Can You Bring Viagra Across The Border


‘Bura’
(Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma),the Royal Kami

T he Royal Kami. the old master kami who makes khukuris for the king of Nepal and his top ranked cohorts came to shop 2 and made me a “royal” khukuri. He was puttering around shop 2 for 15 days. I asked his name and Kami Sherpa said, “I don’t know. His nickname is Bura (meaning “old man”) and that’s what we call him.

I guess Bura is five-foot-two or three and weighs maybe 115 pounds but he can swing a mean hammer and he knows how and where to hit hot steel. He’s good. He knows more and thinks better than anybody in the shop which I suppose is why he’s foreman. It may surprise some to learn that he has three wives and children by all of them. Maybe that’s why he shows up for work everyday. But come to think of it if I had three wives I’d not be able to show up for work — ever.

Bura is about 45 and has 35 years experience as a kami. He lives in Swayambu and commutes to work via bus — about a one hour journey each way. Lucky for Bura, I guess, he has a very short walk to the bus. Same from BirGorkha. Bus stop is only five or ten minute walk. He gets to work about six AM and leaves about 6 PM. He is very steady and a no nonsense guy. He comes to work to make khukuris, not to smoke cigarettes and drink tea. He is not our top producer but he makes the best khukuris in BirGorkha and perhaps in Nepal.

Bura smokes as do most of the kamis. I bought all the shop people a pack of Khukuri cigarettes several times each week while I was there.

Got my first taste of Bura, the Taskmaster, my first five minutes at BirGorkha. As soon as Gelbu and I walked into the shop Bura raked Gelbu over the coals because Gelbu had not alerted the shop to my upcoming visit. What Bura told Gelbu was essentially this and you’ll have to forgive the language but this is the way he talks as do most kamis — gets the point across: You rotten little ba*tard. Here’s the man who sells our khukuris and sends us our money and you brought him here without allowing us to give him the proper greeting he deserves. Get out of here you little a***hole and bring Bill Sahib back tomorrow and we will have the shop and ourselves prepared. Because you have no manners you bring disgrace on all of us.

You must remember that Gelbu is the boss, too, so you can imagine how Bura talks to his helpers.

Here is Bura (Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma), his wife, kids and mother-in-law at their new deera, second floor of BirGorkha. The furnishings are sparse but okay by Nepal standards and the free rent Bura and his family enjoys is an unheard of perk in Nepal — only at BirGorkha could this happen:

Bura was sort of the leader of the prayer movement when I was in the hospital and for that I extend great thanks to him and all the others who followed suit.

T he day I left I appointed the Royal Kami to the position of shop foreman. He is the best kami we have and is an old man who knows much. Further, he is a good man and will be able to offer a lot of help and good advice to my son, Gelbu, who still has a lot to learn. I instructed Gelbu to listen to him closely and follow his good advice.

Last night when we spoke with Gelbu I found out his name. It is Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma but everybody will still call him “Bura”, including me, and he is the nephew of Ganga Ram Bishwakarma who is in charge of making the Ganga Ram specials.

Being the Royal Kami has honour but the work is far from steady. The king and his top aides only need a few khukuris. Now Bura will have steady work and if the king wants a khukuri made we will simply do it in shop 2. Perhaps we have accidentally become the Royal Arun (“shop”)!
–KAMI SHERPA

The Royal Kami at work
(Bura making a handle for a Banspati ):

After recovering in hospital from a blood clot in the brain, Bura is back making khukuris. He may not be able to swing the hammer but so what. In a lot of shops here in the US the hammer swinging is done by a machine. He’s using helpers to do the heavy work but he’s overseeing everything. I just got in a couple of M43s and some other stuff with his mark and it’s Bura work for sure.

The secret to success is knowing when to pull the steel from the forge and telling the helper where to hit. Then knowing when to pull the knife from the forge and how to pour the water. Bura did not like to use helpers but I guess when you have no choice you do what you have to do.

I am not at all surprised. I knew Bura would not give up and would find a way.

