SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Ship lovers got a treat in recent days when three of the Great Lakes’ massive thousand-footers where gathered at the Soo Locks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
David Kaye got some great pictures of the heavyweight trio in the Soo Harbor last Friday, and agreed to share them with MLive readers.
He had a lofty vantage point, too. Kaye shot the photos from the 210-foot Tower of History, which has viewing platforms overlooking the locks.
The tower has exhibits featuring early history of the area’s missionaries, Native Americans and later the local settlers. It’s also a great place to watch the bustling maritime action at the Soo Locks.
Kaye’s photos are being shared this weekend by ship watchers around the Great Lakes.
A primer outlining the backstory of the photos was shared by DRE Designs, which also posts a lot of great ship details.
“(You can see) the Mesabi Miner leaving the Poe Lock and receiving supplies from the Ojibway supply boat, the Paul R Tregurtha heading into the Poe Lock and the Edgar B Speer floating along in the harbor patiently waiting her turn to follow into the lock after the (Tregurtha) locks through.”
“You can also see the State of Michigan moored at the Coast Guard station, the Museum Ship Valley Camp looking fabulous and, if you look closely, you can see our 2 G-tugs moored as well just to the left of the marina… and that’s Sault Ste Marie Ontario on the other side of the river.
The Soo Locks system is the engineering linchpin of Great Lakes shipping, allowing vessels to travel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, despite the difference in water levels where they connect via the St. Marys River.
Of the Soo’s four locks, only the Poe and the MacArthur locks are in regular use during the shipping season.
Any ships larger than 730 feet long need to go through the Poe, including the handful of 1,000-foot freighters beloved by “laker” watchers in our region.
Each year, more than 4,500 ships move 80 million tons of cargo through the locks, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District, which oversees the system.
Here are the specs of the freighters featured in Kaye’s photos:
Mesabi Miner: 1,004 feet long. According to the Interlake Steamship company, she was named to honor the men and women of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. Her self-unloading system includes three cargo hold belts and a 265-foot boom.
Paul R. Tregurtha: At 1,013 feet long, she is the Interlake Steamship Company’s flagship – and the longest ship on the Great Lakes. Her cargo holds can carry up to 68,000 gross tons of taconite pellets or 71,000 net tons of coal.
Edgar B. Speer: 1,004 feet long. This self-discharging bulk carrier, built in 1980, is run by the Keystone Shipping Company.
SOURCE & Photos: MLive