations with huge divides in wealth, South Africa is a country of great contrasts. The second we got off the plane we could feel that there was something about this place that’s very different to that what we have experienced. As we drove our rental car out of the airport, driving our standard on the left side of the road no less, we could see where the unusual energy was coming from as our route into town took us through one of the oldest and poorest townships in Cape Town. Townships are huge “human settlements” for black and coloured people, similar to indian reserves in Canada, but much larger in that they sometimes have over a million people living in them. Small broken shacks made of tin and discarded bits lined up as far as the eye can see. Through the garbage that piles the outskirts of these depressed areas the only glimmer of happiness and hope is reflected in the wonderfully bright clothing that the people who live there are wearing.

We went to book our hotel a few days before we arrived which was a mistake. I’m not sure why we always wait until the last minute? Perhaps it’s because sometimes we get better deals by booking last minute, or more likely it’s because neither of us want to miss out on something, or somewhere, better that may come up last minute. Regardless of the reasons, we learnt our lesson because 99% of the accommodations in Cape Town were fully booked when we got there. After a lot of searching we ended up finding a decent B&B that had availability for the first few nights but that’s it. After that we had to go to leave Cape Town and go to inland to their wine country for a few days. Then once there was availability back in Cape Town we came back. I’m sure that wine country is great if you love to drink wine, but for the most part I found it too old school and a bit boring. I found Cape Town to be a little bit similar to LA in that it’s best to have a car while you are there. If you can handle driving on the wrong side of the road having a car is great because many of the cool areas, beaches and sights are pretty spread out.

We did most of the touristy things that one does when in Cape Town. We enjoyed eating and shopping at the Waterfront. We took a tour to Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was jailed for several years. We were really happy to discover Long Street, in Central, because had some cool boutique shops and great restaurants. We hung out at the at Camps Bay which is a beautiful and affluent beach community. We went to a really cool market in Hout Bay that has both great food and some interesting locally made products. Josi loves to hike, so we hiked up Table Mountain, which didn’t look all that far, but in the middle of the day in the heat of the African sun it was quite the hike. I guess it’s similar to Vancouver’s Grouse Grind, but with twice as many steps going pretty much straight up. We also drove to the South Cape which was super cool. It’s a National Park that’s on the very tip of Africa. On the drive we saw loads of baboons which when we stopped to look at them crawled all over our car. They are meant to be quite aggressive at times and there were signs posted everywhere to stay in your car and to keep your windows rolled up. We also saw some zebras which was super cool as we weren’t expecting to see them in the area.

One of the things that we are finding to be really challenging is the constant thought that someone may rob you. It’s hard to not be thinking about it because all of the houses have both barb wire on their already high fences and electric fences that back enough punch to drop a man. The windows are all barred, there are armed security guards everywhere and to get in a shop you often have to buzz to be let in. Even if you are feeling safe, in the back of your mind you are telling yourself that they must only have all of this because it’s necessary. One day Josi and I were walking a few blocks from our hotel to go for breakfast in a very nice area of town. In front of us where a group of 4 small black kids between 11 and 13 yrs old. Like kids do, they were playing around as they walked along the street, but then I noticed that two of them had black hand guns. My first reaction was they they must be toy guns so we slowed down but didn’t stop. Then a white lady who jogged by us stopped and nervously waited until we caught up to her. She was from South Africa and she decided to not go by them just in case and instead took a different way to get to where she needed to go. Right then a large black lady who coming towards us and the kids stopped and visibly concerned ran across the street so not to walk past them. I’m positive that these kids were only playing with toy guns, but it was just weird enough that Josi and I to turned back had breakfast in another part of town.

You also have to get used to people constantly hounding you on the streets. Some of them are begging for money, but most of them, while not violent, are more demanding you pay them as they somehow they figure that you own them for one reason or another. For example, everywhere you go people have set up (non) businesses collecting money when you park in parking spaces that are meant to be free parking spots. This you end up getting used to and we pay between 2 and 5 rands each time we park. We pay not because we have to, but because we figure that if we don’t there is a chance we may be broken into. Kind of like paying the mob for protection so that they don’t rob you.

