Weather scratches Octantis stop

HOUGHTON — For the third time, Viking Octantis has skipped its scheduled stop in the Houghton area. 

Houghton City Manager Eric Waara said he was notified around noon Tuesday the ship would not attempt to enter the Portage Canal Wednesday due to concerns about the weather forecast.

“It’s just a shame,” he said. “We are a harbor of refuge from the big lake, and evidently people see the weather in the Portage as the same as the big lake.”

Heavy rains Tuesday night gave way to a calmer, overcast sky with subsiding fog Wednesday morning. 

The ship was previously scheduled to come to the area June 1 and July 15, anchoring near Dollar Bay and tendering passengers on boats to Bridge View Park in Houghton.

After the second cancellation, Waara and Police Chief John Donnelly talked with Viking about alternate ideas. In addition to the previous plan, which involved approaching the canal from the South Entry, Viking had three plans for coming to Houghton via the North Entry near McLain State Park. Those involved docking at different points in the canal wide enough for the ship to turn around.

“We were probably going to find out, ‘Okay, where are they stopping? Okay, that’s where they stopped, that’s where they’re going to turn around,'” Waara said. “Two years to plan this and now it’s lather, rinse, repeat on excuses.”

Octantis has four more scheduled stops in Houghton this year, and another three in 2023. Waara is also having discussions about future stops by American Queen Voyages, which made two stops in Houghton with the Ocean Navigator earlier this year.

“I even sent him a picture of the (Mattila Square) pier and said, ‘Oh, by the way, this is where you get to park next year,” he said. “So they’re planning to come back.”


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