One of my future goals is to do The Great Loop Cruise.You're probably asking," What is this Great Loop Cruise?" That's a great question and one I enjoy discussing.The Great Loop Cruise,is simple a navigable loop that encompasses the eastern US and Canada with many interesting points in between.Many people don't know about this watery loop that has mostly existed since our country was founded.The following pic is from Captain John's Website. I will be referencing his site, and giving credit to his site, for my first peak into the Great Loop cruiser's world.
According to Captain John's website,there are roughly 24,000 miles of water ways to be explored.That's more area than a person can reasonably cover in a life time.My plan is to visit a few chosen places while taking in what I can.I would like to make the US loop in 12 to 14 months.If I can add in the Canadian loop,I'd like to extend my time to 16 to 18 months.
I'm not really fond of marina life.I am sort of a recluse.It's not that I don't like people.I just enjoy more face to face time with a few people.The hustle and bustle isn't for me.So I would be gunkholing a lot and fishing some.
Oh wait,you don't know what gunkholing is?Oh how wonderful this is.A lot of boat owners do this and don't know the "boaty" term for it.Gunkholing is simply cruising shallow water areas,usually in coves,and camping out,or over nighting.Wiki has a pretty good gunkholing definition.
Ok,back to the Great Loop.To do this, and keep cost as low as possible,I will be gunkholing instead of docking at marinas all the time.Most marinas have dinghy docks that are free.So I'll be anchoring, or dropping the hook, in a secluded cove and taking the dingy to port as much as possible.
There are many adventures to be had as The Great Loop passes through sooo many places,both large and small.If New York City isn't your thing, there are smaller cruiser friendly cities such as Oriental North Carolina.If you can imagine it,it's probably somewhere around the Great Loop.I would say that most of the Great Loop is accessible by vehicle,if you would like to visit some areas before cruising there.Another interesting feature of the Great Loop are the historic sites.Remember US history and our country be founded by people come and going by water.Well there are a good number of historical sights around the Great Loop that offer lots of interesting entertainment.
So here we are on a boat and YIKES! We need to resupply.How will it be done?That dingy we carry can ferry people and provisions.I know you're thinking,but how will you get the freshly procured provisions back to port, to be ferried to the boat?Well,I walk a lot and I can walk far.A 10 mile loop around town getting provisions, with stops along the way, isn't a big deal.I do have other options.I love those crazy things that kids no longer partake in.What are they called?Oh yeah,bicycles.I own many and will own many more.Bicycle trailers have become cheap and quite large.One I was looking at was almost the size of a compact car trunk with a 180lb load capacity.The admiral, aka wife, and I can potentially haul 360lbs of provisions back to the boat.Think about it.360 pounds of groceries,paper products,and bath supplies.Plus the bicycles are easier to pedal than walking, while pulling a cart, that maybe capable of hauling 50 to 80 pounds of supplies.
Now that we're ready to go,how shall we do it?Which way to go?Most do the Great Loop counter clockwise,or anti clockwise for those that may not use the US terminology.I'm in South Carolina,so I would start by heading north up the coast around the first of April.I would like to land in the upper New England area around late June to early July.If it works out this way,I could spend July and August cruising the Canadian Loop.The end of August and September would be spent cruising the Great lakes and getting ready to make the run down the Tombigbee to the lower Mississippi River.Late fall should be the time to work my way back south to the Gulf of Mexico.This way I can spend the cold winter in warmer waters while working my way around Florida and back up the coast to home.
I guess I should have mentioned the Intracoastal waterway or ICW often referred to as the ditch.This is mostly a natural route protected from the Atlantic Ocean.Think of it as a highway for boats from Florida to New England.It's the chosen route for boating snowbirds heading south for the winter.
Believe it or not,there is an association for the madness.It's called America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association.It's better know as the AGLCA.I highly recommend joining the AGLCA.There is a wealth of knowledge there that can help with trip and route planning.People that are inexperienced at operating a boat, or being in big water, can usually connect with, and travel with a group doing the Great Loop.At any time,you can break away from the group without drama.
In any event,that's my dream and the goal that I am working toward.I plan to build the boat that I will cruise the Great Loop aboard.Health and finances willing,I will spend the end of my life cruising the Great Loop.