One of the other things that we did that was somewhat touristy was taking a tour of a township. Taking a tour in it self is pretty touristy, but how ours differed was that it was a guy who grew up in the township, and still lived there, was giving the tour to just Josi and myself. It started off pretty normal with a tour of a community centre that’s doing a lot of creative things in the neighbourhood. From there we took off on foot and ventured into the underbelly of some of the poorest areas in South Africa. One of the stops was an illegal drinking establishment where they brew their own beer. It was down a small and dirty alley that was home to several unusual businesses that we didn’t dare venture into. Inside there were several older down and out men sitting on low benches around 3 of the 4 walls. There was one metal bucket that they were passing around, each taking turns drinking from the local home brew. In the back was a big old black lady stirring two big oil barrels where they brewed the beer. The one old guy who I’m guessing owned the place talked to us for quite a while about the hardships in the town and the importance of his beer to the community and it’s ceremonies. I could barley understand him, but we listened and picked up things here and there. Then a fresh metal bucket came out over flowing with fresh beer. They first passed it to our guide and he drank and then he passed it to me to drink. The last thing I wanted to do was to pull a big swig of this super sketchy beer from the communal bucket, but I put my nose into it and wet my tong enough to know that I didn’t like the taste. Then I passed it on and it was finished as it went around the room. When we left I was told that everyone who was drinking only gave what they could, some paying more and others paying nothing. We paid them for the experience and carried on. Turns out that this place is owned by a friend of our guide and this is why they let us stop in. From there we ventured into areas that started sketchy and then got even sketchier. Garbage everywhere, 15 people crammed into a super small home, tinny little homes made completely of found pieces of random stuff, outhouses lined up for miles along a small and dirty creek, the list goes on. Even our guide spent most of his time looking over his shoulder as if he was waiting for someone to mug us all. Needless to say, my good camera stayed in it’s old sack bag and didn’t take a single photo. I was bold enough to take a few shots with my IPhone, but that’s it. Unfortunately, the photos from Cape Town in general aren’t the best because for the most part it didn’t feel safe enough to take out my big camera with it’s huge Canon lens.

We were amazed how cheep things are here, especially eating out. For both Josi and I to have a great meal, not including drinks, was usually between $10 and 15 all up. If you want a glass of wine with your dinner, add $2. Except for accommodations, which were around $80/night at B&B’s, everything was far less expensive than we were expecting. This was a nice surprise considering that Argentina was 3x more expensive than I was expecting it to be.

We had our surf boards out and ready to get a surf on, but the poor wave quality in combination with the freezing cold waters of Cape Town were enough to keep our adventures land based. It’s rather deceiving as the air temperature was well into the 30’s and the ocean is freezing, even though it’s a crystal clear light blue colour which usually only occurs in tropical warm waters.

We are finding that the longer we are here the more we are getting to know and understand the way things work and we are starting to enjoy ourself way more. Cape Town and it’s surrounding areas is absolutely stunning and all up we enjoyed out time here. Our next stop is 7 days of surfing in Jeffery’s Bay which I’m super stoked about.

Deeper into the Wilds of Southern Patagonia

As you drive up to El Chalten you can’t help but be amazed by how massively towering the jagged mountain peaks are as they make for the most magnificent backdrop above this little town. Everything becomes more and more miniature, yourself included, as you slowly draw closer. Their peaks look like someone took them into Photoshop and stretched them vertically into unrealistic proportions.

Everywhere we had been prior was a little more built up and touristy than what we were expecting from Patagonia so we were stoked as we pulled into the small town of El Chalten and the rugged peaks that tower over it in all directions.

Before being let off at the bus stop we were taken to the the parks information centre for briefing of do’s and don’ts. It was like when I went cat skiing and before they let you have your fun they tell you the dangers, give you some very basic survival tips and then set you free to be as extreme as you choose to be. Having packed for a 6.5 month surfing trip around the world rather than a one month trip to Patagonia we weren’t prepared to push the limits as far as we might of otherwise. Hearing stories of people who have climbed to the tops of the biggest peaks with no visible way of possibly making it up. Not to mention that the weather seemed to change on a dime with the winds going from none at all to firing in one direction so hard you would almost fall over and then changing it’s mind and firing the other direction with even more force. We did some pretty big hikes well over 20k that took us to some amazing alpine places that few will ever have the opportunity to witness so in our own way we did feel pretty extreme.

While we did have the ocasional clouds that blew in here and there the locals told us again and again that we were in luck with the weather. The days were mostly warm enough that I only wore a tank top and pants. For the first time in our trip I actually felt chilled at night and would go out bundled up in my hoody and long pants. The town of El Chalten was built in the mid 80’s as a tool used to win a land dispute with Chile. Both countries laid claim to this remote and undeveloped part of the Andes and Argentina. Before that there was nothing there, not even a road and now there is a bustling little town that caters to hard core outdoors people. There is construction on every corner and we have been told that it bustles in the summers and then slows right down in the winters. The one thing that amazed us is that most of the structures are built out of either cinder block that seems very fragile, or particle board. In an extreme location like this that has all kinds of weather I would never imagine that anyone would build a home or a business out of particle board.

