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June 25 2005

Idlewild Log Entries

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Fort Smith was nice.  They are famous for their American White Pelicans that nest on islands in the river, the only ones that do.  We guess that perhaps the fish get killed in the rapids and the pelicans stick around to eat them, apparently they can put 20L of water into their bill sack.  We see how important the river was in the past for transportation with the amount of boats and types that went through the area.  They even built steel ships in Fort Smith years ago.

There are 13 miles of rapids and 21 road miles of portage that has long been an important part of early fur trade and northern development.  We were anchored below the last set, we could see and hear “the rapids of the drowned”.  This the second portage went very well with the exception of the wheel and axle repairs midway along the road.  The sandy soil held up well even when it rained, and it rained a lot for 3 days.  This is the point where we removed the wheels as we launched.  It is nice to get freed from them but at the same time they worked well and did a good job of protecting the hull from damage.  For the most part we only suffered nicks to the propeller.

We left Fort Smith on the morning of June 19.  Nice cruise to Great Slave Lake.  Took the jet boat to the East Arm to explore and fish for a big one in the Simpson Islands.  The water was shallow in some spots and rocks that made it a good decision not to take Idlewild there.  Small craft warnings made towing Vidar difficult so we stayed anchored in the mouth of the river with beam seas until early June 23.  With beautiful weather we cruised to Hay River arriving at 5:30 PM.  We were met by the unofficial greeting committee of Bea in addition to some local commercial fisherman.  Bea was also generous enough to give us a ride into town.  

Hay River