Thursday, August 3, 2006

Soo Locks

On Monday the heat index here was 105 degrees. On Tuesday it was 110 degrees. Lucky for us, we were hanging out at the Soo Locks, in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, where it was at least 10 degrees less.

The Soo locks are quite fascinating -- a real engineering marvel. The only way to get from Lake Superior to any of the other Great Lakes is by passing through the St. Mary's River. The big problem was that there is about a 21 foot difference in the water levels of Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Don't ask me how, but the locks were constructed to overcome this problem and now this passage has become the busiest locks in the world.

Do you see here how Lake Superior (on the left) is way higher than Lake Huron (on one right)?

When a ship comes in (which is all the time), the water level has to be equalized before it can get through. You can see all the water coming in at the bottom.

It takes about a half an hour to get the lower side full. When full, the bridge opens

to allow the vessel to go through.

This particular ship is the Keizersborg, a 428-ft. vessel, from the Netherlands.

And off to Lake Superior she goes....


  1. Now, I'm no engineer but it seems to me that a waterslide would be helpful here. Just aim the ship into the slide and woosh! down into the next lake it goes. Am I a genius or what?

    Welcome home, Zoey. :-)

  2. Hi, Zoey. My Bloglines said I had 119 unread posts of yours. Well, not any longer! I just got all caught up, but it's past my bedtime now. Keep up the good work!

  3. Zoey,
    About 40 years ago I was a long distance operator and somebody dialed "O" and wanted to place a call to Sue Saint Marie, MI. I looked through every index I could lay my hands on to get the cost.
    (Would have helped had I known it was French!)
    I've never forgotten how to pronouce that town. (unless I was taught wrong at the time) :-)
    Loved the pics of the locks...

  4. 119 posts? Holy wonder I am getting carpal tunnel!
    Nice to see you again, Kathy.

    Melissa, you ARE a genius! Just imagine what this place could have been if only you were the mastermind!

    Sue, nice new profile pic.
    Unless you are from MI, very few know to pronounce Sault as "Soo"... or Mackinac as "Mackinaw"...we have some strange names, that is for sure.

  5. Aren't those locks a product of genius. It's been a long time since I have seen those.

  6. Motherkitty's husband worked for the corps of engineers on a lock & dam for years.


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