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 Post subject: James Bay Coast paddling
PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 12:34 am 
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Anyone ever taken the Polar Bear Express to Moosonee and paddle the coast?


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 12:38 am 
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Do you enjoy muck?

Do you have a dry suit and an emergency beacon?

How far are you thinking of paddling?

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 12:43 am 
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recped wrote:
Do you enjoy muck?

Do you have a dry suit and an emergency beacon?

How far are you thinking of paddling?


I do not have a drysuit... yet. Same for an emergency beacon.

I don't care one way or the other for muck.

A few day's each way.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 4:38 am 
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My own personal experience in that part of James Bay is limited, I've paddled from the mouth of the Pigeon, that's about 8km on the bay. I've also taken a ride in a freighter canoe from Hannah Bay. I have also paddled over on the Quebec side coming out of the Harricana & Pontax, the todal flats are not quite as bad over there in Rupert Bay. Quite a few people have paddled up from Hannah Bay over the years, there have also been a number of emergency evacuations.

A few things to consider:

Weather, once you have left the mouth of the Moose there is the potential to be stuck for days when it is not safe to travel. Anything less than near perfect will be a tough slog, it doesn't take a lot of wind to make it pointless to paddle even if it's not overly dangerous. Fog would also be a concern.

Camping, there are a few spots but you would need to know exactly where they are, you would be coordinating daylight and tides, in many areas you can only reach "solid" ground at high tide and much of that ground will be a swamp, hunting around for dry ground might leave you stranded on the mud flats. Of course you can sleep in your canoe, the tide will be back!

Water (Potable), iffy in most areas, not to be relied upon

Tides, everything revolves around the tides, unless you are prepared to drag yourself over 500 metres of muck you will need to be on the water 10 - 12 hours per day

Scenic value, when you are paddling you'll usually be 1 - 2 km from the shoreline to have enough water, you'll see a thin line hopefully and when you do make a landing some shrubbery and and a few gnarly trees along with piles of debris that has washed up over the years. On the positive side if you venture into deep enough water you might see a whale or you could paddle down to the Hannah Bay Bird Sanctuary (I'd guess timing is everything there).

Standing beside your canoe in less than an inch of water pretty much out of site of land has it's appeal, it's a BIG sky but I think that gets tired fast.

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 8:23 pm 
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Georgian Bay and the North Channel will have far more appeal than James Bay and will be far safer and the logistics are far easier and safer . scouter Joe


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 8:30 pm 
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scouter Joe wrote:
Georgian Bay and the North Channel will have far more appeal than James Bay and will be far safer and the logistics are far easier and safer . scouter Joe


Gee, why don't I just sell my back country gear?

I know the challenges. I welcome the challenges. I just want to be prepared for those challenges.

Besides, my kayak has seen the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I want it to touch the Arctic as well.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 9:48 pm 
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Are there better Arctic waters to paddle than the low lands of James Bay coastline? I’d say so.

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 10:42 pm 
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Paddle Power wrote:
Are there better Arctic waters to paddle than the low lands of James Bay coastline? I’d say so.


That are that accessible? Hop a train with gear, paddle, hop train home with gear.

Seriously, I cannot think of an easier trip.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 11:11 pm 
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You could consider driving to Waskaganish (mouth of the Rupert) and paddling south to the mouth of the Harricana or even further to the Nottaway. Rupert Bay is more protected than around Moosonee and you avoid the slog up the Moose. If you went North eventually you would get to a point where it's about 8km of open water across to Stag Island which is just past the official border between Quebec & Nunavut.

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PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 11:18 pm 
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recped wrote:
You could consider driving to Waskaganish (mouth of the Rupert) and paddling south to the mouth of the Harricana or even further to the Nottaway. Rupert Bay is more protected than around Moosonee and you avoid the slog up the Moose. If you went North eventually you would get to a point where it's about 8km of open water across to Stag Island which is just past the official border between Quebec & Nunavut.


Hmmm... Another reason for this is because I have wanted to ride the Polar Bear Express.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 9:42 am 
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recped wrote:

Standing beside your canoe in less than an inch of water pretty much out of site of land has it's appeal, it's a BIG sky but I think that gets tired fast.


This about sums it up.

I consider the bay paddle a necessary headache to finish off some of the James Bay rivers. A primary paddling destination? No thanks. My experience is limited to 25 km from the Broadback 25 km from the Pontax back to Fort Rupert where I had to paddle uncomfortably far from shore and deal with wind, choppy water and the powerful outflow of rivers. I had ideal conditions on both occasions. I was happy to have a boat shuttle for the 80 ish km crossing from the Harricana over to the Moose where the motor boats were weather bound for 2 days
and I also enjoy the challenge


It sounds as if youre determined to make a go of it. Hear it now beleive it later.


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2018, 11:22 am 
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DougB wrote:
recped wrote:

Standing beside your canoe in less than an inch of water pretty much out of site of land has it's appeal, it's a BIG sky but I think that gets tired fast.


This about sums it up.

I consider the bay paddle a necessary headache to finish off some of the James Bay rivers. A primary paddling destination? No thanks. My experience is limited to 25 km from the Broadback 25 km from the Pontax back to Fort Rupert where I had to paddle uncomfortably far from shore and deal with wind, choppy water and the powerful outflow of rivers. I had ideal conditions on both occasions. I was happy to have a boat shuttle for the 80 ish km crossing from the Harricana over to the Moose where the motor boats were weather bound for 2 days
and I also enjoy the challenge


It sounds as if youre determined to make a go of it. Hear it now beleive it later.


It really sounds like I need to get my hands on some charts of the area. I have paddled other areas that were that annoying, and even ran aground a few times. Still wouldn't have passed that up.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2018, 4:47 pm 
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Having lived on Moose Factory Island back in the early 2000's, I can say that most of what has been discussed is accurate. The abrupt weather changes should be feared far more than the tides there. Without a doubt, if you do go, when you get there and people see you are about to paddle, it will inspire locals to recount the events of a family who went out fishing for 'Just the day' at the mouth of the Moose. The weather changed faster than they could react with a motor boat, boat capsized, all died including the kids who's bodies were floating in weeks later. And those were local people who KNOW the weather.
As for wildlife, it is not uncommon for whales to get trapped upriver by Moose Factory Island as they follow fish upstream and loose track of the tides. The Bay Mosquitoes are also a breed all their own. Don't bother going to look for geological interests though. And the Polar Express, that could become an adventure if the engine comes detached from the passenger cars again! True story, the engine was almost to Cochrane while the passenger cars sat on the tracks waiting to move for a few hours in the middle of the wilderness. Good luck!


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PostPosted: March 21st, 2018, 12:39 pm 
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Four paddlers (George Grinnell's two sons and companions) died in early August 1984, on their way from the mouth of the Albany to Moosonee.
I don't know the circumstances, but I have read
that there are major-league mud flats along the coast, and
that an off-shore wind can come up quickly.
Allan

EDIT.
I gather that the combination of an ebb tide and an offshore wind is particularly hazardous.

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PostPosted: March 21st, 2018, 4:07 pm 
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opposing wind and tide is always an issue as it makes big waves.. But Alan's example is the example of being deceived... the surface looks smooth.. It isnt.. you go out far until you realize how far and that now you can't get back.


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