1. This is absolutely the safest long distance voyage on the planet. Sure, one needs to be a safe boater & know all the rules of the road.
Beyond that, this voyage is safer and easier to complete than you can possibly imagine in advance.
2. There is no shortage of adventure or discovery on America's Great Loop. Every day will be an adventure, and everyday you will discover
3. For every New York City, Chicago, New Orleans and St. Louis, there are a hundred more never heard of and hidden destinations where
you will discover your most cherished memories.
4. Cruising the Loop is the great equalizer. You will share the waterway and anchorages with some half-million dollar boats. My son and I
anchored next to a 70-footer for 2 days. We shared a Bar Bar BQ one night and a fresh caught fried fish 'shore lunch' the next day. In our
conversations, the owner said he spent $450,000 for his "yacht". We spent $3,000 for ours. Still, there we were - same place, same time,
having the same fun.
5. There is always something to do on a boat. You are never, ever bored.
6. The Great Loop is high quality cruising. The Canadian Heritage Canals, Georgian Bay, the Great Lakes, the Inland rivers, the ICW, are all
shockingly beautiful. Proof positive, America the beautiful is even more so, when seen from the water.
7. Cruising on your boat is wonderfully easy and relaxing, but it is mostly about fortitude and persistence. Just point the boat in the right
direction, take care you don’t hit anything and you’re good to go just about anywhere.
8. TV and especially "reality" TV - is stupid. You won't watch much TV when cruising the Loop. Ours is used to watch the News & Weather.
The rest of it is wasting away America's innovation, ingenuity, and Spirit - all of which made this country great.
9. When cruising the Great Loop, every single day will energizes your life. Everyday is exciting. Everyday is different.
10. When cruising the Great Loop, other boaters, the Coast Guard, Bridge and Lock Masters all, refer to you by your boat's name.
Remember this when you get the urge to name your vessel something really stupid or inappropriate.
11. Never "over" estimate the experience, skill, or common sense of another vessel's Captain. No matter how big or expensive his boat, keep
in mind - Village Idiots are everywhere. Some are at the helm of some big & expensive boats.
12. On this voyage, slower will always be much better than fast. Not only do you save fuel, but most boating accidents happen because
someone was trying to get somewhere in a hurry. Take your time. There's no rush. If you don't make the last Lock or Bridge opening, it is no
big deal. You can make it in the morning. Enjoy the experience. Be safe!
13. On America's Great Loop, you find great people everywhere you go. This is so very true. Boaters (for the most part) are a friendly &
helpful group of people. "Loopers" are at the top of that list, and are the best of all.
14. Rough passages, boat maintenance, getting trapped on board for days of nonstop rain, living in cramped quarters, not having enough
space, lightning storms, traveling at speeds that make a snail's pace seem fast. . . You will experience all of this; but it's all worth every single
miserable mile for what's up ahead the next day.
15. All voyages include a few times when a great steak or an ice cream will be the sole topic of all your thoughts and conversations.
16. A very good strong Bimini top and a good hat are worth their weight in steak and ice cream.
17. From Atlantic ICW on the east coast, to the Hudson River, across the Great Lakes, Canada, and down the Inland Rivers, and across the
Gulf - it is as if we are cruising from Fort to Fortress all the way around America's Great Loop. If you pay attention, or stop to visit them, you
will realize, America has an extensive and startling history of warfare.
18. Remember Davy Jones Locker! I warn you it is full of all kinds of stuff. From favorite hats, Ray Bans, Rolex, Reeboks, Montblancs, IPads,
IPods, IPhones, keys, wallets, flashlights, knives, tools . . . You name it, it's down there! So, if you don't want to loose it - don't take it. I
recommend you leave your most valuable of valuables and family heirlooms at home locked up in a Safety Deposit Box.
They are not all the same. For sure yours will be different than mine, and probably better.
Depending on the choice of your boat, you can relax in comfort with a wide range of staterooms. They run from small, smaller and
smallest, to only a little Munchkin can sleep in.
If you think I'm being negative here, I am. There should be a law requiring "Pleasure Boat Designers" to live on a boat for a year before
being certified to design one. I'm convinced none of them have ever lived on a boat. They think all boaters are 5 feet tall with a 29 inch
They advertise boats to sleep six, when they barely sleep two comfortably. Designers grew up hearing "two heads are better than one" so
they put two in every boat - and leave out comfortable beds, comfortable showers and closets & storage space.
But WOW! You can't beat the ever changing waterfront views. And speaking of accommodations: Who in their right mind would design a
long distance cruising boat that holds two tons of fuel, but only enough fresh water for a couple to shower, brush their teeth, flush the toilet,
and make a pot of coffee in the morning for more than two days? So if two people plan to shower everyday, plan to stop for two days for
No matter how big your boat, it is after all, a boat. You will never have enough space for stuff, or enough fresh potable water.
The good news is however, you will love it. While living on a boat does not provide all the space and luxuries of living in a big nice home -
there is just something about it that makes it worth giving up that big bath tub and refrigerator.
What can we say? - On your way around the Loop, you can bask in the bright lights of Broadway or chill out in Hideaway Harbor.
Of course, everyone loves New York and there are a million reasons why: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Grand Central
Station, the Ellis Island National Monument, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Times Square,
Broadway, Greenwich Village, 5th Avenue and Central Park. Additionally, your cruise on the Hudson won't be complete without a visit, tour
and lunch at the "CIA" - that's the Culinary Institute of America.
