The crew had a good week making the following stops along the Champlain Canal: 1- Mechanicville on Monday, 2- Ft Edward on Tuesday, and 3- Whitehall on Thursday. They then made two more stops on Lake Champlain: 4- Ft Ticonderoga on Friday and 5- Vergennes on Saturday.
Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II as she views the waterfalls at the end of navigation on Otter Creek. Enjoy!
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
The conditions on the Hudson River were fabulous. The water was flat calm and the sky was clear with no rain in sight.
The only real issue was keeping a good Look Out stationed to prevent hitting the debris washing down river due to the flooding.
Or, making sure the geese get out of the way. They think they own the waterway and always have the right of way.
After passing thru Albany, the crew approached the Troy Lock. The first of many locks in the crew’s future until they get to the St Lawrence River. Sometimes it is hard to imagine just how large these locks and dams are when looking at pictures. For perspective, do you see the fisherman in the John Boat up by the Lock?
While in Troy, the skipper made an interesting find.
At first glance, it appears as though Dr Moore was the author and the poem first made an appearance right here in Troy, N.Y. However, the family of Major Henry Livingston would take you to task for that opinion. They claim that Henry is the author. A literary study was conducted on both men’s body of work and concluded that Henry probably was the author. But as you can see, Dr Moore has the memorial plaque.
After the lock, it was only a few more minutes and the crew landed at the Visitor Center in Waterford. The crew will launch there cruise up the Champlain Canal tomorrow morning.
The crew followed the arrow to the right and started north up the Champlain Canal. The Canal uses the Hudson River for the first 37 miles and then the Canal will continue to Lake Champlain by a man made cut.
Hudson River portion of Champlain Canal
Three miles up the Canal and the crew came to the first lock.
A short four miles later, the crew arrived at the second and last lock of the day. The crew were the first to Mechanicville, but by day’s end there were five Looper Boats along the wall.
The crew of Miss My Money invited the Loopers along the wall (Misty, Wild Goose, and Still Waters II) over for burgers so the 4 crews enjoyed an evening of swapping a few sea stories, which is always a good time.
Rain began to fall around 2100 last night and a steady wave of showers continued until morning. This was bad news for the crew because the rains caused the water levels to rise which caused the already low bridge clearances to shrink.
The lowest bridge on the Champlain Canal had a 17 feet 9 inch clearance before the rain started. The skipper called the Lock 3 attendant and was told that the bridge was 16 feet 10 inches at 0800. Currently, air draft of Still Waters II was measured at 15 feet 10 inches.
Still Waters II crawling under a low bridge
Armed with this information, four captains decided it best to get going before the water level rose further and made passage impossible.
Misty, Missy My Money, and Wild Goose in Lock 3
The low bridge showed to be between 16′ 8” and 17′ when the crew passed under. At first it did not appear that they would slide under the bridge, so the skipper stopped halfway under and took a look at the radar dome before continuing. To his surprise, they had a foot of clearance so he continued under without incident.
The other captains were calling the skipper and assuring him he had plenty of room. However, it did not go unnoticed that the other three captains all took their good sweet time crawling under the bridge also.
After clearing Lock 4, it would be 15 miles to the next Lock, so all the boats set their throttles at different speeds and settled into a nice cruise day. The rain clouds began to break up and make room for a little sunshine.
The country side was mostly farm land. This one barn did catch the eye of the skipper though.
As the crew approached Schuylerville, they noticed the top of a 155 foot stone obelisk. The Saratoga Monument stands where British Lt. General John Burgoyne camped before surrendering October 17, 1777. The surrender is commonly known as the ‘Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War.’ The victory here paved the way for our freedoms that we enjoy today.
One interesting feature of the monument are the bronze statues built into the structure that commemorate the leaders and hero’s of the battle. General Schuyler faces east in the direction of his estate. Colonel Daniel Morgan faces west where his troops were located during the battle. General Horatio Gates faces north where the British Invasion started. But most interesting of all is the south facing area. The area has no statue but is dedicated to General Benedict Arnold’s contribution to the victory. He led the charge that eventually led to victory. It was during this charge that he was shot and wounded in the leg.
The Boot Monument, like the above Saratoga Monument, does not mention him by name, but gives him credit to service to the young country. The inscription reads, “In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution and for himself the rank of Major General.”
A story is told how his fellow country men thought of him after his treasonous act, and goes something like this: When Benedict Arnold was leading the forces of the King against his former compatriots in Virginia, among his prisoners was a certain witty officer, who, in answer to Arnold’s question, “What will the Americans do with me if they catch me?” replied, “They will cut off the leg which was wounded when you were fighting so gloriously for the cause of liberty, and bury it with the honors of war, and hang the rest of your body on a gibbet.”
Benedict Arnold has a third nameless memorial at West Point. There is a plaque for each of the generals of the Revolutionary War that hang in the Old Cadet Chapel. However, you will not find a plaque with Benedict Arnold’s name. However, there is one nameless plaque with: Major General, Born 1740.
Have you ever wondered how many schools, libraries, bridges, buildings, parks, and roads would be named after Benedict Arnold if his gun shot wound at the Battle of Saratoga would have been mortal and he died on the day of his greatest victory? The skipper has.
