Ariadne’s Death - some of the most exciting ship wrecks and rescues of the last 150 years on Lake Ontario.
From the tragic ends of several family owned cargo schooners of the nineteenth century to the improbable outcome of a fishing trip on Lake Ontario taken in 2002, Gateley’s newest book chronicles a variety of maritime disasters, acts of heroism, and near misses. Shipwrecks, the result of bad luck, bad management, or some combination of the two, were an all too common event on Lake Ontario in the 19th and early 20th century. In this collection you’ll read of the unfortunate end of the schooner Ariadne and the difficult death of the Noyes, both destroyed by winter gales. Steamers, too, were at risk as the story of the Quinte’s end by fire and the Lady of the Lakes’ close call show. The book also describes mishaps that occurred at the port of Oswego, the most lethal harbor for old sailing ships on the lake for a number of years, and ends on a lighter note with tall tales from the past and a couple of really close calls from the twenty first century.
Captain Horatio Nelson Throop, a hero who died in bed, the mysterious Captain Smith who vanished after his ship sank, a modern day ghost yacht found mysteriously abandoned and the heroic beer cooler will keep you turning the pages of this latest offering from Skipper Sue.
96 pages with bibliography of Great Lakes reading, websites, and photos available
read excerpts from this book at the log on line
cost $9.50 plus $2.00 postage
order from www.chimneybluff.com or directly
from the author 12025 Delling Rd Wolcott NY 14590 315 594 1906
“Ariadne” and my other titles are also on sale at Fair Haven Gifts, The Sodus Point Light House museum shop Greece Historical Society, Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor ,the Rivers End Books Store in Oswego , Yankee Peddler Books in Rochester, The Map Shop in Pittsford, the Book Nook in Wolcott, and at other independent books stores throughout the region.
For whole sale orders contact me at email@example.com
The Edge Walker's Guide to Lake Ontario Beach Combing Our Best Seller -a guide to two dozen public beaches, parks and wildlife management areas between Rochester and Watertown 160 pages full color cover, 37 black and white photos, maps and directions. This work covers shoreline between Rochester and Watertown also contains chapters on lake shore geology, marshes, wildlife and birds
$17.50 includes shipping and tax scroll down for more or click here
The Beach Comber Blog Visit here to see what washed up this week
Mysterious mirages and UFOs are still occasionally part of the Lake Ontario landscape, but it has been many years since a sea monster has been reported here. Yet strange beasts were sighted frequently in both salt and freshwater in the nineteenth century and they came in about as much variation of type and style as today's UFO.
One salt-water sighting reported by an east coast angler in the late 19th century was of a beast that was 80 feet long which spouted blue flames from two horn like structures near the center of its head. Others reported seeing huge serpents that swam at astonishing speeds, or what appeared to be gigantic octopi. Lake Champlain¹s beast was seen a number of times in the late 1800s and is still occasionally reported and at least a half dozen other lakes in North America have been said to contain large, possibly dangerous beasts of an unknown species.
The prime habitat of these North American lake monsters seems to be deep, cold-water lakes. Flat Head Lake, Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, and Lake Memphremagog in Quebec all claim a history of monster sightings dating back to Native American stories. There are also a number of Iroquois tales from Ontario¹s shores that involve huge horned serpents and other large water beasts such as giant slug like creatures said to live at the bottom of a number of smaller lakes in upstate NY.
One wonders, with so many stories of such a widespread nature, could some of these tales have been founded on actual sightings? There is a tendency in our western tradition with its written records to dismiss Indian legends based on oral history as being unreliable. Yet some of the Indian tales appear to preserve detailed and accurate information for hundreds of years. When Champlain met with tribes on the St. Lawrence in the 1600's he found the tribes "remembered" Cartier's visit nearly a century before and gave accounts of trading for steel tools and of eating hard tack and drinking red wine with him then.(The story tellers recounted the red wine as being blood).
The Jesuit chronicler Pierre Charlevoix also records in the 1700's an Indian tale of a giant "elk" with long reddish hair and legs so long it could walk easily through deep snow. This "elk" was also said to have an arm somewhat like that of a man. Charlevoix's account reads in part "There is also a very diverting tradition among the Indians of a great elk, of such a monstrous size that the rest are like pismires in comparison of him; his legs say they, are so long that eight feet of snow are not the least incumbrance to him. His hide is proof against all manner of weapons, and he has a sort of arm proceeding from his shoulders which he uses as we do ours. He is always attended by a vast number of elks which form his court and which render him all the services he requires."Given the vagaries of translation and time, this sounds to me like a fair description of an ice age mastodon or mammoth, both of which were present in the Lake Ontario region within the last 3-to 4000 years when the first paleo Indians were also present and which moved in herds. So perhaps at least in the past, there were also strange beasts living in the lake's depths that were remembered in legend and story.
A number of early accounts describe Lake Ontario monsters as looking like giant serpents that swam very rapidly at the surface. Some of these undulating long snake like sea monster sightings might have a basis in fact. On a glassy calm day, an isolated bow or quarter wave generated by a distant steamer can travel many miles, and its dark ripple across the surface can look like a swimming creature.
I've been sailing several times with people who upon viewing such a wake for the first time expressed amazement that a mere wave could be so conspicuous and odd looking. In the 19th century, the lake also really did have a ³monster² fish of sorts, the sturgeon. These sluggish brown fish grew up to eight feet long and sometimes foraged in the lake¹s then clear shallows. They probably would have appeared considerably bigger underwater than they really were, especially if there were nothing else nearby to suggest a scale of size.
