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.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Path of the Paddle and the Magic of Stephen Orlando

the song my paddle sings... track of a canoe
This image is the Path of the Paddle. Really.  It is created with lights on a Badger Paddle, while canoeing across an Algonquin Park lake.    Why a Badger paddle? Well, they are made right here in Huntsville, for "people who dig the water".

 And why Algonquin... well... as to that. The canoe defines Canada, as Canada defines the canoe, so where better to showcase the path drawn by a paddle singing through the water than here?
SUP paddlers trace a different rhythm

There are people out there whose creativity takes our breath away.  One such is Stephen Orlando. He is a photographer... which is a bit like saying Michelangelo, yeah, he carves marble, right?

Stephen paints with light, using long exposure photography, LED lights, and the landscape, and he captures and creates images that are magical.

These are just a sample. You can zip over to his website at MotionExposure to learn more about this artist and how he creates his art. As well as checking out the various galleries.   We are so impressed with the canoe and kayak images, often set against the Algonquin landscape. We find them mesmerizing.

And we are delighted to learn that we can check them out this summer at The Oxtongue Craft Cabin
and this is the almost hypnotic rhythm of Taffy's favourite -
the kayak.
and Gallery, just up the road from us on Fox Point Road!

Meet GOSLWOKR, the Gray Jay

It is nesting season for the Gray Jays.   These iconic and truly beautifully enchanting birds are being hard pressed by global warming.  Because they nest in winter --in February and March in fact -- their nestlings are hatched in the less than balmy weather in March and April.  There isn't much food around.  Forever the jays have gotten around this by stashing food for the winter months. They are extremely good at this, and at remembering just where they have hidden the collected food.  The problem is, they rely on the winter being cold to ensure that the 'refrigerator' is working, and the food doesn't spoil.  Warm wet winters can cause the food to become moldy, and not only unusable, but toxic with botulism, killing the nestlings.   

Dan Strickland has been studying these birds in Algonquin Park for decades.  For thirteen and a half years there was a nesting pair in our Hidden Lake Bog. Very sadly, she was killed on her nest several years ago, and the male vanished from the bog. The territory remains empty.

Philip Childs got this photo recently of one of the female jays that is living at the SW territory of the airport in Algonquin Park.  The birds are banded -- and the bands can be easily read.  Each is named by the band. Our jay was called POOLTOSR, which stood for Purple over Orange Left leg; Blue over Standard Right.

This little beauty, cheekily ignoring the sign (as most jays do)  is GOSLWOKR.  Dk. Green over Standard Left;  White over Pink Right. She is three years old.  May she live for at least another ten, and bring many more of these fabulous birds to live in the Park. 

Algonquin Park is well-known among Ontario naturalists as being one of the best and most convenient places to see Gray Jays in the province but it is less certain how long this will be true in the future. Starting in the 1970s, Gray Jays have been slowly declining in Algonquin Park, with one or two territories going vacant almost every year. Originally, we think that virtually all the land along Highway 60 was occupied by Gray Jays but now very little is. The stretch of highway between Smoke Lake and the Hemlock Bluff Trail, for example, once cut through nine different Gray Jay territories but, in 1994, the last of them went vacant. Overall, fewer than half of the territories occupied in the 1970s are still occupied today. The worst losses have been in areas dominated by hardwood forests of Sugar Maple and the least attrition has occurred in boggy, lowland areas covered with Black Spruce.

It will be a great tragedy if we lose these cheerful and amazing birds from our Park, and our lives.  We are all touched by the changes in the environment, even seemingly small changes have enormous and far reaching and long lasting repercussions. 

Amazing little birds, these don't migrate. While the technique of staying home lets them avoid the perils of migration (most migratory birds rarely survive for more than five years and there is a 40 to50% mortality rate during migration. No wonder we are losing our song birds...) it brings other problems. It's not all fun and games being a gray jay however. These birds need a very large territory to provide for a single pair -- about 150 hectares.  That means that as the babies grow up, they have to find new territory, and a rather deadly harrassment game begins where the strongest bird tries to drive away the siblings so they must find new territory. Sadly, this often results in up to 80% mortality as the young birds try to find their way.

The biggie is, what to eat come winter time?  The answer comes from the birds habit of stashing food during the months of plenty to get them through the months of lean.   Carefully coating each piece of food with saliva so it will stick in their hiding sites, the birds squirrel (jay?) away food in a wide variety of locations.  It's amazing that they can find them again!  Do you think YOU have that good a memory? I doubt it. So do the researchers.  You can give it a try if you like, with this interactive Gray Jay Game, courtesy of the wonderful site, The Science Behind Algonquin Animals.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Rink Ready.

This gives a good idea of how much snow we just got with that storm on Wednesday.

