Gunboat Island, also known as Garden Island, is part of the Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex (LCIMC). The island is located just south of Valcour Island in the Town of Peru, NY. Gunboat Island juts sharply out of the water with 15 to 20 foot bare limestone cliffs and has no recreational facilities. At less than 1 acre in size, it is one of the smallest of Lake Champlain’s islands.
Gunboat Island was known as Petite Isle at the time of the Revolutionary War. British ships had to sail around Gunboat Island to attack the American fleet commanded by Benedict Arnold.
Legend has it that the British fleet mistook the island for one of Arnold’s gunboats and opened fire on the island. This mistaking of the island for a gunboat is how the island got its name. This story is very similar to reports of British bombardment of Carleton’s Prize in Vermont.
SUNY Plattsburgh maintains a data buoy southeast of Valcour/Garden Islands in Lake Champlain. The buoy collects information on surface weather and lake water temperatures (from the surface to a depth of 50m). Data is provided here for general use, but attribution to SUNY Plattsburgh and our funding agencies is requested for any further distribution. Support for the data buoy comes from NOAA Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Lake Champlain Research Consortium, and SUNY Plattsburgh (Center for Earth and Environmental Science and Lake Champlain Research Institute).
Cole Island – Lake Champlain Islands
Cole Island is part of the Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex (LCIMC). At less than 1 acre in size, it is one of Lake Champlain’s smallest islands. Cole Island is located in the Town of Westport, NY – about 5 miles south of the Westport Boat Launch. Cole Island is used for picnicking and other day use activities, but is too small to sustain overnight use.
View from Cole Island looking west toward Vermont’s Green Mountains
Legend has it that Father Isaac Jogues was brought to this island by his Mohawk captors and tortured. Isaac Jogues was a French Jesuit priest who was captured by the Iroquois in 1642 while travelling from from Trois-Rivières to Quebec City. Jogues was tortured and held captive for almost ten months before being released.
He returned to the Mohawks four years later to continue his mission, but was put to death near Auriesville, NY in 1646.
Because it’s tucked into a well-sheltered harbor, the island offers protection from the strong south winds, making it a popular anchorage for recreational boaters. The island does receive a considerable amount of day use from the nearby Camp Dudley summer camp.
Schuyler Island, also known as Schuyler’s Island or Whitney Island, is part of the Town of Chesterfield in Essex County, New York. It’s located between Port Kent, New York and Willsboro Bay, across the lake from Burlington, Vermont.
Schuyler Island is a 161-acre uninhabited island, managed as part of Adirondack Park, with several unimproved campsites available. It is part of the Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex (LCIMC) – owned and operated by New York State.
On October 11, 1776 after the Battle of Valcour during the American Revolutionary War, the battered fleet of American General Benedict Arnold used Schuyler Island to regroup and attempt repairs. Two small ships of the fleet were beyond repair and were scuttled near the island at that time.
Schuyler Island pebble beach
The island passed through a series of private owners until the mid 20th century, occasionally being used for farming. During this time the island became alternately known as “Whitney Island” in reference to the Whitney family, who owned the island from 1891 to 1950. In 1967 the island was sold to New York State,
Although the shoreline around Schuyler Island is ringed by a forest of white pine, hemlock, and birch, the center of the island is an open meadow, with patches of marshy wetland and large stands of ferns.
Beware that the island also has poison ivy.
Diamond Island is a very small island located in the middle of Lake Champlain between Split Rock in New York and Grosse Pointe in Ferrisburgh, It is just north of Fort Cassin Point in Vergennes , VT.
Diamond Island Meteorological Station
The Vermont Monitoring Cooperative maintains one of its three Lake Champlain meteorological stations on Diamond Island.
There are two shipwrecks found in the vicinity of Diamond Island:
- The Stone Boat lies in 12 to 23 feet of water immediately off the southeast side of Diamond Island (44° 14.10N 73° 20.04W). It is about 93′ x 14′ and was a canal boat used to carry quarried stone. Read history
- The Water Witch is located about 1000′ south of Diamond Island (44 13.93′ , 73 20.13′) at a depth of 90′. She was an 83′ x 18′ steamboat that had been converted to sail. Built in 1832, she sank on April 26 1866 while carrying iron ore. Read history
- This is a sensitive dive site; registration is requested please!
- Currents may be very strong at both of these sites!
Diamond Island Regatta
The Royal Savage Yacht Club’s headline sailing event each season is the Diamond Island Regatta. It is a one race event held in the waters of Lake Champlain near the Point Bay Marina.
Sailed in August, the Diamond Island Regatta is part of the Lake Champlain Championship Series (LCCS) and counts towards both the Cannon Series and the Champlain Series. Boats from all over Lake Champlain compete in the regatta.
Other Articles About Lake Champlain Islands:
List of Lake Champlain's Islands