After being shut down for its annual winter maintenance since late January, there was a flurry of activity at Michigan’s Soo Locks this week as two of the huge, empty chambers were refilled with 73 million gallons of water in preparation for Monday, March 25, which is opening day of the 2019 navigation season.
For Great Lakes ship enthusiasts, this ritual is the true first sign of spring.
With the Soo’s biggest lock – the Poe Lock – refilled and ready, the first vessels through were a trio of Coast Guard that headed out Tuesday on an ice-breaking mission in partially-frozen Lake Superior.
Two of the cutters – the Mackinaw and the Alder – are U.S. Coast Guard ships. The third is the Samuel Risley, a Canadian Coast Guard vessel.