We have a busy day planned for today, so we started off with an early breakfast at our hotel, then drove to the waterfront to see about getting tickets for the Soo Locks Boat Tour.
This is the boat we will be on as soon as the people onboard get off.
A float plane flies overhead.
Our tour starts by going upbound into the MacArthur Lock. We wait for the lock gate to open. Of the 4 locks only the MacArthur and the Poe are operational, the other 2, the Davis and the Sabin are shut down and are awaiting demolition so that the Army Corps of Engineers can begin the construction of a “super” lock.
We enter the lock. As you look up the wall of the lock you can see the lock viewing platform is full of people waving at us.
The lock fills with water from Lake Superior to raise us 21 feet.
In the Poe Lock next to us the Canadian Freighter “Birchglen” is just entering the lock travelling downbound from Lake Superior into Lake Huron.
We leave the MacArthur lock behind us and head out underneath the International Bridge that connects Sault Ste. Marie Michigan to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. There is also a lift bridge that carries the rail line be the two cities across the river.
We headed over to the Canadian side to get a close up view of the Algoma Steel Company.
We watched as the freight Michipicoten unloaded its cargo of coal.
We then headed into the Canadian Lock. Known as the Sault Ste. Marie Canal. The original lock was built in 1798 but was destroyed in 1814 by US Forces during the war of 1812. The lock was then re-built and completed in 1895. However on June 9 1909 the lock was seriously damaged when a ship crashed into the lock gate. The lock was repaired 12 days later and operated until 1987 when the lock was damaged by ice. The wall shifted 18 inches. A new, smaller lock was then built inside the existing damaged lock and re-opened in 1998. The lock is now only used for pleasure craft and tour boat traffic.
The Canadian Flag is at half mast because of the death of Canadian Politician Jack Layton.
We will be lowered back down 21 feet and then we will proceed past the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront.
The tenants in these waterfront apartments sure have a great view of the ships coming and going through the lock system.
The Canadian freighter Birchglen has exited the Poe Lock and is on its way down the St. Marys River on its way to Lake Huron and beyond.
Back over on the US side of the river, we pass by some dry docks where ships are being repaired and inspected. There is also a small RV Park at the waters edge, another great viewing spot for seeing the Lake Freighters.
Back at the dock we walked across the parking lot and visited the Museum Ship “Valley Camp” The Valley Camp is an actual Great Lakes Freighter that you can explore and tour.
There are numerous displays and artefacts onboard. Here are a couple of oil paintings of the Valley Camp.
There is also an oil painting of the David Dows, the largest sailing ship ever on the Great Lakes.
We thought of our friends Carol and Darrell when we saw this snow mobile..I bet they wish they had this sweet ride.
Up on deck, we walk towards the bow where the wheelhouse and crews quarters are.
The only 2 lifeboats recovered are on display here. One of the lifeboats is torn in half.
The names of all the crew members are displayed on a wall.
After touring the Valley Camp, we drove the short distance to the Soo Locks Visitor Center to check the lock schedule. There is a ship on the schedule that I recognize… The Frontenac. The Frontenac arrives in Midland Ontario late each fall and docks at the grain elevator there for the winter. So we will come back this evening and watch the Frontenac go through the lock.
We went back to our hotel for the rest of the afternoon, then came back to the waterfront for dinner at The Lakeview Restaurant. We ate here last night and the meal was delicious so we have no hesitation to dine here again tonight.
After dinner we went across the road to the lock viewing platform and watched as the Federal Patroller entered the lock system. The ship is hard to photograph because the setting sun is directly behind the ship.
I can see the Frontenac waiting patiently for the Federal Patroller to clear the lock.
The Federal Patroller is lowered to the level of Lake Huron and exits the lock.
The lock is refilled back up to the level of Lake Superior and the Frontenac is given the go ahead to enter.
It sure is a tight fit, the hull of the Frontenac is a mere few inches from the wall of the lock.
At this point we left the viewing platform and walked to a location along the sea wall where we could view the Frontenac as it exits the lock and heads out into Lake Huron.
I took a lot of photos today, approximately 350 or more. I also took some videos of the Frontenac entering the leaving the locks.
To see all of the photos and videos from today you can find them all on my FLICKR site.