Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.
Champlain Memorial Light
Summary of week:
On Monday, the crew anchored in Bulwagga Bay on Lake Champlain.
Tuesday, the crew moved on to Burlington, VT.
Thursday, the crew turned south and anchored below Ft. Ticonderoga.
Friday, the crew returned to Whitehall.
Saturday, they ended the week with a stop in Ft. Edwards Yacht Basin.
This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:
- Where is the Birthplace of the US Navy?
- Where was the initial sighting of Champ, the Lake Champlain water dragon?
- Who was the wealthiest women in the world at the time of her death in 1916?
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.
At the Box Office
This week’s video shows Still Waters II completing the Champlain Canal, entry into Lake Champlain, and the view at anchor at Fort Ticonderoga. Enjoy!
To Lake Champlain from Still Waters II on Vimeo.
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library now contains 39 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
The town of Whitehall was first settled in 1759 as the colonial town of Skenesborough by a British Army Captain named Phillip Skene. The town was located at a strategic location where goods and supplies were moved from Canada to the markets in Albany and New York City.
As the area grew in importance, Phillip Skene grew a plan to make Skenesborough the county seat. When that goal was achieved in 1773, he set about growing his influence over the area known today as Vermont and the Adirondacks.
He went to England in early 1775 to petition for the area to become its own Crown Colony. While he was away, the American Revolution got its start in April 1775 at Lexington and Concord.
On May 9, 1775, American Patriots secured the town and held Mr. Skene’s family as hostages. The militia also commandeered Mr. Skene’s schooner, Katherine, outfitted her with cannon, and put her under the command of Benedict Arnold.
On May 18th, Colonel Benedict Arnold used his new ship to capture a British ship that was later renamed the Enterprise.
During the summer of 1776, Colonel Arnold oversaw the construction of 13 ships in Skenesborough to protect the Colonies from a British invasion from the North. The new fleet of ships meet the British War ships in October 1776 near Valcour Island on Lake Champlain. While most of the new ships were lost during the battle, the fleet did enough damage to the British War ships that the British Navy turned around and did not venture further south into the colonies in 1776.
Whitehall in summer of 1776
Based on these actions, the town now claims that they are the ‘Birthplace of the US Navy.’
Of course, Philadelphia, PA; Providence, RI; Marblehead Mass; and Beverly, Mass. All dispute this claim. But that is a story for another day and time.
But one thing to ponder. If Colonel Arnold was serving in the Continental Army, the ships he built were Army vessels, were they not?
Monday, October 2, 2017
After waiting for the fog to clear, the crew cleared Lock C-12 and entered the headwaters of Lake Champlain. At this point the Lake is more of a narrow shallow river as seen in the two photos below.
Because the temperatures have been warm until just recently, the fall color tour is off to a slow start. However, the night time temperatures are starting to drop into the 40’s, so maybe the color change will begin in earnest. The trees are mostly light greens and yellow at this point.
The skipper did spot another Bald Eagle perched in a dead tree keeping an eye on the river as they cruised by.
By early afternoon the crew cruised by Fort Ticonderoga. Ethan Allen is credited for taking the Fort from the British in 1775 without firing a shot. Ehtan has an interesting history before and after his heroics at the Fort.
Prior to the Fort incident, he and his Green Mountain Boys were busy keeping New Yorkers out of the disputed land now known as Vermont. Two different groups laid claim to the land and both were selling land grants to the same area.
When Allen’s side lost in court in 1770, they took to vigilante tactics to keep the winning New Yorkers out of the area. By 1775, the Green Mountain Boys had created a large reputation for their tactics. Hence, they were asked to help in the siege of Fort Ticonderoga.
After the Fort incident, Allen decided to march on Montreal. This did not work out so well for him as he was captured on September 24, 1775 in his failed attempt. He remained a Prisoner of War until May 3, 1778 when a prisoner swap was negotiated with the British.
A few interesting things about Ethan Allen:
- There is no portrait, drawing, or likeness of him known to exist
- His final resting spot in the cemetery where he was buried is also unknown
- 1n 1858, a 42-foot foot tall monument was erected in the cemetery with this inscription……’Vermont to Ethan Allen……..and buried near the site of this monument’
The farms continue to line both sides of the lake. A Vermont farm:
A New York Farm:
The day came to an end after passing underneath this bridge, turning left into the Bulwagga Bay, and dropping the anchor.
Champlain Memorial Bridge
Bulwagga Bay is the place credited as the home of Champ, the Lake Champlain dragon. Supposedly, Samuel de Champlain saw a 20-foot serpent here in the 1600’s.
The earliest genuine report of Champ was also made in the Bay in 1819. A Captain Crum saw a 187-foot long black monster with a flat head that raised some 15 feet out of the water.
In 1873, more Champ sightings began to take place which lead to P.T. Barnum offering a $50,000 reward for Champ, dead or alive.
