Strange Remains

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Waterforf dock
Still Waters II on the dock at Waterford, New York


Summary of week:

NorrieSPThe remnants of hurricane Nate kept the crew in Ft Edwards through Monday.

On Tuesday, the crew made a short run to Mechanicville.

On Wednesday, the crew made it out of the Champlain Canal and docked in Waterford.

Friday, the crew continued south down the Hudson River and anchored next to Houghtailing Island.

Saturday, the crew ran down to Norrie State Park, in Hyde Park, to enjoy the weekend.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, captain’s log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:

  1. Who is Jane McCrae?
  2. What do historians consider the ‘turning point’ of the American Revolution, and what is the connection to Jane McCrae?
  3. Where is the hometown of Uncle Sam?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising the Champlain Canal, Locking down C-4, and cruising under a 17 foot bridge.  Enjoy!

Return on Champlain Canal from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

Cruising the Champlain Canal

To see past videos, click on the link to Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 40 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The remnants of hurricane Nate rained down all day so the crew decided to stay put rather than make four locks in the downpour.  The skipper did manage time to find a break in the rain and go buy two half gallons of ice cream though.  This Stewarts ice cream is good, but does not hold a candle to Blue Bell or Braums from back home in Texas.  

While walking to the store, he passed an historical marker sign that read: ‘Home of Jane McCrae.’  He wondered who she was, but really did not think much more about her.


Jane never lived in the house in the background


Later in the day, the Admiral found a window in the rain and decided to go take a walk.  While she was out walking she came across an historical marker near a cemetery that read: ‘Second burial location of Jane McCrae.’  When she got back to the boat she googled up Jane to see what the deal was and found a very interesting story.


Seems Jane was killed in 1777 under less than honorable conditions.  She was a Loyalist to the Crown of England.  Jane was also engaged to a British Officer.  Jane heard that her fiancée was marching south from Montreal towards Fort Ticonderoga, so she moved towards Ft Edwards where she stayed with another woman named Sara McNeil.  Most of the Patriots evacuated the area when rumors spread that the British were on the move south.

Once the British arrived at Fort Ticonderoga, they sent a group of British soldiers and some native Indians down to Ft Edwards to escort the two women back up to Ft Ticonderoga. 

The Indian scouts were leading the way south and killed a few settlers along the journey.  By the time the Indians, the British, and the women got back to Fort Ticonderoga, Jane McCrae was dead.

From here the stories diverge drastically depending on who you listen to.

The two women got separated on their return to Fort Ticonderoga.  Sara arrived first.  When the Indians arrived, they had a scalp that Sara believed to be that of Jane.  Sara reported this to some British officers who started an investigation.  Most of the Indians claimed that they came across some militia and the rebels shot her.  However, they could not explain why they scalped her. 


One Indian claimed that they began arguing on who was going to get credit for saving Jane and get some kind of reward from the British for bringing her safely to her fiancée.  When one Indian figured out he would get no reward, he killed her and scalped her for a trophy so the others could not collect the reward.

There are several other variations of these two tales but we do not have time to cover all the different forks in the road.  One interesting side note though is that some report that Jane was in her wedding dress and that when she arrived at Fort Ticonderoga she would marry her fiancée.

The Americans latched onto the latter story and began putting additional spin on the tale.  Many in New York were Loyalists, and the Americans were trying hard to convince them that the British could not protect them; therefore, they needed to come over to the Patriot side and help defeat the British.  The result of Jane’s death did cause many who were sitting on the fence to side with the American’s.

Interestingly enough, the story does not end here though.  Jane may have faced a horrible death at the age of 17 with a tomahawk to the skull, but her body has not rested in peace since her death, either.

She was originally buried in Ft Edwards in 1777.  In 1822, she, with many others, were moved to allow expansion of the Champlain Canal.  She was placed in the same plot, but above Sara McNeil.


In 1852, she was moved again.  This time to the Union Cemetery in Ft Edwards.

In 2003, a team of forensic scientists exhumed Jane’s body to see if they could determine her cause of death.  When they dug up the grave they found one coffin with two full sets of skeletons, well minus one skull.  They took DNA samples of the bones and reburied them in the one coffin.

In 2005, the forensic team exhumed the casket once more.  Based on DNA, they were able to separate the skeletal remains into two mostly complete skeletons and determine that the missing skull was Jane McCrae’s.  The other skeleton was determined to be Sara McNeil.  The remains were put in separate caskets and reburied.


Oh, the forensic team could not determine cause of death of Jane.  The few ribs that remained however, did not show any gunshot damage.  The mystery continues. 

And how about the turning point of the Revolution you may be asking yourself.  Well because of the news spin by the Americans, many joined forces with the Patriots.  These new recruits were part of the forces that defeated the British in the Battles of Saratoga in September and October of 1777.  The French decided to join the fight against the British based on the American wins in Saratoga.  The Battle of Saratoga is also considered one of the top fifteen most significant battles in world history.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The crew woke to a beautiful sunshiny morning.  When they shoved off the town wall they headed south seven miles to Lock C-6.  When they arrived at the Lock, there were two boats already set in the Lock.  The Lockmaster said: “come on in but do a port side tie.”

