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‘Tour Boats’ Category

  1. 1000 Islands Tours – American Boat Line Neptune upgrade

    June 18, 2017 by Mike

    More information on the ex – 1000 Islands tour boat “Neptune”

    Since my previous article about the former American Boat Line “Neptune”  (once one of the a primary 1000 Islands tours fleet vessels with the American Boat Line out of Clayton, New York), I’ve discovered she’s more recently been part of Ft Lauderdale’s water taxi fleet as “Island Adventure”, and has undergone some further renovation!

    Half a century old, and still worthy of earning a living

    According to the water taxi website, the Captain’s Log says “So, why rebuild a 51 year old boat? The answer is simple…she has “good bones”  …  she needs a new lease on life and is going through a much-deserved keel to mast, stem to stern overhaul”.

    Apparently since her 1000 Islands tours days, she’s had a few different paint schemes !

    Boston Harbor Cruises

    What caught my eye from the Boston Harbor Cruises website: the unmistakable hull lines!

    and three more from recent times:

    1000 Islands' former ABL Neptune, now Ft Lauderdale Water Taxi

    Former ABL “Neptune” circa 2013

     

    1000 Islands' former ABL Neptune, now Ft Lauderdale Water Taxi

    1000 Islands’ former ABL Neptune, now Ft Lauderdale Water Taxi  circa 2015

     

    1000 Islands Tours former ABL Neptune

    1000 Islands’ former ABL Neptune, now Ft Lauderdale Water Taxi  circa 2015

    You can see more about her Florida journey here

    Here’s a look at her in Boston Harbor:

    When she was part of the tour fleet at Boston’s Best Tours, I had a chance to go on board for a memorable tour – same “good bones” I recall as a kid when she was the Neptune.

     

     

    So – What do you  know about this tour boat?

    Let me know by commenting below, I’d love to hear from you!

     

    Mike

     


  2. 1000 Islands Cruise – an interview with an American Adonis crewmember

    October 1, 2016 by Mike

    1000 Islands Tour Boats American Adonis - JWK Collection(Photo used with permission from the “J.W. King Photography Collection” and supplied for use by Tom King)

    A 1000 Islands cruise is a great getaway.  The vessels have changed over the years, but the fun hasn’t.  I’ve posted before about my fascination with the old American Boat Line 1000 Islands tour boats: Adonis, Venus, and Neptune.  The former was the first double decker in the line, made of wood, some confirmation that she was built on a PT boat hull, and downright nice looking!  Recently, I got in touch with Tom (Twitter handle @tbogie52), who answered a few 1000 Islands trivia questions I tweeted, and found out he was a crewman for one season on the original Adonis.  So we got to trading questions and answers, and I learned a few new things about the Adonis.  Let me share them with you: (more…)


  3. 1000 Islands Tour Boats of decades ago – where are they now?

    February 28, 2014 by Mike

    1000 Islands tour boats

    American Boat Line Logo 1963 1972 postcard

    American Boat Line logos from 1963, 1972, and all three aluminum hulls on a vintage postcard

    The American Adonis, Venus, Neptune, and Adonis II.  Do these old American Boat Line 1000 Islands tour boats still exist?  That’s a question I’ve asked myself many times, and started looking into last year.  I finally have an answer. Before we get underway, I tweeted a few times since last summer that I was almost done with this post.  It took a lot longer to complete than planned since every time I thought I was done, some new information popped up.  Anyway, I’m glad you hung in there for this one, because it’s pretty epic and leads to some great finds if you’re fans of those fine boats.

    My search led down a number of different paths, including phone calls, emails, Google, and personal transportation!  Along the way I pretty well confirmed a rumor that (more…)


  4. What’s in a Wordle?

    May 24, 2013 by Mike

    Ever wonder what’s in a blog?  The focus can change based on what’s been posted over time.  For example, a year ago, this was the word cloud I built from wordle.net based on the content associated with this site:

    Blog wordcloud 2012   1000islandssteelking.com

    Blog wordcloud from 2012 1000islandssteelking.com

     

    Just recently, I produced another word cloud and got this result:

    word cloud 2013 1000islandssteelking.com

    Blog wordcloud from 2013 1000islandssteelking.com

     

    It’s pretty interesting, but what does it mean?  When I started this blog, my intent was to highlight the Steel King boat I grew up on in the 1000 Islands during the 1960’s on Calumet Island.  It still is a main focus as I discover more about the heritage of this boat line from Grafton Boat Works.  However, I realized as I started blogging that what made those days special was not only the Steel King, but Calumet Island and the 1000 Islands region I was so familiar with.  The sights I saw, the sounds I heard, the fish, the waves, the wind, the weather, swimming, dreaming.  So in the second wordle word cloud you can see large text representing that content shift; words like “islands”, “American” and “Adonis” (the ABL tour boat), “Clayton”, “Calumet”.  In the future when I run another word cloud I suspect it will be populated by even more terms that represent the beautiful 1000 Islands.  That’s what I miss.  The boat was the way to be there and see it with my family as my brother and I grew up.  The region is timeless.

