GREAT LOOP CRUISING
Great Boat Names
that we have seen
along the way.
Yes! Wonderful surprises await you and your crew along your
voyage around the Great Loop.  Most boaters simply lock up their home
and embark on the 6 months to a year long journey, and then return
loving possessions - and cast off with plans to live a-board the rest of
home.  Some however, (including me) sell their homes and all their land-
their lives. After all, what better water front view can you get than this?
Others, do the Loop between selling the empty nest, and getting a
smaller retirement villa, while some cruise the Loop in vacation
segments and return to work. Whatever your situation is, for sure there
is a "Looper" that's done it.  

Your friends & family will generally have one of three reactions to
your planned journey. Some might think the idea requires a jacket - a
straight jacket - that is, saying either you are "absolutely crazy" or that
they are envious and "you are going to have the adventure of your life-
time". Or they will want you to get a bigger boat so they can go with you,
or join you on a leg of your journey along the way.

After all your preparation and planning, once you toss those lines
that have been keeping you land-locked from your freedom - You and
your shipmate will quickly settle into your new life of cruising and living a-
board.  Soon enough, relieving each other at the wheel, and securing
the lines when you dock or pass one of the locks will be as routine as
making the morning coffee.

On the coastal side, you will have to keep an eye on the tides and
weather; but cruising the Great Loop is not fraught with the perils of the
open sea. Unless you choose otherwise, you will always have land in
sight and safe harbors and dockage at night. In fact, your biggest
concern will be the water's depth - so stay between the channel and
buoy markers or you may run a-ground.

At night, you can "anchor out" or dock at a marina. You can dine on
your boat or dine at a local restaurant. In the mornings; you can have
your coffee, read your e-mail, send some pictures, take care of your
online banking, and get the boat ready to pull up anchor and shove off
again...

You will cruise along the Great Loop at a leisurely 8 or 9  knots (about
10 mph) and you will average about 50 miles a day, often stopping to
see the sights, visit a museum, enjoy an ice cream cone, or take a stroll
along the beach. There is simply so much to see and do, most Loopers
take a year to complete this voyage even though they will have only
actually cruised about 120 days. The rest of the time, they are simply
anchored out in some Paradise cove, enjoying each other's company in
the epitome of freedom and together in their aloneness.  

Boaters cruising the Great Loop cruise in a counter clockwise
direction; following the Atlantic ICW north to the Hudson River before
passing though a canal system en route to the Great Lakes. From Lake
Michigan, you will travel down the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio,
Cumberland, Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.
Along the way, you will pass crabbers in Chesapeake Bay, cruise
beneath the Statue of Liberty in New York,  glide past barges and
paddle-steamers on the Mississippi River, watch divers harvesting
scallops, oysters and sea sponges in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the Everglades you will see egrets standing on cypress logs.
Around Cumberland Island in Georgia, you will see the wild horses that
come to eat the exposed green marsh grasses at low tide.

The ever-changing scenery will keep you reaching for your camera
- and you'll want to thank a Geek for the technology of the "digital age"
as you will want to take lots and lots of pictures and instantly send them
wireless to your family and friends. One of the best parts of your trip will
be meeting some wonderful and interesting people along your way -
many of whom will be other "Loopers".

When planning your voyage, remember: You don’t want to get to
the Erie Canal until June because of snow and runoff, and you need to
get off Lake Michigan by September 15 because of the winds and
cold.  Preparing for the Great Loop trip involves a boat-load of planning.
The most common boat used is between 30 and 45 feet long. Boats
can’t have more than a 6-foot draft and must be able to pass under a
fixed 19 foot 1 inch high railroad bridge on the Chicago Ship Canal.
(This is your only access between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi
River.)

In the end, even the most reluctant spouse will thank you and love you
more for this time and this experience. Long before you cross your
wake, this adventure will have changed your life. Not only will it have
made you a better helmsman, it will have made you a better person.

You will feel the change, and others will see the change in you. For
no man can experience such absolute freedom as this, no man can be
so blessed as this, and not have it remain in him the rest of his days.  
Your voyage around
America's Great Loop
Wonderful surprises await you
along your voyage around the Great Loop.
It's out on the water - where you will really find yourself.
© 1993 - 2012 CaptainJohn.org
Capt John's America's Great Loop