Lat: 46° 45.140 Long: 092° 2.989
Duluth MN and Superior WI are taken together here as they are adjacent to each other. Together, they form one of the largest harbors on the Great Lakes. Named for the French explorer and soldier Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, this is also one of the busiest harbors in the United States, through which passes 40-50 million tons of cargo. The principal cargoes are grain from the west, iron ore (taconite) from the surrounding mountains, oil from Alberta, coal and general cargo.
The first European settlement in this area was a Hudson Bay Company fur trading post established in 1692. However, the area really didn't begin to grow until the mid-1800's with the discovery of copper and iron ore in commercial quantities. Throughout the 20th century, Duluth MN grew and prospered as a steel manufacturing and shipbuilding center along with a very busy harbor. With the industrial decline of the late 20th century, Duluth MN has focused more on knowledge-based industries such as medicine, research, the arts and a flourishing, tourist-based economy.
Across St. Louis Bay, Superior WI has a thriving transportation industry. A large oil refining center serves as another anchor to the city's ecomomy along with a solid manufacturing base.
The approaches to Duluth MN and Superior WI are clear. The harbor is protected by the largest freshwater sand spit in the world - Minnesota Point. The entrances to the harbor lie at either end of the point.
The south entrance, Superior Entry, is a broad, well-marked entrance. It is very busy with commercial traffic so a sharp lookout is necessary at all times. An all-weather entrance, this is the better of the two entrances when the weather deteriorates. The Entry has two converging seawalls, the north being approximately 3,038 ft/926 m long and the south being about 1,519 ft/ 463 m long. The north seawall is marked with a Q RED light. The south seawall is marked with a Fl GREEN light.
Once inside the seawalls, the inner channel lead into Superior Bay has a pier on either side. The ends of the pier are marked with an ISO RED on the north side and an ISO GREEN on the south side. The channel itself is about .25 nm long and 480 ft/146 m wide.
The northern entrance or Duluth Entry is a straight-forward entrance beteween two long piers that extend into the lake. The north pier is marked with an ISO RED light and the south pier with a F GREEN and horn. This channel can be challenging when the weather kicks up, especially in strong NE winds. There is also a strong current in this channel. When the weather deteriorates, the Superior Entry may be a better option.
At the west end of the channel is the Aerial Lift Bridge, a major Duluth landmark.The channel clearance in the lowered position is 15 ft/4.6 m so you will have to signal the Bridge Master on VHF 16, giving your ETA. Once at the bridge, signal with your horn Long-Short-Short. The bridge opens to a charted height of 141 ft/43 m and takes about 3 minutes to reach full height. When you clear the bridge, bear to port which will bring you down into Superior Bay. Clearing the bridge, boats often salute using a Long|Short|Long horn sequence.
MARINAS, YACHT CLUBS, MOORINGS, ANCHORAGES
The following marinas are listed from south to north in Superior Bay.
Barkers Marina (715) 392-7131 VHF 16
Barkers Marina is the largest marina on Lake Superior. It is located on the west side of Barkers Island which itself lies on the west side of Superior Bay. When you clear the inner channel of the Superior Entry, turn north into the Bay. Make your way north, passing the Fl RED "R4" light until you reach the GREEN "C1" marker buoy. Change course to the port to pass between the Fl RED ("R2") and Fl GREEN ("G1") lights that mark the beginning of the channel around the south end of Barkers Island. The marina will be on your starboard side as you move north up the channel.
Barkers is a full-service marina with 420 slips. There are a number set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water and power are available at all slips. Barkers is able to carry out a wide range of engine repairs and maintenance, mechanical repairs, fiberglass and gelcoat work, rigging repairs, and electrical/electronic maintenance. They have a haulout facility. There is a clubhouse with restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. There is a large chandlery with boating equipment, clothing, kit and gifts. Internet access is available.
