Bondi Resort Blog

Come on into our Blog for a look at the wonderful world we've got to share! With over 240 hectares (600 acres) of wilderness woodlands surrounding the resort, just ten minutes from Algonquin Park, we feature over 400 metres (1200’) of waterfront and beach; boat rentals; summer hiking trails winding through fields and woods; 20 km. of groomed cross country ski trails and snowshoeing in winter; access to nearby snowmobile trails for sledders, and a toboggan hill for the young at heart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Snow

 April is the cruellest month, it is said. It is certainly the most fickle in the weather department.   Every April we get a freak snowstorm, just when we think it's safe to put on a t-shirt.  This year's arrived last night, effectively preventing us from seeing the Lunar Eclipse.

Also arriving today was the first loon. (yes, it is a loon, a bit distant... I really do need a better telephoto...)  Welcome back!

The deer didn't seem to be very pleased with the return of the snow, just when they were starting to find the odd blade of grass. And we simply won't mention what the robin said...

The tree swallows have all vanished. I don't know where they go. They'll be back as soon as it warms, possibly as early as tomorrow.

But whatever else you say about spring snow, it certainly is pretty...

Upping the Game

 Go poke back into yesterday's posts to see how Ten Mile Creek at Seabreeze looked just one day ago.

Today, it had overrun the banks and the culverts, and was pouring over the road -- you can see in the distance where water found its level, so to speak.  And spare a moment of sorrow for the poor chap who has once again had his driveway washed out...

The culverts are running at capacity today.  The Township came in with sandbags and an excavator and was able to coax the overflowing water back into the banks and direct it to the culverts. They are watching this section of road very closely.    Down at Baysville, the situation at Burlemarie Road seems to be quite a bit better - but up here at Seabreeze, the Ten Mile Creek seems to be running unusually high compared to the rest of the waterways.

You can see by the tattletale line of ice on the trees just how high up the bank and over the road the water was flowing.

 Oh, and speaking of ice on the trees, did we mention that last night we did NOT get to see the lunar eclipse. Instead we were treated to the April Blizzard -- a freakishly annoying snowstorm that arrives every year, usualy in April. (occasionally in May, but let us not dwell on that!)

This snow won't last, but it sure made the place look clean and shiny! Covered up all that mud...

And was cold enough to snap the ice back into place at the main dock.

The water level is rising in Lake of Bays. Steadily. And fairly rapidly.  I was told today that the MNR measurements show the flow over the Baysville dam today to be 11,000 gallons per minute (gpm).  Which is impressive.

Except that the flow at the Oxtongue River was 12,582 gpm.

And that doesn't include the Boyne, Ten Mile Creek, Kawagama and the other tributaries and creeks that are leaping joyfully downhill to the lake.    Elementary math
tells us that the Lake of Bays is filling up.

Just compare the level on Brian's 'calibrated stick' at the dock to yesterday's photo...

And yes, Ed Long, a calibrated stick is also known as a ruler, but it sounds wayyy cooler. And a ruler is probably a tad more accurate. And in metric...  So we're going with the calibrated stick thing.

It is interesting to watch the water level rise along the shore.

Yesterday, the water was half way out the dock. Today, Taffy was a bit surprised to discover just how little lakebed she had to sniff about on.

Looking towards Clover and Springside, the water is up to the end of the sailboat ramp, so we've got a good marker for tomorrow's comparison!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beaver, what an encounter!

Up at Hawke Lake this week, Brian and David were lucky enough to watch Beav, hard at work repairing his dam.  They weren't able to get any photos -- he was a bit too far away for the phone camera they had on them.

Steve Dunford, in the Park last week, captured this great image of a beaver house -- with uninvited guests on the roof...

This time of year we often see beavers at work, as they come out to repair dams and houses damaged by the spring melt.

This dam is right at the edge of the road on the Seabreeze Road.  A strong dam is a good dam, that is the Beaver's philosophy, and just the sound of running water can inspire them to get to work, so this spring, they've got plenty to do!

It's not always easy to be in the right place at the right time for a Beaver experience, but this gentleman, John Cena, out in Calgary on the Bow River, he got the Beaver Experience of a Lifetime.  

Just enjoy...

Rivers Run

 Brian reports that the Lake rose 1.5" between 7 am and 6 pm yesterday so it is now at 1'9.5" below its normal summer level.  He's keeping an eye on his calibrated stick at the main dock.
It has been raining fairly steadily since yesterday afternoon. That was the chapter in which we learned that Taffy's raincoat is much more efficient than mine.  When warm wet air meets the cold ice on the lake, we get fog. Lots and lots of fog.  That is Beaver's dock in the distance. You can see it if you squint a little.
Looking the other way, there is the boathouse at Springside -- somewhere.  You can see how low the lake level has been drawn down at the Baysville dam to allow for this spring melt. So far so good... but the levels will rise rapidly today with a lot of warm rain falling quite heavily off and on.  We had our first thunderstorm of the year last night too.

 It's not bad news for everyone, this spring melting thing.  At the mouth of the Boyne River in Dwight, a whole flock of mergansers were gathered. In their gorgeous mating plumage of brilliant white and dark green, they were enjoying the current of the river pouring into the bay, bringing lots of food for fishing ducks.

In the back left corner of the photo, beyond the ducks resting on the ice floe, you can see the thin gray line of the Oxtongue River working its way out into the middle of Dwight Bay. The Boyne and Oxtongue should meet up any day now!

