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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last Roast

The last cookout of the summer -- the Fire Ban has been lifted for a few weeks now, so the BMD excelled themselves with a great bonfire to start the evening.
There was some entertainment provided by a float plane, who's pilot was zooming down to 'buzz' Lumina Resort, and was doing weird (and low level) manouevres.  Several of our guests are pilots, and they had raised eyebrows. We don't have any idea who was at the controls, but it was interesting to watch.
The moon was up long before the sky was dark, which produced lovely moonshine on the lake.
And what would the Cookout be without s'mores, watermelon, and the Seed Spitting Contest.  That was quite competitive this week.  Sam sent me these hilarious pictures of his Dad and his Uncle taking on the challenge.
What good sports those fellows are! Not to mention they set that popcorn kernel sailing over 26' each!


Shy Sunflowers

August is Sunflower month.

These beautiful flowers make a stunning display in the garden.

But some of them are a little shy...

Like this one, who will 'say no evil.'

And this one, who will 'see no evil'
This one isn't shy -- the flower is fully open to the warm summer sun, and welcomes in the honeybees.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Better not have a Feather in your Mouth...

The fox is strikingly lovely.  He stopped to pose for our guests last week, just across the road from Blackberry cottage.   They grabbed the camera, and grabbed the shot.

They saw him again, about an hour later. This time, it was a fortunate sighting for us -- since Reynard was at the gate of the resort, with an assessing eye on the chickens.

The fox has been good at Snatch and Grab raids this year, so we do have to keep a close eye on the free-ranging chickens, and be sure they are enclosed when nobody is around.  On this day, we were all lucky, because Gunni and Margaret were able to shoo him away.  And get the photo!

We don't mind the fox. But he'd better not have a feather in his mouth, or our attitude changes rapidly.

Kelvin's Excellent Adventure

Kelvin had quite a time at Bondi this summer. 

He found a chair on the beach that was 'just his size.'

He could sit there, kickin' back, and enjoy watching the other babies playing along the shoreline. Momma Mallard had six ducklings. Here they are enjoying the morning mist.  By August, they are tame enough to come right to the children's hands for treats.

Kelvin got closer to the ducks when they went canoeing.  He had a great seat in the bow, where he could keep an eye on everyone else in the family.

When the crew ventured off on a longer trip, he found himself comfortably situated in the nice wide centre, with lots of room to stretch out.
Hiking with Mom and Dad in the back field, he found another Bondi Baby. This one had spots...

Playing Ping Pong in the Rec Barn was the best fun!
This year, he had to watch from the shore, with Grandma and Grandpa, but next year, he's pretty sure he will be IN the sailboat.
Thanks to Kelvin's dad Sean for sending us these wonderful pictures of their time with us this summer.


Monday, August 27, 2012

A Glad Buffet

We think this is perhaps one of the best pictures we've seen of our hummingbird.

Of course, Carol's gardens provide the nicest of possible backdrops for pictures. And these glads are a buffet for the birds.

The photo was taken by Sean, one of our guests last week. Thanks for the share!

A Brush with Deer

Twin fawns in Bondi's back fields. Painted by Sean Lehan, August 2012.  Thanks for sharing this with us Sean. It is a lovely painting! (and we know exactly where the fawns are!  We love the detail in it, and the softness.

Inspiration came from the big open fields behind the Resort, where the deer are frequently found.  All of these photos are from Sean. This fawn was one of his 'models' for the painting.
The fawns are seldom alone. Not only were the does out with them, but the big buck put in an appearance.
You can't beat this photograph for mood, composition, outstanding beauty.
Thanks so much for sharing your pictures with us Sean.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Low Water Brings History to the Surface at Marsh's Falls

The water levels are low. No big surpirse. We have been very short of rain this summer, and the Oxtongue River relies on water coming down from Algonquin Park. It's been dry there, too!
As a result, most of the rocks are exposed at Marsh's Falls.  It's privately owned, (although you can access it by boat and play in the Falls) and Mrs. Copps was kind enough to let me visit and scramble about with my camera.  Not just to look at the low water, and the beaver's ambitious blueprints to dam the whole thing, but because right now some of the old timbering from the Boatworks are exposed.  It's not common to get the chance to see these reminders of the Falls' active history.

