ERIE CANAL ADVENTURE: Buzzing islands in the St. Lawrence

August 17, 2020

Story Location:
Clayton, NY
United States

CLAYTON, NEW YORK - The harbor at Clayton, along the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York, started to quiet down Saturday evening. Bells spreading across the water and the town chimed the 6 o’clock hour. As far as I could tell the ringing came from the tall steeple of the town’s Roman Catholic Church.

The sounds put me in mind of St. Jude’s Catholic Church near Five Points.  Outside the Cape Gazette offices about a half-mile away, depending on the wind, I can occasionally hear bells broadcasting hymns over the Nassau village.  I like those sounds, especially the familiar songs.  Despite the old saying ‘familiarity breeds contempt,’ familiarity can also be comforting.

Back in Clayton, the bass fishermen competing in a weekend tourney had put their sleek, high-powered, low-profile and high tech boats to bed for the evening.  At least 20 teams were competing. They would be back the next morning, just after sunrise, for what felt like an Indianapolis 500 start, fanning out in all directions, many of them with rooster tails from the outboards following them.

I mentioned the tournament to Graham who was tied up next to the town dock where we tethered.  He was kind enough to take us to the grocery store several blocks away to buy ice.

“You should have seen this place two weeks ago,” he said.  “The bass masters elite tournament.  The winner took home $100,000. A Canadian. That created a lot of buzz along the waterfront.  ‘How come they can come into our waters but we can’t go into theirs?’”

Coronavirus and international politics.  

We anchored last night in a cove off of Lake of the Isles, long and narrow in the center of big Wellesley Island.  The US-Canada border divides Wellesley in half, the line running down the center of the lake, Canada 500 yards away from where we bobbed in 10 feet of water. We were warned by other boaters to stay on our side of the line unless we wanted to face stiff fines from Canadian border patrol officials. We complied, weren’t hassled, though border patrol vessels made a steady presence.

Here are a few photos from this neck of the woods, including Clayton.  

Keep the faith.  

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter