What a season 2015 was! The winter was harsh, but spring rolled in with plenty of time to spare. We were sure that the ice would stay intact, impacting opening day as it has on occasion in the past, but to our delight we lost all ice on May 5th! Not quite a record ice out, but much sooner than expected. That allowed us plenty of time to make improvements and repairs at all of our locations. We started at Camp Lochalsh, varnishing the cedar strip boats in our fleet of 30 and christening our two new Nippising Specials from Giesler Boat Builders. All of our boats are 18' cedar strips which do require special maintenance every season. Some need more attention than others and spring is the time to do that. Our fleet of 15 h.p. electric start, four stroke outboards had been prepared for service last fall, as we do every year and were ready to roll for the season.
With both new and old staff, training is always an ongoing priority of ours. We learn new techniques for everything from filleting to boat repairs every year and this season was no exception. Our head guide and general manager at Loch Island was none other than Jamie Rodda, who for many years through the 70's and 80's worked at both Loch Island and Camp Lochalsh in every aspect of the business. His general knowledge was very helpful in so many ways it's impossible to list them all. The new staff members really appreciated his tried and true methods of working the docks and catering to guests needs. Besides Jamie, Jared, Mitch, Scotty and Ryan really shined on the docks. Melissa, Celine and Elorah took care of everyone in the dining room and behind the scenes cleaning cabins while Marlene prepared the delectable dinners we have all come to expect. Amy and Andy were behind the scenes doing all the other stuff no one else wants to do!
Early on the list of things to do was a new walkway on Loch Island. The new walkway connects all the way from the lodge to the fish shack as a four foot wide deck. No more traversing rocks or going from board walk to board walk! At the same time, the large deck by the fish shack was completely replaced, all with treated lumber so it's sure to last. The deck and steps on Cabin 1 were completely replaced and joined into the new walkway along with the deck to Cabin 2. Both Cabins 1 and 2 had new sill logs installed in the fall of 2014 and were leveled. The whole deck on the duplex (Cabins 4 & 5) was enlarged and completely replaced this fall. The north sill log was also replaced on the duplex this fall.
On Otter Island, large new decks were added on both cabins. A new water tower on the three bedroom cabin made sure that the water tank would be secure for decades to follow. In the fall of 2014 the sill log on the two bedroom cabin was replaced, making the new deck on the front of the cabin, now 8' X 24' even more secure as the whole structure is tied together.
At Camp Lochalsh, our renovation of Cabin 2 was completed in late July. It now is a 2-bedroom full log cabin with a four piece bath. Both bedrooms feature a king bed and a twin. A full kitchen, large living area, and electric heat rounds the cabin out nicely. We rented the cabin multiple times during the season and in the fall. With all new appliances and a killer view of the lake, Cabin 2 is one of our showcase cabins now!
Once opening day came, the staff was more than eager to get out fishing — after all, that's what being here is all about! The season started out with lots of fish being caught, no shortage of shore lunch fish! Many nice Pike and Walleye were caught and released throughout the season.
For next year, we have lots of improvements in store already! At Camp Lochalsh, Cabin 3 will be renovated just like we did last year with Cabin 2. Both cabins are of the same design and layout, so finishing Cabin 3 will be a breeze now that we know how to do it.
On Otter Island, both cabins will get new roofs. The 3-bedroom cabin will have skylights and a new bathroom. The 2-bedroom cabin will get a new water tower. At that point, our renovations of both cabins on Otter Island will be complete. For Sandy Bay, the left cabin will get a new roof and a remodeled bathroom and kitchen. On Loch Island, the entire deck on the lodge will get new top boards. The steps going to the deck from the Sauna will be completely redesigned and replaced this spring. We have three new cedar strips on order already with Giesler Boat Builders and five new Evinrude 15 h.p. electric start four stroke outboards coming from Bucks Marina in Wawa. They will all be in camp and ready to go by opening day, 2016.
With so much in store for 2016, we are anxious to get in and work! With winter right around the corner, planning has already begun. As soon as we are done with the sport shows this winter, we'll get in and start our new projects. Thank you to all of our loyal guests who make this all possible! We promise to do all we can in an effort to provide you with the best Canadian wilderness vacation experience possible! See you all in 2016!
It took us a year to complete, but the renovation on Cabin 2 at Camp Lochalsh is now complete! When the cabin was first built, back in the early '70's, the full log building which was constructed on a cement slab, was a duplex unit set up like a motel inside. Today, the motel design was not meeting the needs of our guests.
The facelift given to Cabin 2 involved completely gutting the cabin, plumbing and all. Now, instead of the outdated '70's motel look, the cabin sports two bedrooms each with a king and twin bed, a full kitchen with all new stainless steel appliances, a 4-piece bathroom and large picture windows that look out over the lake.
This cabin was rented late in the summer and those who stayed in it were impressed to say the least. On the agenda for next summer is to finish Cabin 3 (right next door and the twin of Cabin 2). It will be laid out the same and will complete our construction at Camp Lochalsh for 2016.
In addition to the renovations of Cabins 2 & 3 at Camp Lochalsh, many of our guests noticed that we took down Cabin 8. It was a long time coming and in the near future we will also be removing Cabin 9. Our goal at Camp Lochalsh is to get rid of the old tired cabins and focus on renovating the newer cabins along the water. By the fall of 2016, we will be close to our goal of completely renovating Camp Lochalsh!
Looking at Cabin 2 from lakeside
Inside Cabin 2 - Kitchen
On order right now for 2016 are five more 15 h.p. Evinrude outboards from Buck's Marina in Wawa and three more 18' cedar strip boats from Giesler Boat Builders of Powasson. Pairing Giesler's 18' Nippising model cedar strip boat with an Evinrude four stroke electric start outboard makes for a dynamite fishing machine! With big padded swivel seats, our boats are second to none for spending long hours each day exploring the lake.
We named him Cornelius, but some of you may have called him something else. I'm referring to the loon that makes his summer home on Wabatongushi lake, specifically Moose Bay in the spring and Twin Rocks in the summer and fall. Cornelius waits for boats to come, then swims right up next to them and begs for fish. On numerous occasions he has battled bewildered fishermen for fresh Walleye while the fish are still on the line! A good video posted by Steve DeVrou can be seen on our facebook group page at: https://www.facebook.com/steven.devrou/videos/10207154435209298/?theater
Cornelius the loon
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