But what if there really is something more mysterious than a large species of fish in Lake Ontario¹s watery depths? During the last ice age, there was a period when the level of Lake Ontario¹s basin was well below that of present day. Salt water then reached up the river and filled the lake. At that time, the St. Lawrence was an arm of the sea and Lake Champlain, Ontario, and presumably, Lake Memphremagog in Quebec, were all filled with salt water. That so-called marine invasion left these lakes with several species that subsequently adapted to freshwater life and continued to thrive.
The original Atlantic salmon population, the deep water sculpin, and the little shrimp-like Mysis all originally were marine species. So perhaps a few plesiosaurs or an ichthyosaur or two also got trapped after the land rebounded from the weight of the glaciers and the lakes again became fresh. As in Lock Ness, we haven't yet proved they are here, but if they exist anywhere, they certainly could be here!
Some Lake Ontario "Mysteries" like the flying frogs and mirages aren't really so very mysterious though their explanations can be quite fascinating themselves). But there are true mysteries too on this sweet waters ea. No one has yet found that chest of gold reported lost near Main Duck Island in the 1760's. And no one has totally unraveled the mystery of how Lake Ontario's eels navigate thousands of miles back to the Sargasso Sea at the end of their lives. Where do lucky rocks, those white banded black beach pebbles come from? And where do the lake's fall migrating dragon flies go each September? May true mysteries man-made and natural still remain on this inland sea.
This article was adapted from Susan P Gateley's book Mirages Monsters myths and Mysteries of Lake Ontario available from the author for $9.00 order from her firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweet Water, one reader remarked, is delightful and inspiring. Another remarked that reading it was like taking a journey with the author, a journey you wish wouldn't end. The book is enhanced by a selection of photos taken between 1900 and 1960 from Bill Huff's archives. If you want to order the 135 page paperback book with photos and artwork, the price is $19.00 including postage and tax. Quantities of this short run book are limited but it can be special ordered. Allow an additional 5 to 7 days on top of the 1-2 day shipping response.
Excerpt from Ariel's World Chapter 3
"A bootleggers story."
When the hungry smugglers got to Garden Island after a busy all
nighter, they decided to stop. "Let's go up and get some
breakfast and let Jackie watch the load. Breakfast was very slow.
They held us there a good hour. We had duck eggs, smoked Canadian
bacon and coffee. The coffee was terrible!"
"We got back to the boat and Mike said 'Let's get going'. We got just off Stony Point when we decided to check the load. Mike pulled back the tarp and said 'where's the whisky?'Then he wanted to throw Jackie over the side!"
"I figured Taylor was too dumb to be corrupt so I talked Mike out of it. What happened was that two girls came along after we'd gone to the restaurant and asked him if he wanted breakfast. He went along with them only he didn't go for breakfast!" Alas, explained Lee, while Jackie was VERY preoccupied with the girls, their conspirators took the whisky.
"Finally we got in at night and unloaded the boat and got the beer to our hidi ng place. Then we went down to the Businessman's Club [a local hangout] to deal. We sold the beer, tallied up, and came out with a couple hundred each. It was the first good beer to hit Oswego in a long time."
Leo decided to continue bootlegging with Mike, and the novices soon headed back to Ivy Lea for a second try. "We registered in Kingston, gave 'em twenty dollars, again - no questions asked. At that time there were easy forty or fifty boats a day running up and down the river with booze. We got our load, went down inside Simcoe and a big black boat pulled alongside with two shot guns pointed at us. They had Canadian Customs on their hats and we knew Customs had a big black boat. 'Any arms?' they asked. 'No', we said. 'Well, we won't seize your boat, but we gotta take your contraband'. Mike got to looking at them real close, meantime. One guy's hat didn't fit. It was right down over his ears.'You guys aren't customs!' he said. 'We'll make you a deal. You take the whisky and let us keep the beer.' So they did.
Back we went to Oswego, sold it, and made some money. But the next time Mike says 'Let's take the numbers off the boat. Maybe they'll think we're Canadians.' Canadian boats didn't have numbers on them back then." Leo then explained to my question that obviously the "tip" going to customs each visit was not sufficient to keep the word from getting passed along to the hijackers who obviously were paying Customs more than twenty dollars for their information.
To learn more about our mechanical and other sailing adventures on Lake Ontario order Ariel's World for some winter reading!
Introduction From The Edge Walker's Guide 140 pages 37 photos four color cover available directly from the author or purchase a copy at The Map Shop, Pittsford, Rivers End Books Oswego, The Book Shoppe, Medina, Yankee Peddler Books, Fair Haven Gift Shop, Dobbins Pharmacy, Lyons, The Sterling Nature Center Gift Shop, and at other museum gift shops along the lake shore
Over 80% of Lake Ontario's shoreline is in private hands. Access to the lake's waters is limited along much of the south shore, however, unspoiled natural areas do remain public and available for use. This book describes some of them. It is not a comprehensive or complete list of such places between Rochester and Henderson Harbor. Concerns about disturbances to sensitive areas prompted a couple of omissions, and there are surely public places along the south shore I haven't discovered yet.
Writing about your favorite places is a two edged sword. If more people learn about your favorites and come to treasure them as you do, this can only be good for the future of Lake Ontario. The lake needs involved caring citizens concerned about water diversions, land use issues, expanded lakeshore storage of radioactive waste and other environmental problems. But if too many tourists discover your favorite spot, its character can change forever. Still, a lot of the places in this book were paid for partly through your tax dollars. It only seems right that you should have information on access to them.
Some of the locations described are worth a half or even a whole day of exploring. Places like the eastern shore marshes or the Sterling Nature Center have miles of beach and upland trail to investigate. Others, like Mexico Point or Forman Park, are best combined with other nearby points of interest such as local museums and historic sites on or…. click here for more from the guide
Power Point Slides for Riddle of theLake
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