"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 24, 2012

Aug. 23 - Vergennes, VT


Champ
City Dock

OK…today was one of those less blogable days. Very uneventful, so I thought I’d provide everyone with a little Lake Champlain folklore: A number of oral traditions around the world refer to the survival of giant creatures and water monsters from the ancient past. Loch Ness has a legend of a huge underwater creature in its “Nessie;” the modern-day residents of Lake Champlain have nicknamed the local version of this creature “Champ.”

A great mystery, there are reports of this creature having been seen in the lake by residents and visitors for centuries. Native folklore tells us that the Iroquois referred to this beast as the “Great Horned Serpent.”

Samuel de Champlain’s 1609 journals provide us with the first written documentation of the presence of some kind of large creature in Lake Champlain: “a swimmer about 20 feet long, thick as a barrel, that resembles a serpent with tough skin, in which a man’s knife cannot penetrate, with the head (like a horse) having a snout like that of a boar.” He had “teeth that could spear a man.” Champ’s size, sightings in the shallows and an apparent preference for swimming along the water’s surface led Champlain to conclude that Champ must be a carnivore.

The Native people who have long traveled the lake believe that it is extremely dangerous to provoke or disrespect any of the lake’s aquatic inhabitants, real or supernatural, lest one be drowned.

Numerous studies through the years have come up empty handed, but both the Vermont and New York government have passed bills protecting Champ against death, injury or harassment. So far we haven't seen Champ!

This picture was taken by Sandi Mansi in 1977

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