Time to get it done! Gold Loopers!

Getting close to Miami, I can almost see the finish line.

The day arrived for us to leave Marathon and make our way to Fort Lauderdale.  We said our goodbyes and left the marina.  This would be a 2 day trip. One more night on anchor and then up through Miami and into the ICW towards Fort Lauderdale.  It’s every loopers plan to end where you started to earn that Gold Flag! We spent a lot of time in Los Olas Marina when the boat arrived by freighter.  When I called to get our reservation Jim answered the phone. “Hey Jim, we are headed back!!” He was the dock master and he remembered us from last year.  He would be on the dock when we arrived.

We had a lovely cruise. It felt surreal to be closing the loop.  As excited as I was to be done, I also felt a strange uncertainty about how I would really feel as we crossed the finish line.

Our anchorage was nice. We made dinner and chatted about all the events of the last year.  Writing this blog over the last year has helped me remember a lot,  because SOOOOO much has happened.  So many new places,  lots of new friendships,  lots of boating miles and conditions.  It is hard to put in words all the emotions and sum up all that we have experienced.  I can tell you that I am not the same person.  There were times I had to dig deep.  You cannot escape when you are on the water in the middle of nowhere.  I had experiences that I will never forget.  I met some awesome people.  I learned that being uncomfortable at times was character building.  We had many many more times of wonder and joy and seeing parts of this country we had never seen.  We saw little Towns along the East Coast where America began.  There was so much history in these places.  It was surreal to do a trip, on a boat, thru rivers, lakes and man made canals that made a continual loop through America.  I am in awe of us! I think our relationship is stronger.  This was definitely a team event.  We had to rely on each other and trust each other.

Entering into Miami to traffic, mega yachts and bridges. Funny how one can miss these things that once were an irritation. It was a welcome sight. I had gotten used to the quiet of the keys over the last few months. I was ready for noise, people, chaos and mostly FINISHING this thing we sent off to do a year ago.

We passed mega yachts and cargo ships. This time it felt like no big deal. I remember the first time we crossed paths with these large ship, how our hearts pounded and how close they came to us. There was no real room to avoid them in the narrow ICW or the wakes they made. In the ICW might has right, so we give them plenty of room.

We left our anchorage early the next morning. Partly excited and partly wanting to get into Fort Lauderdale by the afternoon. Entering into the ICW meant a lot of slow or idle speed zones due to homes, marinas and also manatees. Even though we didn’t have a lot of mileage it was going to take a bit of time. I sat quietly reflecting. I didn’t feel as emotional as I expected I would. What I felt was a sense of accomplishment and pride. I felt tremendous respect for Andy, my captain, for navigating all these miles under all kinds of unfamiliar situations. I felt a stronger bond to him then when we started. I felt that this man was so incredibly capable, strong, fearless and well…..SEXY!!! He is all mine girls! You will have to find your own. I also felt immense pride at myself. I conquered a lot of fear this year. There were several crying attacks and shit fits along the way. There was anxiety of the unknown. There were days of incredible loneliness and there were days I could not behold the joy of the passage or the beauty and wildlife. Each opportunity to pull into an unfamiliar dock, tie lines in unfamiliar docks with current, shallows, wind or whatever that particular day threw at us became reason to toast another successful day.

As we neared Los Olas I began to shiver. THEN I wanted to cry. We were met by our friends Jody and Dan on Done Diggin. Jodi knew we were on the way and she video us making that final approach to the slip right next to them. I was overjoyed at this point and could hardly keep myself from screaming and sounding like a crazy person. Jim was also on the dock to greet us and grab our lines.

We jumped off, hugged and Jodi cracked open a bottle of champagne and strung gold beads around our neck. This is when I lost it!!! How grateful was I that they were there to welcome us. See, just 14 months earlier, in this very marina, I looked over to see that white AGLCA flag flying off the front of their boat. We were in deep clean mode from the shipping filth. When I could catch my breath, I walked over and introduce myself. Jody was my first looper friend. Her and Dan have been a breath of fresh air and a comfort. We crisscrossed with them throughout the year but always felt so happy when I saw their faces. I am grateful for Jodi’s listening ear and being my text buddy down the rivers. We each know the struggles and the glory of this trip.

