My crew learned of the Great Loop in 2010 from a business associate named Al Darelius. Soon after, my crew joined the AGLCA and began their five-year planning process to circumnavigate America’s Great Loop. Somewhere along the way they ordered a White Burgee from the AGLC store.
It was then that I was taken off the shelf and stuffed in an envelope by someone in the home office and mailed to this untrained outfit that would become my crew.
By June 2015, my crew retired from work, left Texas, and moved aboard their boat in Ft Myers. The next thing I knew, I got the shaft, and found myself proudly displayed on the bow pulpit of Still Waters II.
The crew’s insurance required that they get some training by a licensed captain before they could solo in their boat and start this Great Loop Adventure. After three days of intense training, the insurance company was satisfied, the licensed captain cut the umbilical cord, and my crew was on their own.
The first time these two tried to dock by themselves it was quite the goat rope. I am pretty sure I saw tears in the Admirals eyes as she stated that she was not sure if she was ever going to master these new skills of seamanship.
The skipper of this crew is a persistent whipper snapper and pressed on towards their goal of completing the Great Loop while encouraging the Admiral to hang in there, it will get better.
Something weird happened though on their 9,555-mile journey around the Great Loop. Slowly but surely, I could see that they both were gaining confidence in these new skills. As they began to gain even more confidence they began to venture off the beaten path and allowed me to lead them on many side trips:
o Ocracoke Island
o Cape Hatteras
o St Lawrence River to Montreal
o Ottawa River to Ottawa
o Rideau Canal to Kingston
o Georgian Bay
o The North Channel
o St Mary’s River to Sault St Marie
o Headwaters of Little Tennessee River
o Headwaters of Tellico River
The water view from one mile out.
But today, February 19, 2017 at 1122, something even weirder happened that I did not expect. After 19 months, 23 days of me leading these two now seasoned crew members around the Loop, they pulled into the marina where they started and Still Waters II crossed her wake.
They promptly took me down off the bow pulpit and hoisted a Gold Burgee. While high fives, hugs and kisses were exchanged, pictures were taken of the changing of the Burgee, I found myself relegated to the corner of the salon.
Oh, such is the life and times of a White Burgee.
But what tales I can tell of all the wonderful places and people we have seen. No matter what happens next in my life, that Gold Burgee can never replace the memory making moments that I experienced on the Great Loop.
Thanks to all the people that helped this crew around the Great Loop such as the folks back in the home office and the forum hall of famers (Joe Pica, Alan Lloyd, Jim Healy, Foster, and the other Dave Fuller in Georgia)
In addition, thanks to the class of 2015, 2016, and 2017 cruisers who have truly enriched the crew’s lives, made them better people, and shared your lives with them. There are no better people than the people in the boating community and the AGLCA!
Lastly, thanks to all the folks who have followed the crew’s blog and joined on as virtual crew members. Your feedback, comments, and encouragement were always welcome.
Eric here with a few comments. When I signed up to document this adventure for the crew, I took the liberty to hire Count Dracula as the official statistician on board Still Waters II. He counted and compiled the following stats of the journey:
Started June 28, 2015
Ended February 19, 2017
Total Time 1 year, 7 months, 23 days
Time off the boat 8 weeks
Days travelled 235
Total Distance 9,555 stm
Average distance travelled 40.6 miles/day
Marina stays 131
Anchor nights 79
Nights on Lock Wall 36
Days on the Hard 9
Engines are CAT 3208TA, Twin 275 HP for total of 550 HP
Typically set throttles for 1,200 rpm and will travel 7-8 mph depending on wind and current
Engine Run Hours 1,294
Gallons of fuel 4,167
Cost of fuel $10,155
Avg Cost per gallon $2.44
Fuel Burn 3.2 gal/hr
Other miscellaneous data:
Countries 2 (USA and Canada)
Providences 2 (Quebec and Ontario)
Number of hours that the skipper thought he would be arrested while trying to enter Canada – 6
The crew has decided that once around is not enough. There are many places that they still have not gotten to explore such as the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Lake Champlain, Ohio River,……
So, they will be departing Sweetwater Landing on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 and heading east across Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway to launch their second multi-year trip around the Great Loop.
I hope you will continue to stay aboard as virtual crew members and watch and read as Still Waters II begins her quest for a Platinum Burgee denoting a second completion around the Loop.
First up, the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends!
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Great job, you really earned that gold burgee! Loved this post and enjoyed following Eric the Red. We hope to finish our loop in November. Be safe.
Congratulations!! I have been following you from my office for over a year, My wife and I are hoping to be where you are in 6 years, God willing. We hope that we can meet you and your wife someday to further plan are trip, and get the “details”!
Scott and Lori in CA
Congrats on completing the loop, we’ve enjoyed following ya’ll on your adventures of a lifetime.
Andy and Cindy from Marietta GA,
Wow, what a wonderful trip. I enjoy your narrative. Maybe you will find yourself in Venice, Florida again and we can watch the sunset together. Be safe. Cookie Golding
Love. Love. LOVE this post.
Congratulations on all y’all’s achievement. I’m excited to see what the next trip brings. Maybe I’ll invite myself for a short visit on the next round.
The Only Remaining Charter Member
Of the David Fuller Fan Club
and original cheerleader