When I think about it, maybe theft isn’t quite the right word. I otter know, because I was a witness to the alleged crime. With that said, if gang related incidents cause you distress, it’s best you stop reading.
Not so long ago, we were sat up on the sun deck at The Eagle’s Nest, enjoying the view across the bay, and enjoying a glass of Tofino Blonde. I think our reason for an early afternoon beer was that it was sunny and early afternoon. We’d been out for a wander around the harbours, had sat and observed a bear foraging along the far shore, and perhaps thought we’d better sit down some more somewhere else.
Anyway, from the deck you can observe the small craft coming and going, keep an eye on the bald eagles flying to and fro, and witness the total bird commotion caused when a fishing boat, large or small, passes by with a catch. There’s a small processing station just in front of the pub, and it was here the crime took place.
A fisherman was taking care of his haul, and it looked like he’d had a pretty good day, with several fish in a cooler by his feet as well as the one he was dealing with on the table. Gulls were taking a keen interest in his work, and perhaps they distracted the poor chap. While he was looking over at the gulls, a river otter popped up onto the dock, enticed by the catch in the cooler. Bold as you like, the otter grasped a large fish in its jaws and pulled it across the deck towards the water. The fisherman caught sight of the movement at his feet, and hesitated, one hand on the fish at the table, and the other holding his filleting knife. This hesitation – was he concerned the gulls would pounce as he dealt with the otter? – proved costly, and when he took a step towards the otter, it was too late. Splash! A few ripples and then nothing. The fisherman smiled and shrugged, put a lid on the cooler, and went back to filleting his catch. He did stop every now and then to take a look over his shoulder.
I don’t know much about gang life, I’ve heard of the Bloods and the Crips, and seen motorcycle gangs out on the highways, but the Ucluelet River Otters are a whole different kind of notorious, particularly around the docks of Ucluelet. You keep your bait and tackle box closed when these fellows are about, and maybe don’t go down the gangways by yourself.
As we finished our drinks, we saw the otter come back up onto a different floating dock behind the filleting station. Was he going to have another go?! Then another otter popped up, and another, and another. The whole gang was there! They scurried towards the cooler and then back, testing to see if the fisherman had noticed them. Oh, he was wise to their ways, and quickly completed his tasks and made off home, one fish lighter than he’d hoped for. The Ucluelet River Otter Gang loitered for a few more minutes, looking tough and territorial, before slipping back into the water. They were probably cruising round to check out the Inner Harbour…
We sympathized a little with the fisherman, but mostly we were rooting for and applauding the opportunism and silky skills of the otter. If we’re called to testify, we’ll say we saw nothing. I’m not messing with the River Otter Gang.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!
10 thoughts on “A theft!”
Ha Ha, quite the story, I have heard the river otters are a tough lot, not something you would want to try to pet. I enjoyed the description of the fisherman’s smile, knowing it was fruitless to pursue. I am off to my fav park tomorrow to see the changes after being away for two weeks.
Thanks, Jane! I think the fishing folk know they have to chalk up a loss or two to the otters, and this summer at least, it seems the catches for the recreational fishers have been reasonable, so there’s enough to spare for an otter or two!
I hope the park trip was/is a good one. I’m betting there’ll be strong signs of autumn – it felt that way in Canmore the past weekend.
The colours are definitely changing as you will see in the next blog, the bison are spread out and grazing and some birds have left for the south.
Absolutely enjoyed the wonderful photos and loved the story! While the otter was the star of the story, you had me laughing from “I otter know” to “a good pint of view.” What an idyllic setting to enjoy a pint and watch the eagles, bears and the tough River Otter Gang. With that many in the gang, they may soon be shaking down the local fishermen, pub owner and harbor walkers (maybe even poor Scout) for extra fish. Life is Good with a great story, college football and a win by Tottenham today. Be careful out there on the Wild West Coast!!
Thank you! The river otters pop up every now and then, often in a family grouping, I mean, gang, and they’re such fun to watch. The landlady at the Eagle’s Nest said they’re particularly frisky with new/visiting fisherfolk – older hands are wise to their ways!
Life is Good, even if Spurs couldn’t find a win at the weekend. It’s always teams like Newcastle and you’re thinking “should be easy to get a win against this lot” (like Aston Villa not winning in the PL for 14 games and then they play Everton)… oh well! The cricket was good.
I hope you have a great week with ongoing summer.
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A good pint of view, indeed! You’re so lucky to have caught the Otter Gang on stage, and quite, as well, to have caught it all there at the waterside saloon. River otters are a rare sight here in the East, but so enjoyable when they do appear. So it is that, when I read your account and look at those photos, I’m amazed. Thanks for putting the Gang together in this fine account.
Thanks, Walt! I’ll always take a good pint of view if it’s there.
I’ve only ever seen river otters around the harbours in Tofino and Ucluelet – smart creatures, they’ve worked out the pickings are good in these places. I’d love to see one out on a river bank in more remote parts. They probably work a little harder out there!
I hope the week is off to a good start.
Loved this! What a great story, I could see it all happening as though I was there with you. Cheeky otters! Cheers to you and here’s to not having to testify! 😊
First of all, what a fantastic place you found to enjoy a pint. So much to watch and enjoy. And a really fun story, pc. The gang, the fish-stealing event, the fisherman. I, too, was rooting for the river otter, and glad the fisherman surrendered so amicably. Wonderful post, I’m smiling as I type, and I know I will think of this a few times today, thank you.
Thanks, Jet! The Eagle’s Nest has a great deck looking out over the bay, and only a few tables that catch the evening sun. If it isn’t sunny (and even if it is!) it gets very chilly in the evening if there’s a breeze up from the ocean, but the light and the view pull us in. And the beer and the otters…
Glad this one had you smiling, the otters will do that!