We toasted with a glass of champagne (or rather finished the bottle together). We would change out the flag and walk for a celebratory dinner later.

We did it!! I am so happy and frankly proud as hell of us!! We have lots of stuff on the horizon for the next year.

We bought a house!!! We are in escrow until the first of April.

We will need to get AQUAMAN to its permanent home port in Venice. Meaning our cruise is not completely finished. We need to get to the Gulf side across the state through Lake Okeechobee.

We need to fly home and see our family who we have missed greatly. Our parents, kids and friends.

We need to pack what we did keep and decide what to ship to florida.

We need a break from the boat, running water, flushing toilets and a car to run around in. Space to stretch out and a respite.

The adventures will no doubt continue.

Lots of people keep detailed reports on the loop of milage, costs, gallons burned, marina costs. I started this and after a while I realized these numbers where not really important. We knew what we were in for so we stopped caring really. We knew we had plenty saved for the trip and we had no debt by selling everything prior. So I can tell you in rough terms some basic stats.

We traveled over 6000 miles of waterways: Ocean, Lakes, ICW, Canals, Rivers. It took us 14 months including several trips home, 3 months in the keys and a month in Alabama when we hauled out for basic repairs. We also did several rode trips along the way.

We did 138 total locks including the Erie Canal, The Oswego Canal the Trent-Severn Waterway, the Rivers all the way from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Okeechobee.

We traveled thru 14 states and 2 countries.

We went to the Bahamas prior to the loop for 7 weeks including Bimini, The Berry Islands, Nassau, the Exhumes all the way to Staniel Key, back up to Nassau and over to Eleuthera, Chub key, back to Bimini and home to Fort Lauderdale. We left Abicos for this year. Not gonna happen now. SAD!

We ate really well and drank really well. We got groceries a few ways. We had a cute red wagon we pulled when we could walk. We rode bikes and loaded up backpacks and my basket. We took curtesy cars and we occasionally rented cars.

We had a total of 118 stops along the way. So that means out of 425 days (14 months) we had 118 travel days. Sure felt like a lot more moving then that! The red pins indicate a stop.

Laundry was always fun. Some marinas had laundry rooms, some not. Some had 2 washers/dyers and often times we girls sat to chat and wait in line. A few were awesome. That was when the blankets and towels got extra attention.

Friends were made at every stop. Just fly that flag and people will seek you out as one of their own. There were life long friendships made and people we met that we bonded with over this adventure. There were always people helping people, dinners collaborated that turned into a feast, and there was always a docktail somewhere.



We arrived to Marlin Bay Marina in Marathon on a beautiful day and a short 40 mile run up the Keys. We are ready for a change from Key West after 2 months. I was super ready to move but really sad to say goodbye to Cara and Randy. I got to know them really well and I just adore them! She was my soul shopping sister. We had fun shopping in Key West and hanging out together.

It BLEW like crazy the whole time we were in Marathon. The winds whipped and blew for weeks. We were unable to get on the water. The marina was safe, the boat was tied up, the pool was warm, we had lots of friends there…..So we did not suffer.

Entering Marlin Bay

Beautiful pool area.

Marlin Bay is more of a resort. It has a large resort style pool and a bar and is surrounded on one side by tall single family homes. The property was originally build as a home development with 3 and 4 story single family homes surrounding the gorgeous pool and marina. They had plans for many more homes but, from the story I heard, the hurricane happened (Irma) and they couldn’t sell the homes. The area got hit hard and they had to reinvent this property. An investor came in and bought the property and turned it into a resort, renting out the homes and has plans to finish the rest of the build. You can rent a villa and the marina is now available for transient cruisers and travelers. When we got here the marina was full of loopers. We arrived just minutes before Rick and Rhonda from R&R. I was super excited to reconnect with them. We had traveled some of the rivers together. We also met up with our pals from Curti-Sea, Ted and Robin. They were a welcome sight. I have missed them terribly. Remember my blog about having too leave them in Tarpon Springs after they had an incident? Then the holidays came and went while they went back home to Michigan. It felt like ages since we saw them. The gang was back together.

