blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 3: Via Chapleau to Marathon

Waterbomber at Chapleau airport
This morning we took off into hazy grey clouds that I'd thought darker than they really were, due to the taxi's tinted windows on the way to the airport. We decided to alter our planned route to a more southerly one because of an occluded front in the air beyond Timmins. The only other traffic on frequency was a water bomber approaching Val d'Or. During our slow climb out we were only grounding 55knots, but ATC allowed us a direct IFR path to Chapleau, even though we'd be out of radar contact, in uncontrolled airspace! We were still only showing 75kt over the ground. Crossing the Quebec-Ontario border at Larder Lake we were now in touch with Toronto Centre who gave us a report of fair weather ahead and cheerfully replied "Yes SIR!" to all of Chris' requests. Thumbs up, but we still had to fly through a heavy rain shower south of Timmins in a dark cloud that contained a  downdraft. We lost 200ft of altitude before recovering.

Approaching Chapleau
Closer to Chapleau it cleared up and now we were flying through haze in the sunshine. "Have yourself a great day!" said the Toronto Centre girl as we left her by cancelling our IFR flight plan (though we kept the alerting service and didn't close our Search and Rescue option till on the ground).

Chapleau Muni terminal!
We knew Wawa airport had a $65 landing fee so we landed for free at Chapleau Muni, run by a chap who's been there for 18 years. We couldn't drink the tap water, had brought some with us which we drank with our lunch (half an egg sandwich from Rouyn-Noranda and bag of crisps) at the picnic table.

Islands in Lake Superior, near Marathon

Over Marathon airport
In the afternoon we flew VFR in a straight line to Marathon on the northern shore of Lake Superior through bumpy skies and the thick haze. It's a pity we didn't have much of a view because we know how superb the scenery is hereabouts; we did make out sections of the trans-Canada rail and highways. A Thunder Air twin turboprop landed ahead of us; both pilots noticed the unexpected tail wind on the runway.

Chris, tired and hungry, had a temper tantrum trying to operate the self service fuel pump and the office girl came out to remonstrate with him but said he wasn't the only one misled by the instructions,so he apologised profusely and she let him use her computer. We decided to call it a day and a wonderful taxi driver came to pick us up, who gave us a guided tour of most of Marathon before dropping us at the Harbour Inn. She has lived here for three years, wanting to bring up her four children in a place less rough than Winnipeg, where she comes from. Marathon has a population of 2700 and a gold mine. They are hoping for a new hydro electricity station too. The other local places of work have recently closed down.

Lakeshore with train going by

One of the churches at Marathon

Marathon, near the harbour, Thursday evening

On Pebble Beach
We enjoyed our supper at the Wok with Chow. I ordered Chicken Guy Ding, which is probably not its real name, very satisfying, though. Then we walked to the Pebble Beach, over the driftwood, and I took my shoes and socks of for the essential foot wetting in the waves of the Great Lake. We also watched the sun go down over the islands in the bay. There are two churches, a curling centre, an imposing new Library and hospital, an ice rink-cum-basket ball court and a skate board playground here. "Absolutely no fish guts in the garbage bins!" say the warning notices.

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