Lake Ontario, ON - Sarah Harmer | Great Lakes Guide
  • Watermark
    Lake Ontario, ON - Sarah Harmer

My Watermark is Lake Ontario.

It’s early morning and I board a small ferry that has been serviced at the industrial harbour of Hamilton. I am here as a guest of the captain and deckhand to keep them company for what will be a 20-hour journey across the width of Lake Ontario. We putt eastward at 8 knots, destination Wolfe Island, where the lake becomes the St. Lawrence River. For hours the Toronto skyline is in view on the north shore though we hug the southern one. Unexpected waves drown our bbq plans and I’m grateful for the load of sandwiches I packed. We spend 20 hours in an inverse world. Next to millions on land- Rochester to the south, Toronto to the north- we are seemingly alone out here, but I know that we’re not. The wilds of the water are below. Maybe a sturgeon, or a school of walleye keeps us company, with the gull that stays close overhead. Night comes. I lay out my sleeping bag on the floor in the room behind the wheelhouse above the loud diesel engine. The captain comes in every hour or so to check the charts to confirm our location, a lantern aloft in this fresh water sea. When I wake the sun is up and I look out the starboard window to see one of the Main Duck islands. I know we’re almost at the end of our trip. Soon the ferry will begin its summer service. I gaze at the almost mythical island. It looks tropical and deserted, except for the cormorants, and a message in a bottle I swear I can see washed upon its shore.

Lake Ontario, ON

Wolfe Island, ON


Contributed By
Sarah Harmer

Collected By
Mark Mattson

Watermarks are true stories about you and your connection to a body of water. By archiving your story, you add to a living record of our shared water heritage, protecting these waters for generations to come. So tell us: What is your watermark?