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Old 08 August 2008, 03:50   #1
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SIBbing up the rapids of the Bloodvein River

Had a nice jaunt this past weekend going up part of the Bloodvein River, which is a U.N. World heritage site located in Eastern Manitoba. The whole river is about 300 km long and eventually drains into Lake Winnipeg. It is also very rapid & waterfall intensive with plenty of class III and Class IV rapids along its route. It is considered to be a world class canoe route. Here are some Google Earth maps for general orientation;







I launched from a place called Matheson Island which is located just north of the narrowest point along Lake Winnipeg that divides the lake into the (much larger) north basin and the smaller has a tiny commercial fishing village.



From there I boated across to the mouth of the Bloodvein and went up river from there. I went up about 7 sets of rapids until I eventually got to a substantial waterfall that there was no way of boating up. I did not have launching wheels with me, so portaging around it was not a practical option. At that point turned around and headed back. The round trip was about 112 km.



Here are some photos I took;

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Old 08 August 2008, 03:52   #2
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Continued...







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Old 08 August 2008, 03:54   #3
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Old 08 August 2008, 15:12   #4
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WOW, what an adventure!
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Old 09 August 2008, 11:00   #5
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Thanks Geoff. Routes like this are where a cat hulled SIB really shines. There is no way that a RIB would have made it through those series of rapids before getting extensive hull damage. On the other hand there is no way I would have wanted to take a conventional SIB along that stretch of Lake Winnipeg.

The the south edge of Lake Winnipeg's North Basing gets very rough and wavy. When there is a north, northwest wind (which is the prevailing wind direction), it winds up a 270 km long body of water with no major island obstuction along its path (see picture). That, in combination with very shallow water (pretty much 10 meters deep throughout the whole basin) creates tall and extremely steep, fast moving waves that hit a boat rapidly like a jackhammer.

On the trip back to the Island where I had parked, I was heading west with a stiff NNW wind sending waves hitting the starboard side of my bow. That was a pretty wet ride but the boat was totally stable and handled predictably throughout. I spoke with the Coast Guard about it afterwords and they told me that they also get a very wet ride in their 6.6 m Zodiac Hurricane when in similar conditions.
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Old 09 August 2008, 22:43   #6
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WOW, what an adventure!

did you camp along the way? that looks like a bear proof barrel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prairie tuber View Post
On the other hand there is no way I would have wanted to take a conventional SIB along that stretch of Lake Winnipeg.
excuse my ignorance, but why would a 'conventional SIB' not be suitable?

also, did you add the rubber protective strip for the anchor line, or was that standard for your SIB?
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Old 10 August 2008, 00:50   #7
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Hi Clipper,

Due to some time restraints I camped just south of Matheson Island both on the way to and from the island. Unfortunately I didn't have time to spend an overnight on the bloodvein, which had alot of beautiful spots to camp. I'll definitely want to revisit this area when I can put a few days together and have my launching wheel/cart system set up.

Good call on the barrel. Bears are the primary reason why these barrels are popular storage containers for food, dishes, utensils and cooking gear, particularly amongst canoeists in Canada. While the barrel won't be able to stand up to a bear trying to tear it open, it is waterproof and hence contains the scent of food quite well. That in combination with the harness that goes with it, makes it easy to suspend the barrel high up in a tree, out of a bears' reach. Here is a link to these barrels & harnesses;

http://eurekatentscanada.com/product...at=132&lang=en


Canoeists also like the fact that these barrels have alot of floatation (assuming reasonable loads are put in it), therefore they don't have to strap it into the canoe. This is important because if the canoe gets swamped in some rapids, there isn't a bunch of gear strapped to the canoe to prevent emtying the water and righting it. The barrel will float harmlessly downstream where it can be recovered later.

Fortunately, swamping a SIB in the rapids is much less of an issue. I had this happen going back downstream, where I hesitated with the throttle and stuffed the bow into a 4 foot tall haystack at the bottom of one particularly interesting set of rapids and stuck the boat against a rock. At that point I lifted the motor, dropped the elephant trunks, then pushed the boat free of the rock with a push pole and back into the flow. I then dropped the motor, started it and power drained the water through the 3" diameter scuppers. The remaining bit of water below the scuppers was drained with a manual blige pump. I always, always, wear merino wool socks, underwear and and thin merino t-shirt in hot or cold (as a base layer) weather because merino insulates your body (form heat or cold) even when wet, and dries incredibly quickly while you are wearing it. None of the new miracle synthetic fabrics out there can even come close.

A conventional SIB would have been an extremely slow ardous, bumpy ride against those waves with a fair potential of flipping it, because of the bumpy nature of a inflatable center keel. The protective rubber strip for the anchor line came standard with the boat.
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Old 10 August 2008, 09:20   #8
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Great shots - keep them coming.

That's certainly a tough little boat you have!!!
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Old 10 August 2008, 13:23   #9
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Thanks Codders,

I'm out of pictures from the Bloodvein, but the following day I drove down to the Whiteshell region in the eastern part of the province to visit my brother & sister-in-law who had rented a cabin for a couple of weeks. My brother and I decided to portage a canoe into a lake called Crowduck lake which is a great walleye lake. We strapped the canoe upside down over his (formerly mine) 14' zodiac SIB and towed it across the access lake with my boat. We could have canoed it to the portage landing as well, but wanted to test the towing system for use on large lakes and rivers. our set up seemed to work pretty well, but I forgot to take some photos of it (I'll draw a digital diagram when I get a chance). I did take a couple of photos while on Crowduck lake though.

The first is of a tiny rock island in the lake that was a favorite hangout for gulls. The 2 baby gulls in this picture camoflauge quite well against the rock.



The adult gulls weren't too thrilled with us being there.



Its a lake that is loaded with walleye but is strictly catch and release. Here is a walley that my brother reeled in.


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Old 11 August 2008, 14:52   #10
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Thanks for sharing!!!!

Nice Rivers ... that what I miss in south/nearnorth Ontario.
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