    I’m not doing this blog for huge audiences or from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, but for the love of boating in the 1000 Islands.  If you have any questions about the Clayton, Alex Bay area or Steel King boats I’d love to hear from you.  Also feel free to follow me on Twitter (see the button at the top of the page or the Twitter Timeline on the sidebar).

    I hope you’re having a great pre-summer and enjoying some of what the 1000 Islands area has to offer!

    Mike

     


  5. Scenic Cruises; The fine craft of the American Boat Line

    July 3, 2012 by Mike

    1960’s… hula hoops, muscle cars, the twist, the new St Lawrence Seaway, scenic cruise boat tours.  Well, certainly more than that, but boat tours sticks out in my mind today, and in particular the tour boats of the American Boat Line.  Early in my decade of childhood visits to Clayton, I was placed aboard a wooden double decker, the American Adonis, for a scenic cruise.

    1000 Islands American Adonis from my old postcard

    1000 Islands American Adonis from an old postcard we bought in the 60’s

    I remember well the captain slowing her to a near stop as the tour guide asked us to look carefully over the side to see the line painted under the water, marking the boundary between the US and Canada.  I was quite frustrated that I couldn’t see it, and a double check with my brother and Mom confirmed it must have been really tough to spot!

    A few more tour-years on the Adonis and we were greeted with the announcement that coming soon would be an all-new aluminum double decker – the American Venus!  Wow, I could not wait.  Remember – this was at the heart of the space age and anything shiny, new, and made of metal was one step above anything else.  The next season arrived and we logged another tour from Clayton to Gananoque and return – this time in double-deck aluminum splendor!  I still held a fondness for the wooden Adonis and, fishing off Grindstone island most weekends, we could spot them both from across the river as they headed out on schedule.  Eventually their wake would make it to us, though quite small compared to the huge tsunamis they seemed like when a 10 year old and his brother viewed them close up.  The gentle rocking of our Steel King brought a comforting reminder that all was well, timetables were being met, and people were out having a great day courtesy of the American Boat Line.

    Time passed slowly in those days, plenty of time to marvel about this new metal wonderboat, and then as if you got an extra present after all your birthday gifts were unwrapped, word of a second aluminum ABL vessel hit – coming soon, the American Neptune!  Oh gosh, I’d have to wait until NEXT boating season to see this.  Fall…. winter…. spring…. finally summer.  Clayton, Calumet Island, the river.  There she was!  Wow, pretty much like the Venus; only shinier and newer.  I gotta get a ride on that one!  Eventually I did.

    Nearer to the mainland, I also loved the single-deck wooden boats from Uncle Sam’s fleet, and when venturing across the border to Canadian waters, admired the Canadian Boat Line’s wooden beauties.  It was the big ABL boats that drew my attention though, and on several occasions while seated by the window at the old McCormick’s Restaurant, the familiar blast from the tour boat’s horn warned of departure and foreshadowed the start of another tour run as happy people on the upper deck passed by “my” restaurant window.

    Then one day the island visits stopped as life moved on and my father had to sell his boat.  Memories linger, though, and another decade later I managed a trip to Clayton.  Darn if the tours weren’t still running!  One more chance to ride my favorite, and this time get a picture up by the wheel!! (I wanted to be a tour boat captain for ABL when I grew up, so having that picture morphed childhood fantasy with grown-up reality).  I seem to recall the boats were part of Gray Line Tours at that time, and have read in articles at the Thousand Islands Life website that a company named International Boat Tours also played a part in their history.  Apparently there was a third practically identical aluminum boat – the American Adonis II, but I never got the chance to see her.  They’re gone now but not forgotten.  I read that one was in the Boston area about 20 years ago, and another in Florida, but the trail thins out.  I’d love to figure it out one day and see if Adonis/Adonis II, Venus, or Neptune still exist.  I could still be a double-decker tourboat captain for a day!  It could happen.

    For some details on these tour boats, see my Tour Boats page – and I’d like to thank the “Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Bowling Green State University” for permission to use data from their extensive database for this post.  They have a wonderful searchable website!

    American Adonis: built 1943, 61 feet

    American Venus: built 1960, 64 feet

    American Neptune: built 1964, 64 feet

    American Adonis II: built 1972, 64 feet

    The 1000 Islands’ American Boat Line double-deckers… gone but not forgotten!  <– click to tweet this!