My morning trip today was flown in cloud and showers, so there are no pictures from that. However, my afternoon trip brought me back to Kenora just as the sun broke through at about four o’clock this afternoon.
First, two pictures from guest contributors.
Rick Jackson sent me this picture from the French Narrows/Andrew Bay area. It was taken on April 30th, but it’s fun to see someone using a good-sized aluminum boat as an ice-breaker.
I also got this May 1st picture of Rush Bay from Joe Pereira.
It’s been a frustrating week for aerial photography, but this afternoon the cloud scattered out, and we were able to fly over Lake of the Woods get some useful shots. The low cloud layer was breaking up, but we still had to stay beneath it, so these pictures are from a fairly low angle.
You can click on any of the following pictures to see a full-screen version that can be zoomed to it’s full resolution.
First up: Keewatin Channel/Rat Portage Bay.
Looking roughly east. The isolated island below the centre of the picture is Yacht Club Island; you can see the red roof of the Clubhouse at the east end. That blurry rectangle is the electrical connector for airplane’s heated windshield. Worth noting in this photograph is Gun Club Island, visible above Yacht Club. Because of the ice roads, Gun Club is always the last thing to let go on Rat Portage Bay, but it looks like that could happen any day now.
Next we banked south to fly down Keewatin Channel.
That’s Crowe Island right on the nose of the King Air, with ice extending left towards Rat Portage Bay. Above Crowe is Anglican Island, Channel Island and so on, with The Tangle at the right above the wipers. Zoom in to see Scotty Island in the distance.
I’ve been trying to get closer to Clearwater Bay for days, so we turned west.
This is Bulman Bay, just south of Rheault Bay, with Bulman Island near the middle of the picture. Ice seems to be shore to shore here. The eastern end of White Partridge Bay is at the right side of the frame. There are patches of open water there, but most of the dark areas are just cloud shadows.
Here’s Corkscrew Channel.
Looking west towards Clearwater. I wish we could have gone further west, or at least climbed higher, but I didn’t see any significant water in this direction.
We swung south towards Brûlé Point.
Ice is starting to let go here. None of the deciduous trees are turning green. I don’t think they’re even budding yet.
Then we had to turn east to start heading for the airport.
This is Fox Island and The Manitou. Follow the softening ice road at the left to check out Hare Island, Wolf Island and Welcome Channel. Something looked strange about Whisky Island, so we went for a closer look.
The Manitou is almost entirely frozen, but there’s some weird patchy ice around Whisky Island with a few air holes in it.
We straightened out to the east again.
Holmstrom’s Marsh is at the lower left of this photo, and Thompson Island extends beyond the aircraft’s nose.
Zoom in on this picture to see the open water getting tantalizingly close to Scotty Island. Right now there’s an ice barrier between Anchor Island and Scotty, but it should let go in a day or so.
Last, as we headed off the lake towards the airport, a look north over our left wing at Galt Island and Devil’s Gap.
Allan’s Island is partly hidden by the prop, and the propeller blade is pointing right at Devil’s Gap. In this picture, you can really see how the ice roads strengthen the ice around Baker’s Island at the mouth of Matheson Bay at the right, and off the wingtip, north towards Rogers Island and Treaty Island.
That concludes today’s whirlwind tour.
Weather note: there was a dusting of snow on the ground again this morning, and although the sun did come out late this afternoon, we still only managed to reach six or seven degrees Celsius. Winnipeg was sunnier for more of the day, so it was warmer there, but basically, a huge swath of Canada from the Prairies to Quebec is caught in a cold northerly air mass. Forecasters are fairly confident that colder than normal temperatures will persist for two weeks or so. They’re not making any extravagant promises for the weeks after that, either.