The weather lifted a bit this afternoon as I approached Kenora from the Sioux Narrows direction, and I was able to get some pictures. I am pleased to say that there are finally signs of real progress.
Further south, it’s still all ice, but today much of the ice looks really soft, with only the remnants of the ice roads looking as if they have any strength at all.
Here are views of Witch Bay and Andrew Bay on the left, and Bigstone Bay on the right. You can click on these to see the large versions.
Let’s look at the ice condition closer to town:
This is Bald Indian Bay, looking NW, so that’s Queen Bee Island at the left foreground where the ice road makes a landing, Bare Point reaching the middle of the photograph from the right and Lunny’s Island at the middle distance on the left. The ice hasn’t let go yet, but it’s getting weak.
And now the good news:
Looking south through Keewatin Channel, with Channel Island near the center of the picture. The water has opened up almost all the way to Scotty Island! There is a catch, though: if you zoom in, you can see the surviving spine of an ice road near Town Island blocking the waterway. For now. An isolated ice road like this can hold out after the main ice has melted, but not for long. Wind, rain or heat should destroy this fragile structure this weekend.
The next big step will be when the passage through Devil’s Gap connects to the Keewatin Channel near Shragges Island. That could happen in the coming week. Docking options are starting to show potential, too. Although Northern Harbour has only a little patch of water by the docks, with the bulk of Pine Portage Bay still frozen, Devil’s Gap Marina is opening up fast.
Lisa Laco of CBC Thunder Bay asked me for my prediction on Tuesday. I said the 20th. That’s unusually late, but not crazy late. I think we would need favourable conditions to see things open right up for the weekend of the 17th. Sorry, I got mixed up about when Victoria Day is.
On the other hand, I think there would have to be a cold snap and a week without wind to rule out good boating on the Victoria Day weekend. On the other hand, I think there would have to be a cold snap and a week without wind to rule out good boating on the weekend of the 24th, which is the American long weekend – Memorial Day.
So my guess is, water access to some islands closer to Kenora on the Victoria Day weekend, but not all. I don’t expect the water to be open between Rogers Island and Treaty Island, for instance. Islands further out, such as Middle Island, might open in the following week.
Don’t send me hate mail if I’m wrong. I don’t make the weather, I just fly in it.