More than 20 boats made their way out of Whitehall Monday morning, each tooting and steaming their way toward Fort Edward on day one of the Great International Steamboat Flotilla.
“Every year, we have a meet,” said Carl Kriegeskolte, who organized the 2009 version of the flotilla as part of the Champlain and Hudson Quadracentennial celebration.
“This group usually is made up with about half of us from America and half of the group from Canada,” said Kriegeskolte, who is from Mount Kisco, N.Y. “One year, we will have our meet in Canada, and then we will alternate years and have one here.”
Kriegeskolte described the organization as a “group of friends from all over the East,” who share a love for the history and technology of steam-powered boating.
“I have had a fascination with old technology, especially steam power,” said Kriegeskolte. “I worked on the last, steam-powered ferry on the Hudson River, and I had a friend who said that after that experience, I was never the same. I got to work with a polished brass engine and I was shoveling coal.”
Kriegeskolte said there is a lot of care and work that goes into properly operating a steam-powered boat.
“It’s not just turning the key,” he said. “You have to be one with the engine and know what is going on. It really is a symbiotic relationship.”
Kriegeskolte and the rest of the flotilla made their way to the Whitehall Marina on Sunday, June 28, where they were treated to a potluck dinner on Monday and a buffet breakfast on Monday morning, June 29.
The flotilla steamed out of Whitehall around 8:30 a.m. on June 29, heading for Fort Edward, where the first leg of its journey would end.
“On June 30, we will be going from Fort Edward to Schuylerville,” said Kriegeskolte. “Then we will make our way to Waterford, where they are having a three-day steamboat meet down there that the town holds over the Fourth of July weekend.”