The Admiral scrambled to move the fenders from starboard to port as they entered the lock.  In the rush, the Admiral forgot to grab her gloves.  Once she had her line attached to the boat she walked back to the sundeck and grabbed her gloves. 

In the 3-5 seconds that she was gone, the lockmaster had started draining the lock.  The bitter end of the line caught on itself and tightened around the cleat as the boat began to lower with the water level.  She tried to break the line free but was unsuccessful.  The skipper noticed that the line was not sliding thru the cleat, so he went forward and tried to break the line free and also was unsuccessful. 

By this time the line was beginning to stretch and get under tension due to holding the bow of the boat up.  The skipper grabbed his pocket knife and barely touched the line and the strands of the line immediately cut thru.  The boat fell about a foot back into the water once the line was cut. 

25 The Rope that hung up

All turned out well.  No one got hurt, and there was no damage to the boat.

After this harrowing experience, the crew did just fine as they cleared three more locks.  The Admiral also decided to deploy fenders on both sides of the boat so there would be no more last-minute surprises.  They are now ready to lock thru on either side of the lock.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One of the Canadian boat captain’s that went thru the locks with Still Waters II yesterday came down to help our crew shove off the town wall.  He also commented on the near lock disaster yesterday.  He said that he heard the line stretching and making strange noises.  He also said that when the skipper cut the line, the end above the cut shot up above the boat.  He also commented that he had gone and placed a knife on the deck in case he ever needs to cut a line. Well if nothing else, the crew helped train some Canadian boaters. 

26 Lock C-2 Dam

The crew only needed to make a 10 mile run and clear two locks before docking on the town wall in Waterford.  With the locks closing for the season today, the crew was glad to find room on the wall for Still Waters II.

Waterforf dock


Thursday, October 12, 2017 

The crew decided to take a day off and explore the town of Waterford.  The Admiral wandered over to Troy and found this interesting sign that required a little research.


Turns out that two brothers started a meat packing business in Troy.  One of the brothers name was Samuel Wilson and he had a local nickname of Uncle Sam. 


Samuel Wilson


During the War of 1812, the brothers got a contract with the government to supply meat to the soldiers.  The meat was packed in wooden barrels and shipped to the troops.  Some soldiers familiar with Sam and his meat packing business began referring to the U.S. stamped on the barrels as Uncle Sam.  By wars end, the troops were referring to all gear with a U.S. stamp on it as supplied by Uncle  Sam, which lead to the acceptance as the nickname of the U.S. government. 

In the 1860’s, a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast began using an image that eventually became what we now consider the image of Uncle Sam.  Nast is also credited with developing the Donkey image for the Democrats, and the Elephant for the Republicans. 

In September 1961, Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as ‘the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam.  Can you see the resemblance?


Friday, October 13, 2017 

The run from Waterford to Houghtailing Island was uneventful.  Well except for another near miss in the Federal Lock.  The skipper was manning the aft line when it got tangled in the swim ladder on the swim platform. 

As he was feeding the line thru the cleat as the boat lowered, he noticed the bitter end was hung up on something.  He tried to shake it free but that did not work.  He had about three feet of slack line still, so he jumped down on the swim platform and found the end jammed in the swim ladder.  He was able to pull the line free and climbed back up on the sundeck. 

The Admiral noticed him coming back onboard and asked what he was doing.  He explained about the jam and commented that he sure was glad this would be the last lock to deal with for a while.  You must be ever diligent with these locks because bad things can happen in the blink of an eye. 

After safely exiting the Federal Lock, the crew passed thru Troy and Albany.  This interesting building is part of the NY University system in Albany. 


The crew then saw these trees standing along the shore as they pulled into their anchor spot to bring the day to an end.


Saturday, October 14, 2017 

The crew weighed anchor and headed back to the main channel in the Hudson River.  They were greeted by this big ship as they reached the Hudson. 


After the ship got past, the skipper noticed a couple of Bald Eagles near a nest.  One of the Eagles was perched directly above the nest.  Can you see it? 


I’m not sure how the skipper spots this stuff, but he does have eye for the wildlife.

Eagle Nest

For example, he spotted this Bald Eagle in a tree while docked at Waterford.  The Eagle was a little over a mile away.


The color along the banks was breath taking today.   



There were many boaters out enjoying the day and good weather.  While taking in the sights these fast speed boats all zoomed by and gave the crew a little wake action. 


This is why many Loopers do not cruise on the weekend. 

After some more good scenery, the crew finally pulled into the Norrie State Park marina where they will sit for the remainder of the weekend.



 Boat Name of the Week


Replica of 1800’s canal boat


Next Week –   

The crew will continue south down the Hudson River towards NYC.  It is only two travel days to NYC, but they will keep an eye on the wind and waves between NYC and Cape May. 

They need three good weather days in a row to run out in the Atlantic Ocean to Cape May.  So movement further south will depend on how the weather is predicted to be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red














One Comment on “Strange Remains

  1. The Skipper was taught bird and critter spotting by the best! So was I.
    I saw the eagle before I noticed the nest. 🙂


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