South Indian Lake Sept. 20 to 24/2000

Picture 1. Ferry arriving in South Indian Bay

This trip was my third attempt to reach South Indian Lake. I had been prevented previously by an early thaw in March and later in August, 2000 when the road to Leaf Rapids was washed out. I was told that this was extremely rare and began to think I was jinxed and might not ever gain access. This trip was, however, successful.

Sept. 20/Wed.
Arrived at 7:00 am. in Thompson on the bus from Winnipeg. Stayed at the home of William Dumas. After resting until noon I wandered the town with my camera.

Was going to leave at 5:00 am. with William’s truck but it was snowing heavily. Instead I picked up Adam Moose (also heading to South Indian) and left for Leaf Rapids later in the morning. Arrived at Leaf Rapids after a two hour drive and discovered that the ferry wouldn’t be leaving until 6:30 pm We remained in Leaf Rapids where I enjoyed lunch and some great conversation with the local residents. Gassed up (gas would be certainly more expensive in South Indian Lake) and left for South Indian Bay to catch the ferry now accompanied by Adam, Kevin Woods and his wife. As the community of South Indian Lake is located on the other side of the bay, a ferry has been employed to transport people and vehicles back and forth at no cost. This has been paid for by the Provincial Government since the flooding of South Indian Lake in the 1970’s by Manitoba Hydro which forced the relocation of the inhabitants to higher ground across the lake. The ferry ride usually takes about 45 minutes. We arrived in S.I.L. at 7:30 pm.
The weather was ominous, cloudy with periods of rain and sleet. I stayed the night at the home of Arla Tait and her 3 children.

Sept. 22/Fri.
The weather remained poor. Arla and I drove to Anna McLeod’s house. She gave each of us a big hug and kiss. Anna, 96 at this time, was knitting without the use of glasses. Still very active I was told she had been out camping the week before.

Picture 2. Anna McLeod
Picture 3. Gerald and John B.

Afterwards Arla and I drove to John B. Moose’s house and decided to remain there, hoping the sun would make a brief appearance. It gave me a good opportunity to listen to John B. talk about his amazing life hunting, fishing and trapping around South Indian Lake. When the sun did come out John B. was very comfortable with me photographing him.

Sept. 23/Sat.
Arla left on the morning ferry. I was originally to leave then but the weather had improved so I decided to wait for the noon ferry. I put color film in my camera and wandered the community taking pictures of the town under siege from the early snow.

Picture 4 & 5, South Indian Lake, Fall/2000

I came upon a couple of fishermen not deterred by the very rough water.

Picture 6 Fish Plant, S.I.L.
Picture 7 Fishermen, S.I.L.

I was enjoying the sight-seeing so much I lost track of time. The ferry leaves very quickly after loading so missing it would present a problem. I arrived at the dock with three vehicles ahead of me. One came on after and we left. I reached Thompson by 5:00 pm and was on the bus for Winnipeg at 10:00 pm. Recalling the past few days it occurred to me how I used to get frustrated by inclement weather. I’ve learned in the north there is always something to do and so no matter where I am I try to make the best of it.

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