Is there a Great Lakes shipping iPhone app out there?

So, my morning walking route when I’m in my homeland of Sault Ste. Siberia takes me past the Soo Locks. This morning, as I approached the locks, it was dark and initially I didn’t think there were any freighters locking up or down. And then I saw a pair of bright white lights. There are a lot of lights at the locks throughout the night but these looked a bit odd. As I got closer, a huge superstructure loomed out of the darkness. It was an absolutely gorgeous salty, the Zelada Descagnes, locking up into Lake Superior.

I entered the locks park. It was early in the morning and there aren’t a lot of touristas there at this time of year, so I think I was the first person to enter the park. I had to wait a couple seconds for the security guard to come outside to ask me if I had any weapons. Weapons. Yeah. Me. Umbrella maybe. But not this time. When I was a kid, the beautiful park that surrounds the locks had many entrances and anyone could walk in and outta there pretty much whenever they wanted to. Now? Not so much. Thank you very much to our wonderful terrorists, Al Qaeda and homegrown both. You guys, can we just get along? Anyway, I greeted this guard with a big, cheerful, “Good morning!!!” He asked me the required question and I could tell he was doing his best to act cheerful in response to me. It was just after 7:00 AM and I bet the young guard was not happy about being up at that hour and having to greet some crazy woman who probably looked to him like about his grandmother’s age.

Anyway. I watched the Zelada Descagnes lock up and, yaknow, those boats are huge and I was right next to that boat. Behind a chainlink fence with barbed waaarrrr on the top of it, that is. I grew up in that town and I have probably watched about a billion boats go up and down the St. Mary’s River in and out of Lake Superior during that time. I am told that when I was first learning to talk, back in about the Eocene, I would frequently issue the command “Down boat!!!” which meant, “let’s get in the car [old black Ford] and drive down to the locks to look at the boats.” My boatnerd father aka Grandroobly would *always* oblige!!

Today I was somehow humbled by the size of that beautiful salty and how close I was to it and how it was tethered to the shore (shore?) by a few ropes. I have seen all of this stuff happen so many times before. I don’t know what made me actually think about it today. I caught myself wondering if they ever hire women to help lock boats through…

One Response to “Is there a Great Lakes shipping iPhone app out there?”

  1. Kathy Farnell Says:

    I don’t know if they hire women on the “Salties” but all of the women in my family (my daughters and I) have been in a lock in the Welland Canal with a salty. That was a little scary. Usually they lock pleasure boats through on their own. They look so big. We also went through the St. Lawrence Seaway Locks but we were in the locks with other pleasure boats, not freighters. We saw lots of Lake Freighters and Ocean Freighters up close. It was a real experience.