Once upon a time, there were 27 sawmills operating in the Township of Lake of Bays. Two of them were in Dwight. One was here at the base of the falls.  Along with this sawmill was Capt. Marsh's boatworks.   The clearing to the left of this picture is the actual site of the mill and boatworks. It snugged back into the rocks by the Falls, right where that tree is leaning to the water.
Here, the lake steamer S.S. Mary Louise, named for the Captain's wife, was built and launched.  She sailed the Lake of Bays for several years before being rebuilt as the S.S. Mohawk Belle.
These old photos are from the Ruth Martin Papers, and show the Mary Louise in Dwight Bay, and Capt. Marsh and his family fishing from the rocks at the Falls.  On the far side (Dwight side) you can see part of the old Mill and boat works.  A pipe from the river brought water into the mill to drive the machinery.
Right now, the only 'mill' activity would be that of the resident Beaver. He has been busy felling trees along the river, and along the edge of Hwy. 35. Some of the branches are stuck in the midst of the Falls, and there are lots in the back eddies. It's just possible that his ambitions are huge, and he dreams of damming the river while the water levels are down.  You can see the normal water levels along the rocks to the right of this photo. I'm standing in the middle of the channel, at the top of the falls. My feet, and those of my dog, are dry.
 There is little left of the old boatworks, but these timbers, usually submerged, leading out into the water do tell the story. If you are boating up the river, pause to look for them.  Take care, though. Water levels are so low that boats approaching the falls are going to hit very shallow water and shoals. Mrs. Copps tells me that she has been watching boats hit their props out in front of her lovely house, so do take care, and do respect that the property on her side of the falls is privately owned.

Last Minute Getaway for Labour Day?

We have a vacancy in a 3 bedroom lakeside cottage for the three nights of the Labour Day weekend. Ideal for up to six people. Rates include a canoe, bbq, and a pass into Algonquin Park. Not to mention the rest of the resort facilities and every wonderful thing there is to do in North Muskoka this weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The nicest thing

This may just be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about us. It is from a letter we received from Evelyn and Walter Hadden, very very very long time Bondi Family and guests.

Evelyn writes:  "I think there should be an Ontario law that anyone with kids (or without) should spend time at Bondi -- It is a great place for children (and adults) to holiday... I have so many good memories of Bondi...  Wishing all of you the very best (do not change Bondi) in the years ahead and thanks again for being a part of our lives."

Evelyn and Walter,  we are honoured to be part of your life, and your families'. We cherish all our good memories too!  Here's to more Bondi Summers!


 What a wonderful way to start the day. Our swimmers gather at the Main Dock on Thursday mornings. Our boat escorts come drifting alongside too. Today was my 'perfect swim' -- I had a boat for every swimmer.

A comment was made about Blair being awake at this hour -- he was not only awake, he was in kayak, ready to paddle along while Tom swam.  Up, yes, but we're not quite sure we can say "dressed". Like Anya, who was swimming, he showed up in p.j's, which we are told is the new formal wear.
 With two swims on the go, one to the Point and Back (1 km.) and one coming back from the Island, it was great to have so many canoes out.  Martin and Daniel kept pace with Gunni.  He is a distance swimmer, so needs a steady paddling escort!  Last week, he was at a different resort on the lake, and swam around Langmaid's Island! That's a long way too!
It was the first time at Bondi for Jenn, but not for her friend Melissa who grew up at Bondi and who got engaged on our Lookout.