The Boyne River is well over its banks. This photo is just by the entrance to Dwight.

Marsh's Falls is running fast and high. But keep in mind that at the height of the flood last April, the water was almost at the very top of the embankment, so there is still quite a bit of room before we reach anything like that level!

Here's another look, downstream from the Falls.

On the Seabreeze Road, last year's big flood took out the road at the Creek.  This was taken today, and while the water is very high, the new culverts are handling it.

Farther along Seabreeze Road, the beaver is doing his part to hold back the rapidly rising water.  For the sake of the road, we hope his dam building certification is up to code!!

Choogling.. just ahead of the Meltdown

Eric asked late last week if there was any 'life' left in the ski trails.  That made me pause -- in fact, late last week, there was still at least a foot and half, often more than that, of snow on the trails and just a little less in the fields.  Corn snow -- not the best conditions, and certainly not what we might describe as groomed and track set. That equipment has been away for a while now.  But not wanting to dampen Eric's enthusiam, we gave him an accurate assessment of the conditions, and he suggested he might like to just give it one more Go before hanging up his skiis for this season.

He sent us this fabulous video, Choogling from Hawke Lake, the Descent...  

Now Hawke Lake is located at the top of a big hill.  It is currently home to a very industrious beaver or two (who came out to say Hello to Brian and David when they were up there recently)  To get there involves a good 3/4 km. climb.  To get down involves a good 3/4 km descent...

Thanks very much Eric for sharing the video with us -- we love your enthusiasm, both for skiing and for our Bondi trails!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Flood Watch. Here we go again? Maybe...

There is more snow than there was this time last year.  In fact, some of our guests are out today skiing our trails. (not in the best condition, really, certainly not track set, but not devoid of snow either!)

That said, with the Flood of April 19, 2013 in mind, the MNR has been watching the snow melt situation with critical care this year.  The lake is as low as we have ever seen it, pulled down at the dam to allow for the influx of water from the Spring freshet.

Brian went down yesterday and set up a monitor system of his own.  As he points out:
 1- Remember that the average ice out date for Haystack bay on Lake of Bays, based on the data from the last 110 years is April 23, now going on to April 22 due to a slight warming trend of statistical significance.

 2- Water level at my dock was approximately 23.5 inches below summer normal this

morning at 6 AM April 11.
On Monday, the water was about 28 inches below summer normal, the lowest Brian can recall in 55 years or so.
 3-Water level (same dock) is 22.5 inches below summer normal at 6 PM today so we have a 12 hour rise of about 1 inch.
He points out he had to sort of estimate the "summer normal", so the MNR may disagree a little bit, but the actual change of water level is accurate.  His fiendish plan is to check the level morning and night for the next little while to track the changes.  We shall see...
We know that many of our neighbours on the Lake read this Blog (and thank them for that!) so we hope to keep you up to date with what is happening out there! It is not all doom and gloom -- the lake level is very low. There is little frost in the ground this year because so much snow fell so early in the winter, so the ground can drink up a lot of the meltwater. And we've had some nice warm wind this week, which has just pulled down the snow almost as we watch...
Meantime, here, in Red, is the MNR flood watch that was issued today. 
The Ministry of Natural Resources - Parry Sound District is advising area residents that a Flood Watch is in effect within the District.
Residents along rivers and lakes within the Parry Sound-Muskoka area are advised to keep a close watch on conditions, regularly check for updated messages and exercise caution around waterbodies as river flows and water levels continue to rise in the coming days. A significant potential exists for flooding due to current conditions and forecasted rainfall.
Residents may wish to take any further action necessary to secure or protect property in
flood-prone or vulnerable areas.
Local lakes are still ice covered which has the potential to impact shoreline infrastructure such as docks and boathouses as water levels rise and with prevailing winds.
MNR is closely monitoring the weather and developing watershed conditions. Further
updates will be issued as appropriate.
Description of Weather System
The current forecast is calling for up to 45mm or more precipitation Saturday April 12th through Monday April 14th. The forecast through to next Monday is for daytime high
temperatures in the range of 6-13 degrees Celsius with near freezing nighttime
Description of Current Conditions
The water content within the existing snow pack throughout local watersheds continues to be significantly greater than the normal or historical average for early April. Forecasted temperatures and rainfall will accelerate the melt of the snow pack but flooding is not expected at this time. It is expected that the melting of the snow pack in addition to rainfall will significantly increase the amount of runoff into local waterbodies.
The rate of rise in water levels and flows is expected to increase through the weekend and into next week given current conditions.

One Swallow Does Not Summer Bring. But a whole flock?

Swallows have been returning earlier than they did according to my Dads' diaries. We used to look for them about the 20th of April.

But with climate change, they have been popping up along our hydro lines over the garden a lot earlier than that.   In 2009, it was April 15.   In 2010, a shocking April 4th!  In 2011 they arrived on April 8, and on April 9th in 2012...

But today was their arrival date for 2014. There were about ten of them swirling about over the pasture -- which is still under quite a lot of snow. I always worry about what they will find to eat this time of year, since they feed in flight, on insects.  But there are some flies out and about in the grass, so hopefully they will be just fine.

Swallows grace our summer skies with their presence. They are exquisitely lovely birds, consumate and elegant fliers and we are always delighted to welcome them home.   But, speaking of home, we'd better a move on -- there are nest boxes that need to be put up pronto!