Thanks to Kevin, who came to lend a hand clearing the rink.

That snow was not only deep, but heavy, so his help was very much appreciated.

Taffy kept a close eye on the proceedings.  That ice is very smooth, and very slippery, so having her 'on guard' was, although not quite as helpful as she would have you believe, still fun.

"over here, Kevin, you've missed this corner..."   (everyone is a critic!)

Evening Blues. And Pinks.

After the snowstorm, the sunset came back.

Make March Marvellous

Wondering what to do for the March Break that won't break the bank?  Why not come on up to our place.
We've got snowshoe trails -- and you can learn how to read the wildlife tracks along the way!  Or take on our 20 Km. of groomed track-set nordic ski trails.   Play around on our rink -- it sure beats being stuck indoors!  Or zoom down our big toboggan hill or tube run.

How about alpine skiing? Don't know how, or need to polish some rust of your technique? Well, Hidden Valley Highlands is just about 10 minutes away from us, with one of the best Ski Schools in the province. This is the Home Hill for Olympic Gold Medalist Dara Howell, and yes, there is a slopestyle park as part of the runs on offer.

Just one lesson with their great instructors will have you out on the hills and having the time of your life. 

When better than March, when it's not too cold, but the snow-making machinery has ensured that there will be good conditions???

You'll never Walk Alone

Have you ever wanted to trek off into Algonquin Provincial Park in winter, but weren't quite brave enough, or experienced enough (or dumb enough) to go out solo???
Be of good cheer.  Algonquin Park Adventures will take you on an escorted snowshoe or nordic ski trek.  

And you might just get to see some of the winter neighbours, like this beautiful otter seen on one of their recent trips.

They'll provide the equipment, and the instruction, and the guided tour.  What a great way to get yourself started in the sport, and in learning about Algonquin In Winter!  check out their winter tours here.

The Full Snow Moon and a Haloed Day

February's full moon is called the Snow Moon, because, well... it's pretty obvious really.

One of our neighbours, David Ticoll from Port Cunnington, captured this image of it Feb. 22nd as it rose into a cloudless dark sky.  Breath-taking. Truly.

Then, yesterday, just before the big storm rolled in, Rob Stimpson caught this daytime image of an incredible sundog while he was teaching a Photography course over at Ragged Falls Provincial Park.  It indicates a change in the weather...
And yes, they got that right. We got a lot of snow. Which makes the ski trails practically perfect in every way.

It makes my heart sing when our friends share photos like this with us.  Because a) I cannot be everywhere with my camera, and b) they get MUCH better shots than I do.   I love them all.

Sled and Dine -- it would be Fine!

The Algonquin Snowmobile Club trails are among the best in the province, and right now they are all Good to Go...  

So, if you're looking to get your sledding 'fix' this winter, now is a great time to come stay with us, and ride the trails.

And take in the Pancake Breakfast while you're here!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Closed for the Season

When the leaves are gone, we get to find out where the birds have been.  There were two old nests in this shrub at the Dwight Library.

Next summer, no doubt, there will be two more.  When the leaves are out, you can be right next to a nest like this and never know it is there.

Stretching the Day

The days are getting longer. And the evening light is getting more and more beautiful.

Nobody wants to go back indoors, on days like this!

Look Back

Every now and then a photograph surfaces (thank you Facebook) that makes us stop and look back.
This photo is from 1958, a giant Douglas Fir  tree felled in Copper Canyon on Vancouver Island.  It was shipped back to England and shaped into a flag pole at Kew Gardens, the fourth to stand on that site (the lifetime of a wooden pole at Kew is around 50 years, it seems) 

 It was presented by British Columbia to commemorate the centenary of the province in 1958, and the bicentenary of Kew Gardens in 1959. It was erected by the 23rd Field Squadron of the Royal Engineers, and entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 1959 as the tallest in the world at 225 feet (68.58 metres). 

 Since then time and weather have taken their toll and it has been shortened several times -- until it measured  200 ft. (61 metres).

In August, 2007, it had to be taken down -- with a giant crane, nerves of steel and good heads for heights.  Why? Well, weather damage in part, and (wait for it) WOODPECKERS had caused enough damage that the pole was no longer safe to remain standing.

We will never see trees of this size again. The photos are astonishing now.  As the forests must have been astonishing then.  It is so important to preserve what we still have, what remains of the ancient forests, more than we even know.  

What Happens on the Ski Hill, Stays on the Ski Hill

Coming up fast is one of the very best Ladies' Day activities around -- the Hidden Valley Highland Ski Centre's Ladies' Day!   They will keep you happy and busy all day long -- including 3 meals!!! And all the skiing you can handle, plus so much more.

Book with us and make it a full weekend. Book with us at the regular weekend rate for Friday to Sunday, and we'll give you the Thursday night for free... (be sure to quote this blog post when you book!)

