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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beautiful day in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan (and Ontario, too!)

As much as I like knives, I also enjoy beautiful, sunny days, but then again, who doesn't?  As you may or may not know, I live in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan (Sault is pronounced Soo).  The main industry here is tourism.  People come from all over to watch the freighters enter the Soo Locks and either raise or lower depending in which way they are going.

A freighter that is down bound, is a one that is coming from Lake Superior and going to Lake Huron or further, an up bound freighter is heading into Lake Superior.  The boats that enter the Soo Locks, will raise or lower 21 feet and the water is filled or emptied out of the Locks without any mechanical device (gravity does the work). 

The Soo Locks can handle some large ships.  The largest lock is the Poe Lock at 1200' x 110'.  The largest ship that the Soo Locks is required to handle is the Paul R. Tregurtha at 1013.5' x 105', this leaves little room for error with only 2.5' clearance on either side of ship.  The Tregurtha is considered a laker as it is too large to make it out to the ocean (too large for the locks in the St. Lawrence Seaway).

The Soo Locks visitor center is open to the public, but be warned, you do not want to carry pepper spray, firearms (even with CPL/CCW) or knives.  You are required to go through a checkpoint to enter into this area, but then you get to enjoy the use of the platforms which allow you a better view of the locks and the ships that pass through and you can also visit the Visitor Center where you can learn some of the history and mechanics of the locks.  Did you forget to leave your pepper spray in the car and don't want to go back and refuse to let the guards confiscate it?  No problem, head east to the other side of the Army Corp of Engineers building and there is a nice park there that allows you to see the freighters as they go by.

Take care,


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