Plummer’s Great Bear Lake Lodge & Tree River – June 28 to July 8, 2018
Written by Harold
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Having given Char fishing a miss last year, I decided that a return visit to the Tree River was in order, and together with GBL angling buddy Kenny Gold, we booked into the main lodge, with our sights set on being the first to fish the Tree since August of last year.
Lodge manger Chuk Coulter came through as always, and together with some great fishing on the big lake, we spent two and one half extraordinary days at Tree River.
But I digress.
What Costs More – 2 ½ Pounds of Cocaine or 2 ½ Pounds of Luggage?
If you are flying Air Canada – out of Toronto that is - the answer is 2 ½ pounds of luggage.
Because I was taking a few extra items along this year, my checked bag was just under 2 ½ pounds over the allowable weight limit.
Now these weren’t just regular old pounds, but obviously very special ones, because they came in at just over $45 per, for a total of $113.
Pointing out that I was an Air Canada frequent flyer, and as such perhaps they could find their way to cut me just a little slack, their solution to what had become my $113 problem, was to leave 2 ½ pounds of something behind.
Now why didn’t I think of that?
After all, who needs insulated boots, fishing reels or heavy-duty outerwear and the like when fishing in the Arctic? Perhaps the guy standing behind me in line could have used the boots, or better still, I could have had a mini “yard sale” beside the check-in counter and sold off a few things.
I suggested to the agent who extracted my payment that an equivalent amount of cocaine would likely cost less, to which she replied somewhat sheepishly that she didn’t know about such things, and could therefore neither confirm nor deny my assertion.
In any event after Air Canada had extracted their pound – or in this case 2 ½ pounds – of flesh, I hooked up with Kenny in the departure lounge, and after explaining my plight received very little in the way of sympathy, together with a suggestion that I invest in a luggage a scale.
The Great Salami Hunt – Part 1
Once we arrived and got otherwise sorted in Edmonton, Kenny mentioned that he didn’t have time to pick up his favourite brand of salami before we left, and although not the end of life as we know it, he was clear that the world would be a far better place if we managed to acquire some.
We gave Safeway a shot, but no cigar, so it was off to COSTCO, where he was certain we’d find it – because after all his Toronto store carried it.
Kenny punched what he thought was the correct address into his GPS, but after passing the same building several times, we came to the conclusion that he had somehow managed to program in some sort of “Edmontonian” time warp/loop thing, that clearly wasn’t going to take us anywhere near COSTCO.
Once we came out of warp and managed to find the elusive COSTCO, despite looking on every shelf in the deli section and checking with the staff, it was clear that our quest – at least for the time being - was in vain.
Date Night – Dinner and a Movie
Earlier in the day I suggested that we check out the new Sicario movie: Day of the Soldado after dinner – which we in fact did.
Just as we were finishing dinner, Kenny received a most curious call.
It was his wife calling to thank him for the flowers that he had ostensibly sent to mark their anniversary.
Seriously? I asked if his name was actually on the card, which it apparently was - ergo the call from his wife.
He had NEVER sent flowers on their anniversary in the past – or so I was led to believe – therefore it was clear that someone had got to him. I would give my eyeteeth to know what they have on the guy, because it has to be worth a lot more than a bouquet of flowers.
Canadian North Airlines that is.
Unlike the Air Canada robber barons operating out of Toronto, thanks to a very helpful Canadian North agent, not only was I not charged an over weight fee for my bag – it certainly hadn’t lost 2 ½ pounds since leaving Toronto - she found a way to split Kenny’s bags between us – he had two including our rod tube - in such a way that it actually cost less for the extra bags than would have been the case had they had all been checked in solely under his name.
Now THAT is what I call service.
Our flight to YK not only left on time, but reminiscent of an era gone by, we were served a hot breakfast en route – at no additional charge I might add.
After touching down we were greeted by Yvonne, the local Plummer’s agent, and much to our surprise she informed us that not only was the lodge full, there were an additional twenty guests who were slated to embark on a rafting trip down the Coppermine, who would be staying at the lodge for a day or so before transferring over to the river.
Where they were all going to sleep I had no idea, but somehow “Aunty Mo” and her crew managed to sort it out.
She also mentioned that David Dolinsky, the son of Ernie and Mavis Dolinsky - the folks who owned an operated Branson’s Lodge for many years - was, together with a number of other family members, going to spend several days at the old lodge site, and while there, planned to scatter Ernie’s ashes.
