Tour de Nord V - 2009
MINI Coopers to Hudson Bay, page 2
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Once we got there, the fun really began. The first night we decided to drive down the Chisasibi road, to the frozen Arctic Ocean. We got there just in
time for the sunset.  Parking on the shore, everyone ran onto the frozen ice. Even my second time, it is an experience I will never forget.
The next morning some of us decided to go for an airplane ride.  We called Glen Arsenault of Nordair, who was so gracious to us in 2005. His office (ie, the lady
who answered the phone) indicated he was at McMurdo for the austral summer. Even so, she said come on down and she would take care of us.

We piled in the cars again and drove to the airport. Understand the
Radisson Airport isn't like your conventional airport. It's main function is to get crews from the
south up to the Hydro Quebec installations. It also serves as a cargo hop for communities further north.  The day before, we arrived, and looking for Glenn I drove
up to the 'Do No Enter' sign on the airstrips gate. I plowed right through! Brian and Ross followed. Everyone else stopped.  We drove around the ice, walked in the
hanger and generally did what would have gotten us sent to Guantanimo by Homeland Security in the States.  About 20 minutes later a guard who spoke four
words of English showed up 'Odder Side of Gate'. Over, and over, and over. He finally left.

Anyway, having
missed the flight in 2005, I  made sure I was on the front of the line.  Of course, no one told me being on the front (and being the second heaviest)
meant I got the back seat in the plane.  We eventually got 6 passengers and the pilot into the plane, and taxied over to the Gaz Bar.  Comforting event that was. 5
minutes of sitting there the attendant wanders out with the key, to the jet fuel pump.   5 minutes later he comes out with the gas key.  Eventually, we are off.
So we are flying around, checking out the scenery. Now I have never been in a prop plane before, and I
could not see out the windshield. I could only see out this 18" or so diameter porthole in the back seat.

All of a sudden, the tail of the plane pitches UP and what was only white sky out of the cockpit windscreen
becomes white ice and dark green trees. On an angle.  We pitch forward, bank left and everything is out of
perspective. The horizon is shot. The trees are up. I am above George, sitting next to me and higher than
the second row of seats.  And I am snapping away at the shutter like made. This is GREAT!

I look over out of the porthole and I see caribou running for dear life. The pilot is chasing the caribou from
the airplane! And then we bank right. And left again. White snow. Then they appear in the window.  I don't
remember anyone talking but I also don't recall anyone barfing so I can only assume everyone had as great
a time as I did.
note the angle of the horizon in the pictures below.  Please click on the images for much larger and clearer images.
Built in the early and mid 1970's, the Hydro-Quebec La Grande Hydro complex really is an environmental horror show. Rivers have been diverted,
hundreds of square miles of aboriginal land flooded, huge, and I mean
huge swaths of subarctic forest clear cut for the power grid to get to the lower
inhabited parts of Canada.

Up north, most everyone thinks the entire complex is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Jobs. Money. Cheap power. Having read a little (there is only
a little) on the politics of getting this project accomplished I am amazed it came off. I'll leave a final opinion as to whether this was worth it to the reader.
Page 1 is the trip there  -  Page 2 up at Radisson and Hydro-Quebec  -  Page 3 the People of James Bay
Page 1 is the trip there  -  Page 2 up at Radisson and Hydro-Quebec  -  Page 3 the People of James Bay
(C) 2009
CLICK for:  Hudson Bay I trip   -   Hudson Bay II trip
CLICK to: return to my Home Page
CLICK to: email David