Otter Pass founder Jonathan Goudeau grew up fishing with his dad and his brothers in the Pantanal—the wetlands in far west Brazil. There, Jonathan and his brothers learned from their dad how to hook piranhas, how to avoid the reeds where alligators hid, how to spot spider monkeys at dawn, and how to listen for the wing-beats of the jaburu. On vacation, they always stayed in the same lodge, built on stilts above the water.
The lodge wasn’t fancy, but it held a lifetime of memories for them. For years, they went back to the same place, and it never really changed. That lodge was called Passo do Lontra—Otter Pass.
When Jonathan was 17, his dad, Eugene, was killed by a drunk driver. The trips to Otter Pass were suddenly gone, like so many other things. But Jonathan never forgot them. Years later, when he had daughters of his own, those trips became their bedtime stories. Wide-eyed, three little girls listened to Jonathan describe the piranhas and the alligators and the long-winged jaburus.
Jonathan also realized that the lessons he learned had more to do with how to be a father than how to be a fisherman. Those trips to Otter Pass taught Jonathan how to spend time with his children, how to listen, how to be still, and how to pass on the feeling that no matter what curve balls life throws you, the love of your family will carry you through.