Diva Di's Cruising Adventures

Day 56 - Sault Sainte Marie, MI

26 July 2016
Day 56 - Sat 23 Jul 2016
Docked - Sault Sainte Marie, MI

[photo: view from the Soo Locks Visitor Center as a self-unloading laker locks down]

Confirming the last decision, with a twinge of regret, we stayed here at the marina and will move back S tomorrow. Diane pointed out that we have never taken our boat into Lake Erie, either, so it isn't like we missed out on visiting all five Great Lakes. I used the early morning time to get my hair buzzed and my beard trimmed in the shower facility, which is very nice.

When 0900 rolled around, we walked next door to visit the Valley Camp, a retired mid-sized 'laker' from the early half of the 20th century converted into a museum. Not only do you get to see the inner workings and quarters of much of the ship, but in the massive holds are two levels with numerous exhibits. Not everything was well done, but enough was that we both enjoyed the visit. We walked the length of the ship at least 8 times, plus the up and downs and got in a fair amount of exercise.

After a delicious lunch aboard, courtesy of the Admiral, I set out with a courtesy bike with three goals: visit the downtown area, visit the Soo Locks Visitor Center, and hit the grocery store again. It was, indeed, very hot and humid (but nothing like FL, I must say) as I biked down Portage Ave. That got its name from the days before they built the locks when fairly large ships (for their time) were actually portaged over land to avoid the rapids on the St. Mary's River at that spot. I understand it took up to several weeks to move a big ship via rollers and horse teams.

The waterfront part of the city is an amazing throwback to the 1950s or so. The architecture and signage certainly harken back to that era. It is a touristy place to some extent because of the locks, but really an enjoyable place to have visited. The Soo Locks Visitor Center was also very nice, modern, and informative. I described to two older gentlemen manning the information desk our encounter with the upbound laker, how we let her pass us, only to find she had slowed considerably. They chuckled after I told them where this happened.

They said those giant ships have to start slowing down many miles before they get to the big turn into Sault Ste, Marie and I had let it pass as it was doing so. In retrospect, I could have easily stayed ahead of her and saved 30 or more minutes. Too bad this is probably the last time we will be up here in a boat, or that would be good info to have for next time.

I went to the observation decks to see a laker of 1000 feet in length leave one of the locks, downbound. It looked to be moving almost imperceptibly, but when I started to estimate its speed based upon careful observations, it was going perhaps 4 kts, which is a lot of momentum for a ship that size. With that visit crossed off my list, I biked to the grocery store to get another backpack full of provisions. By the time I got back to the marina, I was hot and sweaty.

With shower gear and grilling stuff in hand, I made the relatively short walk up to the office, fired up the grill and then took a nice shower while the grill pre-heated. I cooked the teriyaki-marinated pork tenderloin for dining later that night and for the stir-fry the following two nights. I got that all done by 1615 while Diane readied some snacks for another cocktail hour with our slip neighbors and fellow Loopers.

Bear got her nickname from her parents and her last name was Holiday at one point, so the boat's name is Bear Holiday. The funny part was that early in the day I had invited them over and they said they would bring beer. I assumed (foolishly) that they probably meant something rather bland like Bud Light, so I said that we don't drink beer. The said, "Yes, you do; we talked to Diane." When they explained they are beer/ale aficionados and their daughter owns a craft brew pub, I admitted that I do love good craft beer.
Bear and Jerry came over at 1630 bearing a great goat cheese appetizer and a sampling of very nice craft beers. We had a great time talking about this and that and before you know it, it was 1800. They left to walk into town to a restaurant, while I took 5 minutes to finish readying the pork, Brussel sprouts, and sweet potato supper.

Afterwards, I lounged on the flybridge enjoying a nice temperature after the heat of the day. Diane was down below reading. We made it another early night, anticipating rain at some point in the wee hours.
Vessel Name: Diva Di
Vessel Make/Model: PDQ MV34 Power Cat
Hailing Port: Punta Gorda, FL
Crew: Duane and Diane

Diva Di Crew

Who: Duane and Diane
Port: Punta Gorda, FL