Remote fly fishing is just one of the King Pacific’s many epic wilderness adventures, which include ocean fishing, kayaking with whales, private heli-yoga classes on sandy white beaches, cultural tours of nearby Hartley Bay, home of the Gitga’at Nation and magical hikes through dark-canopied rain forests that seem to sweat spongy, neon-green moss and thick, waist-high ferns from every pore.
Back at the lodge, not everyone is feeling the bliss. “I can’t believe that guide talked us into releasing those rock cods,” a guest from Los Angeles grumbles, while soaking in the hot tub. “Just consider it our Lion King moment, we did our bit for the environment,” replies his friend, part of a group from the World Presidents’ Association (a global organization of CEOs). “Sure, that would have been fine – if we had caught some salmon,” counters another.
After cocktails and hors d’oeuvre in the Great Hall, we all head into the dining room for an exquisite supper of slow-cooked venison loin and long-line caught lingcod with clams and fiddleheads.
Dinner conversation turns to the pipeline. The oil baron from Ohio hasn’t even heard about it. He’s more concerned about the stalled Keystone XL pipeline, backed by Enbridge rival Calgary-based TransCanada, which would deliver crude oil from the Alberta oil sands to Texas.
MTV host Aliya-Jasmine Sovani frets about being too sympathetic to one side of the story. “My mom keeps telling me, ‘Don’t be a hippie. It’s just a forest.’ ” Andrew Davidson, one of the three Canadian authors that include Joseph Boyden and Steven Galloway, wonders why all this fresh air seems to make everyone smoke more. Gerald Butts, president of WWF-Canada, heads outside with him for a cigarette.
Me? I’m still lapping up the chef’s delicious northern-style ramen made with homemade alkaline noodles, tons of fish and dried seaweed harvested by the Gitga’at at a nearby summer camp. He uses the same seaweed in his divine nori scones. He gets it from the locals at the beginning of the season, trading it for a huge sack of panko, which they apparently adore for batter on fried fish.
It’s our last day in paradise. Cruising through the inlets with Gitga’at guide Floyd Dundas, we spot a humpback whale arcing elegantly out of the water, exhaling a stream of misty spray. We see eagles perched in their nests, watch seals lolling on land and smell the stench from a huge rookery of sea lions, belching and roaring and waddling high up on rocks.
Later, we try salmon fishing and catch one 26-pound spring. We get a few more bites, but then a school of about a dozen dahl porpoises start frolicking and splashing all around the boat.
“Don’t steal my lure,” one of the guests cries. “They’re doing it on porpoise,” Galloway cracks. Ha, ha. Bada bing.
We pull up our rods and head back to the lodge with the sun setting over the mountains, the porpoises chasing alongside.
King Pacific Lodge: 888-592-5464; kingpacificlodge.com; from $4,900 for a three-night stay (excluding taxes, conservation fee and gratuities).
To listen to the sounds of the whales, click here.