Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Enjoying Boat Watching

I was sent a direct tweet from Michael Purvis, a reporter for the Sault Star, and someone I follow on Twitter. He alerted me to an article in a Fort Wayne newspaper/website titled "Boatnerd reveals childhood obession." You might enjoy reading the reporter, Jeff Jones, reactions to a recent visit to the Soo Locks. Jones stated, " There’s something so indescribably tranquil about sitting beside the water, listening to the waves crash against the beach, the cries of seagulls and the quacking of ducks."

It is always fun to see how people enjoy the boats and their wonder and excitement at seeing them for the first time. When we introduce visitors to our cabin to the boats, it usually takes about a day and a half and they are hooked. They are out watching for what is coming up the river and I often see them looking in Know Your Ships for more information on the sighting.

Jeff Jones says that

"Many years ago, before I was 10, my grandparents had a summer cottage at DeTour Village, next to Lake Huron, where the big freighters would pass either to or from the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

While the boats were at a great distance from the cottage, a telescope enabled the grandchildren to zoom in and read each ship’s name. At night, reading the names was impossible, but we could still see ship lights in the darkness."

Many of us started our boat nerd obsession at some place along the river where we watched ships as a child. For many of us it was at our grandparent's cabin. I loved having my grandchildren here last week because I hope to pass on this 'obsession' to them.

I'd like to hear your stories about where your love of boats or the St. Marys River or just the Upper Peninsula began. Please share them with us.

The boat traffic has been light but rather steady. The Clelia II is making her trips right on schedule. Last night, a full moon rose over the river and gave us a spectacular show. I always look forward to the full moons during the summer. The show this year was perfect.

I saw the Lee A. Tregurtha in the Locks last night. Because of the technology of my new phone, I snapped a picture and sent it to Facebook. Are you on Facebook? There are lots of boat watchers and people who are on the boats. The sailors are sharing lots of great pictures from their travels that I am loving. If you need any assistance navigating Facebook, just send me an email at

Thanks, Brenda


jasper said...

I started coming to the U.P. as a teenager with my parents. Have come every year for almost 30 years. Always stayed on Neebish Island where friends had several cottages. As an adult the tradition continued, moving to east side of the Island. As soon as summer began we started counting the days until vacation time. My sons both grew up on the Island. We now go to Curtis as my husband can no longer navigate the long climb down to the docks on the Island. There's just "something" about being up there - the air, the people,the ships....... Even when the weather doesn't cooperate it's a great place to be.

Once agan counting the days until September. By the way, where do Michigan people go for vacation?

Anonymous said...

I'm on Facebook but how do I add you as a friend. I have no idea what you use in order as an email to search for you. I'm

AS for memories, We live on the Saginaw Bay so we see the ships coming up the river and going to Consumer's Power plant. We also owned a 42' boat that we took from Bay City up to Mackinaw Island and down to Traverse City. That was when I was 13 or 14 yrs of age and I got to drive it part of the way.
Then as I got older and married my sweety we started going up to the Soo Locks every year maybe twice a year. That started 14 yrs ago and we are all hooked. The boy's can't wait until we go up and they are bugging me to go up again in a couple of weeks. Thanks for allowing us to share a memory or two..
Tom from Bay City

Cathy Clementz said...

WOW!!! Love the new look! When did you do that to your blog??! That large freighter photo I mean?? Pretty darn cool!!!

Sault Boat Watcher said...

Thanks to Jasper and Tom for sharing your stories.

Cathy, I really don't know how the new look happened. I just put a regular photo in and it came up so big. I was going to remove it but I've heard from several people that they like it. I wish I knew how to design web sites. I know what I want but don't know how to make it happen.

Cathy Clementz said...

I'm afraid to change anything on my blog for fear of losing it all together!! I LOVE it the way it is!

smithens53 said...

My grandparents bought a cabin on the west side of Sugar Island (facing Lake Nicolet) in the early 90's. My family would come up every summer for a week or so. My two brothers and I had a blast every year watching the boats and enjoying all the water activities that the Sugar Island/Sault Ste Marie area had to offer. My Grandpa worked on the freighters from the age of 16 and was able to name them all on sight and would often get a salute from the some of the captains. Sadly, my Grandmother passed away in 2001 and that, along with the demands of growing up and work life meant that we stopped our yearly trips. Just last weekend, though, my brother and I were able to make it up to the Sault for the first time in 6 years and it was great to be there again. Thanks so much for your great blog. I'm sure all of your family members will have great lifelong memories of the Soo.

Sault Boat Watcher said...

Smithens53: Thanks for sharing about your Soo memories. Glad you could enjoy this area again this summer. Did you see any boats while here?