1999 9 9 1:53:12 PM MVC-FD91

Digital Mavica images

14 mavica images

MVC-001X.JPG 1999 9 6 1:49:26 PM ***

MVC-003V.MPG 1999 9 6 2:10:36 PM ***
The next morning I stopped for breakfast in Ponton on the way toward Churchill. I saw a nice set of rapids a bit down the road, but I had to climb some rocks to get there. After trying for about 20 minutes with spoons, I gave it one last try using a floating jointed Rapalla, which I just cast into the rapids and let float for about 50 yards. As soon as I applied the drag to this first cast, boom, this guy hit it.

MVC-005X.JPG 1999 9 6 2:57:52 PM ***
A bit more down the road is Pisew Falls. Somebody there told me that the best place to catch the train to Churchill is Thompson, which is just down the road. I still didn't know when the train was to leave or what to do when I got to Churchill, but I went to Thompson anyway.

MVC-006X.JPG 1999 9 6 6:22:16 PM **
I got into Thompson and checked into a hotel about 5:00 PM. The lady at the front desk gave me the number for VIA (the railroad). They said the train leaves on Mon, Wed and Fri at 6:30 PM. Hey - today is Monday! So I cancelled the room and bolted for the train station. I had to park my car at a campground a few miles away, and just had enough time to catch some dinner and the train.
I was also told to try to get on the "Tundra Buggy" to see some bears. I tried to call but it was too late so I just took my chances. It was a 15 hour very bumpy ride. I was glad that I got a sleeper car.

MVC-007X.JPG 1999 9 7 11:48:38 AM ***
The next morning the train arrived at 10:00 AM and I got a ticket for the Tundra Buggy which was leaving at 1:00 PM. Everybody in town was talking about the Polar Bear sightings. Apparently there were more this year than ever before. The town theme is Polar Bears everywhere.
While waiting for the buggy tour I took a walk to to see Hudson Bay. This photo is taken about 300 yards from the town center, which is a combination high school, government office, library, bowling alley, theater and town meeting hall. The bears use this pathway along the coastline for their migration. Of course, the sign didn't stop this German tourist. I figure they make up about 50 percent of the tourists.

MVC-008X.JPG 1999 9 7 1:35:10 PM **
A twenty minute bus ride takes us from town to where they park the buggies. This one is backed up to the loading platform. I was then told that we have about a 40 percent chance of seeing a polar bear this time of year.

MVC-009X.JPG 1999 9 7 1:49:16 PM **
The buggy driver liked to show off what it could do. Here, he is driving right over a 3 - 4 foot deep lake on the way to a point on Hudson Bay. It very noisey, bumpy, cold, slow, and smells from diesel exaust.

MVC-002AX.JPG 1999 9 7 2:04:20 PM **
Birds on the tundra.

MVC-003AX.JPG 1999 9 7 2:32:00 PM ***
Tundra Sawns.

MVC-004AX.JPG 1999 9 7 2:45:30 PM ****
This is an Arctic Silver Fox, the high point of the tour, spotted by one of the Germans - FUCHS!! FUCHS!!

MVC-003BX.JPG 1999 9 7 3:01:50 PM **
We make it to the point and get cookies and pop. Oh Boy! I get the distinct feeling that I've wasted my time...

MVC-004BX.JPG 1999 9 7 4:42:08 PM **
The 4 hour Tundra Buggy tour ends without spotting any polar bears, but on the bus ride back we spoted these three Polar Bears on the far shore. There are two dogs in the foreground owned by Brian Ledo, a famous husky breeder.

MVC-010BX.JPG 1999 9 7 7:05:28 PM ***
We made it back to town around 5:00 PM. I tried to bribe a cab driver to take me to where I could get some decent Bear photos. He hooked me up with Brian Ledo, who owns the land where we spotted the bears. The cab driver and everyone in town knew about the mother and two cubs hanging around his place. He was too busy and it was getting too late, so I wound up geting this photo of some real Polar Bear skins sold in one of the local shops. Price: $7,500 each.
I spent the rest of the evening shooting pool at the local rotary club (I have not lost a game of pool on this trip yet), and made it to the train station for the 10:00 PM departure back to Thompson, another 15 hour bumpy ride.
The next day, it was cold and rainy. I pick up my car and head back toward Ponton. I stopped in Paint Lake for lunch and put the line in but nothing bit. I also stopped at the rapids again, but no luck this day. I made it to Grand Rapids (Manitoba) that night, and met a local guide at the gas station. He said my chances of catching a pike tommorow is 100 percent if the weather is better. He said there were 5 foot waves on Cedar Lake, where his place is, tonight.

MVC-002CX.JPG 1999 9 9 1:53:12 PM
The next day, this is a shot of a bay off of Cedar Lake. I'm not going out in that stuff. I wind up driving to Winnepeg to upload.