Thursday, November 12th, 2009
“We were dropped off at a spot our friend Raph has out in the middle of nowhere. Raph comes and stays whenever the swell is good. It’s way out there, a long way from civilization, no phone reception, no internet, no help, no Maccas. All we said when we got dropped of was, ‘just come back and get us in 3-weeks please!’ We went there to surf and film for Timmy’s upcoming film Cold Thoughts (sequel to the awesome Second Thoughts). We drank river water and a large part of our diets was fish- salmon from the river, gooseneck barnacles from the rocks. It’s a very fickle spot, but when it works, the wave we were camping out for, is just like Backdoor- just nobody out and you’re in full rubber!”
I query him on the redneck chic shotgun pictures, as surf trips are so sanitised these days no-one ever goes anywhere that is actually dangerous (maybe with the exception of Stuart Butler).
“We had to have the semi-automatic shotgun, we used it alot as every day, morning and night we had bears all over the place, on occasion even coming right into our camp, you would often hear the wolves. One night we even had a cougar fight happening outside our tents. In the water there were killer whales, sea lions, seals, whales… The place is so alive. It’s basically like an Attenborough documentary but with you in the middle of it.”
Was the wildlife terror and hardship worth it?
“Even though we only had three real good days of waves in the 3-weeks we camped there, it was totally worth it, a mind blowing experience. It got pretty heavy though on the first good day Timmy hit the reef hard on one at low tide, cracked a few ribs with the initial hit, then the second hit was his head which split his helmet. Seeing as he’s had brain surgery six times after that horrendous sinal staph infection that nearly killed him it was pretty scary. You realize how far out you are when that kind of thing happens.”
Final question- Did you see any bears shitting in the woods? As it’s a question that’s vexed me for years.
“Within 15-minutes of the boat leaving us there I was doing a piss just looking at the sea minding my own business, halfway through it I looked to my side for some reason and right there on the beach full eye contact with a bear, 5-metres away. I edged slowly back into the camp with the old boy still hanging out and then when we were setting up the tarps and tents Eric looks up, a large bear was maybe 10-metres away standing upright on its back legs, one front paw leaning on a tree, like it was checking us out in a bar. Eric fires a warning shot into the air to scare it off, it doesn’t move, I’m telling him reload but in the heat of the moment he jams the shotgun chamber… with a big bear stood there. We shit ourselves, I fired the flare gun/bear banger at it and it buggered off thankfully…”
So yes bears do shit in the woods. They also own the woods…
Words by Roger Sharp aka Sharpy