Written by Michael Folsom
posted on June 13, 2012 20:05
Editor’s Note: On May 30, Michael Folsom published this message on his website Ship Watcher Blog. Michael is a regular contributor to TI Life. He is also one of the region’s greatest promoters. His main focus is The Ship Watcher, but this month as we go to press, his second Sailing Seaway Clayton weekend will take place from June 14-17 at Frink Park. This year he is welcoming the tall ship, Fair Jeanne. Congratulations Michael Folsom… As editor I thank you most sincerely for devoting so much time to sharing your river life with TI Life.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 [Favorite photographs from the past five years…]
On the evening of May 30, 2008 I was sitting in my family room at home. My wife turned to ask me what I was doing and I replied ''starting a blog." At 8:40 p.m. the first posting went live and The Ship Watcher was created.
The first posting read this "Buckle up... the ride is about to begin!!!"
That ride officially enters its fifth summer season today and it has been an interesting one at that. What originally began as a personal blog to jot down what I saw on the river or what I did while sitting at the Bonnie Castle Yacht Basin, quickly became something more, something different, something I didn't expect.
My passion for ships runs deep. My grandmother had a place in Cape Vincent and as a kid I recall sleeping in the front room of her trailer and hearing the thud of a ship come from behind Carleton Island. I would wake up and kneel on the couch, peeking out the window to see the ship make the turn around the island. Lights would flicker in the distance and they weren't windmills, but instead just the tiny channel markers leading the ship's way to the mouth of the lake.
I was hooked at a young age.
In the spring of 2008, my in-laws purchased a boat and planned to keep it in Alexandria Bay and spend weekends on it. My wife and I, prior to baby, would join them on a regular basis and my blogging expedition kicked into full gear.
At first, the blog was simply shared with family and friends and I quickly learned of outside readers. I was getting emails asking me questions or photos of vessels people wanted identified. My hobby of ship watching began to take a spin.
By that July I celebrated 1,000 site hits. I remember thinking how exciting that was. Now days we are progressing toward 500,000 and with readers from across the globe.
Since that first blog, I have gone on to interview an ESPN Bassmaster millionaire, hit TV series celebrity, various ship captains and crew members, and so much more. I broke news stories relating to the river before major regional media outlets - including the grounding of Algobay in 2010.
The blog has connected me with so many people I only used to read or hear about. I can say I am on the same team (at TI Life) as a great, well-known 1000 Islands photographer and author - Ian Coristine. I have gained the trust of community leaders, river advocates and industry leaders. Through the creation of this site and support from my wife and family, I have gained the courage to take a risk for the community I call my second home and build/create a weekend festival.
Because of all of this... I am proud to be known as "The Ship Watcher."
Thank you everyone!
By Michael Folsom
Michael Folsom is a regular contributor to TI Life. His work has been featured in other various outlets, including Thousand Islands Sun, Know Your Ships, Boatnerd.com and more. In addition, he is the creator and organizer of Sailing Seaway Clayton and currently serves in the role of Campaign/Public Relations Manager for the Lynx Educational Foundation and tall ship Lynx.