Photo courtesy of Army Corp of Engineers
Locks allow ships to pass between bodies of water at different elevations. The first time I saw locks in action was in Banbury, England. Small house boats traveled downstream via canals assisted by locks. Those boats were tiny compared to the giant freighter we saw pass through Michigan’s Soo Locks in the summer of 2017.
The Soo Locks allow passage between Lake Superior and Lake Huron necessitated by the difference in height of 20 feet between the two lakes, Lake Superior being higher of the two.
Prior to the Soo Locks, ships were taken out of the water and rolled on wooden logs between the lakes in a process called Portage. The main road running parallel to the Locks is called Portage Ave, a nod to the ‘ol days.
Everything works agonizingly slowly in a lock which really tested my and my kids’ patience. I won’t test yours, the video below is a sped up version of the crossing.
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