It’s good news, really — two pluses. Bura is producing and this is going to make him feel good and his helpers will learn more from him than they would working with any other kami — but knowing what a taskmaster Bura is, the helpers will pay the price for their education: ‘Not like that, you idiot. ‘
–B. Martino, 21-Oct-2002

Message from Bura:
To Joi (Bill Martino — ‘son in law’) and Banji (Yangdu — ‘niece’) and all the fine HI customers who sent money for me:
��
If you had not done this thing I think I would be dead so your great gift has given me more life than perhaps I deserve and for this there is not enough thanks in the world. I remember you all in my daily puja and when we do Bishwakarma puja we pray for all of you. This is the best I can do to repay you. Blessings to all of you and a special thanks from me and my family from the bottom of our hearts.
–Royal Kami Lal Bahadur Bishwakarma (‘Bura’), August 2002
� �
Gelbu, the most educated and medically knowledgeable in the family, says he is almost certain Bura suffered a stroke — for whatever that’s worth. Bura went for checkup a day or two back and doc says he’s doing fine but is facing meds for the rest of his life. Med clots meds, I’m sure. I think Bura is going to be hard to kill.

Another thing I learned is that, after Bura’s release from Bir Hospital, Pala [Kami Sherpa] took him to his [Kami Sherpa’s] home and cared for him until he was sure Bura was OK. Bura lives an hour by bus from Bir Hospital — no phone and no transportation. Pala lives 10 minutes away from the hospital and has tranportation available. Bura’s wife is illiterate and has no idea about health care. She didn’t complain and Pala did what was right and needed doing and my hat’s off to him. (I had to chuckle when I learned that Pala had taken Bura home to keep an eye on him when he was discharged from the hospital. Pala lives next door to a Brahmin family and I’m sure they were aghast at the notion of bringing an ‘untouchable’ into the household to live, sleep and eat.)�

All in all not such bad news.

Thanks again to all who helped from Pala, Bura, Bura’s family, and me.

Kesar Lal Bishwakarma
K esar was the first kami Pala (=Kami Sherpa) hired. He’d heard Pala was opening a new “high tech” shop and was looking for top kamis and would pay top wages for same.

He showed up, made a couple of example khukuris and Pala put him on contract. That’s how all the kamis are paid. No salary. They are independent contractors and paid for the work produced. Bonus for exceptional work.

Kesar almost never misses work and does very good work. He’s a good steady producer. Additionally, he’s a nice pleasant guy and easy to get along with.

Now, here’s one (or perhaps many depending on your point of view) of the reasons Kesar shows up for work and produces on a very steady basis.

At his small home he has living with him TWO wives, TWO mothers in law, mother, maybe ten kids and a couple of nephews, nieces, and may a cousin or two — 20 people in all. And it’s his earnings at BirGorkha plus the few vegetables they can grow and the dozen or so chickens they keep that feed them all. He’s GOT to be old reliable or those 20 folks will go hungry.

I know it looks crazy to us but ‘Nepal ho’. More power to him — I guess.

–Bill Martino, 1-March-2002

Sanu Bishwakarma
Sanu has been with us for awhile. Gelbu recruited him on an early recruiting journey to various villages. The story goes like this.

Gelbu ran across Sanu is some small village — don’t know the name, and Sanu was having a hard time of it. Unlike many kamis he owned no land and was living in a small rented mud hut and had his shop located outside in the dirt. He is perhaps 35 or 40, married with a couple of kids. He had only a couple of khukuris in stock and was out of steel and other supplies. Gelbu looked at the khukuris and they were pretty good so he bought them.

Sanu complained that he had not had enough work to meet expenses and he had been forced to borrow 10,000 rupia just to stay alive. He did not have enough money left to buy food or steel so he was mightily pleased to receive payment for the last two khukuris he had in stock. I think these two khukuris came in our first shipment of village models so somebody out there has them but I don’t know who.

During their conversation Sanu discovered that we were just getting shop 2 on the air and asked for a job. Gelbu told him to come along and return with him and speak with Pala. Sanu readily agreed.

Upon his arrival in Kathmandu Sanu told Pala his story and asked for work. To his great credit Pala gave Sanu 15,000 rupees and told Sanu to return to his village, pay his debts, load up his wife and kids and return to Kathmandu for work.

And to the great credit of Sanu he did exactly as he was told. He has worked very hard and just before Pala left for the US Sanu repaid the last of the 15,000 rupia Pala had loaned him.

There are three very important considerations here.

The first is the great trust and generosity shown by Pala. One of the “benefits” I mentioned offered by shop 2 that are unheard of in other shops. Remembering that the per capita income in Nepal is about US$150 per year the amount Pala loaned Sanu was more than US$200 or well above the per capita income. In the US the equivalent would be perhaps US$20,000.

The second consideration is the fact that Sanu repaid the loan quickly — in about three months. He is a man of honour and integrity and I am proud to have such a man working in shop 2. He has earned my admiration and respect.

