Happy Summer Boating In Muskoka – It’s Finally Here!


My coffee always seems to taste better at the cottage – Chris Bullen

TODAY WE ARE CELEBRATING the unofficial beginning of the classic boating season in Ontario, Canada by featuring a few great aerial photos courtesy of fellow Woody Boaters Julie & Chris Bullen.

They were at their home-away-from-home on Lake Muskoka last weekend and brought the drone along for a test flight just before sunset. In his e-mail Chris notes – “My coffee always seems to taste better at the cottage…”


Julie & Chris launched the drone from the engine hatch of their 1940s WJ Johnson triple just in time to snap some classic boating “selfies” at sunset.

Texx – We finally made it to the lake today. We just had to spend the weekend away after a long, cold winter in southern Ontario. A couple of hours north of the greater Toronto area is Muskoka – one of the most beautiful and certainly one of the most historic boating areas in Canada.

Our old 1940s WJ Johnson was set into the lake at noon to soak-up a bit. By sunset she was not continuously pumping water anymore so we could not resist a sunset cruise. We hopped in and launched the drone from the engine hatch and took a few “selfies”.


This is Lake Muskoka near Bala, Ontario. Scottish-born Thomas Burgess named the community of Bala after the Bala Lake District in Wales. He arrived in 1868 and set up a sawmill on the Mill Stream. In time he also opened a general store, bakeshop, blacksmith shop and supply boat service and post office.


Lake Muskoka sits on the southern tip of the Canadian Shield which offers some breathtaking views from the lake – or from the air as you can see here.

Is the old 1940s WJ Johnson triple actually out-running the drone here? I guess that would be a bad toy to own if you had a poor short-term memory! – Texx


Morris Island is where Woody Boater HQ will be located during the 35th Annual Toronto ACBS Summer Boat Show – July 11th. Our cottage is the middle one. My son pulling up in our 1988 Century Coronado; Bother-in-law to the right; sister-in-law to the left.

I hope that this says come to our boat show on July 11 and see more of our wonderful lake, people, boats and surrounding area. “Happy Summer Boating on Muskoka – It’s Finally Here!”

Julie and Chris Bullen


Thanks to Julie & Chris for sharing their photos and story with us today. I have to admit that these days we don’t hear people mention that they have to first soak-up the triple in the spring before heading out for a sunset cruise. It’s refreshing to hear…

This year the Toronto Chapter ACBS is featuring the legendary Dispro boats as part of their huge annual event at the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst. The Disappearing Propeller (Dispro) boats are as much a part of the landscape and history of Muskoka as the Canadian Shield itself.

For more information on the show you can check out the impressive Toronto Chapter website by Clicking Here.

The question for today – “Does your coffee taste better at the cottage or on the lake in your favorite classic boat?” Let us know, we are taking a non-scientific survey of classic boaters today.


26 replies
  1. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Everything tastes better at the lake!
    Earlier this spring a local drone operator visited us on Raccoon Island. She need a unique shot taken by a drone in New Jersey. We decided to try our 1933 Old Town canoe. He photo appeared in Forbes.com. GlideByJJ will return with her drone this summer yo shoot the Chris Craft.

  2. Chris B
    Chris B says:

    That W.J. Johnson has to soak up as “Gastby” is 90% original which sounds great until the day we have to put a new bottom on her. but for now she is still going as she started. She has a new transom as the kids that inherited the boat from the original owner tried to put a 8cyl with dual exhaust to get more speed out off the displacement hull. she has her 6cyl Chrysler back in with a new transom with only one exhaust hole.

  3. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    One more showing our end of the Island and video link.

    Beautiful views of my favorite lake in Canada today!

  4. Rich
    Rich says:

    Looks beautiful. Calling in sick today and think I will head up there. Put on another coffee!

  5. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Muskoka is one of the most beautiful lakes that I have been on, with an endless number of knock out homes and boathouses. We really enjoyed the WoodyBoater cruise two years ago that was so capably led by Chris Bullen. Alert navigation is a must due to the islands and shoals that can be a little intimidating to one not familiar with this wonderful lake.

  6. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    Very cool stuff! Love the drone shots.

    Actually Texx I drink green tea in the morning and like Bob said it always tastes better at the lake (in the camp or on the boat). Tastes damn good on the ocean in a cruiser too! 🙂

  7. Phillip Jones
    Phillip Jones says:

    Julie & Chris, I can hardly wait till July 5 to load the Shepherd up for her first time return to her native home after a four year rebirth. Look forward to meeting you guy’s there. We are coming from Virginia.

  8. Alex
    Alex says:

    Try Navajo Tea, Troy. Delicious stuff.

