Gypsies Palace officially crossed her wake on January 13, 2017 after traveling 6,269 miles. We left Boca Raton, FL on April 1, 2017 and returned to our starting point 9 months later on our Great Loop adventure. Loopers call this “crossing our wake” when we finish where we began. Our average speed was 10.5 mph – our “Looper speed” and maximum speed was 25.1 mph. We went through nearly 100 locks along the way.
WHAT ARE OUR TAKE AWAYS?
- We have seen this country by water which mostly means “small town America”. Our world was about a one mile radius of where ever we stopped. We saw no chain stores for most of the trip. We experienced the goodness of people in these small towns where they were able to take the time to be polite and provide good service. It restored our faith that people truly care about others and are willing to lend a hand.
- There is something unexpected and delightful around every bend. Each day we would start out with a route that would come alive with beautiful scenery or something unplanned. For example, sitting on the boat in downtown Nashville where we had front row seats for a great fireworks show. We loved going places where we had no idea of what to expect.
- We loved traveling through Canada. It was the highlight of our trip. We spent an unexpected 3 weeks in the Niagara region and loved exploring the wineries, farmers markets and golf courses. We fell in love with Butter Tarts and ate more Fish N Chips than we can count! The beauty of anchoring in the North Channel and exploring with our kayaks was something to cherish.
- We are resourceful in solving problems. When we left our water hose on the dock in Jekyll Island we asked the Looper group for help in transporting “Waldhose” back to our boat. The hose was passed along by 5 boats finally reaching us in Annapolis and creating a Looper Legend of Waldhose.
- Never travel on a bad weather day. We never put ourselves in a position to “go” because we had no schedule. We never had a scary day on the water because of that. We became experts in using every weather app available!
- The coast of Michigan is a boater’s delight! Approximately every 25 miles there is a Safe Harbor with a protected marina with inexpensive dockage. The little Michigan towns were wonderful to explore and are located within walking distance of all of the marinas. Craft beers and ice creams shops were everywhere!
- Big cities are fun, too! We docked at the Rock and Dock in downtown Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Charleston is a gourmet delight with wonderful restaurants. Chicago was over the top in things to do that were accessible. The Honky Tonks in Nashville were fun since we could crawl back to the boat late in the evening.
- Starting every morning on the water is a mood setter for the day. There is nothing like watching a sunrise or sunset from your boat.
- Owning less is setting yourself free! We were on the rivers when Hurricane Irma came through Florida. It was such a relief to not own our house or a car. Our worries are all confined to our boat now. And, there can only be so much “stuff” that can go on it. What do you really need in life? Stuff is clutter. We recently went back to our storage unit and I was amazed that we kept that much “stuff”.
- It is the people that you meet that make the Great Loop experience memorable. Everyone says that when they complete the Great Loop, but it is so true. We have collected 160 boat cards from other Loopers as we have traveled. Most were people that we ran into several times along the way. We have shared Docktails, stories, laughs and struggles. Truly all boaters are helpful to other boaters, but the Looper flag is family. We have more friends than we have ever had in our life.
Now we are Gold Loopers! We replaced our White Looping Flag with a proud Gold Flag. This signifies that we have completed the Great Loop and crossed our wake.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR GYPSIES PALACE?
We will spend February, March and most of April in the Abacos, Bahamas. Then we will travel up the east coast of Florida and north to the Chesapeake Bay. Along the way we will stay longer in places that we may have hurried through or find new places to visit. Our plan is to explore the many areas in the Chesapeake and anchor out most of the time. Additionally, we will travel up the Potomac and visit the monuments and museums in Washington, DC. Then we will return to Florida somewhere and go to the Bahamas later next year.
Each summer we will select a place out of Florida to take the boat i.e. Maine, the Pickwick/ Kentucky Lake area. We also have decided that we loved everything about the Loop. We now have our on calendar that we will loop again in 2020 and earn our Platinum flag!
We were sent this poem by our friend, Terry Moy, of Happy Happy upon completion of the Loop.
Congratulations Steve and Debbie!
This is your “Whoop”!
You’ve been to great places,
And done the Great Loop!
Out there things can happen
and frequently do,
even to cruisers
as handy as you.
And when things did happen
you said, “no worries!”, you didn’t stew,
you rolled with the swells
and comforted the crew.
You never waked us, though you had the speed.
You passed the whole gang and have taken the lead.
Wherever you cruise, you’ll be the best of the best!!!
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest!!!!
We will see everyone out on the water as we continue to cruise. We have no desire to end this journey on Gypsies Palace!
“To The Loop!” This was quite a Coastal Journey!