Week of February 26th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 26 Feb 27 Feb 28 March 1 March 2 March 3 March 4
High 2 2 10 8 -5 -6 -9
Low -3 -1 -1 -5 -8 -10 -14

We continue to have days with unseasonably warm temperatures but I was able to get out on the ice a few days.

Picture below looking north from near Beach three.  I find it interesting that a major block of ice is split like this. Picture taken Feb 28th.

View below looking north March 2nd near beach 2

On March 3rd we finally for some sunshine after what seemed like weeks of gray cloudy days.  A sunny day makes all the difference. By the end of the week it was getting pretty cold again.  The high for the day was around -10 C, but with the steady north winds it definitely feels colder than that!

View below looking north across the bay March 4th.  The ice was sufficiently frozen after a few cold nights I felt comfortable walking out near the edge.  You can see the lake is trying to freeze, but the wave action won’t let it.

I’m wondering whether a bird can survive in these temperatures for long.  It was  clearly alive, but it sure looked cold.  Some birds returned during the warm weather in the early part of the week.

The picture below was taken March 5th.  I could see frozen bubbles all the way down to the sand so it appears the ice is frozen solid close to the shore.


Week of February 19th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 21 Feb 22 Feb 23 Feb 24 Feb 25
High 8 4 9 18 16 5 7
Low 2 -1 0 1 4 1 2

After this week, you’ll have a hard pretty hard time convincing me that the climate is not all messed up!

It’s supposed to be the coldest week of the winter, but the weather was in the double digits.  Not just one, but multiple records broken.

  • On Tuesday February 21st, the high temperature was 9 C, surpassing the previous record high of 5 C set in 2002
  • On Wednesday February 22nd, the high temperature was 18 C, surpassing the previous record high of 9 C
  • On Thursday February 23rd, the high temperature was 16 C, another record on a day when the high temperature on average is -1 C

You get the picture! It’s amazing, but also a little depressing.

Given the tropical weather on Sunday, we decided it might be a good day to try and fly a drone on the beach.  Jamie and I parked at our usual spot and gave it a try.  Despite how warm it was, it was just a little too windy and the drone kept blowing away (luckily away from the water) – we decided we need a bigger drone!

Jamie getting ready to fly his drone from the ice pack near 18th street north
Jamie’s drone flying over the beach – we now have the camera working so as soon as we get a still day, we’re going to try again and get aerial photos
The beach came alive for the Family Day long weekend. Most people I’ve seen on the beach since I started early in January. Tons of skidoos, skiers and four-wheelers.

The days were so nice I got down to the beach twice some days this week. There are many more pictures in the Gallery.  You could actually get a sunburn from the reflection off the snow.  For the first time I saw cross-country skiers heading up and down the beach as well.  Lots of people were in town for the long weekend opening up summer homes and cottages.

Walking out on the ice back. Notice how the ice has been shifting with layers of ice piling up on top of one another.  Early in the week I felt the ice was safe enough.

By the end of the weekend, it had been so warm, and so many snowmobiles had criss-crossed beach, that the snowmobile trails were down to wet sand as you can see below.

The snowmobile trails worn down to the sand by the warm weather and constant traffic

Most days mid-week were warm and hazy.  The picture below taken from the upper part of the beach shows that despite the warm weather the ice is still hanging in at the shore.  Note all the mini ice-bergs floating out on the bay.

I’m not sure why there is so much floating ice. I suspect the warm weather means chunks of ice are breaking off and floating off shore. We had a south wind a few days bringing the warm temperatures
Looking west late afternoon Tuesday There is water on top of the sand and snow creating a bright glare

It’s pretty incredible the difference a few warm days makes.  By Saturday the 25th, despite heavy rain all day Friday and some thunderstorms the night before everything was dry (below).

At least it is easy to walk on the beach again! I definitely prefer this to the glare ice of a few weeks back.  With the snow all gone I was able to take a different route, walking back from Beach one through the parking lots in the provincial park below.

After the record warm temperatures the beach is once again try and easy to walk on.
I found this dirty ice interesting near the west end of the board walk. There is still ice on the ground mixed with snow.
Even though it is warm the wind off the water is cold so it was nice to be able to take a more sheltered route walking back out of the wind.



