Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lining the Locks

The sailboat runs are getting larger as the weather gets warmer. (Hmmm. Thursday it was 77 degrees; today it is 54 degrees.) Let me rephrase that: "The sailboat runs are getting larger as we get further into the month of May."

Today's run was 22 boats - a pretty good number. After the boats get through all the bridges, there is one last step: going through the Chicago Locks.

(Click the Photo for a Larger view)

The locks keep Lake Michigan from draining into the DesPlaines and Mississippi Rivers (remember, the Chicago River was reversed in the 1800s - an official engineering marvel). It is a neat experience to go through the locks - either in your own boat or on one of the architecture/sightseeing cruise boats. There are rules about the order that boats enter and leave the locks. Everyone must wear a life jacket (but you should anyway on Lake Michigan). You have to hold on to ropes that hang along the sides of the lock's canal in order to secure your boat during the one-to-four foot water surges that occur when the locks open.

In this picture, the boats are lining up along the walls waiting for the Lake Michigan side to open so they can get on with their sailing. These are hardy sailors because it's pretty chilly and windy on the lake today.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Thanks for the photo and good explanation. Can't believe I lived my first 22 years in Chicago and never saw the locks.
Enjoy your spring (off and on).
Shalom from Jerusalem.