Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soo Locks

I thoroughly enjoyed the very humorous account of boating along the Thames by the three men and their dog, Montmorency, in the book “Three men in a boat” by Jerome K Jerome, and the word ‘Lock’ appeared many times in the course of the story. I had to open the dictionary to know what a lock is and could imagine one, but I never thought that I would be able to see a functioning lock. In fact I was under the wrong impression that they were extinct. So, I was very happy and excited when Bhanu said that we will be visiting ‘Soo Locks’, a real lock very much in use, on our way to Munising from Mackinaw city.

We reached there around five in the evening. The office informed us that a ship is expected to arrive in the lock within the next fifteen minutes and we ran to the viewer’s gallery to get a vantage point. The Soo locks facilitate movement of ships and other vessels between Lake Superior, which is at a higher level, and the other great lakes. The locks bypass the rapids of St Mary river where the river falls about seven meters from the level of Lake Superior.

Within minutes after reaching there we could see the ship ‘Stewart J Cort’ gliding into the ‘Poe lock’.

It stood there waiting to be raised and as I looked with my mouth open, rose slowly and steadily as water was pumped into the lock. It may not be anything great, but it fascinated me. Having reached the required level, it glided out. The process might have taken about twenty minutes and I stood totally absorbed in it.

Within the next few minutes the ferry of the ‘Soo lock tours’ arrived in the ‘Mac Arthur lock’ and moved on.

We came out of the locks, went around the small museum that was there, got in and out of many shops selling trinkets and souvenirs, sat on the roadside bench for a while enjoying the pleasant evening sun and a cup of coffee and were soon on our way to Munising. It was a little more than two hours drive and we arrived at the Day’s inn just as it was getting dark.

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