The weather kept us in Mackinac City longer than we had planned, so we decided to do some touring from there. Since we were at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan it was the perfect kick-off point for visiting the Upper Peninsula.
The most interesting tourist spot, for a boater at least, is the Sault St. Marie locks. This is the connector between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. There are actually four U.S. locks and a Canadian lock all co-located in the cities of Sault St. Marie (Michigan and Ontario). The cities are connected by the International Bridge. The day we went there was no problem traveling from the U.S. to Canada, but the traffic to go the other way (into the U.S.) was backed up half way across the bridge. We contented ourselves with visiting the U.S. side of the locks.
We got lucky and arrived as a freighter was going through. There were only six freighters scheduled to lock through all day (they post the schedule at the visitors center) and the one we caught was the last one for six hours. You can't really get a feel for how large these ore carriers and the locks are from the first picture. It was taken as the boat was ready to exit the lock. This boat is heading down from Superior to Huron, a drop of about 20 feet, so what you are seeing is the top of the ship. The second picture gives you a better sense of how big the ship was. These things ease into the locks with very little room to spare on either side.
|Freighter in the lock|
|Freighter leaving the lock|
|Female bear near her den|
Before we left Mackinac City I finally got around to cleaning off all the decals and stickers we had acquired for this trip. The big 2012 number we posted was our Canadian clearance number given to us when we checked in to Canada in June. The customs people warned us that we could be challenged by police to prove we had legally checked in to the country and the best defense was to just post the number, although we weren't technically required to do so. Sure enough, one morning we were asked by the local cops if we were in the country legally. All I had to do was point to the number and they went away. The purple stickers are the Erie Canal passes which have to be posted on both sides of the boat. The white and orange are the Parks Canada passes for the Trent Severn Waterway, one that gives us the right to transit the locks and the other that means we can overnight at the locks. The little blue and white one is a U.S. Customs sticker and the big blue one is our Florida registration. In addition to all of these, the dinghy had it's own set of stickers.