Bringing Reef Home / by Michael Johns

Sunset scattering of Reefer dog at Soberanes Point, Big Sur. From left to right: Denise, Lydia, Renee, Rachel, Reef (in the box), Alex, Casey, Mike, Carl, Louie.

When our dog Reef died a year ago today, Casey and I decided it would be best to scatter his ashes in Big Sur, where he was born and where he spent many days during his younger years on hikes and walks on the beach. This past weekend, a group of my closest friends made the pilgrimage to Monterey Bay to celebrate the life of Reef and share stories of times past. At the edge of a cliff on Soberanes Point, just before the sun dipped below the sea, we toasted Reef with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, said a few words, cried a bit, and one by one tossed a handful of his ashes into a calm offshore breeze. It was the perfect farewell to a dog who was once a giant figure in all of our lives. 

While in town, we visited all the old sites of our college years; including surfing in Santa Cruz and Hotel Beach in Seaside, an early morning whale watch on the bay, sunset at Moss Landing and Marina State Beach, and walks along the rec trail on the Peninsula. Casey and I met five years ago while I was working for the whale watch and he was finishing his masters at Moss Landing Marine Labs, so the Monterey area is a special place for both of us. In the first few minutes of 2017, while dancing to a bluegrass band in the pub where we had our "first date", I asked Casey to marry me. He of course said yes. We had been talking about getting married for a while now, and the time just felt right. 

The four days we spent on the Monterey Bay were filled with sunny days, striking sunsets, familiar wildlife, and gorgeous scenery. Most importantly it was great to catch up with some of my favorite people, remember the past, and embrace the future.