There is a 20+ foot difference in height between Lake Superior and Lakes Huron and Michigan, which means that ships must use the Soo Locks to travel north or south with their cargo. Currently, there are four locks on the St. Mary's River with two of those being planned to be closed and reconstructed in the next decade or so to hold bigger ships.
It's a great place to bring kids because of the number of ships that go through each day. There are also a couple of ways of finding out what ships are coming through and when: a phone hotline and an online program in the visitor center. And here comes a ship now.
In case of emergency, the crew was supposed to strap themselves into this lifeboat, which would then be launched via a ramp into the cold lakes! Does not look like a good ride.
Notice that the ship is now much higher in the lock than it was when it started.
And out it goes, headed for Superior!
It was not easy to make reservations at this Sault St. Marie, MI, campground, but I managed to do it early enough to get us a campsite with a direct view of the St. Mary's River, which is where the ships enter or exit the locks.
It was a bit foggy the day I took these photos, but you can see how close you are to the river.
Luckily, on another day, I was able to get photos of some of the ships going by.
This one was HUGE!