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SUMMER LIFE


out for a day, visit an island or inlet and are home that evening. Other trips, we go for several days to a place like Moose Bay or Drybones Bay and use that as a base point for hiking and exploring. The younger and more intrepid crew members even go swimming in Great Slave Lake’s frigid waters — much to the dog’s dismay, as she believes there is some- thing fundamentally wrong with the kids jumping overboard. I can’t fault her instincts. On our trips, we have seen a variety of


plants, animals, and places. We’ve named many of the places too. The bay where we celebrated the twelfth anniversary of Danielle’s arrival on this earth became “Birthday Bay”; a larger- than-usual bluff we climbed in Wildbread Bay is now “Mount Danbie” to us — a hybrid of Danielle and Abbie’s names. One of the best things about Great Slave


Emma Tutton (left) and Abigale fully embrace summer life on Great Slave Lake.


mosquito access points. The nights were the only time we were bothered by mosquitoes. It wasn’t every night, but they’re crafty devils and even with our best efforts, we were some- times wakened by the persistent and perturbing whine of one that literally got through our net. Mosquito-zapping rackets are an amazing invention. That trip was our longest trip with young


people, but we have done a number of shorter trips with various combinations of Dwayne’s children — who are really young adults — and their friends. Sometimes we go


Lake is that you can feel like explorers in a relatively uncharted world. While we were by no means the first to visit any place on Great Slave Lake, much of the lake is relatively undocumented. We had nautical charts and two cruising guides that have been compiled by sailors over the years, but the lake still holds many secrets and surprises. One year we set out to reach Utsingi Point,


but a strong and persistent east wind discouraged us from achieving this goal. We got as far east as Waterfall Bay on the south side of Blanchett Island, then gave up the fight and let the wind carry us west past the Caribou Islands. There were three sailboats travelling together — a Fraser 42, Sea Bear and a 24-foot Shark. The waves weren’t ferociously high. Neither were they insignificant — running two and a half to three feet. If we had been


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perpendicular to the waves, this would have caused the boat to rock forward and back — a state of affairs that usually isn’t too hard on the stomach. However, the waves were hitting us at an angle from behind while the wind shoved us enthusiastically along, causing an erratic pitch and roll that left one feeling decidedly queasy. There were no children along that time,


but our fifty-pound dog was on board and she didn’t care for Sea Bear’s unpredictable motion. We had her bed on the cockpit floor by the helm — the space is just the right size and it keeps her from being tossed about below deck. She has a lifejacket, but we knew that it would be difficult if not impossible to rescue her in those conditions if she fell over- board. Every time the boat had a particularly violent lurch, Jasmine would scramble to her feet. The poor creature was immediately told to lie down! If needed, one of us would push her back down on her bed to ensure her safety. This went on for hours until we finally rounded the point of Wilson Island, where the island itself provided shelter from the relentless wind and waves. It was along the final upwind sail to our Wilson Island anchorage that the lake held a secret — and reinforced the need to share information among sailors. We knew there was a rock awash somewhere nearby. A rock awash is a rock that lies almost even with the surface of the water so waves wash over it. In calm water, it can be very difficult to spot. Fortunately, with any waves at all, the splash of the breaking waves can act as a beacon announcing its presence. I went forward to provide a bow watch


“Moving Forward” by Temela Aqpik, Kimmirut, Nunavut


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