And, third, and something that is very near and dear to my own heart is that by working at shop 2 and doing a good job Sanu made enough money to repay the loan in three months. He was taking good care of his family and was still able to put aside 5,000 per month for loan payment. Boys, I have been there and I can tell you from personal experience that Sanu is making BIG money for a kami and God bless him.

–BILL MARTINO

Kumar Bishwakarma
[mark=six-pointed star AND/OR roman initials ‘K.B.’ AND/OR devanagari initials ‘Ku.Maa’]

H ere is Kumar Bishwakarma, maker of the Kumar Kobra. As you can see he is a young man but is coming on very strong and is producing some unique and very good khukuris. He does not have his wristwatch yet but one is on the way to him.

Of some interest is the fact that Kumar is wearing eye protection while using the grinder. The Himalayan Imports shop is one of a very, very few to offer eye protection goggles for its workers so they tell me. Also, notice the old bicycle chain driven grinder setting idle against the wall. Our backup system in case of prolonged power loss.

The young boy who is visiting the shop is the son of HI kami Kesar Bishwakarma who makes many of our standard items.
– Bill Martino 10/99

Sher Bahadur (‘Brave Tiger’) Bishwakarma
[mark=full sun (pre-2002) OR half sun (post-2002) AND/OR initials ‘S.B.’]
W hat a name. The surprise was this is Kumar’s older brother. Sher had been working in another shop for maybe 15 years but when Kumar told him about the pay and working conditions at BirGorkha Sher quit his old job and signed on with HI. If he does all his work as he does the kagas katnes we have another top quality journeyman kami. Kumar is one of our best and I figure his big brother has to be just as good or better due to his experience.

When I got our first kagas katnes I was impressed with just how well they were done. As you can see from the reviews of this little knife others have been equally impressed. I wondered which kami made these because I thought his work was exceptional. All those kagas katnes were made by Sher Bahadur Bishwakarma.

Sher is about 30 and has about 17 years experience. Here he is showing off one of his 18 inch Ang Kholas. Sher makes the biggest, beefiest, strongest khukuris of any kami in the shop. His younger brother, Kumar, likes to make long, slender blades — just the opposite. Both men are excellent kamis and excellent workers. When they come to BirGorkha they come to work, not to chat and drink tea. They are both good producers.

This picture was taken in the shipping room. In the background you see Pradeep, mama [='(maternal) uncle’], Bhimsen, and an apprentice preparing khukuris for shipping.

Like most kamis, Sher is the oldest son of a kami family. Home is down in the Dharan area. I’d guess he’s 25 or 30. Kumar who worked for us for some time is his younger brother. They are both good kamis and excellent producers, primarily because they know how to utilize apprentices quite well. Sher is a no nonsense type of guy but little brother Kumar was a jokester and cutup which got him in trouble on a regular basis. The two did not get along well.

As oldest son Sher will get all or at least the lion’s share of the family property so he leaves from time to time to work on the farm trying to keep it in the best shape he can.

–Bill Martino 12/99 & 10/2002

Prakash Bishwakarma[mark=small khukuri]
P rakash is the nephew of ‘Bura’ (the Royal Kami). He left BirGorkha in February 2000 and seems to have returned in May 2002. He may be back to make a few bucks to finance a new girlfriend or may be back for awhile. Who knows? As soom recall he was the Casanova of the kamis — three wives, lost track of kids, several serious girlfriends and many not so serious. Prakash was a good solid kami who did good work. His fit and finish sometimes left a little to be desired but he made a good stout khukuri that almost never failed. His problem was in dependability. He was too handsome for his own good. Some girl would make eyes at him and he wouldn’t show up for work for 3 or 4 days.�

–B.M.

Murali Dhar Bishwakarma
[mark=trisul(pre-2001?) OR stylised flag of Nepal [vertical] (2002 and later) AND/OR roman initials ‘M.R.’]


T his is Murali Dhar Bishwakarma with wife and two kids. They tell me he is about 40 with almost 30 years experience. His mark is the trisul and he seems good about marking the khukuris he makes. The work he has done so far is very solid and shows experience and care.

As some old timers may recall Murali was a good kami who worked at BirGorkha until he came down with TB and had to quit and return to his village. Well, he’s back thanks to Pala and the BirGorkha health care system.

Pala routinely sent money to Murali which allowed him to get treatment for the TB. Thanks to decent care, meds and Pala now Murali is up and running again and we’ll soon be seeing some of his good work again.

