Summer flew by and I didn’t find the time to bash off a blog until now. Taking it up from the previous epistle, it was a spring to remember – that is many people around the lake experienced the full brunt of what Mother Nature can do. There have been a number of incidents in past years where docks and boathouses have been banged and broken up but 2013 turned out to be among the most damaging in memory. In the last blog I was commiserating about the lateness of this year’s ice breakup. Little did I know what was about to happen. On April 19th we experienced a torrential rainstorm which not only dramatically raised the water level but triggered a runoff from the bush which really compounded the problem. The ice was still in the lake at this point and in many places it was still about 4” thick. The sudden rise in the water level caused the ice to break into very large ice flows which drifted around. On April 20th & 21st the wind came up and started the ice flows to move about with some speed. Many boathouse walls were hit by the ice movement which could now easily pass over the boathouse docks due to the high water. Several boathouses were seriously damaged and some destroyed. My son Ryan & I had one of the workboats in the water on Apr 21st and navigated around the various flows checking client’s boathouses and docks. Some docks were obliterated and others literally were gone with no trace. In one case we actually watched the ice crush and bring it down a two slip boathouse – there was nothing we could do to stop it. Moving ice is powerful stuff. For the next several days, we spent our time removing and securing boathouse contents for many customers. The high water had reached a point where boathouses were completely flooded and everything from life jackets to Muskoka chairs were floating away. I certainly felt badly for many cottagers around the lake – the cost to repair or replace docks and boathouses were in most cases not claimable for insurance. Let’s hope that was an event which does not repeat itself anytime soon. The summer saw extraordinary swings in the weather – crushing heat in early July was great for those on holidays but a brute to work in ! Baysville saw the revival of the Boat & Antique Car Show after a 3 year sabbatical. I was given the honour of being the “dock master” and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The highlight of course was the attendance of the SS Bigwin. She sailed down from Dorset under electric power and was hugely popular with the people at the show. Seeing the Bigwin now it is hard to believe that it is the same vessel which was rescued from sitting on the lake bottom in her berth at the old Bigwin Inn. I clearly remember riding across the lake on the Bigwin in the late ‘60s – summer of 1968 I think – I was 12 years old at the time and Bigwin Inn was on the verge of bankruptcy. No wonder really, times had changed and the rich and famous were going elsewhere. Many people around the lake tended to treat the Inn more as a hangout and playground so revenue likely suffered for lack of paying guests. A different era. In any event, the movers and shakers behind the resurrection of the SS Bigwin deserve high praise for a job well done in bringing her back to life. Fall is upon us now and in many cases cottages will soon be shut down again. A little sad but part of the annual ritual of cottage life. Here at McCormack’s we are already helping out many with that process. It of course begins in earnest after Thanksgiving – the cottage closings, water systems drained and leaves raked up. Over the next couple of weeks before the onslaught begins, we have time and opportunity to undertake whatever odd jobs you may have in mind so feel free to contact us. If we can help out, we’re glad to do so.

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