Ted and Robins Boat with a great view of sunsets!

Marlin Bay was quite a change from the busyness of Key West. We spent a few days lounging by the amazing pool and walking to local places for breakfast and dinners. The Stuffed Pig was a big hit with an outside eating area and yummy breakfasts. You just had to remember that Marathon operated on Island time.

Yummy breakfast spot!

We enjoyed community yoga in the park and Andy played pickleball a few times. He was a total natural.

Andy and I had been looking for a new place to call home after the loop. We had taken one trip up and saw some homes. Nothing felt right and we began to play the Zillow/Realtor.com game. “Whats new today?” We began to compare listings and every time I opened the app I hoped something would pop out at me. AND IT DID!!! We rented a car and drove up to see it. It was perfect, beyond perfect, absolutely everything on my list and more. We made an immediate offer, they countered exactly where we wanted to be and in 2 days we were in escrow.


Behind these blue doors is
an amazing home. And it is MINE!!!!

This has been the smoothest, most wonderful transaction. Everything was meant to be and we are thrilled.

My online Zillow game turned into online designing and decorating. I deleted Zillow and loaded Wayfair, Overstock, Pottery Barn, Joss and Main, etc….. Turns out another looper and friend, Connie and Rich were also in escrow on a house a few miles away. Connie and I compared notes, styles, shared photos and IT WAS FUN!!!! I cannot wait to visit her home and see what she does with it and vise versa!.

The weather in Marathon was similar to Key West. Windy as heck with swell and rough oceans. We had another 3 weeks of disappointing ocean. Andy and Ted decided that one day the ocean looked favorable to take the dingy out to a reef. We loaded them up and made our way out 8 miles in the open Atlantic to find this reef. We spotted a bunch of boats and the lighthouse landmark in the distance. Now if you have read my blog, you will remember a particular story about my dingy ride from hell in the Bahamas where we almost flipped it over in rough waves and we would have perished. I looked out in the distance at this lighthouse-reef and wondered if I was going to be telling the same story. It wasn’t fun. It was bouncy and a long way. We got there. There were a lot of boats, NOT dingy’s, BOATS, tied to mooring balls. We asked a smaller boat if we could tie to their boat. We tied up and then Ted and Robin tied up to his. The boys jumped in the water with Aquaman leading the charge while Robin and I bounced and jerked against the other boat in the swell. I would normally jump in to snorkel but the swell was big, the dingy was jerking in the swell and I was a little green. Plus I decided a wet long ride back would make the ride back miserable. So I opened a bag of Doritos, drank a beer and tried to remain calm. The Doritos were a good move!

He loved driving this dingy, even in choppy rough water.

We returned and all was well. I still do NOT enjoy these long rides bouncing through waves and rough seas. It just is not my thing. My back kills me later! I wore my life jacket this time which gave me some comfort. It also held my boobs in from all the bouncing! Haha! 😂 A bathing suit does not give enough support to bouncing waves in a 10 foot dingy. Later, at the pool, people found out what we had done and decided we were certified crazy. My thoughts exactly.

I wanted to visit the Turtle hospital. It’s the largest hospital in the US and it has a smaller one in Jekly Island. We had visited that one when we were there last year. I convinced Connie to go with me. We got to see what happen to turtles who were rescued and injured. I did enjoy that. Boats hit them all the time and dent their shells making a gas bubble, which causes them to float. When they can’t sink down they can’t eat. They also are effected by the poor quality of our oceans and suffer with tumors and disease. So sad but this was a cool place.

They write their names in tape, which eventually wears off.
Open your eyes!!
This guy was getting released on Saturday at the local beach! Very cool!

Manatee in the grass

Under all this grass was a manatee who was gorging himself. He had sooooo much grass to munch here. We was a frequent visitor and he was well fed!