Durba Bishwakarma[mark=stylised flag of Nepal [horizontal](pre-2002)]
N o biographical information or photograph available.

Shankar Kumar Bishwakarma[mark=trisul AND/OR roman initials ‘K.S.’]
S hankar is the newest kami at BirGorkha. Just 20 years old, but already making excellent khukuris. [more bio info to follow]

I am Kami Sherpa. I have almost 70 years experience with khukuris. I have lived all my life in Nepal except for a few years when I lived mostly in India while I was serving as a Gorkha Rifleman in the Indian Army.

I served in the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, 4th Battalion, Company C from 1952 to 1957. I was a rifleman. I believe you call the rank a Lance Corporal here. I was assigned to mostly border duty with Pakistan and Bangladesh. I did some duty in the Kashmir.

I intended to make a career of Gorkha service but family hardship caused me to leave the service before I wanted. I am lucky in that I never had to kill anybody but I had to chase many along the border with my khukuri.

I have eight children living. My wife, Dali, died much too young with heart disease. I never remarried and raised the children by myself.

I have had a khukuri in my hand for almost 70 years. As children it was our responsibility to gather wood for our fires so you learn to use the khukuri at a very early age.

My neighbour, Kancha Kami, was the kami who made khukuris for all the people in our valley and even beyond. He was a very fine kami and I learned much about the manufacture of khukuris from him. He was older than me and has now left his body. He made some khukuris for us when we were first getting started as Himalayan Imports but sadly neither Bill Jwai nor I have one of these and now it is too late to ever get another.

My father-in-law, Kami Sherpa, is not a kami though he can make a very nice handle for a khukuri but lacks the skill to forge a decent blade.

He was named Kami for the following reason:– the Sherpas believe that the Angel of Death has a quota to satisfy and this includes newborns. It is believed the Angel will pass over those of lower caste so they named their son “Kami”, hoping the Angel would think he was indeed a kami of the lowest caste and not take him to fulfill the death quota.

BILL & YANGDU MARTINO

[‘Didi’ Yangdu Martino (widow of ‘Uncle’ Bill) is the owner and manager of Himalayan Imports khukuri sales and distribution and other operations based in Reno, Nevada, USA. Yangdu is the daughter of Kami Sherpa. Bill Martino graduated from college in 1956, with a degree in math and physics, and earned his pilot’s license in the same year. Took one year advanced study as “special student.” About 20 years experience mostly as a flight test engineer at such firms as Boeing, Lockheed, Cessna, Ryan and Rohr. Time out during college to volunteer for service in US Navy during Korean War. ]

BILL: About 20 years ago after having been a student of Oriental religion for some time I decided it was time for me to travel to the part of the world that could provide me with some teachings straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I decided to go to Nepal.

But, I got to thinking. Here I am, an American, from the richest country in the world, going to Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, to try to get something from them. It did not seem fair so I joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer, and traveled to Nepal in that capacity. It took about two minutes off the plane at Tribhuvan to realize that what Nepal needed most was some employment opportunities and a few Yankee dollars.

A failing kidney cut short my tour of duty in the Peace Corps, but after surgery and recovery in the US, I returned to Nepal as a private citizen determined to accomplish my mission of learning more of Buddhism and finding some way to achieve my goal of returning something to Nepal in exchange for my lessons in Buddhism. I met Yangdu and we were married. I found the answers I was seeking and became a Buddhist. I searched for a way to help the Nepali people.

Finally, I decided to try one of the few things the Nepalis could manufacture — the khukuri. Himalayan Imports (which should have been Himalayan “exports”) was born. At first we tried to deal directly with individual kamis such as Nara but found this gave us no real product line and gave us problems like scabbards. Just because a man can make a decent knife does not mean he can make a decent scabbard. And, the handles were often only four inches, made for Nepalis. We kept working.

I started to run ads in knife magazines and other appropriate spots and found they were very expensive. I had to set the price of my khukuris high to try to cover ads and operating cost. I had the reputation of the junk kukri from India to overcome. I sent knives to magazines and newspapers here and abroad hoping for exposure. Just trying to stay alive was a major problem.

In Nepal, we were searching for a way to standardize our khukuri. We discovered a shop in southeast Nepal that was making khukuris for the tourist market, down and dirty cheap, but the operator was capable of making a high quality khukuri to our specs. So, we made a paca, a deal. We would try a joint venture, making a top quality khukuri with a decent sized handle aimed at the US and world market. We would make the best that could be made and pay the price — and this is what we have done.

