James Bay... Hudson Bay...?

-- Last Updated: Nov-11-09 9:11 PM EST --

Looking for any info on paddling up in James Bay.
Seached the archives, but most the info was several years old. wondering if here anybody has been paddling up there these past few years.

Would be interested in any outfitters running trips up there who know their way around. Or any 1st Nation guides who live up there.

Also over the years my wife had at least 2 students who said they did summer trips up there...perhaps part of the Boyscouts/Girlscouts....maybe part of Outward Bound...something along that idea.

My understanding is that there is a region of about 1500 isls on the eastern side of northern James Bay/Hudson Bay area.

Any info wold be much appreciated..thanks spdr

I did find some First Nations info for
the east side of James Bay, including availability of guides. Sorry, I didn’t keep links, but if you use Google Earth to locate the river mouth towns at the terminus of roads, and google the towns, you’ll get to what you want.

It’s interesting that it is possible to drive all the way there, at least in summer.

know of trips.
Have a friend thats paddled a few hundred miles of the west coast of HB…Huge tides which change quickly since the bay is so shallow…thus…its easy to get grounded out…he got grounded out a long ways from shore…really rocky bottom

Good accounts of this in Don Starkells book “Paddling to the Arctic” and Victoria Jasons book " Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak"

So from what ive been told…is when the water starts to go OUT…get to shore or you will be stuck way out.

paddle to the arctic
Don convinced me never to paddle to the arctic.

…yep, that’s progress…
Just hope there’ll be some sort of respect for wilderness in the Gov’t of Canada.

Waters cold!
I’ve paddled to both Hudson’s Bay and James Bay, but never on the bays themselves; too afraid of getting caught out there. We did hire a native to take us out on Hudson to look for whales and ran into a pod of more than 100. When I asked the guide how deep the water was, his reply was to take his 10 foot pole and jam it in the muddy bottom with 3 feet remaining above the surface. This when the shore was only a faint purple line on the horizon.

The east (Quebec) side does seem to have all the roads, west is paddle or fly in only in Ontario. Moosonee, the southernmost point in James Bay, has rail access and is the destination for canoeists via the Missinaibi River. Logistics are easy and so is the river.

Manitoba has a rail line to Churchill, maybe others that I am not aware of.

A posting to myccr with the same question will probably get a bunch of responses.



– Last Updated: Nov-15-09 6:58 PM EST –

So far...
creetourism.ca (edit.... I guess the link doesn't work here so I got rid of the www)
looks promising. I'm thinking beside their own language English would probably be their next language though perhaps it is french. Either should work Ok as I hope to do it with a fellow from Quebec.

I did read Victoria Jason's book... "Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak"
She didn't have much good to say about Don Starkell, but perhaps his book is insightful.

I'll be asking more on myccr website when I get a better idea of what area I want to narrow it down to.. I see many people paddle the rivers up there but not to many on the Bay, but it looks like a good source..

There is a reason that not
many people paddle on the bay. Or several. Wind, fog, mud flats for miles at low tide and high waves when wind and tide oppose.

I have paddled to the mouth of the Moose on James Bay and all I can say is ugh. The distinction between dry water and wet land is ugh.

You are maybe thinking of the Belcher Islands


Nearest town on the Quebec side is Kuuguarapik

Outdoor groups often do something that empties into the Bay like the Harricanaw and then arrange for a water taxi at the mouth of the river they are travelling on.

Thanks for the excellent link. That should give me plenty to help me plan.


I am just starting to realize this is the area of “Nanook from the North” film and people of that area.

So it’s a big help learning how some of it all fits together historicaly as well as geographiclly.

Harricana to the James Bay
My camp runs 2 trips a summer down the Harricana and across the bay to Moosonee. It is a really fun and wild river to paddle. Most groups get a water taxi or plane from a compound near the mouth of the bay. However if you do choose to cross it is possible. My advice would be to take a sat-phone and check on weather forecasts for the days you plan to cross. Also make sure you bring tide charts. There is one place to camp on the bay about 30-40km across. The only major danger of the bay is rapidly approaching storms, which you should get to land if it looks like one is approaching, and the main trouble are tides. The tidal flats go out extremely far. You may end up beached and just have to wait it out. You can go around the flats, but only do it in OPTIMAL conditions. If you go out to far, you may not be able to regain shore, which would be bad. It is really awesome to paddle on the bay and it is a incredible experience.