A few interesting stories surfaced following last month’s image of Sister Island and its lighthouse. As always it’s difficult to choose a winner, but I think Susie Wood’s which recalls a memorable moment in the River’s history is worth spotlighting.
Three Sisters Lighthouse with Third Brother behind and Whale beyond. When I was a kid, the Royal yacht Britannia came through with Queen Elizabeth on board. We flew out from Chippewa Bay to admire the yacht and scout for the Queen. It was a windy day and there was a lot of chop from all of the onlookers. I remember looking over the side of my grandmother's Lyman off the head of Three Sisters to see a shoal "RIGHT THERE." (It is not visible in your photograph.) In the chop we were about to bounce on it, and visions of broken boards and flying splinters filled my head. I hollered and the helmsman roared ahead and avoided disaster. He positioned us on the US side of the channel after that, and we were rewarded with a sighting of the Queen. Much to my delight, the wind blew her skirt up.
Thanks Susie for sharing your memories of what must have been quite an event. We’ve all seen interesting watercraft on the River, but seeing the Britannia would have been exceptional, particularly with HRH on deck taking in the sights (while providing a few).
If you haven’t read the other responses from last month, check back because there were some interesting ones including Mary Alice Snetsinger’s. Mary Alice shared an historic photograph of Sister Island which I have no way of posting here, so Susie Smith will publish it in the December issue of TI Life Magazine which will be out on the 15th.
A couple of other notes about Sister Island. It always puzzled me that there seemed to be two names for this island, one of them seemingly used in earlier days, the other more commonly used today. I never understood if or why a change might have taken place.
Several years ago, a pencil sketch of the River drawn by an artist passing through in 1870 was offered for sale on eBay. I was very fortunate to win it. Four island scenes with one titled "The Three Sisters," clearly showed the newly constructed lighthouse on one tiny island, connected to two others via simple wooden bridges.
That prompted me to look carefully at some of my aerial photos which immediately revealed that these gaps had been filled; man-made causeways creating a single island out of three. You'll immediately see this if you look again at last month's image. Thus The Three Sisters became Sister Island. This fascinating historic sketch which also reveals other TI lighthouses no longer in existence will appear in December’s TI Life along with Mary Alice's photograph.
Worth relating too, is the story of capturing last month’s wallpaper image. Flying home just before sunset after a long foray and very low on fuel, I could see a freighter about five miles away heading my way. I happened to be passing Sister Island and was struck by the similarity of the shapes. I didn’t have enough fuel to wait in the air, so landed in the bay at the foot of Grenadier and waited, somewhat impatiently because the sun was very close to setting and the warm light would be gone if the ship didn’t get there soon.
Sunset held off just long enough and when the ship finally approached, I launched to get into position. It was critical that I not move in too soon because I wanted them precisely lined up and had no way of hovering. If I got it wrong, there wouldn’t be time to do a 360 for a second pass. As soon as I committed, I realized it was too soon, so I banked into a couple of very steep turns trying to mark time in place.
By this time, the post 9/11 hysteria was well underway and I could just imagine the captain on his radio calling Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and who knows who else, reporting an airplane very low, making aggressive maneuvers and approaching his ship. Regardless, I leveled out just in time and this shot was the result. Fortunately, no handcuffs resulted.
As Christmas is coming, I thought it appropriate that this month I should share a Christmas tree - Thousand Islands style. In order to win a set of 8 x 10 prints, you’ll need to share the best TI Christmas story which it brings to mind. If you can, please also try to identify where this picture was taken. Don’t think you don’t know it. I’m quite certain most of you are familiar with it.
With Christmas in mind, please don’t let it wait too long if you’re planning on ordering books or prints to put under the tree. Inevitably, many rush orders come at the last moment, but there’s nothing I can do to rush the postal service and cross border mail is slow at the best of times.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays,
Rich Calabrese, Jr posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011
Dave Fownes, Montreal, QC posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011
Cary Childs posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011
posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011
posted on: Saturday, January 01, 2011