Blog #215

David & Joan


Sharbot Lake Trip


   Even though we didn’t get “North to Alaska” this year we did manage to get to the “Great White North”.  The day after Svea’s birthday party we headed ten hours north east to Sharbot Lake, Ontario, Canada.  It was a difficult week preceding our trip trying to plan and execute Svea’s elaborate party and pack for a week in a barely furnished cabin.  We packed our van full of seven people and our stuff and set out.  The drive up was pleasant in part because of the portable DVD player we strapped to the middle seats to occupy, mollify and pacify the girls in the back seat. Although not a huge proponent of these electronic tranquilizers, with seven people in such a confined space for such a long time, I made sure it was charged and ready to go.  We left early on Sunday morning and arrived about 10 hours later.

   Sharbot Lake has always been a favorite vacation spot for the Wilstermans. In the 1940’s, Papa began fishing there with his children. John has such fond memories of the many summers he spent there that he has often brought his own family back to experience some of the same “magic”.  Joan had been there a few times in her childhood and was happy the girls got their first taste of Canadian fishing.  John called in late July asking if Papa would be up to traveling there “one more time”.  When told that Papa was thrilled to go, John made all of the arrangements for us.


Sharbot Lake Trip - Monday

Cabin 5


   We spent our first night in cabin 5 at Mohawk Lodge.  The cabins are very rustic and dated, but much nicer than tents.  Here are a couple snapshots of the living area.  It also had two small bedrooms and a bathroom without a shower/tub. 



Brigitta points to a shellfish from the dock at Mohawk Lodge.


Annika - looking sharp in her oh so cute fishing hat.


John gives Svea and Brigitta a rod and reel lesson.



John, Papa and Brigitta used the rental motorboat to tow Joan, Annika and Svea in the rowboat that came with the cabin out to a spot where the fish were.


I followed in the Sprinter kayak and took a few pictures and fished a bit myself.


Then I paddled around much of the western part of Sharbot Lake.


I even paddled under the railroad and highway bridges to view the eastern side of the lake.


They say they the lake water level is 30 inches higher than normal.  This little rocky bonsai island may have been part of a larger island just behind my kayak when the water is at normal level.


Papa shows off the day's catch


The Apartment

   Instead of a cabin, John and Jean upgraded to an efficiency apartment that was converted from within the owner's old home; it was much nicer than any cabin and had an indoor shower.  The family in the larger apartment next door was from Cuyahoga Falls; mother and son were Hoban graduates.  It was truly amazing to run into folks from our area 500 miles from home.  They gave us a ride on their awesome speedboat, gave us some fishing advice and shared their perishables before they left.  Since they left nearly a week early, we upgraded and moved into to the much nicer apartment that also had an indoor bathroom/shower.  Another big benefit to moving on up was that we could unlock the doors between the two apartments which made sharing meals and interaction with John and Jean much easier. 



Nana tries to hide from the camera behind the microwave and bananas.


The girls on the pull out couch in the living room - not sleeping.


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Blog #214




Sharbot Lake Trip - Tuesday


We drove 20 miles to Perth on Tuesday.  Its a neat town with a great river/canal running through town and a beautiful park.







We paired up the girls with the men to assist with hooks, worms, fish and poles.  They each caught a few. 




Golden Hour on the Lake

The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset produces a fantastic low angle golden light.  Combined with laughs induced from my best Donald Duck voice I knew I'd have a chance at taking some of the best pictures of the year.  Here are the best nine of 45 from that shoot:











And Joan took one of me as I rowed the family to our fishing destination.



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Blog #213




Sharbot Lake Trip - Wednesday

I paddled around most of the western side of Sharbot Lake on Wednesday.


This boathouse housed a giant 10 seat canoe.  On the shore to the right are two skin-on-frame kayaks; I believe they were Greenland style.




Joan was waiting for me as I finished my paddle


John shows off a fish from the day's catch


Table of nine


Jean gave the girls fancy gingerbread cookies that she had purchased in Perth


Joan paddles at dusk

On Wednesday evening Joan went for a paddle at dusk while Papa and John went fishing.






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Blog #212




Sharbot Lake Trip - Thursday

Ottawa & Parliament Day Drip

   On Thursday Joan, the girls, and I drove to Ottawa.  We viewed the Parliament buildings, canal, shops, restaurants and monuments.  I was amazed as to how different Ottawa felt; it truly seemed as though we were in a different country.  Many people were speaking French and I was impressed to see so many people riding bicycles and jogging.  Locals also seemed more fit than Americans, on the average.  Ottawa is culturally diverse, interesting and a very cosmopolitan city.


The old reflected in the new - A building of Parliament reflected in the glass of a modern skyscraper




The main Parliament building


Every morning a bear hat band and soldiers march and parade in front of Parliament












This gazebo is behind Parliament and overlooks the Quebec








The canal locks in Ottawa











The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa





We didn't enter many shops, but I wanted to see how similar Canadian Inuit art is compared to Alaskan Inuit art.



Papa John & David go night fishing

The three of us went fishing until dark.  Bluegill, Pike and Bass were caught and released.






