Trip to Vermont

by C. Sun

A meeting of the Vermont Sail Freight has been called, so I leave New York City by train to Fort Ticonderoga, NY, where I will be picked up. This is what I saw on the trip up to Vergennes, Vermont early in the morning:

Painting by Robert Knox Sneden

Painting by Robert Knox Sneden

The rising sun struck the majestic palisades. This painting shows the vessels that used to sail. Now, tugs and barges are the predominant vessels, and an occasional tanker to and fro Albany, loaded with tar sands and tight oil from fracking to bring to refineries.

The Tappan Zee Bridge:  the longest bridge in the state of NY! why build a bridge at the widest part of the river?

The project now costs $4 billion. Most regrettably, the intense number of work barges and support boats, compounded with the urgency of the construction has also claimed the lives of three crew members of tug Specialist, a captain of tug Pilgrim and one pleasure boat passenger.

Very good article here on phenomenal amounts of spending. But the bridge has been a costly and short-sighted political blunder since its inception.

Four hours and 235 miles / 378.2km north later, the scenery and feeling changes. The passing view is lush, less industrial, less populated. White buoys mark the channel, and I thought: Ceres has sailed here, following the paths of many little cargo vessels...the first since a hundred years.

Just north of the NYState canal system, Lock C12, Whitehall. The Champlain canal.

Navigable. Marked. Waiting.

Erik picks me up at Fort Ticonderoga, we catch the ferry that crosses from NY to VT:

What surprised me was that it was a cable ferry! winches pull the roro ferry by traveling along two cables below. Do not cross this ferry on either side too closely or your keel or props will catch the cable.

The little channel is deep, about 25ft / 7.6m at its deepest: 

The wheelhouse is outside the deck, chained and fenced off:

Blount! April 1959. That shipyard made sturdy vessels--and it still does! 

Many swallows flit below the ferry, make crazy loops and play over the spray.

Everything is hand-lettered: schedule, directions for passengers, and the four life ring boxes.
Too soon, the cables that were underwater are drawn up as we approach the VT side, Larrabee's Point in Shoreham:

As we dock, all deck strollers go back into their cars, and we pass old traditional stone houses typical of VT architecture as we enter the state. In a short time, we will be at the farm in Vergennes.