Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 30th, 2008
Reporter Lohr McKinskry details the 2008 Lake Champlain expedition in search of the Champ animals. This is followed by the expedition leader (pictured above), Ruby Anderson’s report.
PORT HENRY — It may be that Champ, the Lake Champlain monster, is getting more reclusive.
A summer expedition to find the mysterious creature brought a dozen participants and sophisticated tracking equipment but didn’t find anything.
Another expedition will be held next summer, said organizer Ruby Anderson of Naugatuck, Conn.
“We have learned some important things through Champ Expedition 2008 — like make sure you have backup equipment in case of problems with cameras (and) cell phones.”
The group will once again be headquartered at Button Bay State Park and Campground near Vergennes, Vt., she said.
“We chose this location because there have been several sightings of Champ at Button Bay. Our own sighting of Champ in 2007 also took place in Button Bay. All evidence seems to indicate a family group of Champtany in the Button Bay area.”
“Champtany” is the designation Champ Quest Director Dennis Hall gave to Champ several years ago.
“It was my own sighting that got me researching and studying Champ,” Anderson said.
“Myself and my daughter, Precious, and her friend, Tori, had a Champ sighting at Button Bay State Park on July 17, 2007.
“My brother, Gary, also had a sighting of a baby Champ at Button Bay State Park back in 2001.”
Many Champ sightings have been either in Button Bay on the Vermont side or in Bulwagga Bay off Port Henry. Researchers have offered theories that Champ could be anything from a plesiosaur to a large sturgeon. Most agree there would have to be a breeding colony of the creatures in the lake for it survive over the years.
Anderson described the 2007 sighting at Button Bay.
“(We) were sitting on the cliffs a short ways from the Nature Center at Button Bay State Park. We saw what looked like a large school of fish some distance out that was moving toward us.
“Shortly after, we saw a large, dark-colored animal with three to four humps, around 30 feet long, come to the surface. It moved across in front of us, then turned and went back out then turned right and continued across the lake for some distance before it headed back out into deeper water and submerging.”
She said the sighting was at about 12:15 in the afternoon.
First off, we were saddened to hear that Ms. Anderson’s mother was hospitalized with congestive heart failure the day after their return from Button Bay. Happily, the elder Anderson, who is 82, is now home from the hospital and doing well.
Here is Ms. Anderson’s unedited, full report from Lake Champlain:
Champ was a no show during our expedition .Though with the nightly thunderstorms and rough water through most of our stay I can’t say I am surprised.
I did have a chance to observe some of the things that people may mistake for Champ.
This was interesting because before this expedition I was skeptical of people mistaking birds and boat wakes for monsters.
But after having an opportunity to observe some of these things at Lake Champlain first hand through binoculars I can understand how someone viewing these things through the naked eye especially after sunset could in fact make a simple honest misidentification.
I did not have a chance to observe the otters swimming in row . In fact saw not one otter despite being near Otter Creek.
Nor did I have a chance to observe a seiche – a wake that comes up through a smooth lake surface pulling up debris that can look like an animal such as wood or logs bobbing up and down in the water for a short time before sinking again.
What I was able to personally observe during our expedition were three possible reasons for misidentifications.
1. A standing wave- it looks like a long black animal rolling over in the water. The wave I observed through binoculars looked black and about 10-13 feet long it was indeed a wave but most definitely to the naked eye could appear to be a 10-13 foot long black serpent. I have no doubt that these standing waves are responsible for many of the 10-15 foot long serpent type sightings at lake Champlain. Large eels could also be candidates for serpent type sightings.
2. The black ducks- You might be asking how does a person confuse black ducks for a lake monster? When they are bunched up in a row out on the lake depending on your angle of view they can appear to be one
long black animal.
3. Converging boat wakes- when the two wakes hit it can look like something black moving through the water leaving a V shaped wake behind it.
Am I switching sides? No, I firmly believe there is something unusual in Lake Champlain but I have been bothered by the two distinctly different sets of descriptions one of a 10-20 foot black serpent type animal and the other a much larger plesiosaur type animal that ranges in color from green to brown to grey to black.
Is Champ serpent like? or is it amphibious and/or plesiosaur like?
If you believe both sets of descriptions there are two conclusions .
That either you have two cryptids in the same lake or champ is a shape shifter.
I highly doubt either of those to be true , so you then have to go back to the sightings and try to figure out which are most likely to have been misidentifications.
This is strictly my own opinion but I believe the smaller serpent type sightings are more easily misidentifications of standing waves,eels or large fish at the surface or debris.
Am I accusing anyone who has had a Champ sighting of being a liar?
Absolutely not. There is a huge difference between lying and being genuinely mistaken.
It is simply my own opinion that these serpent sightings are more easily explained given the number of things one could mistake for a serpent.
I did get some footage of boat wakes and the ducks. I am hoping with future expeditions to get more photos or footage of the different things that could be misidentified as Champ to have photos or video
of things we know are not Champ to use for comparison to other supposed Champ video or photos in the future.
Ruby Anderson, August 15, 2008,
from the public Champ-Trackers list.