April 27th, 2013: It’s been a very long winter in Manitoba this year, we set many records for the latest and coldest spring. That being said, it looks like our ice is going to be late this year, but hopefully this will only affect the first few guests who were scheduled to come in around May 21st. I’ve already rescheduled a few groups who were booked for those dates, now I just have to hope that we have open water for the guests arriving on May 26th. I’ll be up at the lodge as soon as the snow melts and I can land on the runway.
I’ve spent the better part of the winter getting the new boats into camp and a lot of my time setting up a new air service business. We bought the Cessna 206 in the fall of 2012 and my father has owned a Beaver for a few years, both were being operated under another company’s Operating Certificate. In Canada, to fly commercially there are a million rules and regulations to follow, one of the first of which is to fly under an Operating Certificate. I’ve been working very hard to get our own so that we can be in control of our fate when it comes to Transport Canada and in the long run, to save a few bucks. This year, we won’t be saving anything because it’s expensive to get the Operating Certificate set up. I have written three exams, I’ve had interviews, created exams, created posters, training files, put in applications, studied a lot, found new ways to calculate weight and balance, found a tracking system for our pilots, and the list goes on. There’s still more to do before our season starts, but hopefully everything will be in place and we’ll be ready within the next 2 weeks.
Unfortunately, all the time I’ve spent setting up the new company, and spending well over a month getting the new boats into camp, the bookings have suffered. Bumping up our rates also had an affect on the bookings but the good news is that guests are still booking trips right now and we had a great season last year of real late bookings so hopefully we can fill in a few of these holes before we get extra busy with getting the season under way. The Travel Manitoba promotion is still in affect for any late bookings. This promotion gives a rebate of $100 for any guest who books now and it comes directly from Travel Manitoba so this helps me a lot!
I have scheduled my freight and fuel haul for May 20th this year, I really need to get to the lodge and make sure the runway will be ready for the planes to come in loaded with all our supplies. Some staff will be arriving around May 10th, they will start working on a water break to save the new boats from the waves while tied at the dock. We have a bunch of new motors we’re bringing in this spring, a few tons of beer, pop, water and other food supplies plus all the propane to be flown out, filled and flown back in again.
We all have our fingers crossed that the season will get going on time and that the water level will jump back up with all the snow we had this winter. I’ll be updating much more often on this page from now on, so keep watch and lets go fishing!!!