The day finally came to leave. We had a good few day weather window to get up the coast to Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It gets harder and harder to leave these place because we become connected to these wonderful friends along the way. We were anxious to cross our wake. So it was time to go. Rick and Rhonda came to say goodbye and see us off.

Rick and Rhonda from R&R

Rick snapped some pictures of us leaving the marina. I love that he got a great shot of us and our boat!

Bye everyone!
Then THIS happened!! It was wonderful and it never gets old!
The water was shallow and they rode the bow for 20 minutes or more.
We made our way up to our anchorage and settled in. Another sunset, another wonderful meal, a glass of wine in hand, a quiet nights sleep and I am grateful. Tomorrow we will cross our wake!!

What’s next you ask?? 🏡🏠


Yes you read that right. I am finally allowed to announce the big news. It has passed inspection with flying colors and we are safely in escrow. It will be ours March 31. This has been a long process of looking and we are super excited to begin a new chapter. We know its hot in Florida during the summer. Our plans are to leave! The months from June-Sept will be our travel months. Our California months. Maybe we will stay and see how hot it really is. We are prepared and aware. We understand the whole “snowbird thing” and we will probably become one of them. I ready to root again.


Andy and I have been looking at homes, talking a lot about our next chapter of life, all while still enjoying our boat here in the Keys. We both decided on an area that we really loved and drew a big circle on the map. This area covered as north as St. Petersburg and as south as Fort Meyers/Cape Coral. It was a big area. We love the ICW in this whole zone. I LOVE the beaches with white sand and loaded with sea shells. We began to dream of what our ideal day would look like and then decided on what kind of small house would fill those needs. We talked and talked, dreamed and dreamed. House, condo, townhouse, beach house, dock house??? We really didn’t know. We became Zillow and Realtor.com experts and searching became our daily activity. I would see something and show Andy. He would see something and show me. We did a lot of “Too old, NOPE! This is interesting! We can’t afford this area! How about this one??” It became a game. We looked at what new ones came up and what ones sold. I spent hours searching. Some nights I even woke up dreaming of where this next house would be and open my apps to see if anything came up. Yes….. I was obsessed. I pictured the house. I knew it existed. I just had to find it. Honestly, it was me that really wanted to settle into a home again. My nesting needs and my desire for longer breaks from the boat fueled this, I will honestly admit. Andy agreed but he was much more patient about the whole process. I had angsts!! Some days I felt that if we didn’t drive up to those areas to see the homes in person they would be sold before we were ready and it was starting to happen. I would open my app to see one I had liked say “pending.” My heart would drop and I’d say to Andy, “there goes another one.” Then one day this pretty blue house came up. The first thing I saw were these beautiful blue doors (blue doors were in my visions!). OMG…… As I looked at all 51 pictures that were expertly taken and posted, my heart dropped. This is EXACTLY what WE wanted. It was perfect, every paint color, every light fixture, everything on my list. A big outdoor lanai, a pool and jacuzzi, a master on one side and 2 guest rooms on the other, (I want a lot of company), an office space that would become my jewelry studio, a boat dock for easy access to the water to kayak, a small day boat lift. The list goes on but you get the point. It was perfect. We called a realtor, rented a car and set out to drive up to see it.

These blue front doors and here waiting to greet me! PERFECT!! I couldn’t wait to see what was behind them.

We walked into the big, open great room and I was instantly in love. You could see straight out to the back lanai through large glass door that pocket open. I looked to the kitchen to a backsplash done in teal blue sea glass. I turned to see a front room office that had built in cabinets for the perfect studio. Master on one side, guest rooms on the other. Me and Andy looked at each other and both thought the same thing. The lady who decorated this home is my soul sister. It looked just like me. Honestly, all I needed was my clothes. Too bad they were not selling it furnished but I did take note of a few things that would have to stay.

The vintage doors in this room are a perfect headboard.
These vintage columns on the French door the lead to the pool are just the perfect touch!
The pool area and note the outside shower!
I will probably use this outside kitchen more then the inside. I cannot wait to grill up some meat!
My dream backsplash of teal sea glass and crispy white cabinets. Very Florida!!

