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PostPosted: February 19th, 2021, 6:38 pm 
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Four of us are planning to descend the Dubawnt this summer (2021), Covid permitting of course (we've already had to postpone one year). On the way, we want to pay our respects at the scene of Moffatt's tragic accident. We also certainly don't want to re-enact it! So, where is this rapid, exactly, in coordinates?

I've read quite a bit about Moffatt on this site and elsewhere, but I've not seen indicated the precise location of the fatal rapid. I know it's on the east-most channel between Wharton and Marjorie Lakes, and that it has to be close to the entrance to Marjorie Lake. Notably, at the last narrows just above Marjorie lake, Google Earth shows a very distinct set of white bands. This is at 483000E, 7103500W (zone 14W)...which is 64.058N 99.348W. If you can see it on Google Earth, there's big ledges or holes. There's also fastwater indicated at this same location on the 1:50000 maps. So I'm guessing this is the fatal rapid. Does anyone else know better?

Most trips take the less problematic western channel and miss this rapid, so it doesn't appear in many reports. An exception is the 1983 Harmuth party, and they cite a "vicious ledge rapid" at this point which they say was not shown on their map (1:250000 I assume). So they were just as surprised by this rapid as Moffatt was (i.e., by JB Tyrrell's failure to note or map this rapid, as documented elsewhere on this website). Unlike Moffatt, the Harmuth party wisely portaged this surprise rapid on the left. In Moffatt's defense, however, we all know that ledge rapids can be practically invisible from above.

Ironically, the Harmuth party incorrectly located "moffatt's rapid" at the outlet of Marjorie Lake (Tyrrell's "broken canoe" rapid), which clearly contradicts the placement of the rapid above Marjorie Lake in all Moffatt literature. I've seen this erroneous location of Moffatt's rapid in some later trip reports too.

...As an aside, in preparation for our trip, I've calculated some average miles-per-day from Wholdai Lake to Baker Lake as reported by others. From fast to slow:

Bill and Lynda Layman 2001: 18.9 miles/day (no ice mentioned)
John and Kate (Australian couple) 2014: 17.2 miles/day (ice delays)
JB Tyrrell party, first descent 1893: 14.4 miles/day (ice delays)
Harmuth party 1983: 12.9 miles/day (major ice delays)
Moffatt party 1955: 7.7 miles/day (Wholdai-to-fatal rapids...no ice)

Whether or not the the Moffatt party was on schedule, they were moving very slowly. Making their movie was no doubt a big reason for the slow pace, as Pessl emphasized in his book. Had they been moving at a more typical pace, they would have capsized in the fatal rapid weeks earlier than Sept. 14th, and the outcome may have been happier.


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PostPosted: February 19th, 2021, 10:03 pm 
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...oh no! :o


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PostPosted: February 25th, 2021, 10:50 am 
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64d 03m 29s N
99d 20m 45s W

I portaged on the right
Don't get suckered into the current.


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2021, 1:54 pm 
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Thank you for the confirmation...that's where I thought it was, but it's good to get your first-hand report. We probably won't take the east channel, but will paddle or hike over to the foot of this rapid from the mouth of the west channel.


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PostPosted: March 21st, 2021, 4:14 pm 
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I have passed this way 3 times, always the west route. I was aware of the Layman's "east route", had no idea of Tyrell's maps at the time. One time a ran the Kunwak R. crossed over at Tebesjuak Lake to a series of carries tp an unnamed lake shaped like a porpoise. There was an enormous esker I had noticed when I ran the Dubawnt from Wharton Lake to a severe left-hand turn I wanted to visit. To me, it was after the left turn that the challenges began. Followed the right side. At one portage I climbed the hill, it was a short walk to the lake I mentioned earlier, maybe 100 yards.


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PostPosted: September 5th, 2021, 11:50 pm 
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Location: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Moffat's grave is deteriorating quickly in Baker Lake.

Quite sad what I've chosen not to show in my photo.


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PostPosted: September 6th, 2021, 1:09 pm 
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Any update John Sperry, did you canoe the Dubawnt River this summer of 2021 as planned?

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PostPosted: September 8th, 2021, 6:48 pm 
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No! We were unable to do the Dubawnt again this year because the border was still closed. We did the Noatak in AK instead. A relaxing and beautiful alternative, but I missed the challenges and remoteness of a Canadian shield trip. We will try for a third time to do the Dubawnt in 2022 if a crew materializes.

