Dock Talk

A Look Back

Painter's Lodge - October 3, 2012

Just a portion of the 2012 Painter's Crew

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole 6 months since I introduced myself in the first Reel Report of the season. I had high hopes walking into this position but my experience far exceeded my expectations. As this final week comes to an end I’ve tried to compile a list of my favourite memories of my first year with Painter’s Lodge.

June 22nd- 25th marked our 20th Annual Women’s Derby. What a momentous year to first expose myself the tradition! Meeting the women who have been part of the derby since the very beginning gave me a better understanding of why we’re known as ‘Historic Painter’s Lodge’…and 20 years is only the tip of the ice berg! All of the women were so excited to be here reuniting with old friends and doing what they do best—fishing! Jan Lim’s 34.9 lb. Tyee was the overall winner and the first 30+ lb. Chinook I’d ever seen in the flesh.

There’s something about little kids and big fish. The gleam in their eye when they see what someone has caught, when they are suiting up to go fishing themselves and most of all when they return from fishing with a catch they’re proud of.  In general, observing children on family vacations warms my heart. You know they’ll never forget something as special and exciting as a zodiac adventure or fishing excursion with mom and dad, splashing in our pool on a hot day or watching our resident harbour seals from the dock. I loved capturing the enthusiasm of our young guests in photos.

Each Tuesday evening between June and September I sailed on the water taxi to April Point for Jazz at the Point. The music, the return guests I’d see each week and the sunsets (my God, the sunsets!) were something I’d always look forward to.

Rain is simply a part of west coast life but this summer the liquid sunshine held out for long stretches and allowed it to really feel like summer here on Vancouver Island. Our weddings are what made me take notice of this superb weather. In fact, by the end of September only one ceremony had to be held indoors. Everyone loves a wedding and I’m no exception. I photographed so many beautiful couples and intimate ceremonies this summer, each unique and touching.

Every morning, afternoon and evening that I was on the clock you can bet that I was on our dock for the return of fishing boats. I thoroughly enjoyed weigh-ins and hearing friends and family cheer for one another’s achievements.  The stories anglers and guides alike would tell of their adventures on the water were always entertaining although every so often they had to be taken with a grain of salt. It was on the dock that I met most of the wonderful guests that I did.  

Finally (or not, as I really could go on all day), acting like a guest at the Lodge on my days off provided me many great memories. My husband and I took a Rapids Tour in May, “brunched” on multiple Sundays and treated visiting relatives to meals in the April Point Dining Room.

Here are some of my fellow crew members’ favourite memories of the 2012 season…

“I picked up a young boy and his grandfather from the airport and on the ride to the Lodge he kept asking me if he’d see an eagle. He explained that the eagle is his national bird but he’s never seen one and really wants to. I told him that his chances were pretty good. When we pulled up and they entered the lobby, you could see through the Lounge windows that there were about 50 bald eagles on the sandbar at low tide. The boy dropped his bags and ran all the way down the dock to see them.” – Joe, Guest Services

“Spending the evenings weighing fish on the dock for the August Heat Derby.” – Christine, Operations Manager

“Even though it’s very cheesy, I really enjoyed working with this group of people…and watching weddings!” – Shauna, Front Desk

“Seeing new things and meeting new people every single day.” – Marjan, Front Desk

“When Ron took me fishing and we saw sea lions and dolphins. That was super cool.” – Kaleisha, Pub Server

See you in a few,

Joanna