19-May-2003 -- It was the Victoria Day long weekend and so we decided that it was time to complete the ellusive 46N 81W confluence that had been tempting us for over a year. We planned for any sort of circumstances after reading the attempt done last year. We were all prepared for the worst as we headed out at 4:30 am. After an easy drive up, we arrived in Hartley Bay at around 10:00am.
We left our cars and loaded up the canoes with everything from a celebratory bottle of champagne to a guitar and a variety of outlandish hats. To our surprise and delight the day was calm... in fact there was a gentle breeze from the East which helped us along the previously impassible Wanapitei Bay. Within a couple hours we decided to stop for lunch on some sunny rocks. It turns out that they were really close to the point where the original adventurers had to turn back.
We got to the end of the bay that we have now named Confluence Harbour and set up camp. The most convenient place to camp (at the start of the hike) was also in the middle of a swamp. We payed for the convenience with our own blood taken from billions of small black flies. We were also lulled to sleep to the tune of a variety of spring peepers, frogs, toads and the occasional mating call from a Roughed Grouse. Joel and Paul went exploring and found ample evidence of the presence of Bears and Moose.
Now the tough part. Looking on the map, we had hoped to be able to navigate the small stream delivering us within a km. of the confluence. This turned out the be impossible and we headed out on foot through swamp, beaver dams, heavily wooded areas, and had to scamper over rocks, jump streams, and fight off the incessant hord of ravanous black flies. We eventually found the confluence point but none of us were really very happy. We just wanted to get away from the bugs, and dry off. Jeff's GPS was less accurate than Paul's and so we spent a few minutes narrowing down the confluence to within 9 metres. We snapped a few photos, and Jeff and Ryan quickly made a blaze on a tree(We highly doubt that anyone will ever attempt this again in order to see it).
We were now totally soaked, so the return trip was much faster as we just tromped straight through swamps, and waded through the streams. Ryan found a moose skull and we took a tooth from the jaw bone as a reminder.
On return to camp we paddled half way back with the help of a sail and a strong wind from the South (Which could have been detrimental on Sunday). After another swim, we celebrated with some beautifully grilled steaks and a bottle of champagne at our comfortable new island campsite.
Sitting on logs around a roaring fire, watching the sun go down over the Canadian shield, with full bellies of steak, and plenty of smoke to drive away the bugs, we were finally able to reflect on our successful confluence adventure. Feeling high, we ate munchies into the night and slept extremely well.