After the swim, it's back to the cottages for breakfast and coffee. The sun was hot, the water was silken, and at that time of day it is quiet and peaceful out there in the middle of the lake. The perfect start to the day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Up the River without a Paddle

 A trip up the Oxtongue River by boat is always a great day. Going slowly, to avoid wake that can damage the shores and threaten nesting birds (loons are especially vulnerable to waves!) you often see a host of wildlife including beavers, otters, deer and herons.  Canoeing lets you get closer and quieter, but takes longer.

And if the destination is the Falls, then going up by powerboat is a good option.

It's a yearly trip for many of our Bondi Families. Thanks to Quinn Dalgarno for sharing some of the pictures of their family day out!  Brandi is almost invisible in the falling water in this wonderful photo.

The faces and the smiles tell the story here !  We especially like that they are all wearing their PFD's (personal flotation devices)  It's great fun to play in the waterfall, but it IS falling water, moving swiftly, and it IS falling over rocks, which tend to be both hard and slippery, so safety first is always wise.   You can see Hannah concentrating on keeping her footing!

This year was a good one for those who like to play at the Falls, because the water levels were extremely low, which meant that the rocks were exposed, and the flow was decreased. It isn't always possible

Deer Peer in the Pasture

 Look at how we've grown! These are some of the fawns that we found curled up hiding in the grass at the beginning of June.

They are getting tall, and strong now.

These pictures were taken in the horse pasture this morning. We were enjoying watching the little ones romp and play.

They are truly beautiful, graceful creatures.

One darted across the road, almost in front of a truck -- just a reminder that these are country roads, please slow down, and watch the shoulders. Just like kids, the fawns don't stop to think about traffic before they run after Mom, or if they get scared.

It is hard to get a bad photo of these little ones, they are so pretty. This doe has her hooves full, with twins. We find impressions in the indoor arena where they sometimes curl up and have naps. The deer, oddly, like the arena despite it's 'artificial' appearance to a deer. We think it is because deer flies and horse flies don't go into buildings, and they can get relief from those pests.

Our favourite photo this month of the deer, however, is this one that Quinn Dalgarno took in our back fields.  We are big fans of Quinn's photography, and this one is superb. thanks for sharing it Quinn!

Off We Go

With loons, herons, mergansers, mallards, a muskrat and the occasional otter being spotted in the bay this summer, an early morning family paddle just seems like the very best of ideas!

Chick Magnets

The chickens (all known as Bob. It is just easier that way) are a big draw for the youngsters here at the Resort.  Ethan, Amy and Carrie had a great time distributing grain.

Helping to feed them, to let them out of the pen in the morning, to gather the eggs are all popular. Seeing the young faces when they pick up an egg that is still warm from the chicken is sure to make you smile.

Holding a soft fluffy chicken is also a surefire hit.  When shown the proper way to catch and hold the hens,everyone is quite happy with the process.   Matthew and Victoria helped Nora and Vivian get up close to the hens.

Sometimes you can scoop up two hens at once! Victoria was delighted to accomplish that task.

Hunting for the eggs is an adventure too, since the hens like to hide some of them in the stable and not just leave all of them in the nest boxes!

Friday, August 17, 2012

125 years, 100 miles. Congratulations RMS Segwun

Brian took this photo of the RMS Segwun earlier this
summer. She is a beautiful sight on the water.
She is one of only four Royal Mail Ships remaining. The other three are the RMS St. Helena, which plies from Capte Town, South Africa, to St. Helena island; RMS Queen Mary 2, a luxury liner crossing oceans; and the RMV (Royal Mail Vessel)Scillonian III which serves the Scilly Islands from Penzance.

The fourth is right here in Muskoka. The RMS Segwun, sailing out of Gravenhurst with a long, proud history on the lakes. Mail a letter on board the ship, or from the ticket office, and it will be franked with the RMS postal Segwun Stamp.

