ERIE CANAL ADVENTURE: Crossing Lake Ontario

August 13, 2020

Story Location:
sacketts harbor, NY
United States

SACKETS HARBOR - We passed through the last lock of the Oswego Canal yesterday, in the city by the same name.  So far in this Erie Canal Adventure we have seen the insides and outsides of at least 30 different locks. 

Lake Ontario, infinite as an ocean, swept out in front of us.  A northwest wind blew in over night, from the far western reaches of the lake and Canada.  That long fetch gave the wind a chance to roil the lake’s waters.  A quartering sea tossed us around but also gave us a boost as we made our way northeasterly 30 miles toward the east end of the lake and the Thousand Islands that mark the entrance to the St. Lawrence River.

That river, where the French and British fought for a century, carries the outflowing waters from the Great Lakes eastward toward the Atlantic.  Like the many rivers that were locked and linked to create the upstate New York canal system, engineers for a developing continent also built locks in the St. Lawrence to create the St. Lawrence Seaway.  It connected the Great Lakes with the  Atlantic Ocean and continues as a vital transportation link for ocean-going vessels.

As we made our through the first islands at the end of Ontario, a hawk flew over providing a clear signal we had entered the north country.  Af first I thought eagle or osprey, but as it neared, the bright white band across the top of its tail read as clear as a billboard.  Northern harrier.  Marsh hawk.  We don’t usually see these elusive raptors arriving in our Delaware Cape Region for the winter until mid to late fall.

Was this harrier an early migrant or simply working its home territory?  Don’t know.

We made Sackets Harbor after noon, secured a slip in Navy Point Marina, walked the shady streets of this village that once served as home to one of the nation’s 19th century naval fleets, took a shower to remove a few days’ crust, and enjoyed the cooler temperatures brought along by that northwest wind. Today we plan to cruise deeper into the rocky islands and see what nature and humans have created here.

A few more photos from the past week.  Still trying to catch up. Thanks for reading, stay safe, spread a little love around, and keep in touch with one another.  

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