Hudson's Bay 2017 flying trip

In June 2017, I took the Cirrus on a solo trip to the Hudson’s Bay. I initially wanted to go to Churchill, Manitoba but the weather was really cooperating…

For the first leg, I wanted to go to Moosonee directly but the clouds were getting lower and lower and I had to divert to Rouyn-Noranda.

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Buttonville to Rouyn-Noranda

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Lake Simcoe going north

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Fog and rain approaching Rouyn-Noranda

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Safely parked at Rouyn-Noranda with a low ceiling

The next day, the weather was much better but I played it safe and went for a stop in Cochrane, Ontario before going to Moosonee.

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Rouyn-Noranda to Cochrane

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Leaving Rouyn-Noranda

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Lake Abitibi

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Rivers joining after Lake Abitibi

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Alone in the Cochrane tarmac

In Cochrane, I checked one last time the ever-changing weather in Moosonee.

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Cochrane to Moosonee

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Approaching Moosonee, the terrain starts changing

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No more trees

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Rivers going to James Bay

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Runway 32 at Moosonee is half-asphalt and half-gravel!

Moosonee is a very special place. It’s only reachable by plane or train. There’s no roads over the wetlands south of the town.

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The airport terminal

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Moose River guesthouse where I stayed (recommended but now closed)

The next day I did my longest and most exciting flight. I went north to Polar Bear Provincial park following James Bay and back after I reached the Hudson Bay.

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Moosonee to the Bay and back

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Fort Albany

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The wetlands north of Moosonee

All the islands in James Bay and Hudson Bay are part of the Nunavut province.

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Akimiski island is the big island in the middle of James Bay

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Wetlands south of Polar Bear Provincial Park

As I approached the Hudson Bay, the cloud layer got lower and the winds got stronger.

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The cloud layer is getting denser

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The Hudson Bay before the north-east tip of Polar Bear Provincial Park

When the cloud layer got too thick, I had to go below it. The wind got up to 40 kts from the East as I approached the Bay and the layer was going down.

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A view of the Hudson Bay at about 1000ft

After briefly going into IMC, I did a U-turn with the auto-pilot and started to head back. I had been flying for more than 2 hours over that desolate land.

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Too low too foggy, time to go back

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Not yet time to relax

It was June and there was still a lot of ice on the water.

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I didn’t see a living soul during this 4.5hr flight… After landing in Moosonee, I went back to the guest house and zoned out pretty quickly.

The next day, the weather wasn’t nice enough to continue to Churchill so I decided to go back to Toronto, knowing it would take me more time than planned as the weather was shitty in the south too. The plan was to go to Sudbury, refuel and continue south.

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Moosonee to Sudbury

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Leaving Moosonee

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Wetlands south of Moosonee

But going passed Sudbury was impossible and I had to turn back after trying a few times to find an opening.

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Trying to leave Sudbury

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Goodbye Sudbury, maybe not

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Low ceilings ahead

I stayed for the night in Sudbury (not recommended) and the next day, the weather being bad in the south, I went east to wait it out in North Bay as I was keen to avoid another night in Sudbury.

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Sudbury to North Bay

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Approaching North Bay

I spent the morning in North Bay waiting for the weather to improve and left as soon as there was a reasonable opening.

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North Bay to home

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Leaving North Bay

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Lower forests faster rivers

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The Muskoka area

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Gravenhurst

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Grass strip on Browning island

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Weather not improving

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Showers between lakes Muskoka and Simcoe

Approaching lake Simcoe, it was definitely not a time to take pictures anymore…

After passing quite low over lake Simcoe, I had to zig-zag between storms to get to Buttonville. The controller got surprised when I asked for a landing clearance and sure enough a very heavy rain poured minutes after I reached the main apron.

All in all, such a nice trip and I learned so much navigating under sketchy stormy weather.