I was hoping to connect with David, having not seen him in well over thirty years, but his party was flying directly to Branson’s from the float base in YK – so unfortunately it was not to be.
After all the years I’ve been going to Great Bear, it was clearly high time to bring back something more than just a t-shirt or maybe a hat for those looking after things on the home front, so we stopped off at the YK Diamond Exchange, where I purchased an item somewhat more emblematic of the NWT.
I believe it’s fair to say that it was received with much greater enthusiasm than the aforementioned hat.
The Great Salami Hunt – Part II
Because we had no luck on the salami front in Edmonton, rather than just throw in the towel, I suggested we give the grocery store in downtown YK a shot, and while I may have found diamonds, Kenny struck gold!
Although not an exact match for the salami he had his heart set on, we did find an acceptable alternative, and not only that, it was marked down by 30%!
Now mind you, this usually means that the stuff is so old it’s capable of walking out of the store under its own power – but 30% is 30% - and we could have bought a shit load of Pepto and/or Imodium with the savings in the event that it reeked havoc on our digestive system.
I’m pleased to report that it was just fine, and no one was any the worse for wear after consuming it throughout the week.
While our initial plan was to go to Coyotes for dinner, on the recommendation of our cab driver, we decided to try one of the newest additions to the YK fine dining scene - The Copper House: https://www.copperhouse.ca
Overall it was very good, and the menu featured wood/stone oven pizza, a variety of smoked fish and meats (“Coney,” chicken, ribs, brisket) steaks, game and excellent Sous Vide Bison Ribs.
The wine list, though not extensive was well thought out, and complimented the menu items nicely. In addition, together with a variety of specialty cocktails, they offer a selection of local craft beers, including a delicious “White Raven” IPA, that I would highly recommend trying.
And speaking of cab drivers, if you spend any time in YK, it’s clear that while it was once a rough and tumble mining town on the edge of what we might have called “civilization,” it has now developed into a very cosmopolitan and diverse city.
For example, the days where most restaurants served up little more than bannock and beans are long gone, and you can now enjoy Ethiopian, German, Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and a variety of other ethnic and locally inspired food - but perhaps the best way to get a true sense of how diverse the population of YK has become, is to talk to your cab driver
Our drivers hailed from such far away places as Ethiopia, the Sudan and Armenia, and as to how they managed to find their way to YK, is likely a very interesting story in and of itself.
So What’s the Rush?
Experience can bring both a degree of serenity and certainty, in the sense that you know your way around, have a fairly good idea of what to expect, and realize that to have an enjoyable trip, you don’t have to do everything yesterday.
It’s also rewarding to be able to share the benefit of your experience with your fellow anglers, particularly first timers.
So it was with this in mind that we headed over to the Summit Air base, hopped onto the ATR, and got this party started.
Wheels up were at approx. 9:20 am, and we had a smooth one hour and ten minute flight into the strip at Bear.
During the flight we had our noses pressed against the window, because we were not sure what the ice conditions would be.
While Great Slave had been clear for some time, Bear was taking its time, and even though there was still some ice around, it didn’t appear as though it would be a problem at our end of the lake.
The ice in the Dease Arm is often times the last to go, but this year it would linger on the Smith Arm, which worked out perfectly for those fishing Trophy Lodge a couple of weeks later, because after it did go out, the fishing was nothing short of incredible in what can be best described as early season conditions.
Not being in any particular hurry (see above), we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, caught up with some old friends, picked up a couple of “loaner” casting rods at the tackle shop, and got our room and gear organized.
Chuk informed us that in all likelihood we would be heading off to the Tree Monday morning, so we figured why not be the first into the Cove, and booked a fly out for the following day.
Our guide, Josh “Jelly” Gelinas managed to track us down, and by mid-afternoon we were headed off in the direction of 3rdBay.
I had brought along some new Lake Trout flies that were tied by GBL guide Alex Ginther, and started things off with a silver and blue pattern that he had created.
My decision to fish with a fly rod was as much to annoy Kenny as anything else, but it certainly paid off because my very first fish tipped the scales at just over 20 pounds.
I hit one more small fish using the same fly, and Kenny caught another on the T60 Flatfish we call “Old Faithful,” which is CHT with black and red dots.
While enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail and getting better acquainted with our fellow guests, Chuk announced that a very special guest, who just happened to be 94 years young, caught two fish over 40 pounds at the “Fingers.” What a hell of a way to start the week that was!
We caught up to him a bit later, offered our congratulations and asked what he had in mind for an encore. He smiled and said that all things considered, he just might take tomorrow off.
I liked this mans style.
The chef pulled out all the stops this evening, and prepared an outstanding dinner featuring:
- Spinach, Goat Cheese and Cranberry Salad
- Peppercorn Encrusted, Bone-In Beef Tenderloin
- Sautéed Mushrooms
- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Steamed Broccoli, and
- Rhubarb Crumble
After dinner we just chilled, and put together our gear in anticipation of tomorrows fly out before turning in.
If at First You Don’t Succeed – Go With Your Second Choice
The day broke cool and overcast, so much so that the thought of getting out of a nice warm bed was not very appealing.
But having said that, there was breakfast to be consumed and a fly out booked, so we were just going to have to suck it up.
I wandered over to the lodge in hopes of finding the fireplace blazing away – which fortunately it was – and also to see what kind of treats Aunty Mo had baked that morning.
There were a variety of pastries and cookies to choose from, and I enjoyed a warm apple scone together with a steaming hot cup of coffee while cinched up next to the fire.
It was a very nice way to start the day.
After breakfast we grabbed our gear, and piled into KOA with Larry the pilot at the controls, for the short hop over to the Cove.
As we were first in, it took a few minutes to set up the boats and get everything ready, and no sooner did we push off from shore it started to rain. Fact is it rained pretty much all day, but fortunately the winds were light, and the fish were very cooperative notwithstanding the crappy weather.
Fishing primarily the west shore, about half way between the pick up spot and the western lip of the bay, Kenny and I caught 70 fish.
These included a number over 20 pounds, and a 51 pounder for yours truly. It had been a while since I last cracked 50, and admittedly it felt pretty good.
Big spoons were the ticket, and the vast majority of our fish were caught on either a giant red/silver Half Wave, or the infamous “Malibu Barbie” Husky Devel.
Just in case you were wondering, the 51 succumbed to “Barbie’s” charms.
Water temperatures remained constant throughout the day at 51 degrees, and we caught most of our fish in 20 to 30 feet of water, which was somewhat surprising given that the ice had just recently gone out.
Two father/son teams from Michigan and Utah who had joined us on the fly out, also did well both in terms of numbers and big fish.
The team hailing from Michigan caught a 40 and 45 pounder, while the folks from Utah bested a 30, together with several over 20.
Pick-up time was supposed to be 6pm, but we were all very glad to see Larry do a fly by just before 5:30. Being cold, wet and pretty much fished out, we high tailed it over to the pick up spot, and returned home to a full ice bucket and warm stove.
There is a post - script of sorts to this story. We had originally planned to fly into the Inlet, which is a legendary opening week spot, but it was already booked, and while it produced some fish, the biggest was a 30.
Sometimes things just work out.
Was That a Sic Sic I Saw Down There?
Unlike the previous morning, the weather had warmed up considerably, and there was not a cloud in the sky.
“Dreamy” John was going to fly us to the Tree, and while waiting for the Otter to be loaded, he asked if we had any problem with a low level flight.
Now I wouldn’t want anyone to think that because Chuk had hung the lodge name “Dreamy” on him that it had anything to do with his skill as a pilot – which is considerable I might add – but rather it’s my understanding that last year the female guests/lodge staff first came up with that handle, and if you ever meet the guy, you’ll know why.
“Dreamy” took us on a low level flight that was nothing short of spectacular.
We tracked the Coppermine River for a time, and glided through a seemingly endless series of cuts and valleys that came in all shapes and sizes. Although the tundra has been described as being very desolate, and to a large degree monochromatic, that description was obviously given by someone who had either never been there, or only saw it during the winter months.
Rocky plateaus gave way to lush green valleys, and we were low enough to get flashes of colour from the millions of tiny flowers that cover a good portion of the tundra.
John spotted a number of moose and muskoxen en route, and circled back so everyone on board could have a good look and take a few pictures if they were so inclined.
If asked to sum up our flight in a single word, that word would be – wow!
Rather than repeat what has already been published in my story entitled “The Tree River Bistro," here is the link to that story which describes the incredible culinary experience we enjoyed while in camp courtesy of chef Robin Maharaj.
