I have a special place in my heart for the amazing saltwater fishing experiences I have had on Canada’s west coast. I started visiting lodges there from the mid-80’s and over the last 32 years have covered the fishing from Victoria to Langara Island, BC and many of the coastal lodges in-between. If you have had a chance to experience BC’s Pacific fishery for salmon and bottom fish you will agree that it’s the best in the world. Its one thing to just enjoy staying and fishing at a BC lodge, another to discover the rich history and challenges of establishing one.
This March, Harbour Publishing is releasing the memoir of Pat Ardley, a woman who, alongside her husband George “Hurricane” Ardley, established and ran a world-renowned fishing lodge in remote Rivers Inlet for over 35 years. Grizzlies, Gales and Giant Salmon: Life at a Rivers Inlet Fishing Lodge is the story of a young woman who overcame her fears and stepped far outside her comfort zone, as well as a touching tribute to raising a family and life on BC’s West Coast.
Grizzlies, Gales and Giant Salmon, Life at a Rivers Inlet Fishing Lodge
by Pat Ardley
At age nineteen, Pat Ardley packed up her belongings and left Winnipeg for Vancouver, looking for adventure. Little did she know that she’d spend the next forty years in the wilderness, thirty of which would be spent with a man known as George “Hurricane” Ardley. Pat met George soon after arriving in Vancouver, and shortly thereafter, the two of them set out for Addenbroke Island to work as junior lighthouse keepers. The journey to the little island nearly 500 km north of Vancouver meant a week aboard a rolling Coast Guard ship—and a drastic change in lifestyle.
The couple fell in love with the wilderness and each other. They learned to grow their own produce, keep chickens, can clams and salmon, build their own furniture, and in the evenings they read aloud to each other for entertainment. But, of course, it wasn’t always easy. Pat’s fear of the ocean made for a constant struggle in her marine environment, and being the partner of an adrenaline junkie—he didn’t earn the nickname “Hurricane” for nothing!—sometimes made for a wild ride.
In 1976, Pat and George started their own remote fishing lodge in Rivers Inlet. Financed by their wilderness odd jobs, the lodge came together slowly but surely through the couple’s hard work. George proudly added a nursery to the float lodge when their family grew, and they made sure the little ones knew not to step out the door without wearing a life jacket.
Life was full of both challenges, rewards, and a few close calls (and grizzly encounters) but the lodge business supported the family, and gained a steady clientele who were enticed back year after year by the warm welcome, beautiful setting and plentiful salmon. Through resolve and strength in adversity, Pat earned an intimidating nickname of her own: “Don’t-Mess-with-Me” Ardley.
Pat Ardley was born on the Canadian prairies but had a life of adventure on the West Coast with the love of her life, building the legendary Rivers Lodge in Rivers Inlet. In 2012 she sold Rivers Lodge and is now settled in West Vancouver, BC.
If you enjoy reading non-fiction and you love the outdoors, you may want to get a copy of Grizzlies, Gales and Giant Salmon. For more information, or to schedule an interview with Pat Ardley, please contact Sarah Corsie at Harbour Publishing: firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 604-883-2730.
ISBN: 978-1-55017-831-9, $24.95 · Paperback, 6″ x 9″ · 352 pages, 30 B&W photographs & map
Rights held: World