Tundra Buggies are custom built for the terrain up here. 66” tires (the same as Monster Trucks) and 2 speed low geared transmissions. Add in some semi trailer air suspension and a box for people and you’re done. Over the years they’ve been tinkered with and Wally (the owner of Lazy Bear Adventures) is definitely a tinkerer. Ours had big sliding windows and a propane stove as well as a marine toilet. Comfy school bus style seats and lots of leg room. All in all a very effective machine. They do not travel very quickly, so we drove about 20 minutes out of town in the vans to meet ‘the crawler’.
Nate got to be driver today.
Our first stop was the shipwreck of the Ithaka where she rests on the beach.
This is from Wikipedia: The SS Ithaka was a small freighter, originally built as Frank A. Augsbury in 1922. She went on to sail for a variety of different owners, and was renamed Granby in 1927, Parita II in 1948, Valbruna in 1951, Lawrencecliffe Hall in 1952, Federal Explorer in 1955 and finally Ithaka in 1960, before being wrecked on the Canadian coast later that year.
Federal Commerce and Navigation used her as a supply ship to communities on the Canadian Arctic seaboard, twice chartering her to the Clarke Steamship Company in 1956, and using her to open the Federal Intercoastal Line in 1957. As the Federal Explorer, she delivered parts for a new nickel mill under construction in Rankin Inlet in 1956 and also delivered fuel oil to Royal Canadian Air Force stations in the Arctic. In 1958 she carried nickel concentrates to Churchill, Manitoba for Fort Saskatchewan, and then delivered a cargo of grain from Churchill to Montreal.
In September of 1960, she had delivered a shipment of ore to Churchill and had loaded a small amount of mining equipment for the return trip when she was caught in a storm with 80 mph winds, losing her rudder. She dropped anchor, but the anchors failed to hold, and she ran aground in Bird Cove, about ten miles east of Churchill.
Her bottom was completely ripped out when the storm pounded her on the gravel bank. The insurers, Lloyd’s of London, wrote off the vessel as a complete loss, but regarded the grounding as suspicious, and refused to pay the insurance claim. All 37 crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard. The shallow water she grounded in meant that people could walk to the wreck at low tide, and her navigating instruments and much of her cargo, consisting of two generators and some plywood panels, as well as mission supplies, were salvaged.
We took a walk onto the beach but the tide can be over 19’ so we had to be aware of the return tide! We did not want to be stranded so we didn’t walk the full 1km out to the wreck. It was also nearly 30 degrees out so we had lots of bugs and no bears. The bears must have all gone for a cooling off swim. This area is a major port of entry for the bears coming off the sea ice. But the bears like -30 not +30 so we didn’t see any today.
We headed down the beach a bit again in the Tundra Buggy and stopped to see a slightly different view. Arctic Wort, a local plant, grows well on the tundra. Those of us brave enough to sample agreed that it is quite yummy. I imagine some chef at an expensive restaurant could charge a lot of money for a salad made from this. And it’s probably crazy healthy.
With no chance of bears and a massive amount of bugs we all decided to call it and head back to the lodge for dinner. Sadly no Arctic Wort Salad was on offer.