April 30, 2014
One of the most amazing things you can do at Grand Superior is ship watching. The big lake means big boats and nearby ports include the Duluth-Superior harbor, Two Harbors Ore Docks, Silver Bay Docks and Taconite Harbors (near Schroeder).
The shipping season begins mid-March when ice breakers clear a path out of the Duluth and Superior entries. Ships that had docked for repairs or layover begin hauling grain and iron ore out, continuing until cold weather and ice stops the season in mid-January. Brrrrr!
You can scan the horizon with your naked eye or a pair of binoculars to see passing ships. Sit in your lakeside accommodations, gaze from the beach or try the deck of Splashing Rock Restaurant. The really long, rust colored ships with a pilot house in the rear are “ore boats,” self-unloading ships that run the Great Lakes carrying iron ore, hailing out of the U.S. and Canada. The ships range from 650 to over 1000 feet length… that’s the height of the IDS building plus the Rand Tower on top. Foreign ships are shorter, often blue or red with a pilot house in the back and two or three large posts spaced over the deck (part of the unloading gear). They hail from throughout the world.
Want to know what ships will be passing by during your stay at Grand Superior Lodge? Go to the Duluth Shipping News website. The ships that run closest to our shoreline will be those departing Duluth and heading to Silver Bay or Taconite Harbor, or those departing from or arriving at Two Harbors.
For a close-up view of ships, head to Agate Bay in Two Harbors, 8 miles to the south. Here you can watch ships arrive, load and depart. The waterfront also has a working lighthouse, a tugboat and two museums you can visit. Check for arrivals and departures on the shipping website above.
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