The RMS Segwun was built on the Clyde River Estuary in 1887, and started her sailing life as the S.S. Nipissing III. She was a steam powered paddlewheeler, 128 feet long with a 21 foot beam and she drew six feet of water. The hull was built in sections, transported to Gravenhurst and assembled for the Muskoka Navigation Company.  The vessel came out of service in 1914, when the walking beam broke and she languished away until 1924.  Then the boat was  rebuilt, and renamed the S.S. Segwun -- the name is Ojibway and means Springtime. Her trademark Phoenix was placed on the funnel at that time, but later was transferred to the  RMS Sagamo.  The paddlewheels were scrapped and replaced by twin propellors, still steam driven and coal fired.

She worked hard. Her usual schedule: conduct the 100 Mile Cruise every day from Bala, connect with the morning CPR train at 7.30 a.m, call at the resorts on the west arm of Lake Muskoka, then meet the northbound Sagamo up from Gravenhurst to exchange freight, mail and passengers -- then up the Muskoka River to Bracebridge. In the afternoon, whe would reverse the route,meeting Sagamo again at Beaumaris, then back at Bala at 7.30 p.m. Mostly staying on Lake Muskoka, at times int he spring and fall she also ran the route of Rosseau for the SS Medora and worked from mid-May to late-September.

The "queen of the lakes" really is a beautiful
reflection of our past, and a true treasure.
In the 1950's after the war, the people began spending their time in autuomobiles, and gradually the fleet was reduced. In 1955, the Gravenhurst Steamship Ltd. took over the operation, running purely excursion cruises. Soon Segwun was plying from Bala, meeting the noon trains at Gravenhurst... but still the revenues dropped.  In 1958, following a humiliating incident where she was run aground on the unmarked Gull Rock Shoal off Point Montcalm, both her cast iron propellers were shattered. She limped back to Gravenhurst... but the order was not to repair and the steamship days seemed to have ended.

In 1960 she was rescued from scrapheap ignomy when the citizens of Gravenhurst campaigned to keep her intact. In 1962 the Town of Gravenhurst purchased her for $1.00, and she was transformed into a floating museum. For the next eleven years the museum welcomed approximately 4500 guests.  In 1973 the iron hull began to show pinhole leaks, and it was decided the ship needed to be dry docked for inspection.  The artifacts were carefully removed and stored and her life as the Steamboat Museum ended.

Look for the Phoenix rising on
the front of the funnel.
After the demise of the RMS Sagamo, the Phoenix was rescued and returned to the Segwun -- which seems only fitting since the extraordinary Grand Lady of the Lakes kept rising again from what seemed like certain ashes. She had captivated the public imagination.  In 1974, work began to refurbish  the vessel and re-plate the hull. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was the dignitary at her re-launch in 1974, and the Ontario government came forward with $400,000 in 1976, and  on July 1, 1981, with Premier Frank Miller on board, she celebrated her first sailing date as the newly renovated and restored RMS Segwun. The Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Lt. Governor, was on board to celebrate her 100th anniversary in 1987.

Now she sails daily from mid-May to Thanksgiving, 145 days, and welcomes 25,000 passengers on board from around the world every summer. She has been repeatedly voted one of Canada's Best Attractions.

Tomorrow, August 18, she celebrates another Milestone. In honour of her 125th season on the Muskoka Lakes, RMS Segwun will make one Big Cruise. It hasn't happened in 54 years, but it's being re-created for this occasion.  Along with her sister ship, the Wenonah II, accompanied by at least 100 wooden classic and antique boats and a lot of fanfare, she will leave the Gravenhurst docks for the 100 Mile Cruise.  Donations to the Cancer Society are suggested for the antique boat participants.  It is going to be one heck of a party, and frankly we are delighted to see the RMS Segwun re-create this amazing cruise.

If you don't manage to get on board for this one, though, you can still sail on this lovely ship, which takes out sight seeing cruises and dinner cruises throughout the summer, and which truly should be on your MUST DO bucket list.