Wallpaper March 2009

Wallpaper March 2009

Whenever I think I've succeeded in finding an image that is obscure enough or from a sufficiently different perspective to escape detection, I'm always amazed when several correct responses inevitably surface. Such is the case with last month's image which also produced some interesting stories, making the decision a tough one. Dave Montrois takes it by a whisker for sharing this:

Last Month's wallpaper

Great shot, Ian. You made me think about this one for a little bit. I could tell it's an area with wide open water, because there is a sailboat up there. I don't think there is a similar shot in any of your books. This is a shot looking over Huckleberry at the cut between Thwartway and Juniper. It's a beautiful spot to anchor in a prevailing wind, and you always see cruisers and sailboats there on the weekend. I've got a story for you on this one.

Before you were flying here, I was flying here. Starting in the summer of 1973, my friend, Dave Inglehart and I flew a Delta Wing hang glider that we towed behind my ski boat. We usually used a 450 foot tow line, which would get us to an altitude of about 350 feet. We were addicted to altitude and sometimes used a 750 foot line. (Remember, all we could see when we looked down was our bare feet, no cockpit or controls).

On the day relevant to these islands we left Dave's house in the Lake of the Isles and headed toward Rockport and up the Canadian channel. I remember being higher than the Canadian Span of the bridge, and had to dive underneath it while cars stopped and people got out to take pictures. We continued through Fiddlers Elbow, past Wellesley and through the Gananoque Narrows to Gan.

Apparently, while we were passing Gananoque, a couple of alert O.P.P. officers saw us "skiing" without an observer and followed us. Nobody was crazy enough to want to spend as much time in the boat as we did, so we usually were without an observer. We did try a styrofoam head with a wig stuck on a broomstick, but it didn't work that well. Hey, nobody said we were smart. We turned to head toward Grindstone when I landed the kite right on the backside of Juniper, so Dave could get in it and fly it home, when then O.P.P. came along side.

They weren't too happy about us flaunting the law, and were making a big deal of it. We were just out for a flight and didn't have any money with us to pay a fine, so they had to figure out what to do with us. Confiscating the boat and taking us to jail was a possibility. After talking with them for awhile, they decided to write us a citation, and let us go on our word that we would return to face the music in front of the judge in Gan. I guess they didn't know us very well. Nobody that did would have trusted us.

We did return for our court date a couple of weeks later, however. The officers were in the courtroom, and seemed surprised when we walked in. When my turn came to go before the judge, he asked "What makes you think you don't need an observer when the law says you need one?" I answered "Well, experience, your honor". He then said "Well chalk this up to experience. Pay the clerk $100!". We paid our debt to society, chatted with the officers, and were on our way. No sense having the O.P.P. mad at you, never know when you might meet again.

- Dave Montrois Tallahassee, Florida & Clayton, NY

Let's see how well you make out with this image for March. With my web guru Mike Cox' urging, we're going to try offering you the screensaver in sizes for your phone as well as your computer. For now it's a trial, but if they prove popular they may become a regular feature. We have also discontinued the middle-sized wallpaper as the larger size will do the job for all wide-screen monitors.


Ian Coristine

Wallpaper March 2009

Download wide-angle version


This is a shot of Huckleberry and Juniper off the north tip of Leek (Thwartway), taken looking towards the west. The gap between Juniper and Leek is still a place to get my heart rate up...my grandfather, bless his soul, was probably the worst boatman I've ever encountered on the river. (Although he was sure to tell you otherwise!) He was always cutting channel markers on the inside, to save a minute or two, or just to show off. So this cut between Juniper and Leek was always a personal challenge to him. Fortunately, we only came this way a few times a year, on our way to the north bay on Leek's west side for shore dinners. Great surf, and wonderful sand bottom--we'd set up a volleyball net in the surf, and cook our dinner over an open fire--steaks and fresh-dug scalloped potatoes and fire-roasted sweet corn. Anyway, the cut between the islands is very shallow, but "Bampy" would always go through--so what if it was a low water year! A few times we'd bottom out, and the Chief would need some "undercarriage" repairs. Bampy went through a lot of shaft bearings during his illustrious career. He was always cautioning us about the rocks and shoals, but he hit more of them than all the rest of us combined! I would always start getting nervous about this time, because it was always my job to throw the anchor when we got to the bay. The Chief had a tiny, high bow deck, with no room to maneuver the huge Herreshof anchor Bampy insisted we use. It was over four feet tall, and it was completely useless for holding in the sand. So even if I managed to get it overboard in the exact place Bampy wanted it (an impossible challenge!), it would ALWAYS drag, putting the Chief perilously close to the rocks. So guess who was always assigned the task of re-boarding her (in the chaotic high surf!), and trying to secure her in the anchorage? After all, it was my fault because I hadn't thrown it properly! Despite all my concerns, I still loved our shore dinner adventures, and I still love telling our family stories about our wonderful times in this particular spot. Thanks for bringing them back to me on this gray winter's day...warm thoughts to warm my soul!

