Kabinakagami Lake

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Kabinakagami Lake

Postby kswim94 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:04 pm

Sorry if this is a lengthy story. But I simply have to share our latest flying adventure.

Back in the winter, my son, my dad and I started talking about plans for the summer. It started by fishing on Lake Erie, a 2 hour drive from Columbus. Then, we thought, why not go someplace in Canada and fish for a couple of days? Quickly, we both came up with this crazy idea of going someplace where you can only get there by seaplane.

Two trade shows and 6 months later, we were planning our first international flight.

Getting There

The flight into Canada was uneventful. Cleared customs in Sault Ste Marie by calling 1800CANPASS before exiting the aircraft. Then flew another 0.8 hours north to Wawa, Ont. When we got there, we were greeted by the airport manager asking if we wanted fuel.

No, we said, we wanted a place to tie down.

"You can't stay here. Didn't you read the NOTAM?" Turns out the airport was closing in two days for a drag race. :shock:

Let me reassure everybody here that I DID read the notams. I knew the REIL's were out - but there was nothing about any closures. Turns out the NOTAM was submitted, but wouldn't be published for another 24 hours.

"You should've called ahead" he suggested.

I DID call ahead - 4 days prior I called saying that we were arriving on Tuesday and needed to tie down for fishing for a week. I asked for recommendations for a place to stay for the night and whether or not we needed to bring our own chocks or ropes. NO MENTION of closure in two days. :evil:

So - I was in the right - but we were still screwed. A pilot from the seaplane base came over to help us sort things out. In the end, we were faced with a decision. We could tie down our plane at the airport - but they were estimating 10000 drag race fans were going to be there and they worried about the security of our plane. With the business day coming to an end, we opted instead to have me fly the plane to Chapleau, Ont (0.5h) while my dad rented a car and picked me up (1.5h each way) and everybody returns to the hotel in Wawa.

That was the longest 0.5h flight I ever had. Opened my flight plan with London Radio, and that was the last voice I heard until I announced my downwind at Chapleau. The scenery is fantastic, but the only thing to see was trees, some lakes, 1 road, and a set of power lines. Thank goodness, despite the reassurance I got from the airport when I called, we decided to bring our own tiedown kit anyways, just in case (lesson learned: always bring tiedown equipment when traveling to unfamiliar airports).

It was a long day, but we managed to get back to the hotel by dark. We slept well that night.

The Fun Stuff

The next morning, the guys from the seaplane base picked us up at the hotel. My son got to ride in the right seat for our first flight in a seaplane, a beautiful turbine otter. Ceilings were low, but the pilot was familiar with the area and had a backup plan in case we got socked down. I've heard of scud running, but this flight was LOW ... couldn't have ever been more than 500 feet above treetops. At one point, we approached a ridge that we couldn't get over without busting into a cloud. Two quick 90 degree turns (wow ... followed by double-wow) and we were over and almost there. An awe inspiring flight.

Fishing was awesome. Walleye and Pike were biting like I've never experienced before! We were well fed with tasty shore lunches with fish we'd caught no more than 1 hour ago. The resort was fantastic, too (http://www.fishthefinest.com). The staff were all very friendly and accommodating. The cabins had electricity and hot water. Weather was great, too. Beautiful sunsets. Shooting stars at night. Saw tons of Loon, Eagles, a fox, an otter (the furry animal type as well as the aircraft), and a moose.

At eh end of our 6 day stay, we departed, this time in their Caravan. No scud running this time. Nice airplane, but I kind of prefer the Otter, if not only for the reason that it's such a fitting plane for an area as unique as Western Ontario.

As we arrived at the seaplane base in Wawa, one of the staff from the resort was there to drive us all the way to the airport in Chapleau (with a detour at the liquor store, of course).

Back in the USA

Our first leg took us to Sanderson (KANJ) on the Michigan side of Sault Ste Marie. As we shut the engine down, 2 friendly guys (no, really, they were friendly!) from customs waived us out of the plane, reviewed our eapis manifest, looked at our passports, went over the plane with a gieger counter, and welcomed us back to the states. While there we topped of with fuel and borrowed the courtesy car for lunch.

Had to keep our eye on some storm cells on the final 3 hour leg back home, but never really had to deviate. Managed a little more than an hour of IMC time. A smooth landing at our home base in Ohio, and we had completed another adventure!


This was an awesome trip. We would do it again. In fact, we ARE doing it again. Next time, we'll probably just do a 3 or 4 day stay. Six days was nice for the first time - gave us time to learn some of the hot spots in the 30,000+ acre lake. And we'll always bring our own tiedown ropes!

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Re: Kabinakagami Lake

Postby kswim94 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:18 pm

Posing in front of the Turbine Otter
IMG_1118.JPG (116.98 KiB) Viewed 5373 times
One of our shore lunches. Fresh walleye!
IMG_1162.JPG (169.07 KiB) Viewed 5373 times
We caught our limit!
IMG_1199.JPG (127.13 KiB) Viewed 5370 times

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Re: Kabinakagami Lake

Postby champguy » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:15 am

You go guys, nothing like a change of scenery.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.

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Re: Kabinakagami Lake

Postby jackhodgson » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:47 am

Great story. Sounds like a terrific adventure. Thanks.

// Jack

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