N.S. man sails to Deline, N.W.T., to visit his mom

Nick Windt arrived by sailboat at the small fly-in community on Great Bear Lake on July 31.

20-year-old arrived July 31 after journey down Mackenzie River

Nick Windt is greeted by his mother Allison Rew when he arrived at Deline, N.W.T., during a rainstorm July 31. He had travelled more than 700 km by sailboat from Hay River. (Libby Gunn)

A young man from Nova Scotia chose an unusual route to visit his mom in Deline, N.W.T., this summer.

He arrived by sailboat at the small fly-in community of about 550 on Great Bear Lake on July 31.

Nick Windt, 20, had towed his boat behind his car from Lunenburg County, N.S., to Hay River, N.W.T. That was the scariest part for his mom, Allison Rew.

"He only just got his driver’s licence," she said.

Windt, an experienced sailor, then set sail from Hay River across Great Slave Lake to the Mackenzie River. Then he followed the Mackenzie about 700 km to Great Bear River and finally into Great Bear Lake.

"I had a great view of the lake and I was scanning it with binoculars trying to make him out," she said.

"When I saw him, it was such a thrill and such a relief; and watching him cross the lake in the pouring rain with flashes of lightning in the background and I'm thinking ‘Oh surely you're not going to cross the lake in this weather,’ but of course he did."

Windt is being told by people in Deline that they can't remember ever seeing a sailboat on Great Bear Lake before.

"Everybody here in their trucks and I guess their boats, too, they have these little radios, and they were all calling back and forth ‘What's that thing out there?’"  Rew said.

Windt's mom was pleased with the warm welcome her son received.

"I was so excited and so moved because there were about a dozen trucks down there and when he pulled in, everyone started honking their horns," she said.

Windt said he enjoyed the spectacular scenery on his journey, especially when he got into the mountains.

"The clouds were just amazing," said Windt, "Totally different from what I'm used to. And sunsets that go on for six hours and all of a sudden the sun is up again. It doesn't get much better than that."

Windt plans to explore Great Bear Lake and hopes to show people in Deline how beautiful the lake is on a sailboat until he returns home in October.