Now in terms of the fishing, as Bob Cole the legendary Hockey Night in Canada announcer was fond of saying – Oh Baby!
We absolutely hammered the Char above the first set, including a 23 and 19 pounder, and several others in the mid teens. There were also a few Lakers sprinkled into the mix for good measure.
The hot lure was an Eppinger Devel Dog King, in white with red dots. In fact “Pike Mike” likes to slightly doctor this colour pattern by outlining the red dots with a black marker. He named his creation the “7 Nipple,” and I can tell you from personal experience - it works like a charm.
The fishing above the first set slowed down later in the afternoon, so we moved down river to the Guide Bend, and although there were clearly some fish around, we were not able to entice any of them to bite.
After an incredible dinner, we boated down to the Arctic Ocean with the intention of jigging up some Rock Cod, because Chef Robin promised us a midnight fish fry if we managed to bring a few back.
Unfortunately the wind had pushed the sea ice into the mouth of the river, and we were unable to get out to where the cod likely were. There was however a seal playing around the edge of the flow, so we shut down our motor and quietly watched him do his “seal thing” for about a half hour or so.
Along with the seal, we spotted a few Tundra Swans and one lone bull Muskox, but he was unfortunately too far away to get any pictures.
Camp manager Shane Newberry had thoughtfully lit the small stove in our cabin, and it was fortuitous indeed that he did, because the weather did a 180 overnight, and while it was pretty damn chilly outside, our cabin could not have been more comfortable.
40 Miles From Denver
While we were certainly a lot more than 40 miles from Denver, I would nevertheless like to thank the Yonder Mountain String Band for the use of their song title.
And speaking of Denver, Chef Robin started my day off with a triple-decker Denver sandwich that was about the same size as my head.
We decided to begin above the first set again, and while it was not as fast and furious as yesterday, we picked up four Char, including a 19 and 21 pounder.
While I didn’t - until now that is - formally give him credit at the time, “Dreamy John” actually picked up an assist on one of my fish.
“Dreamy” was slated to bring in some new guests today, and just as I made a cast, he appeared over the horizon, so I put down my rod and got several good pictures of the Otter as it did a low level pass over our boat.
While stowing away the camera, I noticed that my rod was about to be pulled into the river. Fortunately I managed to grab the handle before it went overboard.
My first thought was that my spoon was caught on a rock, and the tension on my line was caused by the boat drifting with the current, but much to my surprise it was in fact a fish, and while not a monster by Tree River standards, I did manage to land a Char that weighed in at 16 pounds.
It had been cold and windy all morning, so we decided to take a break, warm up and grab some lunch.
The new arrivals were a father and his three daughters who originally all hailed from Winnipeg. The girls were now living in other parts of Canada and the United States, so every few years they would all gather together, and this time around “dad” decided to treat them to a fishing trip. They were a great group of people, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company both while at the Tree, and back at the main lodge.
Depending on where they wanted to fish, we were more than willing to cede them the area above the first set, having had it pretty much to ourselves for a day and a half, but they planned to hike up to the 3rd Falls, so waste not, want not as they say, and back we went.
Not only had the sun reappeared, but a new run of fish must have moved above the first set, because we caught eight after lunch, including Kenny’s first 20 pound Char.
Our total for the two days now stood at 21 Char, including a 23, 21, 20 and 2 at 19 pounds. This was Arctic Char fishing at it’s absolute finest, and as mentioned earlier, it never hurts to be the first ones to fish a river that hadn’t seen a line in over ten months.
Seriously - Is That Someone’s Phone Ringing?
With the sun shining we made our way above the first set yet again, and because the father/daughter assemblage would be fishing the area, our plan was to fish from shore, essentially leaving the entire run to them.
We fished along the west shore adjacent to the path that leads further up stream, and while we have caught fish there in the past, nothing was moving today. Dropping down to 3rd Island, Kenny hit a small Char in the run just above the first set, bringing our total to 22.
“Dreamy” landed shortly after 11am, and we were all soon on our way to Kugluktuk to top up the fuel tanks.
We did another low-level flight, both over land and the sea ice, where we spotted a Grizzly, a few Caribou, Muskox and while over the ice, several seals.
As we were approaching “Kug” we flew into some really shitty weather. Fortunately the winds were relatively light, although it was raining and the temperature had dropped considerably.