Week of February 12th 2017

Weekly Temperature
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Feb 12 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 15 Feb 16 Feb 17 Feb 18
High 1 -1 4 0 -6 1 13
Low -4 -4 -5 -6 -9 -7 -1

This week started out with the usual cloudy and depressing weather pattern, but by the weeks end it was simply glorious!

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been getting the daily temperatures above from a site called Weather Underground.  They have a history feature which allows me to go back and check what the temperature was every day.

We get moderate weather being so close to the lake, but in just six weeks I’ve observed how much the temperatures are above historical norms. As I write this today (on February 15) the low temperature was -6 C.  On average for this date it is -11 C. The record low was -30 C.  This is anecdotal, but almost every day so far in 2017 the temperatures has been several degrees warmer than historical averages.  You’ll have a hard time convincing me that climate change is not real.  Georgian Bay hasn’t frozen this year other than sometimes in the morning when there is a thin sheet of ice across the bay if the wind is calm overnight.

On February 12th I walked the whole length of the beach pretty much through a blizzard.  I’m definitely getting my exercise on the snowy days because even when I try and walk on the snowmobile trails, the snow is often pretty deep.

Looking towards beach one on February 12th 2017. Walking in and out of snow squalls

In the early part of the week I saw only two people walking on the beach.  I saw tons of snowmobilers though.  We’re getting new snow every day and I’m getting to know some of the regulars too.  All the snowmobilers wave at me which is pretty cool.

Lots of snowmobiles this time of year.  I tend to walk along the waterline and avoid the trails on the upper beach to avoid getting run over

I think I took my best picture on February 13th below.   This is a cottage I walk by every day.   They have an awesome location right on the beach.  The cottage is almost buried in a snow drift in this picture.  You can see the north end is blurred by blowing snow coming from drifts along the beach.

One of my favorites pictures so far. This was taken at 17th street north walking back to my truck.

I just had too Google Map this for comparison.  Below is what the same cottage looks like in the Spring.  Most of the properties have sand blown into the yard making it hard to grow grass.

The same cottage at the north end of 17th street in the spring of 2015

One of the coolest things I saw all week was a sled with a parachute attached.  I took pictures mostly at a distance because it was hard to get the sled and the chute in the same picture.  I was on the beach over an hour, and this guy was crisscrossing beach one the whole time.  He was obviously very good at his sport.  The wind was from the Northwest, but he seemed to have no trouble tacking back and forth.

Sled attached to a parachute crisscrossing the beach on February 13th.  He was moving faster than I could run to keep up.

Although I got pretty close, a full picture up close was impossible because the chute was at 60-70 feet out from the sled as you can see below.  I see people doing the same in the summer on surf boards with para-sails.

Travelling at high-speed with the chute a good distance from the sled

The picture below is not mine – I asked my cousin Gordon Sheppard in Collingwood for permission to re-post his picture from Facebook because I thought it was cool.   Note the angry looking sky.

Picture of the Collingwood terminals taken by my cousin Gordon Sheppard.

It was rough to walk on the beach this week.  I got up the beach every day, but found myself walking at least part way on the streets (usually on the way back) to avoid the wind and deep snow.  Picture below taken just east of 16th street north.

Picture looking north from Shore Lane. The snow blows across a ridge showing the “cut” the snow blower needs to make to keep Shore Lane clear.
The cloud cover broke briefly February 16th and we briefly saw the sun for the first in a while.

February 17th was sunny and also crisp and cold.  An awesome day.  I decided to head out on the ice to check things out.  It’s interesting how the ice moves in and out. You can see the pattern below where waves crash against the shore and freezes into a berm of ice, the water calms and freezes over night, and the next day a new frozen berm starts 20-30 feet out as the waves pick up again. Where were about a dozen such berms of various sizes walking from the shore to the edge of the water.   I didn’t feel comfortable getting too close to the open water even though it was cold enough in the morning when this was taken.

February 17th – walking out on the ice to check out the layers of ice berms caused by the wave action and successive freezing.

Saturday I think will be another record high temperature.  By around 10:00 AM when I ventured out it was already 8 degrees Celsius. Crazy warm.  We’re going to loose a lot of snow.  I’ll be curious to see what the beach looks like tomorrow.  There may be a lot of water and mud.  It’s supposed to be way above normal all week.  Great to feel the warmth of the sun.

February 18th was ridiculously warm. Already 8 degrees in the morning when this picture was taken