Heat in the Sun

 After the -40 weekend, the temperature has soared to balmy climes (for February in Canada) and there is heat in the sun again.  If you stand in a sunny spot, you will feel it on your face. It feels like Spring is just around the bend. And it feels like you should be outside enjoying this weather -- it is perfect for outdoor sports. Really. Perfect.

The chickens took advantage of a sunbeam blazing into the stable to work on their tans.

 And Taffy found a way to enjoy the mild weather while still keeping her bottom warm...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Something about us

So, if you are hanging about in the 'hood tomorrow, come on over to the Dwight Public Library, and learn a bit more about Bondi -- dating from 1905, and thanks to my Grandfather's diaries, we can really dish the dirt :)

Ragged Falls

Ragged Falls is the smallest of our local Provincial Parks, but certainly one of the most lovely.  On the Oxtongue River, it is the largest of the waterfalls spilling the water from Tea Lake down to Lake of Bays.

And in winter, when it is wrapped in white, it is spectacular.

Brian and Dave hiked in during the really really cold weather this weekend, and were rewarded by these lovely photographs.

The river looks beautiful, but that ice is treacherous. River ice never truly

David auditions for a part in FROZEN, the Sequel, where he
must escape from the hungry ice monster's jaws.


This trailer was parked in our lot all weekend, while the owners of the His-doo and Her-doo were out enjoying the well groomed and maintained trails of the Algonquin Snowmobile Club.

All That Work Pays Off

 Clearing and icing the rink is a mammoth task, and David really dug in (and dug out, depending on how you look at it) to be sure our rink would be in tip-top shape for Family Day weekend.
 A snowblower isn't enough. The rink also has to be hand shoveled, and then finished with a pump and hose to get a truly 'glossy' surface.
So it was very satisfying indeed on Sunday afternoon and again on Monday to see our guests out enjoying the rink and the sunshine.

Flash Freeze

David gets it just perfect
We are easily entertained. And endlessly fascinated by the world around us.

Sharon Webster, hardy northern gal, at -35 with no hat, no mitts,
coat wide open. It's not as cold out there as the Weather
Channel presenters would have you believe!

When it got to -35 last week, we did the only sensible thing.  We went outside and threw cups of boiling water into the air in a big arc.

No, we weren't trying to warm up the air.  We were enjoying the phenomenon of the Flash Freeze that turns that water into ice instantly.   We even tried it with coloured water, but you can't see the colour, until it lands in the snow. So much for making rainbows!

Ice Fog

Ice fog -- which we were treated to on the weekend when the Polar Vortex mosied on through -- has nothing to do with water rising from the ground. It is all about the higher levels of the air. You know that phrase, "ah, yes, but it's a DRY cold"??? Well, it really is. Water can stay suspended in the air quite readily. UNTIL it gets to -40. At which point the water crystallizes and creates ice-fog. Thanks to Mike Baum for catching this photo this morning.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Another Winter Carnival in the Books!

 Just a collection of photos from this year's Dwight Winter Carnival.

Congratulations to the organizing committee, volunteers and sponsors.  It truly takes a village, and some years the weather is not always kind.

That's why lots of warming stations and indoor activities were included.

The Dwight Snowball mascot was on hand, of course!!

Circus Johnathan was hugely popular with both kids and adults -- and after his morning show, he was back in the afternoon to teach some circus skills. A great and fun idea!

 The Dwight Lions' Club always does a fabulous job when they run the kitchen. This was the Carnival Pancake Breakfast -- and a tasty treat it was indeed.
 Brian is a Lion... and after serving most of the morning, he took a few moments with a friend to enjoy some pancakes and sausages himself!

The Bob Palmer Award, for one of our most valued volunteers, this year went to Nellie.

Irwin Memorial School Students hosted a bake table, with lots of delicious treats.
The Hydro Energy Trailer was an interesting addition, with lots of hands (and legs) on activities.

Brian found he could quite comfortably charge his phone, or watch his computer, while charging up the power!
The skating rink was given over to the Zorb balls!

 And lots of folk were introduced to Archery.  Dwight also hosts a wonderful 3-D Archery competition in May, with over 80 competitors of all ages coming for the fun.
 Snow Painting produced some truly artistic creations.
 You never know who'll you'll find!

 Kids could warm up in the Library decorating cookies provided by Henrietta's Pine Bakery.  They didn't last long!
 Back outside, there were bouncy castles, climbing walls and a laser tag dome.

Sleigh rides, hot air balloon rides, and a host of fun games filled up the afternoon.

And in the evening, there was a show featuring a Comedy Hypnotist!

Plenty of variety,something for everyone and lots of places to warm up when you needed to helped make this a great adventure all day long.