This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lake Superior - the Greatest Great Lake



Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world by surface area and the largest in North America by volume.  It is a big, big body of water.  One measure of its size is that it takes 191 years for the water to exchange - the water to drain and be replaced by new water from rain, snow, and springs.

"Those who have never seen Superior get an inadequate, even inaccurate, idea, by hearing it spoken of as a 'lake,' and to those who have sailed over its vast extent the word sound ludicrous.  Though its  waters are fresh and crystal, Superior is a sea."

   George Monro Grant, Ocean to Ocean: Sandford Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872

Last Dance and crew explored the Canadian (eastern) side of Lake Superior in July 2017, traveling close to the most northern point of the lake, where the water temperature was 48 degrees.  Similar paths were taken up and back south, with different harbors visited on each leg.  On the map above, the northern route and harbors are detailed in red, and the return, southerly route in blue.  All overnight stops were at anchor as there is only one marina along this route, and it is up a river that is only 3 feet deep, an impossible trip for Last Dance's 4.5 foot draft.

You are mostly alone on this journey, needing to be able to answer any issue yourself.  There are no resources, no cell phone signals, no communications.  In a two-week period, only two other cruising boats were seen.  But, the solitude and natural wilderness are part of the allure of this region.

Lake Superior drains into the St. Marys River and then into Lake Huron across some rapids in Sault Ste. Marie.  Well, originally, it ran into the river over rapids.  Now, only part of the water flow runs across the rapids, the remaining water runs through multiple, large hydroelectric power plants and 5 sets of locks.  This area, known as the Soo, is a good place to start the written journey.  It is highlighted on the bottom right corner of the map as SSM.