As he continued to ponder this thought experiment, the crew made way to Lock 5 where Wild Goose had held the lock doors open waiting for Still Waters II‘s arrival. After being raised 19 feet, the crew followed Wild Goose on to Lock 6.
At Lock 6, the two boats were joined by a third boat named Salty. The Lock raised the trio 16 feet and they headed to Ft Edward where they would stop for the day.
Still Waters II on the wall at Ft Edward
The crew had initially planned to leave at 0900 and cruise to Whitehall. When 0900 arrived they were the only boat on the wall, eight others had already departed. The crew talked it over and decided to take the day off. Mainly based on the fact that there are only three power pedestals in Whitehall and the chances of getting power tonight would be slim to none. The only down side to this plan is the weather. It is supposed to start raining in the morning, so the question will be can the crew make Whitehall before the rain, or will they be locking in the rain?
The skipper decided to ride his bike three miles to the Glen Falls Feeder Canal, Five Combine Locks. The Feeder Canal was first built in 1822. Its purpose was to provide water to the high point on the Champlain Canal. In 1824 a new dam was built and the feeder Canal was stretched seven miles long from Glen Falls to Champlain Canal.
In 1832, the feeder Canal was widened so the Canal could deliver boat traffic to the Champlain Canal. The 13 new locks (15 feet wide and 100 feet long) were installed along the seven mile Feeder Canal to overcome the 130 foot drop from Glen Falls to the Champlain Canal.
The Locks were abandoned in the early 1900’s, but the first five locks are still visible from the Feeder Canal Heritage Bike Trail.
Lock one dam
Lock 3 dam
The skipper woke up and checked the weather, a normal routine while boating. The forecast showed rain expected to fall around 1100 so the crew cast off the lines and were waiting when Lock 7 opened for business at 0700. The crew was surprised to see another boat already waiting at the lock when they arrived.
A few minutes after 0700, the Lock-master opened the gates and gave the green light to enter the lock. After the 10 foot step up, the skipper headed for Lock 8 while the Admiral headed for her second cup of coffee.
After stepping up 11 feet in Lock 8, the crew was at the highest point on the Champlain Canal, 140 feet above sea level. The skipper was keeping an eye out to find where the Glen Falls Feeder Canal empties into the Champlain Canal.
Looking upstream at Glen Falls Feeder Canal
While making way to Lock 9, the crew passed this old building falling into the canal. Check out those storm clouds developing.
The crew stepped down 16 feet in Lock 9 and headed to Lock 11. You may be asking what happened to Lock 10. After the blueprints were completed for the Champlain Canal System, engineers decided Lock 10 was not necessary, so it was never built and it was further decided not to bother updating the blueprints. When this project was being built in the early 1900’s, those blueprints were hand drawn and took much effort to revise.
View for much of the morning
After Lock 11, the crew stopped just short of Lock 12 and tied up on the wall in Whitehall. The good news for the day was that predicted rain held off long enough for the crew to hook up power and water without getting wet.
The skipper was a bit under the weather, or maybe a flu bug that hit late yesterday. While the skipper was resting the Admiral decided to go check out the Skene Manor, up close and personal.
Skene Manor was built by Joseph H. Potter in 1874. Not only was Joseph a gothic style Victorian Castle builder, he was also a Supreme Court Justice. The Castle remained a private residence until 1946. The manor spent a short time as a restaurant, and in 1959 was placed on the National Registey of Historic Buildings.
Looking down from Skene Manor to the Whitehall docks.
Then looking up from the docks
The Admiral returned to the boat a bit after the noon hour, the skipper was starting to feel better, so they slipped the lines and made way for Lock 12, the last lock on the Champlain Canal. After exiting the lock they were in Lake Champlain and headed north to Ft Ticonderoga.
The first look at Lake Champlain
A Vermont farm on the edge of the lake
Ft Ticonderoga as the crew approached from the south
Closeup from the fall of 2017
Upon arrival at the Fort, the winds were blowing from the south so the skipper motored to the north side of the Fort and dropped anchor.
Shortly after weighing anchor, the crew approached Crown Point State Historic Site. The site contains two historic forts, one from the French and one from the British. The French destroyed their fort in 1759 while evacuating to Canada to avoid the British.
The British then built their fort in the early 1760’s. The American Patriots captured the fort early in the Revolutionary War. They sent the cannons over to Boston to help in the protection of the city. The British recaptured the Fort in 1777 and remained in control until the end of the war.
Crown Point is now home to the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse
After traveling another 15 miles, the crew came to the mouth of Otter Creek. The crew tried to navigate up the creek back in 2017 but the lake level was too low and the mouth too shallow. This time with lake levels 3.5 feet above normal, passage was simple and easy.
The crew ran 7 miles up the creek to the town of Vergennes. The crew was a bit surprised when they found two boats already tied up on the town wall. With no room at the inn, the crew anchored in the basin just beyond the town wall. This spot gives a great view of the Vergennes Falls.
This might just be the best anchor spot in 4 years of boating.
The crew will complete the cruise of Lake Champlain and enter Canadian Waters. They will cruise north along the Richelieu River and make way to the St Lawrence River. The crew is excited about next week, this will be all new unexplored areas for them.