Keewatin on Lake Michigan
Courtesy: Timothy Augsten
SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WZZM) - It took a while, but the S.S. Keewatin is finally in Lake Michigan and headed to Canada. The iconic ship had one final delay before leaving the harbor for good.
The S.S. Keewatin's former owner, R.J. Peterson, was riding in a boat closely behind the ship as it went through the Saugatuck harbor.
"Its been 45 years we've had it down here," says Peterson.
The S.S. Keewatin was delayed two hours Monday morning because of a financial transaction, after getting stuck in a sandbar last week.
"It is like climbing a sandhill, when you get to the top," says Peterson.
Eric Conroy was hired by the new Canadian owner to make sure the ship gets to Canada in one piece.
"We've had a lot of little delays, but they've all worked to our benefit, and we're not in any rush," says Conroy.
Crowds of people watched from the pier and dozens of small boats were in the water.
"I'm sad to see it go, but I'm glad its getting restored," said one boater.
The Keewatin took baby steps, especially near the neck of the channel.
"The sonar is telling them the deepest part and then the great, big, tug is wiggling it back and forth," says Conroy.
Once it made it through the channel, there were clear skies and blue water ahead.
"We're not separated, we're just a little further apart," says Peterson.
The S.S. Keewatin is expected to be in Mackinaw City in the next two or three days. It is scheduled to be in Ontario, Canada on June 23rd.