From the Editor, January 2024!

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2024

Note the exclamation point at the end of 2024! It is meant to emphasize that:
1. A new year has started.
2. Twenty-four years have gone by since we celebrated the turn of the century.
3. If it is January, the days are getting longer, and spring must be coming!

What great advice - Judy and David Orr, on Mudlunta Island, Admiralty Islands, were given a perfect gift to be ready for 2024.

Seaway Closed

January also marks the closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Mike Folsom, host of the Downbound Discussions Podcast, and founder of St. Lawrence Seaway Ship Watchers Network (with 83 K followers). Published this simple notice in early January. Yes, the 2023 season is over.

Several ship-watchers were able to catch the last of the ships, and Mike reminded everyone that the ships in the Seaway are gone, but the Great Lakes remain ice-free, and as long as they are, ships can make their way - sometimes with the help of an icebreaker.

So watch for March and the announcement of the 2024 season opening.

Yes, it is over. Mike Folsom posted this on January 5, 2024. 


One of the last ships to pass by was captured by Diane Davison Sleight. 
H. Todd Fenton caught the Algoma Conveyor, the last ship of the season as it went by Mariatown Ontario. (Near Morristown).

Sad News

My thanks to author Len Senecal for notifying me that Dennis Honeywell died on January 4, 2024, in Sarasota, FL. It was Dennis who introduced me to Len via email, and since that time, Dennis has often sent messages and commented on TI Life articles. He particularly liked Manley Rushos memories. One of the nicest comments I have received about the magazine was from Dennis, who said "Susan Smith, you make the Thousands Islands real ‘year round’ for those of us far away." Please refer to the official family obituary and see the many tributes.  Cary Brick's comment certainly sums up the meaning of River friendships; "Dennis and I were friends for more than 50 years. My wife, Janet, and I spoke with him just a few days before his passing. He was optimistic and looked forward to returning home to be with Barb. He was a wonderful guy – an icon of North Country broadcasting and a champion of the Thousand Islands . . . "

Save the River!

35th . . . Wow! How did that happen? I attended the 1st – and gee, as that old commercial went, "You've come a long way baby!" I was on the board of STR when the Muskie Release Program was created. I remember that we held an information meeting at the Gananoque Inn for fishing guides. I was worried that they would not be pleased, but it was just the opposite. The guides embraced the program and since then hundreds of fish – muskie and bass, have been returned so another fisherman can experience the thrill of landing ‘the big ones.’ I am so proud of you all.

Winter is beautiful in the Islands. Photo by Karen Beach

Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2024

You all know that this editor gets excited for every issue, and this month is no exception. I hope you will enjoy a new series by Sarah Bodine, niece of TI author John Keats – writing about a fish who looks forward to going "boying" in the St. Lawrence! I am sure both young and old will appreciate her work. You will marvel at Larry Asam's photography and Nora Detlor and Stephen Shay's artisan talents. On the serious side, we have Raymond Pfeiffer's book review, and on the history side, John Carter and Paul Cote's studious works. Also enjoy a tribute to River Hospital in Alex Bay by Wayne Strauss, and I have the privilege to invite you to an inspiring musical evening in Kingston – even if you can't attend, you can watch some amazing videos.


Please leave comments or questions or send them to me to post (there is a glitch using some web browsers.)

If you are on the River's edge, please take photos to let us see what Winter 2024 is like in the Thousand Islands. And if you are on a beach, please keep your camera in your pocket!

Stay safe and well!

By Susan W. Smith, Editor,

And the TI Life Team:
Elspeth Naismith is the "Real Editor"; Georgia Barker, Dane Zabriskie, and Rick Taylor are our proofreaders. In addition, Jennifer Caddick has taken over social media; Dan Mathias posts events; Beth Lavos is posting books; Marie-Anne Erki is our illustrator; and last but not least is Mike Cox, our IT Magician.

Header photo courtesy of Carol and Dane Zabriskie. "Mr. Fox comes for his regular visit."

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2024, From the editor, Photos, People, Places

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