Day 3

Misery Island to Hearne Channel

Distance: 35km [cumulative total 94km ]

InReach: Day 3 Morning slow going in thick fog making navigating hard Sunny afternoon Got much wet gear dried after we camped All well J&K

Camp: 62.004°N 113.179°W

It is amazing what a bit of sunshine and a tailwind can do to improve the outlook and lighten the canoeist’s mood.

Awoke early to a thick, bone penetratingly cold fog but no fortunately no rain. Again we packed up wet and put on wet clothes. It took ages to pack the soaking gear, eat breakfast, prepare lunch and snacks but we finally got away at 8.15 am. Visibility varied from about 200m to 500m. Appearing out of the mist we saw a flock of ducks on the water accompanied by a lone white swan possibly a trumpeter swan. As we approached they took off, it was unusual and felt like shades of the ugly duckling story. It was impossible to navigate by sight so John navigated by compass bearing using the direction of the waves to give him his bearing. Each time an island loomed out of the mist we checked our maps to confirm our position and so progressed slowly until lunch time by which time we had reached Devils Channel. We were further slowed by the incredibly choppy, confused waves, the paddling was hard and made worse by the already rough waves bouncing off the high rocky cliffs in the channel. Not long after we stopped for lunch the mist started to clear and some blue sky appeared, even the swell lessened.

Lunch in Devils Channel in a clearing where the navigation buoys are stored

As the weather picked up we met three Dene guys who worked for Environment Canada. They were in a large motor boat and were on route to check the ice conditions in the east arm. They stopped to talk with us and took down our details. We paddled on with a tail wind and ever improving conditions until about 5pm. Again we had observed that places where you can land a canoe and put up a tent were virtually non existent, there are some small pebble beaches but almost always at the foot of steep rocks. We finally found a sheltered spot with dry smooth rocks, great to get the canoe out and to spread out our wet gear, tent, etc. to dry them in the sun. After drying the tent was erected on the rock on a significant slope but otherwise fine. We cooked, dried everything and John even went for a first, very swift, bath. We both felt more organised and were in bed by 9.15pm after doing the maps, preparing for tomorrow and writing the journal, a satisfying end to the day.

The Environment Canada guys were intrigued we had come all the way from Australia to canoe in Canada. We told them we just wanted to see what fresh water looked like!

Drying all our gear in welcome sunshine. It was not warm but John had a quick dip anyway