Our rental rowboat at the Mohawk dock - digitally manipulated


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Blog #211




Sharbot Lake Trip - Friday

John and Jean left Friday morning and spent the night in Buffalo before flying home to Georgia on Saturday.  In the picture below, John is telling the girls a story at sunrise.






Nana and I went for a motor boat ride in the morning.  We could hear lightning in the afternoon for a few hours, so we all stayed inside until it cleared.


These are the cabins.  We stayed in #5, behind the red truck our first night.


Motor Boat Ride

Sharbot Lake is about 12 miles long; we saw much of it from the motor boat on our last day.  We own six kayaks and a rowboat; although we have a few electric and small gas motors we always choose hand power.  The eight horse power engine that came with the rental boat is pretty wimpy by boating standards; but I'm just amazed as to how well our family could zip around with it.



We tried to eat up most of the perishables before we left, but we didn't have much for our last dinner in Sharbot.  On the way home we tied up at the public dock, walked to the local Freshmart and bought hamburger and buns.





Thursday evening Papa and I took Svea and Brigitta fishing.  Bluegills were biting as soon as the worms hit the water.  Brigitta was brave enough to hold a few of her fish and remove the hooks herself.  Check the movie page for a fun clip of Brigitta's catch and release.








Bat in our cabin

   At around 2:00 A.M. on Friday morning I slowly awoke to a slight rustling sound; I didn’t bother to open my eyes.  I heard a flutter of wings which I presumed was a bird that had just flown from the window sill or something. It sounded like it flew to the other window, turned and then flew back to the first window, rinse and repeat.  As I awoke I realized that the sound was coming from inside the room, not outside the windows and that since it was the middle of the night it was probably a bat, not a bird.  This made it worth the effort of opening my eyes.  It was dark, but sure enough there was a bat flying around the tiny bedroom.  At this point I nudged Joan and said, “Joan, don’t freak out, but there’s a bat in our room”.

   She didn’t freak out but held the blanket close to her chin ready to cover up in an instant.  After making a few laps the bat clumsily crash into a corner of the room to rest for a minute.  Joan was quick with the covers.  Several of these landings were just over Joan’s head; her side of the bed was only a foot from the wall.  I got the camera and took a few flash stills, then turned on the light and took a short movie clip.  When it landed by the door I threw a towel on it and proceeded to remove the window bug screen.  The bug screen was tough to remove and took a couple minutes.  After I got it off I lifted the towel (while filming again). The bat was gone; I presumed that he had crawled under the door.  This would put him in the living room/kitchen where Svea, Brigitta and Annika were sleeping on the pull out couch.

   After a good search, I found nothing. I gave Svea a heads up and went back to bed. Twenty-five minutes later she called out that she heard the bat.  I opened the sliding door to the porch and waited while filming as the bat flew its pattern around the room.  Eventually I opened the main door as well, but the bat was clueless of the open doors and kept doing laps. At one point a second bat entered the room through the door that I held open, but he left after a lap or two around the room.  We think the first bat eventually left through the porch door, but none of us definitively saw it fly out.  Be sure to check out the movie on our movie page.






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Blog #210




Sharbot Lake Trip - Saturday

Drive Home & Niagara Falls

   We left Sharbot Lake at 7:45 am and got home at 10:30 pm, with an lunch break, an hour at Niagara Falls and a dinner break.  Once we neared Toronto, traffic on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) became stop and go for hours.  I think I could have made better time on my bicycle for a good part of it.  We eventually exited the QEW and wandered towards Niagara Falls using country roads, dead reckoning, Papa's memory, a compass, intuition and the advice of locals.  Niagara Falls is a permanent carnival; it's almost the anti-Canada.  After seeing Niagara Falls, I think Las Vegas would seem like Paris.  I found the spectacle of Niagara Falls interesting, however.  Since we had burned up much time in traffic on the QEW and knowing that we still had hours of driving ahead of us, we kept our Niagara Falls visit as brief as possible.


   U.S. Customs at Niagara Falls can take hours, we were lucky to make it through in about 30 minutes.  Our total driving distance for the day was 555 miles.













U.S. Customs at Niagara Falls - from the line on the Rainbow Bridge (above & below)



On the way home near Buffalo, I think.


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Blog #209





Svea turned nine today.  Moments before the picture below was taken we discovered that someone had swiped a chunk of Svea's birthday cake.  When Brigitta realized what she had done she was much harder on herself than we would have been.  I think she saw this breakfast cake on the counter and without realizing what it was....secretly reached under the foil and swiped a bite.

Her sisters each gave Svea a homemade gift and a small gift from Michael's Craft Store.  Papa and Nana gave her a craft doll and leather to make her own Native American doll.  Brigitta and Annika gave her Indian beads to dress her doll in.









Earlier in the week Joan and I met a family who had just tested out their new family sized kayak.  We met them at Mogadore Reservoir for a paddle.  They have a new baby, so mom stayed ashore with the baby while the rest of us paddled.



Their kayak has two Mirage pedal drives.  I've read about this system; one flipper drive produces more power than two Olympic caliber paddlers can produce with regular paddles.


I paddled the three hole.


Annika fell asleep.


And she made a new friend.


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