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. The Soo Locks - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Vintage Original  Postcard #2669 - 1960's: Everything Else

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.

3 thoughts on “SOO LOCKS

  1. Hey Brian. Glad to see you, Dorothy, and Seasons back on the water.

    Curious about your schedule. Are you planning on Great Lakes cruising this summer and then back to the Milwaukee area for winter storage or at some point will you start heading south.??????


  2. Hi Frank,

    So the rough schedule is,

    We are spending the month of July on Lake Superior

    Great Lakes Grand Banks rendezvous is August 5 – 8 in St Ignace, MI

    The we are heading south on Huron and east on Erie.

    We will pick up the Erie Canal in Buffalo, NY and take it all the way across to Albany

    Down the Hudson River in September. We are hoping to catch some early fall colors.

    We want to try to spend sometime on the Chesapeake this fall.

    From there we are headed south for the winter. February in Stock Island, March in Marathon

    If it works we want to run over to Bahamas for a week or so.

    Then we are thinking of heading up to New England during the summer of 2022.

    We are really enjoying ourselves on the water. Our Grand Banks is running great.

    We laid the boat up at Great Lakes Marine for the winter and I was able to rework most all of the brightwork. The decks are all rechalked and new bungs where needed. I replumbed the entire boat with PEX pipe and lots of little projects.

    Hope you and Ronda are well and getting some boating in this summer.

    Brian and Dorothy


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