The more we sold the more I advertised and promoted, keeping the price of the khukuris steady. I gained customers and soon many of my sales were repeat orders.� Our khukuris began to attract attention and a magazine article would pop up here and there. My legwork began to pay off and we started receiving orders from foreign countries — not many, but some. More articles and the word began to spread. We started to show a profit. We made more khukuris back in Nepal, giving employment to those that needed it most. And, after five years of struggle we were showing a profit.� I received offers from major manufacturing houses in India and Pakistan who could make a khukuri of equal quality for a lower cost. I turned them down, telling them this would be like taking the food off my own family’s table.

We made a khukuri for the Canadian Army Museum which was rated the best in their collection. About 25 of our khukuris were donated to the National Knife Museum in Chattanooga by Dr. Bill Rosenthal of New Orleans. More articles. About a year ago and at the cost of a bleeding ulcer I bought a computer and got on the net. In the last couple of years we have had good press.

This may not seem like much to the big boys but to date I have invested about $50,000 in advertising and promotion and have untold hours of time invested toward making this business work. I have bent over backwards to offer the best customer service that I can. In Nepal the kamis have sworn at me because I would ask for the “impossible.” It has not been easy but I am proud of our effort.

Although I have no way of proving this I am of the opinion that our years of struggle and effort have inspired US manufacturers to introduce khukuris as part of their product line and others to import khukuris and offer them.

–Bill Martino, 11-March-1999

Long ago and far away. �The photo above is from about 20 years ago [early 1980s] at the Buddhist temple of Boudanath just outside Kathmandu. A lot of memories. Going to the temples to do puja and then lunch or dinner was a standard “date” for Yangdu and me. There is something about the total silence with only the sound of the flags rippling in the wind that is quite magical.

The Tibetan goatskin jola I’m carrying (and always carried everywhere) was purchased from a Tibetan refugee who had a little pasal [shop] in Chetrapati. We became pals. He’d served in the Tibetan Army and fought the Chinese when they invaded Tibet and took a round through the neck which he proudly displayed. Good old guy. I used to stop and visit him when I was ratting the streets. He’d drink tea and I’d send out for a bottle or two of Iceberg beer and we’d sip our respective brews and solve the problems of the world. I can remember him like it was yesterday but I’ve forgotten his name. Details, details.

When Yangdu was a young girl and used to travel to India to visit relatives she would ride what is called the “night bus.” The male passengers would often try to become amorous with female passengers during the darkness of night so Yangdu would always tape a small 9 inch khukuri to the inside of her thigh. If she was approached she would reach under her anghi (long Sherpa dress) and whip out her little khukuri. Her stock phrase was, “if you want to keep that hand then keep it off me.”
–B. Martino


left to right — Yangdu, Rajkumari, Bandana, and Uncle Bill
Rajkumari is the wife of Vikash, Bandana is 7 year old daughter. 3 year old son, Denny, will not stand still long enough for picture.

This is typical Nepali kitchen for city dwellers. Vikash has home in Bagh Bazaar, the quarter where Yangdu and I had our first apartment in 1984. Propane range, no oven. Water is hand carried from outdoor faucet. (White water buckets). Water must be boiled and filtered. Notice filter on shelf just left of Yangdu.

GELBU SHERPA

G elbu is Kami Sherpa’s son and a shop manager at BirGorkha. In the photo, Gelbu and gal pal, Deena, are having a cup of tea. Deena is of the Newari caste. Both her father and mother are engineers.

Scabbard Makers or Sarkis [=leather-workers](may or may not be making scabbards for HI at present)
1) Ashok Sarki
2) Ragu Sarki
3) Gunthya Sarki


Top picture is the basic tool kit of the sarkis. Bottom is the BirGorkha heavy duty sewing machine. Seated at the machine is sarki Govinda

Sarki at work:

‘Here’s a pix of our village sarki, Prakash, at work. By the looks of it he can chuck quite a bit of wood.
The gal looking on is Pradeep’s wife, the very nice looking kamini, Rewoti.
Old timers will recall that Pradeep, assistant BirGorkha manager, eloped maybe year back with this gal in the middle of the night, disappeared for about a six month honeymoon (both kamis and kaminis are quite amorous), and then returned to “try” to get back to work.’
–B. Martino, 5th Feb 2002

Some Silverworkers:

‘Here are Rabi, right, and Bhani, left, doing the silver work for a kothimoda. You can see the partially completed scabbard on the little table. They are working in their BirGorkha apartment above the shop. As you can see the apartment in not the Waldorf Astoria but it is better than a lot of places I’ve stayed in Nepal.
On the small table and floor are the tools of the trade for silversmithing — torch, mini forge, hammer and some small dies and tools.
Of interest to the old and regular forumites is Rabi, the oldest son of Murali, the kami who had to give it up because of tuberculosis.
Bhani is his nephew. Pala routinely sends money to Murali for medical expenses — BirGorkha disability insurance.’

