We had a huge chunk of ice yesterday morning and as the day passed it quickly shrunk. The air was still and the sun gave everyone outside a sunburn, it was a good day to be outside.
While the phone begins to ring and the emails start with people anxious for their boat as soon as possible...it seems simple, tow the boat out of storage and slip it into the water. Not quite so simple...there is a necessary sequence of priorities. Here's a peek into what happens at a marina when the ice goes...
Our first task...get the marina boats launched to re-install the marina docks and assess damage. For safety, we cannot allow boats or people in boathouses that are damaged so we then repair boathouses. On the first 'agreeable weather' day, Cottager docks are returned to their home shore (no point in having your boat if you have no dock to tie it to), all the while, we continue launching client boats.
So yesterday afternoon, the 'work pontoon' was launched, then put it to work smashing through the ice to small pieces. They floated for a while then sunk. After doing this, looking to the south end from the marina there was still a very large piece of ice as far as could be seen and spanning to the other shore almost. This worried us, if a wind were to pick up and send it toward the boathouses, it would be bad. All was good - there was little wind and the sun was intense.
When it was time to install the barge dock to facilitate launches, it was gone. All winter, it had rested at shore's edge near the canoes and was kept in place by the ice. With the ice gone from in front of the marina, the barge dock had drifted down to meet the now shrinking ice in the South end so we had to push it back with the work pontoon.
Like the boathouses, it did not escape damage, it is missing a few floats, well, more than a few leaving it tipping to the water on the right side but that dock is the least of our concerns. None of the boathouses were usable as of this morning. Every ramp was either crushed or severely damaged. We are grateful to our carpenters who have been working overtime to try to get at least one boathouse functional. "A" and "F" are in the worst condition, "A" has had all supports along one side ripped down, these supports had previously held up the roof on the right side. And "F", well, it has a corner of it's roof dangling in the water and is a mess at the ramp.
So every day of every spring until ice is gone, we wonder "will we be crushed by the ice?". We are very relieved that the marina has survived the Ice of 2016, though took a big hit from the "Log Master" and the "Rain Gods" who collectively increased our water level at our most vulnerable time, when our boathouses were still encased in ice.
We are hopeful that the first day is a good sign for the summer. The first day of the new season was spectacular. The sun was out, the air was still, the lake was like a mirror. We welcome cottagers back, it has been a very quiet winter and will be great to see everyone once again.