We looked at the house and property. We loved everything about the layout and quality of the home. Andy walked across the street to a neighbors house and knocked on the door. To our surprise a lady opened the door and her husband came out to see who was knocking. A little odd in todays age and the street is gated so I am sure they were thinking “what the heck.” Andy asked a bunch of questions about the area and Jennifer (I can call her that now because we will become good friends) was so sweet, talkative and honest. They are retired at a young age like us and, to make this chance encounter even sweeter, she is the membership coordinator to the Venice Yacht Club!!!! This was WAY to serendipitous because we had discussed this very thing. Joining a local club to meet local boating people as well as socializing, being new to this are. It would also get us a place to put AQUAMAN!!!

This is an aerial view of the house and you can see how close we are to Venice and the beach in the distance.

The house has no one to the right and total privacy to the back. Across the street are mangroves that cannot new removed. The creek leads to the ocean but also up into a state park. I am totally freaked out about Alligators but I am sure I will get over this and I am thankful for that “Floridian cage” surrounding our pool. As long as they stay on the other side we will get along just fine! I can ride my bike to the beach, which was a big must on my list.

Some of the questions that are coming up are about our boat and about the weather. Hurricane’s to be exact and how we will handle that.

In our searching we came to realize that moving to Florida did not prove to be “cheaper.” Anything on or close to the water was costly. After searching for quite some time, in the areas we had circled, we realized we would never be able to have AQUAMAN in the backyard. It just wasn’t going to happen. We decided that this criteria would be taken off the list and we would find a place to put the boat, preferably a local yacht club.

Andy did however want a home on a canal with a lift for a smaller boat and easy access to the water. We want to enjoy the water, beach the boat or cruise the ICW looking for dolphins easily from our home. This home checked that box.

As for the weather, this was a huge concern of mine. A lot of homes we saw were built in the 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s. They were not to code and would need a total retrofit with storm glass. Old Floridian homes are also not elevated for storm surge. Very costly for flood insurance. This home was build in 2017, basically brand new, and was built for Cat 5 hurricane codes. The windows are all impact glass. The house is built from concrete walls and siding and all to todays codes. Another amazing blessing. Not only did I find a house in my most desired area, it’s a house build to withstand a big storm. The inspector called it a “brick shit house!”

I am so super grateful. I am so ready for the next chapter. I am ready to root again. This year has taught me so much about myself. I can do without so much but I really need a place to call home. I do not need fancy. I have turned into a simple girl, grey hair, no polish toes and not the latest styles. I have learned that gathering up stuff doesn’t fill the soul but just for a moment. I have realized its not a garage full of cars and a house full of possessions that make me happy. It is truly freeing. BUT, that being said, I am ready for a simple home, comfortable and a place to rest from all this adventure.

We are not at all done boating. I just need a break for awhile and a place to return, put up my feet and spread out. Andy feels the same and for that I am grateful. We want lots of company. We have 2 guest rooms and I will take you to all the beautiful beaches that Florida has to offer. I am excited to decorate (yes we need everything like newlyweds!). I am also excited to explore a whole new area, new restaurants, new shops, new beaches, new everything. This excites us both. We love exploring. We have miles and miles of uncharted territory ahead.

We are currently in Marathon at a beautiful resort marina. Our plan is to get to Fort Lauderdale and cross our wake, earning us a Gold Burgee! This is where the trip began. We are about 3 travel days away. Then we will take a route that goes across Lake Okeechobee to Fort Meyers and end in Venice. Andys working out the travel plans, routes and weather days. He is also working on a place to park AQUAMAN while we wait for a slip to open up at the yacht club. Things are suddenly moving very fast and it’s all very exciting. Somewhat surreal. This brings everyone up to date. I haven’t shared until this was solid and now it is!

We will be home in March to pack up the belongings I did save and figure out how to move them across the country.

A new journey is ahead! So blessed. What a year it has been!!