George the “gas guy” topped up our tanks, and then the strangest thing happened as we were lining up for take off – Kenny’s cell phone rang!
It was his son David, and Kenny hurriedly tried to explain exactly where we were, but cut the call short after I suggested the phone would likely screw up the aircrafts navigation system – which in fairness may or may not have been the case.
Seems as though no matter where you go, someone’s damn phone is going off – even in Kug.
Given the lousy weather, which dogged us all the way back to Bear, “Dreamy” kept us well above the ground, and our route took us over Bloody Falls, the Dismal Lakes and countless other unnamed lakes and rivers.
Apparently there was a nasty weather system about to move in over Bear, so we decided to put our plans to camp in Clearwater Bay for a couple of days on the shelf, and instead booked a fly out to McGill Bay, where once again we would be “first in” this year.
Shake, Rattle and…
Our day started a lot earlier than usual because both Kenny and I were up around 3:30 am killing mosquitos.
How so many of the bloody things got into our cabin I do not know, but there was a shit load of them, and while Kenny threw on his bug jacket, I continued to “snap” away with his mosquito zapper until I couldn’t stand it any longer, and beat it over to the main lodge in hopes of getting some relief.
I explained our plight to Aunty Mo, who promised to fog the room after we had left for the day. She also recommended putting something over the shower drain – because that could be a possible means of ingress to our cabin.
As a few more people wandered in for breakfast, I was able to ascertain that we were not the only ones who had a problem. This was strange indeed, because although the occasional mosquito found its way into our room from time to time, this was on an industrial scale.
When reflecting back, I recall that our door was slightly ajar when we returned from the Tree. You had to give that door a very firm pull, otherwise it would sometimes pop open a bit later, so it’s possible that when our room was being cleaned, even though the staff thought the door was closed, it may have sprung open after they had left – et voila – bug city.
That doesn’t explain why some others were having a bug problem, but it only happened the one night – so who knows?
In any event, the weather prediction was pretty much spot on, and we did some serious “shaking and rattling” but fortunately no “rolling” on the flight over to McGill.
We could see that west of McGill the ice was pretty thick right down the Smith Arm, but we knew that if we stuck to the bay it would not be a problem. Because “Dreamy” didn’t have any more flights scheduled today, he stayed with us, so if need be a quick get away would be possible.
Fishing just a few yards from where the boats were stored, we were into fish literally in a matter of seconds.
“Old Faithful” really strutted its stuff throughout the day, and we boated fish weighing 40, 35, 31, 29, 28, 28, 28 and 23 pounds. In fact, we only caught one fish less than 15 pounds the entire day.
Despite all the unsettled weather around us, we started off under sunny skies, but unfortunately a cold front moved in that really impacted the fishing. I have no doubt that but for that damn front, our numbers of trophy fish would have been significantly higher – but I’m not complaining.
The other guys in our group did well, with those who stayed in the same general area as us catching a 33 and 31 together with several in the 20’s. The other boat fished the eastern edge of the bay, and while they caught a lot fish, I don’t think they broke 20 pounds.
With the wind starting to kick up a fuss, we headed back to the lodge around 5:30, and thanks to a wicked tail wind, were back in about 30 minutes.
Tonight was “Wine and Cheese” as they call it, which gives the chef an opportunity to go “off menu” and really strut his stuff.
And strut it he did.
Together with plenty of red/white wine and Bloody Caesar’s, we were treated to:
- Bacon Wrapped Pike Nuggets
- Pan Fried Fish Cakes (Pike, Lake Trout & Char)
- Chorizo Sausage Rolls
- Arctic Char & Lake Trout Tartar
- Arctic Char & Lake Trout Sashimi
- Smoked Lake Trout
- Sweet Chile Mayo
- Mushrooms Stuffed w/ Smoked Lake Trout
- Salsa Verde Aioli
- Smoked Lake Trout & and Spinach Cream Cheese Dip
- Ham, Pineapple and Roasted Garlic Pizza
- Brandy Infused Cocktail Dipping Sauce, and
- Sesame Oil Vinaigrette
Oh yes, and then there was dinner – no I’m not kidding - that featured:
- Braised Baby Back Ribs, and
- House Made Maple/Bacon Baked Beans
It was a beautifully prepared and presented culinary extravaganza in every sense of the word, and one that none of us will soon forget.
Just Follow the Wind to Paradise – Cove That Is
One of the most beautiful places on Bear is only a short boat ride from the lodge – the Narakay Islands.
