The Great Blue Heron Adventure

Decent Essays
The range of boating adventures I’ve experienced in the 1000 Islands is considerable. I recall one outing that continues to stand out, and I revisit it now as I fondly remember the captain of that occasion, William E. Browning III, who passed away in 2013. A small contingent of river rats including Browning and myself were enjoying an evening libation at the St James Hotel & Saloon when Bill said, “Tad, I have a group of bird watchers coming from Watertown tomorrow to see what will soon be the Ironsides Bird Sanctuary. I own this island and I’m going to gift it to the Nature Conservancy. Will you row my guests to shore in your skiff, Bobby, if I come get you in the morning?” Libation being the enemy of reason, I said, “Yes.” At ten the next morning on August 31, 1965 up the inside channel between Wauwinet and Cuba Islands came the Canadian with Bill at the helm, and along with him an entourage of bird watchers, who were preoccupied leafing through their Audubon manuals and polishing the lenses of their binoculars. Bill’s 42-foot Matthews cruiser was a classic of that wooden-cruiser period sporting a covered aft deck and a roomy main salon where the helm was located. In the bow was a well-appointed galley, a head, a table for dining or sleeping, and more bunks further forward. His nephew, Marc Aylesworth, had joined the party and he hooked the towrope to Bobby, and off we motored down the main channel six miles to Ironsides Island. This island marks the entrance to
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