–B. Martino, 02-02-2002

Newari wood-worker (bottom) and his work(top):

This young man belongs to the Newari caste that does carving. It is in their genes and it shows. He does excellent work and is a frequent visitor to BirGorkha. His home is just a five minute walk so it is very easy for him to drop by, ask questions, and then resume his work. He is a very nice young man and I liked him a lot.
–BM 3/2000

Khukuri ‘Construction & Maintenance’at the Khukuri FAQ page

‘Bir Gorkha and Environs’ at the Khukuri FAQ page

For a lot more information, customer reviews of Himalayan Imports khukuris, and very interesting reading, visit the Himalayan Imports Forum by clicking here:

CHECK OUT OUT THE HIMALAYAN IMPORTS WEBSITE — CLICK HERE .

Himalayan Imports — Good place to buy khukuris, kukris, Gurkha knives, swords, knives, blades

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ABOUT US

Houseboat Adventures is a family-run company, owned by Lorelie and Jeff Gordon. Back in the early 80’s they travelled across Canada looking for the best lake to relocate to and embark on their idea of renting houseboats. They hit the jackpot when they came to the amazing Lake of the Woods – it was destined to be their home.

Their 3 boys Jayme, Joel & Trevor have all grown up with houseboats and began working with their parents at a very young age. They would travel to work by fishing boat, lunches in hand to their Saturday job cleaning fishing boats at age 10 and by mid teens they were comfortable piloting the houseboats and giving navigation lessons for their guests.

Kenora continues to be their home. The boys may be off to university, but they come home every summer to work with their parents and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The Gordon’s have welcomed their guests for over 30 years.

We welcome you to come share our passion and experience all that we have to offer.

FAMILY RUN

We take great pride in knowing that the business we run is an investment in our family to provide the quality you can trust.

EXPERIENCED TEAM

Our staff have over 80 years of combined knowledge to provide a great feeling of comfort and security on your adventure.

ENVIRONMENTALLY CONCIOUS

We love our lake and we want you to love it too. So we take every step to ensure the future of Lake of the Woods.

No worries mate. We are always here to help you with your booking process, so you can focus on your exciting houseboat vacation.

PRE-BOOKING QUESTIONS?

How early should I reserve a houseboat?
Many of our bookings are made 6 months or more in advance and some of our guests reserve for next season when they depart their current houseboat vacation. Some models are more popular but if you are flexible on the dates that helps too. Sometimes a last-minute request can be accommodated. Contact us and we would happy to check availability.

I have never driven a houseboat – can I still rent one?
Many of our guests have never driven a houseboat. Our guests receive a comprehensive package of information prior to their rental. We include a Cruising and Operators Guide and a map. The guide has all of the information required for you to plan your “Houseboat Adventure” including navigational and instructional information, fishing tips, customs information for our US guests and much more. Upon arrival we review houseboat operation and provide a Captain’s lesson and navigation instruction. We will even take you out on your houseboat for a few miles to ensure you are comfortable at the helm.

Do I need a special license to drive the houseboat?
Transport Canada regulations require all operators of motorized pleasure craft (including houseboats) in Canada to have Proof of Operator Competency. As an operator of a houseboat business we are able to issue you a “Proof of Competency”, which acts as your boating license while you are driving our boats. We have always provided extensive information and training to our guests. We want you to feel comfortable driving and navigating and have a safe and wonderful vacation.

How do I communicate with the base if I have a question during my rental?
We have VHF marine radios aboard all of our houseboats for ship-to-shore communication. There is also very good cell phone coverage over most of the Lake to contact us by phone.

Where do I dock at night?
You would beach the houseboat and tie up. There are hundreds of beaches on our huge lake for you to explore. We have marked about 80 beaches on our personalized map for our guests’ convenience. We provide full instruction as to how to secure the houseboat.

Can I fish from the houseboat?
It is a great experience to have your coffee in hand and cast off the houseboat deck early morning when all is quiet. However, most of our fishermen prefer to have a boat to fish with.