    I don’t have a drone, but I do have two teenagers. As a result, there’s plenty of droning.

  9. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I’m waiting for the mug I won to get here and try it out. My current favorite mug looks out of place on the water. In the mean time it’s best on the front porch watching the world go by.

  10. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    That is another trip on my list. Not likely to happen until the offspring are all grown up.

  11. Bill Hammond
    Bill Hammond says:

    I have to believe that nothing can compare to waking up in your comfortable berth after a night of waves gently lapping at your hull to the first rays of light streaming through the portholes. Then putting on the coffee pot while you go out into your aft cockpit and perhaps take a quick dip to get those sleepies out of your eyes. Coming back on deck, pouring that delicious smelling first mug of steaming hot java! Now THAT’S the life!! Anything short of that, well……you’re just missin’ the boat!!

  12. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Muskoka’s connection to Lake Rosseau and Joseph make it one of the best boating areas in North America. As Greg L said better have a lake map or follow someone who knows the area. There are navigation markers all over but if you wander off watch out. Slipped up there last fall and stopped to shoot Bala Falls which empties Muskoka into the Moon River and eventually Georgian Bay.

  13. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    Thanks so much for posting the photos and story. We really need to take our Greavette home to Gravenhurst, but finding the time is a challenge. The annual show is always on a busy business week. Still trying to find out about Mr. W.H. Burgess, the initial owner of our 20′ runabout.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      KW – Let’s write a short story about your Greavette and her connection to Mr. W.H. Burgess and see what happens. As you know – the power of the Internet / Woody Boater / boating community can produce amazing results.

      Last month the Grandson of the man who originally bought my 1952 Chris-Craft Riviera (Cyclone) contacted me with info and old family photos of the boat. All because of a story on Woody Boater from 2012. – Texx

      • Kentucky Wonder
        Kentucky Wonder says:

        The Headhunters….Never had the opportunity to meet them. They are from an area a couple hours drive from me. I HAVE met Col. Harland Sanders on a couple of occasions way back in the day. From my town, the known names include Darrell and Michael Waltrip of NASCAR fame, Johnny Depp the actor (his grandmother’s house is across the street from me), and a number of second-tier football and basketball stars. We also claim actress Florence Henderson, even though she is technically from across the Ohio River. If Texx ever visits, I have promised to show him the Hayden house, home to the motorcycle racing brothers currently in the World and US Moto GP.

        • Tim Davis
          Tim Davis says:

          The Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst has information on many Greavette boats, If your hull number is 20-49-2 then they state this boat was originally sold by Greavette’s to W. H. Burgess of Chicago in May of 49 for $3568.32. The two entries in the Greavette records for this boat do not mention her being a Sheerliner. Any information you can add would be welcome. Tim

          • Kentucky Wonder
            Kentucky Wonder says:

            Tim, you are correct. Our boat is a runabout, not a Sheerliner as it was advertised before we purchased it. In fact, it seems very similar to John and Mary Storey’s boat. I think the hull may be the 20′ design by Leonard Barnes, and used for many variations in the early 1950s – utilities, runabouts, sedans, etc.

            The address listed for W.H. Burgess in Chicago was that of a high-end lakeside condominium building attached to a toney hotel. Evidently, the hot spot to be in the 1940s! Was going great until a road got built between the buildings and the beach.

            Still trying to figure out if W.H. is related to Fred Burgess, who owned Curlew and several Ditchburns before that.

  14. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks KW – That would be awesome!

    Nicky Hayden (also known as “The Kentucky Kid”) is one of three motorcycle road racing brothers (Tommy, Nicky & Roger Lee) that burst on the professional road racing scene in 2008/09.

    Nicky Hayden won the AMA Superbike Championship on a factory Honda in 2002, which included a win at the (then) prestigious Daytona 200.

    In 2003 Nicky was elevated to the World Championship MotoGP series riding a works Honda. Now on a world stage – racing against the best riders in the world – after a hard fought battle, Nicky Hayden won 2006 World Championship. After a brief 2 year stint with works Ducati, Nicky (now 33 years-old) continues to compete in the MotoGP series riding a Honda.

    Both brothers (Tommy and Roger Lee) have competed successfully on the US AMA circuit. Roger Lee (Nicky’s younger brother) won the 2007 AMA Supersport Championship and continues to race up front in the newly formed MotoAmerica Race Series on a factory Yoshimura Suzuki superbike.

    The series is racing at Road America at Elkhart Lake, WI this weekend. – Texx

    (A photo of Nicky Hayden on his factory Ducati MotoGP bike)

Comments are closed.