On Moffatt I actually do have some "new" information based on seeing a copy of Tyrrell's daily log notes (https://barrenlands.library.utoronto.ca ... s%3AD10006). These notes were brought to my attention by Joel Weintraub who was on the Dubawnt in 1966 on an NSF-funded collecting trip. Moffatt had these daily notes, because details unique to the notes are mentioned in crew members' journals. Tyrrell's jottings for Aug. 23 identify a "swift rapid which we were obliged to run one canoe at a time" at the end of the East Channel just as it broadens into Marjorie Lake. Tyrrell camped at the foot of this rapid before setting out on Marjorie Lake the next day. So Moffatt had the information he needed to be forwarned of a dangerous rapid before the lake, but everyone acted unaware. Instead of cautiously running one canoe at a time as Tyrrell did, they all plunged into it and Moffatt died. I suspect Moffatt was caught by surprise because he simply misread Tyrrell's notes. Tyrrell's notes do have to be read carefully to reconstruct the day's sequence of rapids, lunch stop, and campsite. Allan Jacobs apparently did not see these notes, because they contradict his thesis that Tyrrell failed to note the fatal rapids. Perhaps the notes were posted too late for Jacobs to see them. Note that Jacobs is correct in saying that Tyrrell DID fail to report the rapid in question on his officially published maps and accounts of the journey. He only reports the rapid in his unpublished daily log notes.

I saw Moffatt's grave in 2014, and it was in morbid shape then...I saw more of him than I was expecting. Looks like they did put a post in to support the cross.


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PostPosted: September 9th, 2021, 8:17 pm 
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Be sure to also stop at Cairn Point, to see Tyrrell’s cairn. I published the notes from that cairn.

On top of a Boulder: notes from Tyrrell’s cairn.

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PostPosted: September 15th, 2021, 7:50 am 
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"Perhaps the notes were posted too late for Jacobs to see them."

"Perhaps" swings slowly in the wind and needs support.

This contrary evidence :

Allan Jacobs
Post subject: Re: The journal of Moffatt-party participant Ed Lanouette Post Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:47 am

In the light of the assertions of DeMellow and Haslam, I see the need to repeat that J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that there were no rapids below the portage completed in the morning of 14 September.

EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE:

I lack JBT’s journal (a key item), known to have been possessed by Moffatt.


The question is: Is it enough?

It needs to be remembered that none of my arguments concerning this issue use included any reference to JBT’s journal. "There is more than one way to skin a cat"


Last edited by david demello on September 15th, 2021, 12:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 15th, 2021, 9:05 am 
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Odd, perhaps ironic, fact:

I attended J.B. Tyrrell Senior Public School in Scarborough, Ontario. Even as a teen, I was paddling throughout Northern Ontario and tales of his travels whet my appetite even more.

I've since paddled many summers throughout Nunavut and was especially thrilled to see my daughter's 2019 summer-long Camp Wanapitei trip overlap with some of Moffatt's journeys.


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PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 8:41 am 
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EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE:

I lack JBT’s journal (a key item), known to have been possessed by Moffatt.

sourced above

*************************************************

1. Moffatt had obtained a copy of J B Tyrrell’s report, which I believe to be identical to his journal; I have been unable to access it.
....................................

4. As well, Moffatt had corresponded with JBT; only a little information (kindly provided by participants) from these exchanges is available. It is clear, however, that Tyrrell had provided Moffatt with rapids information significantly beyond that given in JBT’s book.

http://defence-arthurmoffatt.ca/2017/03 ... e-tragedy/
********************************************************

A strong argument could be made that Alan Jacobs ignored "information significantly beyond that given in JBT’s book" using his own words. There is a strong argument that Alan Jacobs came to conclusions knowingly ignorant. It could be argued judging Alan Jacobs under Alan Jacobs' conceits the label DECEIT could be used. That is a bridge too far for me. Alan Jacobs repeatedly blames J B Tyrrell’ for Moffatts behavior on that fateful day. Ignorance is not deceit but willful ignorance is getting close.


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PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 11:22 am 
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David I find your remarks objectionable in that Allan Jacobs has passed away. It is not gentlemanly to smear the dead. I am sure that when your time comes you would like to be afforded the same courtesy.


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PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 12:27 pm 
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"David I find your remarks objectionable in that Allan Jacobs has passed away. It is not gentlemanly to smear the dead. I am sure that when your time comes you would like to be afforded the same courtesy."

If Alan Jacobs can blame (smear?) Tyrrell, who has passed away, for what happened to Moffatt then it is permissible to review Alan Jacobs's work in this area. Jacobs stained people with the label of deceit and he blamed the dead for events that took 50 years to happen.

It was famously asked, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" If Alan Jacobs can't ask that, neither can Tyrrell.

This "I am sure that when your time comes you would like to be afforded the same courtesy." is jibberish.
"when your (meaning me) time comes" requires that I will have joined oblivion. But you are welcome to channel me. Perhaps John Edwards could be your facilitator.

But in lieu of that surreal unreal, I invite you to engage me in the real. Unfortunately, my demise is a future event so I will respond.

addendum: "Curiouser and Curiouser" in this world of "timing is everything". Alan Jacobs was critical of Moffatt's critics because he was dead while he himself was critical of Tyrrell wh was dead (died 26 August 1957)


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PostPosted: September 16th, 2021, 1:51 pm 
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David you said you would go. Were you lying? Please be honest to your word.


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