What if I forget something can I come back to your dock?
Generally once our guests leave our dock they do not return until the end of their vacation. We offer a mid-week service run for our guests and deliver extra supplies you may require. Small fuel surcharge applicable.

What is included in your prices?
We include tax (13% HST), insurance, free parking, septic pumpout, 16’ fishing boat (motor extra, bring your own or rent ours), generator, navigation charts, kitchen supplies and bedding. For a complete list of what each houseboat includes in its features see: What We Supply

Are there additional costs not included in your price?

  • Fuel and propane, which averages about $200 per trip
  • Motor for the fishing boat (fishing boat included) – you can rent ours or bring your own. A fishing boat and motor is required as, in the event of an emergency you have the ability to act immediately such as boat back into our City quickly. Our hospital has boat docking. Having a boat and motor along also makes exploring and fishing enjoyable.
  • Cleaning charge – if required. Our houseboats are supplied clean and we request you return them clean. We do not expect our guests to scrub floor or walls, but a general tidy-up ensuring dishes are clean and items are put away is expected. If cleaning charges are accessed: 44’ $175, 49’ $200, 58’ $275, 68’ $350

Hydrangea & Roses

ANNABELLE

A mounding shrub that grows 3-5 ft. high with a wide spread. In July, it produces huge (8-12in.) round heads of pure white blooms that remain attractive into September and can be cut for fresh or dried arrangements. Its small scale and summer flowering make it a good choice for the mixed border. Most gardeners cut the stems to the ground in late winter. New shoots emerge from the base and bloom the same summer.

BOMBSHELL

A dwarf form of Hydrangea paniculata comes as a surprise, a bombshell you might even say. Compact and well-branched, this 2-3ft mini is a mound of flowers midsummer to frost. Blossoms open white with a pink eye and gradually turn rosy. ‘Bombshell’ is an easy-to-grow, low maintenance shrub that will fit practically anywhere. Great for gardeners with small spaces. Blooms for 4 weeks or more, Good for Cut Flowers, Good for Dried Flowers.

ENDLESS SUMMER

First Big leaf Hydrangea to bloom on new and old wood! Another first – a Bigleaf Hydrangea plant with flowers that form on the current year’s growth as well as on old wood. Endless Summer® can bloom for more than six months in warm areas, especially if deadheaded regularly, and the flower heads – blue on acid soils, pink on alkaline – are up to 9in across. Unusually hardy as well. T Milder climates should see pretty consistent blooms until around Thanksgiving. Northerners will see full blooms for 3-4 months.

FIRE & ICE

Hot New Seller with Three Bloom Colors! It’s easy to see where this beauty got its name! Blooms start off creamy white in early summer, change to rose pink during in mid-summer and become a deep, rich red in autumn. Very heat and shade tolerant and can be grown in full sun, full shade, or anything in between! Upright variety grows 6-10′ tall and wide. An early bloomer for a H. paniculata variety. DO NOT remove old shoots until spring. Apply a mulch annually to protect from winter colds.

INCREDIBALL

Pumped up version of Annabelle. The standard for showy hydrangeas gets an incredible upgrade. Imagine massive balls of bloom a full 12-inches across! Blooms midsummer to fall, then displays gorgeous yellow fall foliage. An amazing improvement of the well-known Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, this Mophead has flower heads four times the size on sturdy stems that don’t flop. Blooms progress from lime green to white and back to green. Incrediball™ truly adds heft to bouquets, fresh or dried. A Proven Winners®/Color Choice® variety. Matures at 5 feet tall and wide.

INVINCIBELLE

The first Hydrangea arborescens that blooms pink — think of it as a pink version of the popular ‘Annabelle’. The flowers emerge dark, hot pink and mature to rich, clear pink. Plants bloom from summer until frost on new growth, and the dried flower “mops” remain decorative in winter. Hardy to Zone 3, so even harsh winters won’t stop it from flowering. Use Invincibelle™ Spirit as low-growing hedge or add it to borders and foundation plantings.

LIMELIGHT

The Limelight Hydrangea is a beautiful bush hydrangea plant that will bring amazing new colors to your garden. The leaves of this hydrangea are darker green and abundant. In the summer, large lime green blooms cover the bush completely. These blooms can measure up to 6-8 inches across. As the weather cools in the fall, the blooms make a stunning change in color to deep pink! Easy to grow, and very hardy, withstanding even the coldest winter temperatures. It requires very little or no care, growing well on its own in a wide range of climates and soils.

