Whitewater canoeing in Manitoba

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 28-October 5, 1995

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Whitewater canoeing in Manitoba
Q: Do you know anything about a river in northern Manitoba called the Seal? It flows into Hudson's Bay and supposedly to get to the nearest town (Churchill) you need to be picked up because the crossing from the mouth of the Seal to Churchill is not advised. Does you have any information on this?
Russell Kaye
Brooklyn, NY
[email protected]

A: What we do know is this: Just getting to the remote Seal River can be an adventure in itself. For starters, you'll need to get yourself to Winnipeg--American Airlines flies via Chicago, where you can either catch a flight north to Thompson on Canadian Airlines or pick up a rental car and do the 400-mile drive yourself. From Thompson, Churchill-based Diamond Lake Outfitters (204-675-8875) will fly you, one other person, and your canoe up to your put-in point for about $3.50 per mile; Diamond Lake also rents canoes for $200 per week. Depending on where you start, you'll have anywhere between two weeks and a month on the river before emerging into the mouth of Hudson Bay. Even if you paddle along the shoreline, dangerously high waves and erratic tidal changes in the 48,000-square-mile Hudson Bay make the crossing to Churchill extremely treacherous, so you'll need to schedule a pick-up with Diamond Lake Outfitters ahead of time; expect to pay about $400 for the two of you and your canoe. If all of this sounds too complicated to do on your own, sign onto a seven-day group trip with Wilderness Odysseys; the owner, David Koritko, runs several trips a year, but unfortunately we were unable to reach him for trip specifics and prices. For travel information, contact Travel Manitoba at 800-665-0040, or call Wilderness Odysseys at 800-443-6199 for itineraries and upcoming departure dates.

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