Friday, September 16, 2011

Portsmouth NH to Buffalo NY Update 5

Thursday, 15 Sept 2011
With renewed enthusiam, the crew is up at 0600 to prep the boat for Lock C12 and it's 0700 opening. Once thru the lock, we proceed northbound as the waterway widens, beckening us onwards into Lake Champlain. Today the low overcast, heavy laden with moisture, obscures the tops of the Adirondack Mountains with cloud fragments ghosting in and out of the forests below. My mind half expects to see an Iroqouis paddling around the corner in a birch bark canoe. The vista from the pilothouse is breath-taking.

 As we round a corner, up on the western hill lies Fort Ticondiroga. It was constructed between 1754 and 1757 during the Seven Year War, often referred to as the French and Indian War in the USA. It was of strategic importance during the 18th-century colonial conflicts between Great Britain and France, and again during the American Revolutionary War.

Our enthusiasm of the day however was quietly subdued when we entered the middle of Lake Champlain. A lake wind advisory was in effect and as we were offshore of Essex NY, the hardtop we had lashed on the boat deck began to shift. I turned Sea Hunt down lake while Andre and Luc ratchet down the hard top. The decision was made to take the boat to the next safe haven, which fortunately enough was about 7 miles up the eastern shore of the lake at Burlington, Vt.

There is a breakwater about 3/4 of a mile long which parallels the harbor. Situate between the ferry dock and the Coast Guard station lies Burlington Community Boathouse. Now, it may not seem lke much in the book at first reading, but when you get here, you will find comfortable 40' floating finger piers (try to get all the way inside on the south dock in a northerly) and a friendly and accomodating staff. At the head of the marina is the  fascinating Lake Aquarium and Science Center run by the University of Vermont. Just across the railroad tracks is a funky little creperie (run by college co-eds) with excellent eats and internet. Speaking of internet, the marina has it. However, when the big tour boat, the Ethan Allen III is in port, it restricts the signal from the dockhouse.

Burlington Community Boathouse Marina with Science Center over Left Shoulder

Friday, 16 Sept 2011
As forecast, the winds are still up with white caps out on the lake. Waves are breaking over the harbor beakwater. Lisa, Luc and Pierre take of at 1000 hours for the science center with Andre and I keeping score with new arrivals trying to negotiate the docks. Score one cracked rubrail on a Silverton/Grand Banks trying to occupy the same dock space. Forecast has the wind clocking around to the south, so up at the crack of dawn.

The Friendly Dock Staff at Burlington Community Boathouse
(L) Liam (C) Harbormaster Erin (R) Amy


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