LITTLE LIME

The same refreshing color as ‘Limelight’, on a hardy shrub about one-third the size. Hydrangea paniculata Little Lime™ grows 3-5ft tall and produces large, tightly packed, green blossoms that turn shades of vintage-pink with cool weather. Flowers develop on the current year’s growth and will appear reliably year after year. A Proven Winners®/Color Choice® variety.

PEEGEE

PeeGee hydrangea is an old fashioned, fast growing shrub. It is especially noted for its huge display of blooms that flower during the summer, after most other shrubs have finished their bloom period. The PeeGee hydrangea is one of the largest growing shrub hydrangeas, reaching a height of twenty-five feet or more if not pruned. They prefer full to partial shade, and moderate watering during the growing season. Properly pruned, a PeeGee hydrangea will be equally striking in tree or shrub form.

PINK DIAMOND

The Pink Diamond Hydrangea Tree looks great anywhere. You can plant it near the corners of your home, in your garden, or pot it up as a patio plant. It’s a colorful addition to any aspect of your landscape! With pom-pom shaped flowers on top of green foliage, this tree is sure to stop traffic. The Pink Diamond Hydrangea Tree is easy to maintain, even for the novice gardener. It lends a pretty cottage look to any landscape and is usually heavily covered in blooms during its flowering season.

QUICK FIRE

Wow! It blooms so early, its hard to believe its in the pee gee family. A breakthrough, in that it blooms months earlier that older varieties, extending the bloom time and beauty from early summer thru autumn. Not only does this variety bloom early, its blooms change from white to a rich pinkish-red before other varieties even start to flower. A remarkable plant that is changing the way we garden. This is a very hardy selection that blooms reliably every year, no matter where you live or how you prune. Absolutely no fussing or guessing like with other.

TWIST-N-SHOUT

Like all plants in the Endless Summer® Collection, Twist-n-Shout produces abundant blooms on both old and new wood all summer long. Lacy deep-pink centers are surrounded by gorgeous blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue, depending on soil type. Sturdy red stems and glossy deep green leaves turn red-burgundy in fall to offer year-round interest in the garden. Easy to care for and hardy to zone 4, Twist-n-Shout is an elegant stand-alone specimen, dramatic in combination with other plants, and compact enough for containers.

VANILLA STRAWBERY

Twenty-eight plants were in the voting for top plant of 2010, and the American Nursery and Landscape Association announced the winner in late May: Hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Strawberry™ from Bailey Nurseries. This relative of the classic PeeGee Hydrangea produces large flower heads starting in midsummer. They begin creamy white but turn pink two weeks later and then become strawberry red or even burgundy, retaining that shade for about 3-4 weeks. New flower heads continue opening into late summer, so plants display all three color stages at any one time. Give this easy-care Hydrangea full sun to partial shade and average garden soil. It will grow 6-7 feet tall.

TARDIVA

The flowers are 6 inches long and it blooms well into fall. H. paniculata is a large growing, deciduous shrub or small tree that reaches a height of 15 feet to 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Form is upright and texture is coarse. Mid July flowers are white and turn pinkish to almost purple with age. Flowers are borne in panicles and may be 8 inches long. Thrives in rich, loamy soil that is moist, but well-drained. Does well in full sun or part shade. Flowers on new wood. It is most at home along the edge of a sunny wooded border or where the landscape is loose and informal.

FOREVER & EVER

Their ability to weather wintry conditions and still produce blooms each year means your garden will be gorgeous – Forever and Ever. A stunning red hydrangea with brilliant red blooms and burgundy-red strong stems. The large mophead flowers begin blooming red and then fade to shades of purple. Most remarkable, this new variety of hydrangea blooms on new growth. This means that it will reliably bloom even in the north and continue to bloom all summer until frost. Its compact size of only 30-36″ tall and wide makes it ideal for landscaping projects and shrub borders.

LETS DANCE MOONLIGHT

You’ll be the talk of the neighborhood with magnificent blooms that last from summer-fall. Let’s Dance Hydrangea series represents the next generation of reblooming hydrangeas. Don’t settle for dull drab Hydrangea flowers – this series kicks up the quality with vivid flower coloration and attractive, glossy foliage. The Let’s Dance series bloom on both new wood and old delivering seasons of flowers and lots of wow. Moonlight is a strong growing reblooming mophead hydrangea with exceptional flower color. Soil pH affects flower color. Good fall color.

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