The hotel where we were staying had photos of the owner holding huge rainbow trout in the 20 to 25lbs range so I knew that we were in a good area. I was considering getting a fly fishing guide, of which there were two in town, so that I could finally catch some bigger trout. The main guide in town told me that for almost $300 CAD he would provide waders and flies, feed me lunch and take me fishing on a river for the day. He told me that we would catch 40 fish in a day which seemed pretty great, until he told me that most of them were going to be around 7 inches with only a chance of a bigger fish. We went to the other guide and the girl working at the front desk told me that for the same price we would fish a lake and would likely catch 2 or 3 trout about 2lbs each. I knew that I didn’t want to pay for a guide to catch loads of small trout as I can do that back home for free. I also knew that I didn’t want to pay to fly fish from shore on a lake because I knew that I didn’t need a guide for that as I could do it on my own.

I ended up going to a small outdoor store that also sold flies and the old guy that worked there showed me a few dry flies that he thought worked well in the rivers. I was stoked to see that they looked a little bit similar to the multitude of flies that I had brought from home. I bought two flies from him in exchange for his helpful knowledge and the next day we set off on a 1 hour shuttle bus trip to a lake that buts up against the boarder of Chile. Right when we got off the bus there was a sign that we translated as no fishing for 200m. I wasn’t sure so we asked the bus driver and he explained that we were not aloud to fish on the lake side of the sign for 200m. I was stoked because there were trout jumping everywhere so I quickly started casting into the crystal clear river. Within minutes I hooked a big rainbow trout about 3 or 4 pounds. It was funny because within minutes there was crowd of about 20 Argentinian tourists watching me fight this fish. I got it right up to the shore and as I was about to release it it snapped my line. I was surprised because I had just bought new 6lb tippet which should have been more than enough as to not snap. It felt good to hook into such a big fat trout and I was a little bummed that we didn’t get a good photo before I released it. I was also bummed that I had only bought one of the particular flies from the guy and that it was now gone. Before I was even able to get a new fly on, a military/ parks guy came up to me and asked for my fishing licence. In all of my years of fishing I have never been asked to show my licence so I’m happy that the one time it cost me $100 to buy it it actually got put to use. On top of wanting to see my licence he also informed me that the sign read that I could not fish within 200m in any direction of which I was clearly within about 5m. Luckily there were a few locals there who were with me when I was asking what the sign meant and they backed me up and let him know that a local had told me is was OK. He was cool and pointed out where I was aloud to fish and let us go. Josi asked him if we were aloud to keep fish in the river and he said no we had to let them go. He then said that he would make an exception and if we were to bonk it and put it in our bag quickly he would let us keep it. It seemed a little fishy to me, kind of like a story a surfer friend of mine who was in Mexico who bought a joint off a local, who’s friend was a police officer that just happened to be around the corner. The cop busted my friend, took the joint and gave it back to his friend and then took $100 from my buddy to let him go. Regardless of being a trap of not, as soon as we knew that it was all catch and release river we decided to not keep any.

Having just lost my one fly that hooked a big trout I went straight for one of the flies that I tied. I’m not sure if its just me, but I love fishing with flies that I personally tied way better than store bought flies so I was stoked. I was even more stoked when I started getting bites on almost every cast and catching fish after fish. The biggest fish I caught that day was a brown trout about 20 inches and I lost a rainbow that was much larger. The river was packed with fish. I caught about as many browns as rainbows. The thing I noticed about the rainbows is that they were really fat in compared to the ones back home. There was a glacier hike that we were planning on doing that day, but I was so excited to be fishing, and catching fish, that I couldn’t leave. Josi was a sport and sat in the chilly breezy sun and read while I had my fun.

A few days and a couple of really big hikes later we came back to the same spot for another day of fishing. This time Josi did the glacier hike on her own and I stayed and fished the river once again. The water had dropped quite a lot over two days and this time I was able to wade out into the small cold river allowing me room to cast to the banks on the far side. There I hooked into a really large rainbow that got off and shortly after that I hooked into another really big brown. This time I was determined to get it in and fought it more gingerly because I knew that I didn’t want to snap off again. Right when the 4lb brown was at my side and I was about to lift it so that I could take the hook out it snapped off. I couldn’t believe that another one snapped off. I tested the line that I had bought and it was strong so I’m not sure what was going on? Perhaps the pull of the river was adding a few pounds to their already large size, or perhaps it was because I wan’t handling them in like I do when I want to keep them. Either way it was great to hook into some really decent size trout on a beautiful river using a dry fly.

After spending a week in El Chalten I started to hear about more and more spots with great fishing, all of which are off the beaten path. When we come back to Argentina we will be sure to bring full trekking gear and will spend way more time way off the grid in search of some of the really big trout that I have only heard about in this part of the world.

Argentina and specifically southern Patagonia was a wonderful adventure that exceeded my expectations and I’m sure that one day we will be back. I’m writing this blog post from my big oversized, business class seat that fully reclines into a bed as we fly over the Atlantic on our way to Cape Town. I have never been to Africa and I’m super stoked for what adventures lay in wait.