Have you ever watched huge ships pass through narrow locks to get from one body of water to another?
It’s a fascinating feat of engineering!
Last Friday evening ((has it been a week already?!)) Lynn asked if I wanted to go down to the Soo Locks and see if any ships were passing through.
Of course! I am game for anything, especially if it is something I'd never seen before!
The evening was gorgeous – clear blue skies, sunny and warm, and Lynn and I mounted the viewing platform with quite a smattering of other lookers-on to watch.
The Soo Locks (sometimes spelled Sault Locks, but pronounced "soo") are a set of parallel locks which enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.
They are located on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, between the Upper Peninsula of the US state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.
They bypass the rapids of the river, where the water falls 21 feet.
This ship was westward bound in the far lock when we arrived.
Note how far above ground level this ship rests!
The locks pass an average of 10,000 ships per year, despite being closed during the winter from January through March, when ice shuts down shipping on the Great Lakes.
The winter closure period is used to inspect and maintain the locks.
As the green ship is leaving, another ship is entering closer to us!
Again..notice how high above the ground the ship is --
Waving hello to Canada on the other side of the river!
The crew climbs down ladders and grab ropes to ground level, walking along side.
There are gates at the other end….
Now this is the whole “optical illusion thing” Does the water on THIS side of the gate look like we are at the same level as the water on the other side of that gate? It looks like one even river, doesn’t it?
At this point the water starts leaving the lock, lowering the ship down and down and down and down…..same sidewalk, boat now even with sidewalk!
Until the ship is WAY BELOW the level of the sidewalk where those workers were standing!
NOW the gates open!
This ship was 21 feet above the waterline of the next body of water where it needed to go……just amazing!
It was a beautiful evening and such a great vantage point to watch something that I don’t get to see every day. I love stuff like this. There are such amazing things to see in this world when we get our hands and eyes out of our quilting and take a good look around, don’t you agree?
I love learning about things that I never knew existed before, or didn’t know how they worked before.
And making new friends in the process!
Sadie and I have already had a 2.5 mile hike this morning ---big breakfast is on the agenda as soon as I get this sent off. There is nothing like fresh mountain air to bring on the hungries!
Today may bring rain late this afternoon, but while the weather is good, you’ll find me out on the front porch treadling away ---
Have a great Friday, everyone!