Tom Hutton is not only one of my professional pilot colleagues at Walsten Air, he’s also a member of the Kenora Flying Club. Today he took me out for an hour in the club’s Cessna 172, and we could not find any significant ice.
If you hurry to Heenan Point, you might be able to pick up enough to fill a picnic cooler, but it was going fast, and by this evening there won’t be enough left to make a decent martini.
If you click on this picture to see it full size, you can make out a tiny patch of ice clinging to the tip of Heenan Point. By the time you read this, it will probably be gone.
We flew as far south as Sioux Narrows.
We flew as far west as Allie Island and had a look at the area south of the Barrier Islands where Andrew found ice yesterday.
Those patches in front of the wing strut are just ripples on the otherwise glassy water. No ice.
We checked around Scotty and Middle Islands, where a few pans were floating yesterday.
I’m calling it. Lake of the Woods is ice-free as of May 3rd, 2015.
It looked as if there was still ice on Shoal Lake, but by the time the daily satellite picture was taken, none was visible. If Matthew or anyone sends me another photo before it is gone, I will insert it here.
Lake of the Woods Ice Patrol will now go dormant until next spring.
Thanks to everyone who helped by visiting, commenting or sharing with friends. We ran the hit counter up from 70,000 to 130,000 this spring, and peaked at over 2700 hits on a single day (April 28th). Anxiety last year about ice persisting into fishing season and even the May long weekend drove hits to 3700 one day, but I knew we’d never match that during a normal spring like this one.
Special thanks to all the pilots who donated their time and flying expenses to help me provide better coverage. In approximate order of first appearance: Andrew Kozlowski, Matthew Render, Al Nelson, Rob Reboks, Dave Thiele (and his daughter Alice and son Eric on camera duty) and Lindsay Kitson.
Much of what you see here was made possible by the other folks at Walsten Air: the bosses who allowed me leeway in my flight path, the dispatcher who assigned me flights returning to Kenora without passengers, the maintenance department that alerted me to non-revenue flights, and our pilots. I think every single one of our pilots chipped in this year by flying while I took pictures or taking pictures for me on days when I could not. We have a great crew.
As a former float-plane pilot, I’d like to sign off with a safety reminder. Kenora has a busy water aerodrome on Safety Bay. During take-off and landing, aircraft have the right of way over boats. Please watch out for them and try to keep clear during these critical phases of flight. After the plane has landed and dropped “off the step” to taxi slowly, the plane has the same rights as any other boat. However, they have no brakes and do not steer all that well. It would be nice (and safest) if you would treat them like sailboats and keep a wide berth. Thanks.
I’ve been neglecting my other hobby for two months while I did this blog. If you want to see how my efforts as a science fiction author are panning out, you are welcome to visit Timothy Gwyn* Writes, (*my pen name) a blog where I comment on books I have read, conventions I am going to, and the occasional publishing success. Otherwise, I’ll be back here around the middle of March 2016.
Have a great summer on Lake of the Woods!