Photo © Ian Coristine/
 You are here:  Back Issues      Archive

Almost Being Here…

Editor's Note:  Ship watching is a popular hobby, but most of us are able to look out a window or sit on our verandahs and watch River travel pass.  In June, last year, TI Life’s Lynn McElfresh, from Grenell Island, provided her article, Ship!, which recognized a game played by many.  When Tara Hutson sent us this story we smiled.  What a great way to almost being here…

When I was a child my parents would send me to New York to stay with my family at Kring Point, east of Alexandria Bay. Since then I have always been interested in the Thousand Islands, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the variety of ships that pass each day. Their names, and countries of registration are of particular interest.

Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to make it to the river this past summer, but I found my own way to view the river and the ships when I discovered the various webcams on  I used that website plus  an online seaway map to see when ships would pass by Alexandria Bay and I decided to record each sighting and its country of registration.

I work at a library in Columbus, OH, and  I was able to minimize the webcams to a corner of my computer-monitor’s screen. When ships passed, I recorded the information in my notebook. I recorded all ships regardless if they were going up river or down river. Some of my co-workers thought I was “nuts”, but several were interested, mainly, in the flags the ships were flying.

I decided on two, self imposed, rules: I would only record data during daylight hours and I did not change my work schedule, or habits, to view ships. My library-customer’s needs always came first!

My first entry was the Avonborg, on 07 April, and the final was the Wilf Seymour on December 26th.

My total for the season was 346 ships. Canada led with 219. The Netherlands was 2nd with 20 ships, and then Cyprus with 18. CSL Niagara was the Canadian leader with 8 passes.

Including Canada and the Netherlands, the country total came to 20. Other registrations included Malta, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Hong Kong, Antigua, Bermuda, Liberia, Singapore, Norway, Panama, England, United States, Portugal, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Barbados, and Gibraltar. I also saw Tall Ships, Coast-Guard vessels, a ship from the Royal Canadian Navy and one from the U.S. military.

Although I would have much rather have viewed all of this from Kring Point myself, this was an interesting way for me to be there. I am already planning a two week vacation in 2012 and look forward to recording my ships in person.

By Tara Hutson

Tara Hutson lives in Columbus Ohio and works at the local library.   She is a graduate of Ohio Dominican University.  During her childhood her parents would send her to Kring Point for the summer where she had a perfect view of passing ships. Her ultimate dream is to find a way to live near the river year round.

A special thank you to Johnny Truesdell for having the website and to Michael Folsom and his website, for answering my many ship and seaway questions. I also thank my family for providing me many wonderful summers in the Thousand Islands.

Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Gregg German
Comment by: Gregg German ( )
Left at: 3:19 PM Thursday, March 15, 2012
Great article, Tara...FYI, the Town of Clayton has two River webcams also...just go to and look half-way down the home page on the right to view them. I use them when I'm stuck in California, longing to be on the River.
Peter Glazier
Comment by: Peter Glazier ( )
Left at: 9:38 AM Sunday, March 25, 2012
Another source for vessel movement is, everything you wanted to know about Great Lakes shipping. Click on the tab Vessel Passage and look for real time and zoom in to give a more accurate idea of whats in transit.