Kugluktuk and the Bloody falls

66’25.0N 111’33.8N course 085′ speed 5,1kn

We arrived at our anchorage, just outside Kugluktuk under sail, after an especially fine day sailing. We had sailed in between the small islands that are at the start of Coronation Gulf, trying to keep a close hauled course, with a light breeze. And sometimes the islands gave us a bit of lift, and sometimes the wind just turned around them and we would have to alter course and steer for the lee of the island as we were getting pushed onto them other wise. The wind funneled between the last islands of the Couper islands and we had to put in two tacks to get enough space to let down the jib.
Every body was on deck during the last hours, dinner was quickly eaten, just to see the last bit of sailing through to the end. We anchored, had a drink and then a quiet sleep at anchor.

Next morning we woke to start on the hike to the Bloody Falls. We did this hike in 2019 and on the map, it seemed to be 4 miles, so 7,5 kilometer there and 7,5 back.. but it turned out to be 17,5 there and 17,5 back! So this time we were warned! Still 9 brave souls undertook the trip and set off after breakfast, the rest of the group went to Kugluktuk to explore and possibly arrange for a small boat to get them to the falls over the river.
Little did we know, that the water in the river was so low, that no boat can navigate it all the way to the falls! We had heard about the massive bush fires land inward, where major towns have been evacuated as the land is so dry. And here we saw it with our own eyes. No fish jumping, no boat navigating it. Still the rapids were big and very impressive!

The hike went well, around 18 hours Gijs called on the VHF that they would be there in 20 minutes. Unlucky for them, the wind had shifted a little making the beach landing nearly impossible, so they had to walk another 1,5 km to a little key side where the dinghy could pick them up. I did the hike in 2019 and it was massive, it is beautiful, stunning even. But the last 5km it is a good thing that you are hiking back on the same trail, because I did not pay attention to the hike, nor the surroundings, I just needed to keep going and get there! So I knew what the hikers were feeling! Better make sure dinner is big and tasty! Once on board, we had a drink, exchanged stories and then dinner, homemade hamburgers on homemade buns with potato wedges and coleslaw. Not surprising, most of the crew were in bed at 21:00!

And then today, or Saturday morning we set off again. Some woke up a little stiff, but setting sail was a good warm up activity! We left our anchorage under sail, and with a very light wind and some showers we managed the first few miles. Our weather report said the winds would increase to a stiff force 6 a some point, so we reefed mizzen and main and left the reefs in as we made our way, very slowly, past the same islands as we had passed on our way in. One of the expedition crew asked me why we left the reefs in if we were so slow, was it too much work. So I said, no there is supposed to be wind already, our weather report is pretty accurate, and so possibly the wind will come soon and very sudden. We drifted for another hour or so, doing 2 knots. We chatted our time away and then all of a sudden we felt a bit of a push. The winds were there. From 2 knots to 8 knots in minutes, a force 5 and even 6 was there and we were off! Beautiful sailing once again, although the wind, when it is cold, is very thick and so it feels heavy and strong.

We are going down wind now, winds are down to a force 3 or 4, next two islands we have to pass in between are Bate Island and Murray island. It is beautiful sailing here, and lots of things to see around us. Although the nights really are getting dark now!

Read more about the copper mines and the bloody story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Falls_massacre

All is well on board, Jet

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