June 27. Basin Harbor, Vermont.
The next four months will have us stopping in more than twenty ports of call on Lake Champlain, the Northern Canal, the Hudson River and New York City. We all feel a great sense of pride and gratitude for the opportunity to take this historical show on the road, bringing the story of the 19th century age of commerce along these waterways to life. Our experience with the schooner in 2004 gives us confidence that the mission to preserve and share the history and archaeology of our region will be well served.
Our Grand Journey began on Thursday, June 16th. Under the direction of Captain Roger Taylor, our crew and volunteers left Burlington on an overcast morning, bound for the museum's home campus at Basin Harbor, Vermont. The recently restored tugboat C. L. Churchill performed beautifully, maneuvering and towing the schooner on the five- hour passage. As we approached Split Rock, we were met by LCMM nautical archaeologist Adam Kane, Addison Independent publisher John Flowers and photographer Trent Campbell aboard the LCMM inflatable.
Arriving at Basin Harbor, the schooner was transformed into a publicly accessible floating exhibit, a highlight of the Kids' Maritime Festival. Over the weekend, we saw more than 1300 visitors. The theme this year was pirates, and hundreds of young participants in pirate costume got into the spirit of bygone ages - especially when they made Krissy Kenny and me walk the plank!
Monday and Tuesday were breezy, sunny days, mostly taken up with visitors and preparations for departure. As we sat and watched the wind freshen, I was reminded of the endless entries in the Theodore Bartley journals of wind in the wrong direction, of wind too light or too strong for Captain Bartley to get underway. I was always tremendously impressed that Captain Bartley never seemed to show any impatience or frustrations about these delays, and I think our crew is following on in that same fine tradition.