Every day on the Great Loop you will discover some form of entertainment that’s beyond anything you will experience at sea. There are
the Fish Festivals, Shrimp Festivals, Crab Festivals, Lobster Festivals, Catfish Festivals and even Walleye Festivals, not to mentions
Seafood Festivals, and lets not forget the Boat Parades!
All around the Loop on either route, you'll have Plays, Movies, and Museums galore. There's also some of the best Golf courses in the
USA, many of which you can boat right to their docks.
If sight seeing is in your thing you are in for a real treat. Thirty-eight of the TOP FIFTY US tourist attractions are reachable by boat on
America's Great Loop. Yes, you can boat right to Washington DC where everything from the Smithsonian to the White House awaits your
If you add Canada to your route, you can add another thirty top tourist attractions to your list, and cruising the Treat Severn has eleven of
It's dine in or dine out all the way around. Personally, I prefer to dine out. From the Country Kitchen in Beaufort to a burger hot off
a wood fired grill a half block from Lady's Bridge Marina, you can treat yourself to some Oysters Rockefeller or Oysters Baked or Oysters
fried at Boss Oysters. Treat yourself to what may well be the best fried catfish in America at Bobby's Fish Camp. Then just wait until you
discover The Fisherman's Wife - be sure to try her homemade pies. We always get a whole one to take back to the boat. You can dress
up for dinner at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel or wear boating attire at a countless number of wonderful waterfront restaurants from
Hurricane Patty's in St. Augustine to the Basket Factory on the Erie Canal and the River Dock Restaurant on the Illinois River. This of
course is naming just a few out of a few hundred wonderful places to eat out.
You can sit down with friends on your boat or make a few new ones on the Dock. Thanks to the flexibility of "freestyle cruising" on your
own boat - you have no fixed dining times, pre-assigned seating, no reservations to make, and you have the freedom to enjoy more than
365 days of dining pleasure with no rush, no fuss, and no stress.
When dining on your boat - the menu varies from PB&J and canned peaches to the fresh catch of the day. That gas grill on the stern of
your boat will certainly get a lot of use whether it be burgers, grilled shrimp or walleye. The fresh catch of the day is the only thing that
keeps me from going out to eat.
|© 1993 - 2019 CaptainJohn.org
19. Looping is an adventure. It provides you with all the adventure, discoveries, and excitement of the very first mariners that set sail to
discover new worlds. Even today for all of us who go down to the sea in ships, when we take to the water in our boats, be it dinghy or yacht,
we are joining the ranks of maritime adventurers.
20. You can of course, cruise the Loop alone, but the greater satisfaction is in boating with others. Shipmates on this voyage experience a
bonding - be they family or friends. Teamwork makes everything on your boat wonderfully better. Working together to leave the dock, enter
a Lock, cruising and anchoring out will expand your life and relationships. If you are doing this with our spouse, lucky you. It is a bond that
will glue the two of you together forever.
21. There will never be a day spent cruising the Loop, that you don't learn something new. There is never a day when you are not required
to make a decision you've never made before. The very biggest risk in boating America's Great Loop is to your own ego. There will be times
when wind, wave, or current becomes the master, and you the slave - and your ego will be lost overboard. With the loss of ego, comes
wisdom. Times like this is when you will realize your weakness and God's strength. It will make you a better boater, a better helmsman, and a
22. First of all, you have to learn a new language. Boats don’t have fronts or backs, they have bows and sterns, with bow lines and stern
lines. There are a few knots you must learn to tie. There is nothing intuitive about making boats go. You will always want to make your boat
go better and safer. This all requires experience in seamanship, rules of the road, and safety. You need to learn charts & tides, how to
anchor, and how to read the weather and the water. It's a continuing education class on the water. I've been Looping over 25 years, I learn
something new every year, every voyage. So if you are one of those that believe you have to learn it ALL before you go - you never will go.
Learn what you can, then go. The most important lessons you will learn along the way.
23. Lots & lots about cruising the Great Loop is just plain fun. From trolling and catching a really big fish, exploring a hidden cove, eating out
at a crazy waterfront restaurant, finding the best ice cream cone in the smallest most unexpected of places, or just relaxing at anchor in a
quite paradise cove and reading a book. It’s a magical time of pure enjoyment.
24. No matter how much stress you have at work or at home, when you drop those lines that have been keeping you tied to shore, you leave
all that stress behind. Boating the Loop is all consuming of your attention. While you are aware of each minute, weeks pass like days, and
time somehow becomes measured by sunsets instead of hours. Long before this voyage is over, you will ask yourself or shipmate NOT what
time is it, but "What day is it?"
25. It's Intrepidness! That's right! You will become resolutely courageous, fearless, and develop great fortitude. It takes all of this just to
venture out into the unknown, even if the unknown is safe. Not everyone can do this. If you can, you are a very special person. You are
26. Complete joy is reason #1 for cruising America's Great Loop. Joy is more than happiness or pleasure, or fun. It is an elevation of your
entire spirit – a rejoicing. Can cruising the Great Loop give you joy? You bet it will. Ask anyone that's done it. Crossing your wake is like
winning an Olympic Gold medal. You will feel the joy and you will relish and talk about the rest of your days.
|Random thoughts on cruising the Loop. . .