If you are a big ship fan, this is your place in the US, the volume of Great Lakes Freighter traffic is amazing. What makes it special is the Big ships have to slow and stop to go through the locks and you can get very close to watch them. The whole town of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan is built around ship watching with free viewing platforms and gift shops loaded with ship merchandise. At the viewing platform an announcer broadcasts facts, statistics and destinations about the ships in the locks.
The city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is very nice and is geared toward history and tourism around the locks. We were there over the 4th of July weekend. The area was busier than normal with visitors. We toured the Valley Camp ship which is now a museum. You get to walk through the entire ship, crew quarters, the bridge, engine room, and even the cargo hold. Well worth the entry fee. The big black ship is the Valley Kemp museum and SEASONS is docked in left center of the photo.
The city had a 4th of July Parade. Dorothy and took our lawn chairs and grabbed a spot on the curb. The parade turned out to be mostly a motor vehicle drive by. Law enforcement, various organizations, and some businesses made up most of the parade. There was no marching band, but the parade marshal was Jeff Blashill coach of the Redwings hockey team. The best part were the 4 antique tractors. We watched a very nice fireworks display from our boat that evening.
We stayed at the George Kemp marina with a front row seat to watch the big Lakers go by all day long. Photo is of 2 ships from the same company passing each other. The one on the right just left the locks and the left one is entering.
And another ship right behind it headed to the locks.
Fun Facts; 100% of the iron ore used in the US steel industry passes through the soo locks, 7000 to 10,000 ships pass through the Soo locks each year, it takes 22 million gallons of water to lock a boat through, ( that means our little boat, Seasons, used that much water to go through the lock). There is no charge to pass through the lock, thank you American taxpayer. We used the lock on the right.
If you are inclined you can even ride a tour boat into the locks just like the big ships do. We of course have our own tour boat with SEASONS. Our trip through the lock was easy and the lockmasters are very nice to work with. Here is a time lapse video with a little music. We never caught the big ship.
While in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan walking through the many gift shops, I decided we needed a Lake Superior Mascot for good luck and to attract Moose sightings. Dorothy’s main goal to see a moose in the wild. We named him “Morty the Moose” and he sits in the front window keeping an eye out for his friends.
Lets go Morty! our Lake Superior adventures begin.