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‘Tour Boats’ Category

  1. Thousand Islands Tour Boats of decades ago – where are they now?

    June 18, 2018 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


    Imagine if you could suddenly stumble upon some thing, some item, that holds fond memories for you, and then re-live some of those memories?

    Let me show you how that happened to me.

    Where are the old American Boat Line tour boats today? Click To Tweet

    Do you remember Clayton island tours aboard 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.  I finally have an answer.

    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…)

  2. 1000 Islands Tours – American Boat Line Neptune upgrade

    June 18, 2017 by Mike

    Thousand Islands Boating – 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


    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!




    [ctt template=”3″ link=”GJ4uf” via=”yes” ]Send this post on a tour! Please share it with your 1000 Islands friends![/ctt]

  3. 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…)

  4. Clayton Island Tours – Scenic Cruises on 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.  Or are they?

    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!