Scott Ritson posted on: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This is a view looking southwest with Huckleberry Island in the foreground, Juniper Island further west and the north edge of Thwartway (Leek) Island. Many boats anchor east of Huckleberry in the "flats" for protection from the prevailing west/southwest winds. It is also a great location to fish for bass, pike and muskie. The water north of the islands is the Forty Acre Shoal, another great fishing area. This is also near the location where the world record "catch and release" Muskie that was 57 inches long, had a 33 inch waist and an estimated weight of 65.25 pounds. It was caught in November 2008 by Dale MacNair of Ottawa who was fishing with Sal Rotolo of Gananoque.Thanks for letting us see your great photos.

Dan Spencer posted on: Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm sorry not to have any stories to share but am guessing this is looking west at Huckleberry Island with Juniper Island in the background. I zip through here on my way from Gan to our cottage on DeathDealer Island. Love the photos.

Gregory Davies, MD Professor and Chair, Maternal-F posted on: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boy Ian this a tough one. But I believe this is a shot of the upriver side of Leek Island. Huckleberry Island is in the foreground with Juniper Island just off the tip of Leek. After crossing the lake from Rochester we would always anchor for the night in the small bay on the Grindstone side of Leek. My wife & I always enjoyed going over to the swimming area in our Zodiac and touring the surrounding Islands.Thanks, it's been great fun.

Bill Johnson posted on: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What a beautiful shot! In summer, the water through those Islands looks the same color as a glacier lake, a beautiful teal-blue. Its so cold and inviting. Thanks for sharing Ian.

Erin Thibault Morphy posted on: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I really could not detemine the location without peeking at the other comments above. I did use Google Earth to zoom in on the location. It is the first time that I have used that function to view the Islands. If you get the chance, take a look. It is really fun!

Mary Crawford posted on: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I believe this is taken from the air just east of Oriental island, in the Brockville Narrows looking Southwest. On the right are Smith, xx, Harvey isalnd and it looks up into McDonald Bay. The river continues up past Fernbank, Needles Eye and Hillcrest into Molly's Gut hidden by the trees. In the distance on the centre-right one can see the "five mile light" and the range light off Brockmere Cliffs.The first island on the left I believe is Refugee, followed by a number of the Brock group of Islands named after British Generals from the nineteenth century.I really did not realize how winding the shipping channel was along here. In a power boat on the river it seems just a straight run up the channel on the return from Ice cream in Tunnel Bay after dinner.Summer will soon be here and the boats will be launched once again.

Peter Rutherford posted on: Friday, April 11, 2014

Hi Ian- That is my cousin up there- Scott Ritson! Great report, Scott! There are more of us, Ian- Axemaniacs all. We were so blessed it is almost beyond imagining- invited yearly from age one year (and on) to spend entire summers on an island in Canada! All meals, boat rides, swimming, sailing, et al, included. Yikes! Such an invitation extending out a lifetime! Thank you Nana and Bampy Breyer. Thank you - Thank you - Thank you!

Jack Patterson posted on: Friday, April 11, 2014

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One afternoon at a book signing, a lady shared with me a profound statement. "The River chooses some". Those of us who were chosen, spend winters longing to get back. To help my winter longings and yours too, each winter month I enjoy sharing a computer screensaver image to help infuse a little summer warmth into your day. I also outline the latest additions to ThousandIslandsLife.com online magazine. If you would like to receive these images and updates, please add your email address to the notification list using the form below. It will not be shared elsewhere.