Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is 132 miles from top to bottom. Its southern end connects to the Champlain Canal which runs to the Hudson in New York state. Its northern end is the beginning of the Richelieu River which runs down to the St Lawrence in Canada. The west side of the lake is New York. The east side of the lake is Vermont.

We took 10 days to explore the lake and just saw a small portion. It would be a great place to have a boat and spend your summers out on the water.

We saw more people fishing! Every little dock had people fishing. Lots of small fishing boats.

In the southern end, where it is marshy and a long way from anywhere, there were go-fast fishing boats. They had to come a long way to reach the fishing grounds.

It’s a long way to a town. This boat can get up and go to get to fishing grounds in time for morning fishing.

Up closer to towns, the fishing boats were more the aluminum Lund kind or runabouts. It didn’t take as long to get to where they want to go.

We passed Fort Ticonderoga on the way into the lake. It was used by the French, British, and Americans over the course of its life. It appears to have been a base from which Benedict Arnold waged his naval battles.

Fort Ticonderoga. It started life as a French fort, St Frederic, but the British acquired it in the French and Indian War. Later, the Americans took it from the British.

We did a side trip up Otter Creek to a town called Vergennes. Vergennes looked so much like a stereotypical New England town that it was amazing. There was an old mill, there were waterfalls, old colonial houses and lots and lots of people fishing.

Vergennes, VT
Waterfall/rapids/dam above the creek where we docked
View of the falls from the boat. You can also anchor in this pond if the dock is full.

The trip up the creek was like a Disney jungle Cruise or a trip through the bayou. It was Father’s Day, so there were a lot of families out in their boats and on their little fish camps on shore. Guess what they were doing? Fishing.

A family’s fishing camp on Otter Creek

We stayed two nights in Vergennes and the next day headed out for Burlington, Vermont.

Burlington in the distance. The Green Mountains are not too far away. We saw Green Mountain coffee for sale. I also remember something about the Green Mountain Boys in the Revolutionary War. There was a sign for “Ethan Allen Homestead”. Google tells me that Ethan Allen was head of this band, and one of their causes was having a separate Vermont, as opposed to being part of New York. Good call!

Burlington is the biggest city on the lake. It was very hot the days we were there so we enjoyed having electricity and air conditioning. We walked through town where there is a very attractive pedestrian mall.

Pedestrian street with restaurants and nice stores. We walked through more stores than we normally would because they were air conditioned!
Finding some shade on a hot day.
You gotta do what you gotta do!

From Burlington, we went over to a popular state park, Valcour Island, to anchor. We were there two nights and enjoyed the scenery. It was a lot like what we see in the Pacific Northwest.

Pretty Valcour Island cove, Sloop Bay, much like what you find in Puget Sound.

Near here is one of the places the big naval battles took place in either the Revolutionary War or the war of 1812. The Americans were not always the winners.

We had one storm system pass through while at Sloop Cove. We had very good protection from the wind direction.

After the storm the loons were calling to each other.

We could see from the weather apps that another big wind was coming and we were not very well protected in the anchorage at the state park for the predicted south winds. We moved up the lake a few miles to a very protected spot to anchor.

We had been advised on about June 15 to not try to enter Canada and go on the Chambly Canal during June 24 weekend. June 24 is St. Jean Baptiste day in Quebec. It is their national day. It’s the day that they celebrate their Frenchness and the ancestors that came and fought on their land. It’s a mandatory holiday, so every non- essential worker is playing that day rather than working. Some of our fellow loopers were a day or so ahead of us and decided to enter Canada and try to be through the Chambly before the weekend. We decided to spend a bit more time in Lake Champlain and enter after the holiday.

On June 24, we made our way north to be positioned to enter Canada on the day after Saint Jean Baptiste day. The marina is just minutes south of the border.

However, we ran into a rain squall with much stronger northerly winds than we expected.

The windshield of our flybridge, the isinglass and canvas enclosure, is held by snaps. The wind was too big for the snaps and blew it in. We were trying to hold the isinglass out to keep the equipment dry to be able to see to steer into the winds. It was still another hour before we would reach the marina.

We made the choice to turn around and go back down to an anchorage that had good protection from north winds. It was the right decision. Even though we had to cancel the reservation at the marina up at the border.

“You’ll enjoy the challenges”, they said. Hmmmmm.

We enjoyed a peaceful night at that anchorage, especially after the winds died down

The next day we were up with the sun and made our way up to the Canadian border.

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