In Sahtú mythology, these were once giant beaver lodges that had solidified into rock, and legend has it that the world emerged from these lodges back in the mists of time. Trees, animals, the water, and even the Sahtú Dene themselves reputedly came from here.
It was a somewhat blustery, cool day and as we had not planned on venturing too far afield in any event, we thought why not give the “Narky’s” a look-see.
It really is a beautiful area, with high rocky cliffs, deep bays/coves and crystal clear water. Wildlife, and in particular birds are plentiful, and we saw both a Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, the later being kind enough to pose for some pictures.
Unfortunately we didn’t see the Grizzly that reputedly lived in Paradise Cove, although we did spend some time fishing there, and managed to catch one small trout, which Josh eventually transformed into shore lunch.
The Cove is one of the most picturesque shore lunch locations I have seen, but just because we didn’t see the “grizz” didn’t mean it wasn’t there, so the consensus was to have lunch somewhere that was known to be bear free.
Besides, our fish was on the small side and not nearly big enough for sharing.
One of things we both missed this year – Kenny in particular - was the Pike fishing at Trophy Lodge, and while there are a few of the toothy critters in the general vicinity of the lodge, it’s pretty lame by Smith Arm standards.
But, sometimes you have to make due with what you got, and in order to ensure that Kenny caught at least one Pike on this trip, Josh took us to a back bay not that far from Buffalo Island, where there were in fact a few Pike to be had.
Josh told us that “Pike” Mike had caught a 20 pounder in the same area, but the best Kenny could do was about 5 pounds, but despite the lack of size and numbers, it was still a nice change of pace from Lake Trout.
The wind had really started to pick up, and not wanting to be too far from the lodge in the event that it continued to increase in intensity, Josh took us over to Buffalo Island, and notwithstanding the blustery conditions, produced a delicious shore lunch.
He prepared a medley of stir-fired vegetables with Tikka Masala and lime, together with a seared, Panko/Parmesan encrusted Lake Trout, served with light, crispy Papadum’s.
There are usually a few Seagulls around regardless of where you have shore lunch, but in this instance word must of got out that Josh was cooking, because there were at least 50 of them, all no doubt anxiously awaiting an invitation to join us for lunch.
It would have been fun to stick around and watch them all fight over one rather small fish carcass, but the wind was still howling, and it was going to be a bumpy ride home, so we quickly cleaned up, doused the fire and headed in.
Once back, we said our goodbye’s to Josh, who was off to Trophy where he would be guiding for the next couple of weeks, then packed up for the trip home and settled our account.
What a Week – What a Week – What a Week…
Having fished the Bear for over 40 years, I’ve had some incredible weeks – never a bad one mind you – but some just stand out above the others for various reasons.
This week was definitely a 10 out of 10 on so many different levels.
Other than being somewhat pissed at Mother Nature for foiling our camping plans, we caught loads of big fish, ate like kings, fished with one of the finest guides/chefs on the lake, were the beneficiaries of exceptional service, and met some very nice people, including several who we hope to fish with again next year.
And as for next year, we’ll definitely be back with the intention of camping out for three or four days. In addition, Kenny and I are going to make it something of a marathon by staying a second week, with the location of that second week being - well just stay tuned.
When checking in for our Air Canada flight to Edmonton/Toronto early Sunday morning, I fully expected to get hit with another overweight surcharge, but was pleasantly surprised when the counter agent simply affixed a “heavy bag” tag and sent me on my way.
The Air Canada staff in YK obviously have a much better grasp of what constitutes good customer service than do their counter parts in Toronto.
The only fly – no pun intended – in the ointment was a three-hour delay in our scheduled departure time for Toronto, which was caused by an unspecified mechanical problem affecting the incoming aircraft.
A very helpful waitress at Chili’s Restaurant told us that because our flight was delayed by more than two hours due to mechanical problems, we were entitled to a meal voucher – which in this instance was worth $10.
Therefore lunch was on Air Canada, or at least some of it was, because finding something to eat that costs $10 or less in an airport is a virtual impossibility.
In any event, with my $10 “credit,” I was now only down $103 in terms of the original overweight baggage charges.
Perhaps I will pick up one of those luggage scales Kenny mentioned but that, not unlike having the opportunity to enjoy the best tasting fish on the planet as pictured below, will just have to wait until next year...