Engineer’s Weekend, Part I

Since I just created this blog, I’m going to first play a little catch-up from this summer. This past June was my first time ever going to the Engineer’s Weekend at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.


The locks opened for the day at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 26th. The first ship of the day was the Roger Blough. She was being raised in the lock as tourists streamed in through the gates.

026The Blough was built in 1971, and in this shot you can clearly see her hull plating.

2-Oberstar-6-26-15-dlThe next ship of the day was the Hon. James L. Oberstar, downbound in the Poe Lock. By this time, the space between the MacArthur and Poe Locks was packed with spectators.3-Oberstar-6-26-15-dlThe Oberstar stopped right in front of the crowds, offering some great photo angles.

033Next into the lock was the upbound Lee A. Tregurtha. She is bound for Marquette, MI, to load ore.

4-Tregurtha-6-26-15-dlShe is raised quickly, and begins exiting the lock chamber.

5-Jackson-6-26-15-dlLater in the afternoon, Herbert C. Jackson passed upbound through the MacArthur Lock, completing the Interlake trio for the day. She is bound for Marquette to load ore.

040That was all the traffic that passed through during the time the locks were open. But, at 6 p.m., I boarded the Soo Locks Tour Boat Le Voyageur for the Boatnerd cruise. We traveled upbound from the dock, entering the MacArthur Lock a few minutes later. However, once we were raised, the ship arrestor at the upper end of the lock did not lift. This meant we had to be lowered again, and back out of the lock. Of course, as soon as we were out, the arrestor was fixed. But we headed downbound instead, as there were boats coming.

041CSL Assiniboine is upbound light for Duluth and a load of iron ore.

042Unfortunately, these stern views are quite backlit. But she continues on her way towards the locks.


Le Voyageur followed her upbound, and she pulled up to the lower approach wall to wait for the Edgar B. Speer,  being lowered in the Poe Lock.

8-Volga-6-26-15-dlThen we headed back downbound to catch the HHL Volga, a new visitor to the Great Lakes this year. This is my first time catching her, so I’m glad I have some good photos of her. She is upbound with a load of wind turbine parts destined for Duluth.

9-Volga-6-26-15-dlHere’s a wide shot of her as the tour boat passes.

050And here’s her backlit stern view as she continues upbound.

043Next, we headed back upbound along the Canadian shoreline. This is the main dock for the Purvis Marine fleet, as well as the dock where the laid up Yankcanuck remains. She has not seen service since 2007, partly due to her small size. She is also owned by Purvis, but I don’t know what their plans are for her.

10-Passing-6-26-15-dlOnce we arrived back at the locks was when we saw some action. Edgar B. Speer is exiting the Poe Lock downbound, HHL Volga heads in for the MacArthur Lock, and CSL Assiniboine waits for the Speer.

11-Speer-6-26-15-dlThe late evening sunlight created a kind of cool effect on the Speer‘s hull as she exits the lock approach.

And that was all for Day 1 of Engineer’s Weekend. Friday may have been the only day that the locks were open, but I stayed in the Soo for the weekend, so I will have at least one more post tomorrow. Stay tuned!


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