Canoeing Coppermine River & Pikes Portage

Yellowknife to Arctic Ocean

Northern Paddling Adventure #8

39 days, 960 miles, Jul-Aug 2005

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2005-07-14 page 9 of 40

Day 9 - McLeod Bay

We set off at 6:57 am, wind light, wafting headwind, thick high cirrus. Very soon we rounded a corner and could hear very plainly but could not see Waldbon River which we had been hearing in the night. We continued east staying far from land to avoid the bugs. The wind died and we enjoyed calm for many hours. The Barnston River positively roared and was quite visible, churning into Great Slave Lake with great leaps.

In beautiful conditions we made a 3 or 4 mile long open crossing to a cluster of small islands. The mirages were toying with the group of islands fiercely and we could not see a way through them, so we went around to the southeast, at which point we had light quartering tailwind from the southwest.

The mirages were toying with the group of islands and we could not see a way through them.

Once around most of the islands we noticed some odd seas rolling in from the northeast, opposite the wind direction. Typically the mind tries to make some excuse, avoiding the obvious, and I was thinking this must be caused by a current bounding off the islands, which was ridiculous. It was obviously a strong northeast wind headed our way, which we could not see yet. Very soon this wind came charging out of the Big Stone Bay. It beset us with headwinds and whitecaps. We could have turned back to one of the islands, but it wasn't that bad so we clawed our way the 1.5 miles to Big Stone Point.

When we reached there, the wind switched back to southwest at 8 knots. Making our way along the shore with the nice, quartering tailwind.

Power resting after hours of paddling.

we could plainly see a large plume of smoke. Actually, we had been watching it grow all day. We surmised it was a lightning strike from yesterday's storms.

A ways further on, we had just crossed a small bay and were in the vicinity of two small islands when a sudden blast of wind bowled out of the north. Fortunately we were within 100 yards of one of the islands so we turned 90 degrees directly into the wind and headed for the island. We rounded the island and continued a quarter mile to the main shore. By now the wind began to abate and change direction again.

Some of this coast is stunningly beautiful with smooth granite slabs white and pink, coves large and small, cobbled beaches, emerald water. On one such smooth rock island we stopped for a shore break. Jenny washed my shell jacket. An hour later we stopped again to wait for the headwind to diminish before crossing a large bay.

After three more bay crossings with medium crosswind, wind funneling out of the bays, we rounded a wide headland then stopped at 8:15 pm on a small, boot-shaped peninsula, shaped like Italy. Today we had seen no fishing boats.

Camp #9

39 miles, 13.25 hours (minus shore time.). Camp #9: UTM 12W 0572071 6973150 Map 75K

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