Nervous? Yes, I was. In the end, though, it’s easy going through “the Soo Locks” at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan, on the Canadian border. Jeff coasts the Mainship Many Moons slowly forward while I call the lock master requesting permission to “lock down” (meaning we’re heading down-river, vs. up-river). About 20 minutes later, we’re given the green light — a literal light that turns from red to green — and the gate opens in front of us. We ease our way into the lock, inches from the cement wall. I take the helm for awhile to get some “close-order-drill” practice, but give it back to Jeff as we prepare to drop. (It’s not my boat, and I don’t want to be at the helm if we hit!) A lock worker throws two lines down to us–one for the bow and one for the stern. Jeff and I each take one. And we drop … 21 feet. Twenty minutes later, another gate opens and we exit the other end and into the busy St. Mary’s River. Tourists watch all this from the observation deck, and from the tour boat that accompanies us. Fun? You bet. These photos show the sequence.
Approaching the locks at the International RR Bridge
Passing under the International Bridge
The lock begins to crack open in front of us
Mary holding the line tossed down to us by lock workers
The tourist observation deck, as we start to drop
Our companion boat Impulse and a tour boat behind us as drop
Tourists watch us as we drop
Jeff holds the bow line (Mary was on the stern) as we drop
Lock worker bids us farewell after pulling up our lines
And we’re through the locks, 21 feet lower than before
St. Mary’s River is busy on the other side!