PORT HENRY, N.Y. — Outfitted with a new boat and underwater drone, Katy Elizabeth is ready to spend her summer searching for Champ.
The 36-year-old head of the Champ Search group also has a new book out, “Water Horse of Lake Champlain: The Search,” detailing her decade-long quest for the Lake Champlain monster.
“I know he’s out there,” she said. “It’s just a matter of time until I find him.”
She said her new research vessel, a cabin cruiser named Kelpie II, should be ready in a couple weeks.
“I’m really excited. It’ll be nice to spend nights on the lake,” she said. “And it will be beneficial when I start Champ tours.”
At some point, she plans to bring people to places on the lake where Champ has been sited most often, like Bulwagga Bay in this hamlet 15 miles north of Fort Ticonderoga, or Button Bay in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.
Elizabeth divides her time between Vermont and Port Henry in search of the underwater creature. This year she has a bright orange underwater video drone, which operates at a depth of 350 feet, to scour the lake.
Elizabeth said she’s working with a film crew to create an Amazon Prime documentary on “how I got into Champ.”
“It will be my journey from the very beginning. It’s an obsession and a passion.”
Elizabeth’s interest in the legendary creature began when she was 7 and saw a segment about the creature on “Unsolved Mysteries.” Legends about the monster inhabiting this 514-square-mile freshwater lake that stretches across the border into Quebec are much like those of the Loch Ness Monster are said to begin with the Iroquois and Abenaki.
As she got older and started camping at Button Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh, Elizabeth started looking for Champ.
Though she’s not made a definitive sighting, some encounters have encouraged her. “I have a video I took of a large dark shadow moving underwater,” she said.
Champ sightings have been reported for hundreds of years, and there have been many blurry photographs, including the famous Sandra Mansi photo from 1977, taken while Mansi and her family were at a camp near Willsboro, New York.
Some believe Champ is a huge sturgeon. Others believe it’s a prehistoric throwback similar to a plesiosaur.
Cryptozoologists say a breeding colony of the creatures would be necessary for them to have been spotted over such a long period of time.
There haven’t been any Champ sightings reported to her so far this year.
Then again, most occur in July and August, said Elizabeth, so it’s still early.