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ROV to explore lake wreck

Remember those cool underwater robots in the sci-fi mega movie "The Abyss"? The movie's fictional Big Geek and Little Geek robots closely resemble real-world remote-controlled submersibles called ROVs or remote operated vehicles. Now you can get a closeup look at Vermont's own "little geek" diving Lake Champlain this weekend.

For $22, adults can join a pioneering lake cruise and observe a high-tech ROV explore an historic wreck. Archaeologists on board the Escape will take the curious guests to an undisclosed shipwreck site and then "dive" the robot into the deep water.

This ROV event is part of "Messing About in Boats", the annual Small Watercraft Festival at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Aug. 8-9 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

On Saturday at 11 a.m., explorers Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson will "meet" for the first time at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum-400 years after their first exploration of the region.

A life-sized puppet of Hudson is traveling from Albany, N.Y. in the company of Carol Margolis of the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center while Champlain 's puppet will arrive in the company of Rebecca Goldberg of the Fletcher Free Library. The explorers will greet the public and are happy to share stories of their historic travels and recent adventures. Young visitors will also enjoy hands-on activities with smaller puppets of Henry Hudson and friends.

Throughout the weekend, the historic 1901 tugboat Urger, the flagship of the New York State Barge Canal fleet, will be in port at the Basin Harbor Club, next door to the museum and a dozen boat makers will exhibit both classic and innovative small watercraft on the Museum grounds and offer try-outs at the museum's waterfront.

Umiak/Canoe Imports will offer on-water demonstrations, and on Saturday they offer classes in elementary and intermediate kayaking skills. You can learn to make a paddle or a set of oars in the great workshops taking place throughout the weekend.

To join the remote operated vehicle (ROV) "dive", to be held Saturday, Aug. 8, at 1 p.m. The tour costs $22 for adults and $18 for children; seating is limited so advance registration is recommended. Call 475-2022 for information and to reserve your place.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is located on the shore of Lake Champlain seven scenic miles west of Vergennes. For more information, log on to www.lcmm.org or call 475-2022.

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