The skipper kept a lookout for Champ most of the night but had no sighting to report.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The anchor retrieval took a bit longer than usual this morning. Well, maybe 30 minutes longer. The anchor chain was covered in grass and weeds. It was a slow tedious process to clean the chain while bringing the anchor back on board. No wonder Champ lives in this Bay, obviously there is plenty to eat.
After leaving the Bay, the crew headed north into Lake Champlain. The Lake finally opened as can be seen in this look ten miles up the lake. The depth of the lake also changed dramatically. The deepest depth noticed on the chart plotter was 392 feet.
The crew had wanted to cruise up Otter Creek to visit Vergennes. However the lake is about 4 feet below normal pool level and when the skipper tried to enter the creek he was met with some shallow 4-foot water. Rather than risk a prop strike, the skipper backed out and headed on to Burlington.
On the north run to Burlington, the crew past by a rock formation jetting out of the water named Rock Dunder.
According to local legend, the rock got the name during the Revolutionary War. During the Battle of Lake Champlain, the British mistook the rock for an American vessel. The British fired on the rock all night long. When the morning light showed that they were wasting ammunition firing at a rock, the Hessian officer declared: “It’s a rock by dunder.”
After safely passing the rock, the crew headed towards Burlington. Four miles out from Burlington:
After docking, the crew went exploring in town. When they returned to the boat, they were greeted with this sunset over the Adirondack Mountains in New York.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
From the waterfront, it is a short walk up hill to Church Street which is the main drag in town. Church Street is a pedestrian street with no cars allowed. Many businesses, eateries, and pubs line the street. There was a corvette car show the day the crew walked around. You can see the cars with the church in the background.
Also along Church Street was a mural that was a Who’s Who of Vermont history. The Parade of people along the wall was fascinating. Of course, the wall started in 1609 with Samuel de Champlain credited with the first to map Lake Champlain.
Ethan Allen was represented in his green jacket giving a nod to his Green Mountain Boys.
A real surprise was Hetty Green. When she died in 1916 she was reported to be the wealthiest women in the world. Worth somewhere between 100-200 million dollars. She made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Miser.” Hetty is the lady with flowers in her hat.
It is reported that in her later years she developed a hernia. However, she refused to have a doctor repair the hernia because the cost was $150.
Strangely enough, she bequeathed her fortune equally between her two children. The son died a few years later and left his money to his sister. When she died in 1951 she gave the 200-million-dollar fortune to charities.
Champ made the wall as well. You can see him above the John Deere tractor which was also started in Vermont.
Lastly was a Robert Fuller. He is on the far left of the photo below. He is a co-owner of Leunigs Bistro. He also was a co-sponsor for the mural. The skipper found it interesting that Robert has the same life motto as he: Live Well, Laugh Often, and Love Much.
The crew would like to stay here longer and explore more, but they must turn around if they are to get out of the Champlain Lock system before October 11th. They have decided that they will return by this route in 2018 to go to Montreal and Old Quebec City.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
The return south took the same path as the north bound run. A major land mark is the Split Point Light.
The point gets its name because of the island that is split off from the main land. Notice the ‘tunnel’ between the land masses.
The trees have started to turn more color, but it is still off to a slow start this fall. Maybe the Farmers Almanac’s prediction of a mild winter in the northeast will turnout to be true.
The harvest moon came up over the Vermont Green Mountains.
Friday, October 6, 2017
The crew weighed anchor and headed back into the headwaters of Lake Champlain. The cruise was uneventful, but there was some good scenery to view along the shore.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
The crew woke to a rainy day. After the rain stopped the crew shoved off the wall at Whitehall and headed towards Ft Edwards. There would be four locks to negotiate along the way. Some scenery along the way:
The crew spent 2.5 hours waiting for the locks today. The main reason was a tow that was ahead of the crew. The tow was just far enough ahead to cause delays in two of the four locks.
One of the more interesting aspects of the boating lifestyle is all the fascinating people along the waterways. The crew met a couple in Burlington that have been on their boat since May 2017.
Our crew left Burlington a day ahead of these new boaters. Our crew ended up catching their lines though in Whitehead. The two crews spoke for about 30 minutes before going their separate ways. The new boaters are from Michigan. One graduated from Michigan State, the other from Michigan. They plan on going all the way to Mechanicville on Saturday so they can watch the rivalry game at a sports bar.
Our crew will stop earlier in Ft Edwards, but hopes to leap frog them again on the southbound journey.
After clearing Lock C-7, the crew turned up a side creek to dock for the weekend at Ft Edwards.
Boat Name of the Week
No good candidates this week.
The crew will continue South on the Champlain Canal. The Canal closes October 11th, so the crew will then continue back south on the Hudson River towards New York City.
Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.
Eric the Red