Author Susan Peterson Gateley’s fascination with Lake Ontario started as she was growing up along the lake, east of Rochester.
It grew when her father bought a boat when she was a teenager and she learned to sail.
“My father bought an old wooden 19-foot long boat and we learned to sail as a family. I loved it,” Gateley said.
After working as a fisheries biologist and a high school science teacher, Gately now offers sailing lessons on the lake through her seasonal business, Silver Water Sailing on Little Sodus Bay in Fair Haven.
But in addition, she is a prolific author. Gateley has sold more than 6,700 copies of her various titles, which range from half a dozen full-length books to guidebooks on public access to the lake.
Although her earlier works were self-published — she calls herself an artisan publisher — her latest two books, “Maritime Tales of Lake Ontario” and “Legends and Lore of Lake Ontario,” were published by the History Press.
She was recently in Lockport talking about her newest book, which deals with the mysteries of Lake Ontario, including stories of ghosts and sea monsters, Native American lore and how the lake played a significant role in the history of our nation.
The book describes a number of bizarre and odd occurrences, such as the a comet that sunk the schooner “Charity” and frogs and fish falling from the skies. It also details the sudden catastrophic crash in population of the lake’s most mysterious fish, the amazing American eel.
“I think a lot of us are fascinated by the history of Lake Ontario. It’s been largely unreported — there’s just not a lot written about it. It seems that around here, you hear about the canal all the time, but not the lake,” Gateley said.