May of 2021 was our last post when we temporarily stopped our Great Loop Adventure due to Canadian borders being closed. So here is a quick recap of what happened during the “pause.”
We made it back to McFarland the first week of June 2021 and immediately got into all of our appointments and check-ups, including Conrad’s total hip replacement the first week of July. He was home the same afternoon of surgery and recovered well. We both had 50-year class reunions while home. We reconnected with family and friends. Fast forward through the summer and we drove back to Jacksonville mid-October to run the boat back over to the Gulf side of Florida. Mark, a boating friend from home and owner of our previous boat, flew down to crew with Conrad while Linda harbor hopped with the car. It was kind of fun to drive through some of the smaller towns of eastern Florida and get to see what they look like from a land vantage point. We arrived at sleepy Uncle Henry’s Marina at the north end of Gasparilla Island (barrier island west of Port Charlotte) on November 10 where we stayed for two months. The highlights were the beautiful turquoise water, resident manatees and dolphins and many types of fish in the marina area, along with rural walks and a golf cart ride around the island. During this time we visited a number of times with Bob & Kitty (Thanksgiving and a Christmas Community party), Steve & Barb, and Dave & Sherry (Community wine and hors d’oeuvres party), all friends from home. Our tradistion of greeting guests with a bottle of bubbly definitely carries on!
On January 11, 2022 we moved to Legacy Harbour Marina in downtown Ft. Myers and were there until April 4. During these months we traveled by car to visit friends at Ft. Myers (Bruce), Port Charlotte (Stan & Sue), Marco Island (Mike & Kathy and Roger and Jane), Naples (Gary & Kathi), Sanibel (no people except we found Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream!!), Bonita Springs (Dick & Lee) , Port Charlotte (Bob & Kitty), Englewood (Dave & Sherry) and Cape Coral (Marc & Lisa). We also had many visitors to the boat...Eric B, Rose & Tom, Anita & Don, Nicki & Scott, Kent & Erin, Tony & Mary, Milan & Jan, Bob & Dawn, Ray & Gloria, Jim & Shelley, Chris & Kerry Lea, Luann & Ken and many more. While at Legacy our brother-in-law, Mike, spent 10 days with us and Chuck & Jacque spent 4 days with us and we were able to take the boat to Salty Sam’s and to Pink Shell (on Ft. Myers Beach) for overnights with these folks.
In late January AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association) held its conference right in downtown Ft. Myers and we reconnected with fellow Loopers whom we met during our first year of Looping, Mike & Pam. During the conference new Loopers, Doug and Judi, visited. We met them in Jacksonville and helped them get their plans in order to begin their Loop Adventure. And our first Looper friends who left Sturgeon Bay one week ahead of us and who are on the first half of their second Loop stayed at Legacy for a number of days, Angie & Tom…it was a wonderful reunion. We were also visited by Loopers Tom & Carol and Russ & Keri. And the highlight of the winter was Linda being able to pull off a surprise 70th birthday party for Conrad at Steve & Barb’s place in Port Charlotte with fiends from home, Gary & Kathi, and friends from Missouri, Ron & Marlene.
The liveaboard experience at Legacy was crazy fun. We made a lot of memories (including ER visits for both of us) and it was difficult to say goodbye (there were tears and at least 10 dock friends seeing us off at 7 am), but the trip was restarting and so we had to leave.
The Great Loop Adventure is approximately 6,000 miles, give or take. We just completed over 6,000 miles on the boat since leaving Sturgeon Bay in August 2019 and we have about 2,600 more to go.
This past Monday, April 4, 2022, we left Ft. Myers and began our trip across the state of Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway. Nothing too exciting…we’ve done it at least 4 previous times. We pushed and made it to Stuart, FL on the Atlantic with just one overnight. We left Stuart on Wednesday morning, stopped in Vero Beach for one night, just long enough to have dinner with friends we met at the beginning of our Loop, Ralph & Cheryl, and arrived in Cocoa Village Thursday just ahead of some nasty storms. Friday morning we set course for Daytona Beach, and Saturday fought gale force winds as we ran to Palm Cove Marina north of Jacksonville. Saturday was very challenging and we were both happy to get tied up safely. Palm Sunday morning, April 10, we left at sunrise, said good-bye to Florida, and crossed into Georgia. Our destination will be Brunswick for two days. We absolutely need time to wash the inch of salt off the boat and in every crevice possible. And as seems to occur quite often with Loopers, our friends mentioned above, Judi and Doug, whom we met last year in Jacksonville, pulled into the slip beside us!
We will continue travelling most days until we reach Savannah (hopefully on Wednesday, April 13), which is where we officially will resume our Great Loop. (We spent 2 weeks in Savannah last May.)
When we filled our 400+ gallon tanks with diesel in Jacksonville last October, fuel prices were $2.99/gal. We finally needed to top the tanks off yesterday at $5.21/gal. There goes the fuel budget line!
As we continue our Adventure north, we intend to visit people and sights in Savannah, Hilton Head, Charleston, stops in North Carolina to visit 3 couples, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Southport, and Wilmington and so much more.
…we mention the people who visit with us because we find it totally amazing that friends want to share our experiences and see how we are living on board as we continue this Adventure (or maybe just for a glass of bubbly) and to remember years from now how special it is to us to have these visits from friends.