Lakehead Boat Basin (218) 722-1757 VHF 16
Lakehead Boat basin is a full-service marina located at the northern end of Superior Bay, just south of the Duluth Entry. Once you enter Superior Bay, watch for the GREEN "C1" marker buoy on your port. Ahead will be the Fl GREEN "G3" light. The entrance to Lakehead Boat Basin is between these two buoys, on your port.
They have 130 slips with a number set aside for transient sailors. There is a fuel dock (diesel and gasoline) and a pumpout station. Water and power are available at all slips. They are able to carry out a wide range of engine repairs and maintenance, mechanical and electrical repairs, fiberglass work, rigging repairs, and prop repairs. They have a haulout facility. There is a large chandlery with an extensive parts inventory.
Spirit Lake Marina (218) 628-3578
Spirit Lake Marina is located approximately 5.5 nm up the St. Louis River. Keep to the channel all the way as the water gets very skinny immediately outside of it. The marina is located at "N30" buoy.
There are 130 slips with a number set aside for transient sailors. There is no fuel dock but there is a pumpout station. Water and power are available at all slips.
There are two anchorage areas in Superior Bay. Once you have cleared the Superior Entry, turn to starboard and proceed north to the Fl RED light at "R4". From this point north to the next marker, "R2", a Q RED light, there is a charted anchorage area to the east.
From the north, once you clear the Duluth Entry, turn south and proceed to the Q GREEN marker "G9". From that point south to "R N16", on your port side, there is a charted Special Anchorage Area. Depths here are shown in the 4-9 ft/1.2-2.75 m range.
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE, PROVISIONING, BANKS/ATM's
Barkers Marina: See above
Lakehead Boat Basin: See above
If you are at Barkers Marina in Superior, WI, there are several large grocery stores that can meet your provisioning needs. You would need to take a taxi to get to them. Sav-Mart is the closest.
If you are at Lakehead Boat Basin in Duluth MN, grocery stores are all north of the marina. Super One Foods is likely the closest that can meet your provisioning requirements.
In Superior WI, there are a number of banks west of the marina. Superior Savings Bank is the closest.
From Lakehead Boat Basin in Duluth MN, Park State Bank is the closest.
In Duluth MN, St. Mary's Medical Centre (218) 786-4000 is the closest to Lakehead Boat Basin. Snyders Drug Store (218) 722-4411 is the closest pharmacy
In Superior WI, St. Lukes Urgent Care (715) 395-3950 is the closest hospital to Barkers Marina. Falk's Pharmacy (715) 392-4722 is the closest drug store.
PLACES TO EAT
In Superior WI, two restaurants to consider are the Anchor Bar and the Boathouse Restaurant on Barker Island. Both are well-known and enjoy good reputations.
In Duluth MN, The Top of the Harbor restaurant at the top of the Radisson Hotel gives a panoramic view of the harbor. Bellisio's Italian Restaurant will satisfy your desire for Italian cuisine accompanied by terrific wines. It boasts a 4,000 bottle wine cellar. Dubh Linn Irish Pub offers traditional Irish pub fare accompanied by an excellent selection of Irish whiskies. For a taste of Scandinavia, try Tak For Maten.
THINGS TO DO/SEE/VISIT
There is no shortage of interesting things to do and see in the Duluth/Superior area. There are museum ships (2), lots of parks, a lakefront board walk along Minnesota Point, the Childrens' Museum, the Lake Superior Rail Road Museum and the outstanding Great Lakes Aquarium. It is a fabulous place to visit for sailors and children on board will be enthralled by the exhibits.
Another interesting thing to do is to take in a harbor cruise. Vista Fleet has an approximately 2 hour tour of the Duluth/Superior harbor that is interesting and informative. You can step out of your Master's role and let someone else 'do the driving' while you enjoy. A quick look at this Duluth MN tourism site will give you many ideas on getting the most of your visit. This Superior WI tourism site will give you more ideas on things to do and see in the area.
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