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The next morning we get an early start to avoid the heavy wind forecasted for the afternoon. We paddle easily until 11am when we reach a stretch of the river where the wind picked up and the waves were about 4-5 feet tall at the peak. We decide to aim for the nearest wind sheltered beach and stop for lunch. After a short reflection we decide to spend the rest of the day and the night and wait for the heavy winds to pass. No use in getting tired fighting the wind. Luckily for us we have reception and are able to catch up with our friends and family. We spend lots of time playing with Mali exploring the area around the beach we stayed. He is very happy we atopped but the next day he is actually happy and looking forward to leave and attack the waves in the canoe. We end up leaving later the next day after the wind slowed down a bit and make it a bit further. We stop for supper somewhere with an improvised fire pit. Unfortunately there are lots of empty beer cans and it seems like a place people can reach with quads. We interrupt our supper abroaptly when we hear loud noice and we decide to leave quickly. We find it ironic that we are actually more fearful to meet unpleasant people than we are of wildlife. We find a campsite on an island just past the village of Petrofka and set camp just before sundown.
The next morning we wake up in a warm tent which Magali enjoys a lot. We leave with the forks as our daily objectives and looking forward for the few rapids we have planned for later that morning. We end up having lots of rapids almost all morning which we enjoy, they are very refreshing especially for Magali in front! Mali loves the rapid as well and always want to take the biggest waves. We pass the forks and make it a bit further before setting camp. Another perfect day with almost no wind, a strong current and a blue sky. We are looking forward for the next day for which lots of tails winds are announced. We get up early the next day and catch lots of free air miles. We even reach speed of around 14km/h just with the wind. We manage to do twice as much millage than the day before without Magali paddling at all. We stop near the first portage of the trip and find a small beach with just enough space for our tent. That evening we witness a bald eagle with a catch in his claws fly just above our heads. It has now been 3 weeks and this is now the longest trip of my life so far and there is still lot’s to come and it makes me very happy.
We get woken up the next morning by SaskPower worker there to help us portage around the dam. They have a trailer on which we load our canoe and get a ride around the dam saving us from a 8km portage. Exausted from our 15hours paddling the previous day we are happy to have the help. When we reach the other side of the portage there tonnes of Pelican resting on the rocks, what a scene. Mali spends lots of time watching a fisherman catch lots of fish just below the Dam. We pack slowly, enjoy the scene of Pelican and slowly get on our way. We paddle for only a few hours and find a nice beach were we decide to spend the night. After the camp is set we decide to fish a bit. We catch 6 fish 4 Walleye and 2 Northern pike. Mali is really happy and excited that we are fishing. We keep 1 Northern Pike and 2 Walleye and we prepare our first fish supper. I do my best but my fillets our full of bones but the fish is good.
After another cold night I wake up and quickly start a fire. I decide to let Magali and Mali sleep in as I know Magali had a cold night and enjoys sleeping when it gets warmer in the morning. We are now at the most northern part of our trip and we can feel it. After starting the fire one of my biceps tells me it doesn’t feel like paddling today and we eventually decide to take a day off as we have accumulated some food with the last few days of fishing. We were very happy to have taken this day off as later in the day we meet a couple of paddlers Geatan and Roger who are Saskatchewan and Alberta but both have french heritages. They are paddling from Rocky Mountain house to the Hudson Bay and have been a few days behind us for the last month. They ask us if they can spend the night with us and we gladly accept. We fish again, learn more fishing and cooking tips from Roger who is an experience fisherman and spend a great afternoon sharing stories. We are also lucky to receive the visit from Solomon and Rene Carriere who were boating back from Cumberland House. They stop and spend the evening with us until late in the evening way past dark. We learn more about the Saskatchewan Delta, hear lots of crazy hunting and other stories from Solomon and Rene. What great people that we feel so happy we had the chance to meet and learned so much from them. Thus evening around the fire was one of the nicest evening on the trip so far despite the cold (Solomon and Rene are in their skidoo clothing…). We eventually have to say good bye under the moon and we all go to sleep after a wonderful day.
The next morning it feels so special to have other people with us at the camp. We learn a bit more about our new friends. Geatan works for Radio Canada in Saskatchewan and Roger is an artist, musician, farmer, story teller. Geatan starts the fire before I can even notice and we enjoy their company. We leave together and they quickly ask us if we would mind having company for the next few days until The Pas in Manitoba. We warn them that we have a very slow pace since Magali needs to rest her shoulder and will most likely not be paddling until The Pas. We want her shoulder to be in shape for the big lakes coming ahead in Manitoba. They are a bit ahead of schedule and we had such a great time together that they would like to paddle with us for a few more days and don`t mind slowing down their pace at all. We are delighted, especially Mali to have new friends to paddle with. We quickly reach our first big rapid of the trip and scout it to determine what is the best line to take. Everything goes smoothly except a little whole at the end that our Tank (the nick name we gave our canoe!) goes through without a problem. The rest of the day is calmer water and we reach our first campsite in Manitoba. Another province is now behind us 3 more to go.