2 months in Key West🦞🦐🦀🌴

It is hard to believe we have been in Key West just shy of 8 weeks. It went fast. Ironically when we got here, parked the boat, chilled out and then hit the town for happy hours and shrimp🦐 5 nights straight, I didn’t know if I could hang out that long. After a year of moving from place to place and the change of scenery often, I felt itchy to move after just a few days. I had to change my thoughts to, “this is home for now and we don’t have to squeeze all the sights into a few days.” Once this set in and we slowed ourselves down, I settled in and relaxed. We had a whole series of company starting with my kids for Christmas. It was an absolutely wonderful 2 weeks with them. This Christmas will be one of my favorites in my memories. There was no pressure, no entertaining, no big dinners. Just the 4 of us and it was wonderful. (See my previous post).

The Family!

So what did we do for 8 weeks in Key West??

Sunsets at Mallory Square. This is a real happening every night. People gather at this square to see the sunset. It’s the furthest western most point on the island. Street performers come here, people stand with a drink and watch the most magnificent sunsets. We did this at least 8 times bringing our friends who visited and fellow loopers. My phone is full of photos and they are all amazing. Here are just a few.

This sunset was aboard out friends boat Lucky Me when the kids came out. We loved seeing it from the water. Thank you Susan and Gregg!

It’s quite amusing to see all the phones come out and people taking selfies and photos. It is fun to people watch but mostly the sunsets never disappoint. We are from the West Coast so we know our sunsets!!

We pictured being on the water snorkeling and cruising around the reefs everyday. Unfortunately this wasn’t our reality. December and January turned out to be quite windy and the ocean was not calm. We learned that even though this is the high season for tourism, it isn’t exactly the season for water activities. This didn’t really matter to me. I live on the water. I do enjoy snorkeling but it has to be flat, calm and hot. I am a fair weather snorkeler. Andy got out with a fellow looper on our dingy where he found a great reef and he had a great snorkel. Just as we were ready to move on it seemed the weather was getting better. We chatted about staying. After all, we really have no schedule or anywhere we had to be. We both decided that we were ready to move.

This is Saunders Beach. I am a total beach girl. I can sit all day watching people and looking at the water, spotting dolphins. I could walk the beaches all day finding treasures. This was the ONLY beach on the island. We did come to the beach but not for all day sit down. When the kids were here we took them to the beach where I found a pile of great heart shaped rocks. Other then that it wasn’t a real “Beachy” island.

We stayed in Stock Island which is just 6 miles from Key West. The marina is awesome. It is associated with The Perry Hotel. The hotel did a big expansion adding another pool and has 3 restaurants. The marina is really nice. One of the nicest marina we have stayed in this last year. We loved being here along with lots of other loopers. There was always something going on, people to talk to and have dinners out with. It was awesome. One of our favorite places to eat was a thatched roof local spot called Hogfish. We took everyone there. We ate there a bunch. It was soooo good!!!

Stock Island local!

Stock Island, as well as Key West have chickens and roosters all over. They can be found in restaurants and all along the sidewalks. When you drive you have to dodge them. Not really sure what this is all about and I never got an answer if they were for eating or just an island mascot. Another restaurant we loved was called Roostica and was decorated with everything chicken! They were all very pretty roosters. They all looked healthy and happy. But noisy!! Thankfully they didn’t hang out by the boat at 4AM.

We had company. Our friends Mike and Tammy Becker flew in for 5 days. We had a great time with them. We drug them to all our favorite spots. They rented a golf cart and cruised around. It was awesome to see friends. We have been away from home for a long time and I miss them.

Mike and Tammy in the famous Sloppy Joes. One night we even stayed up past 9PM and partied in town.

Next visitor was my college friend Karen Burg. She stayed with us on the boat for 7 nights. We caught up, walked Duval Street, laid by the pool and ate at my favorite spots. By now I have grown a list of favorites.

We took the Conch Train with Jodi. I was surprised how fun this was. We learned local info and saw the streets with the bungalows and Caribbean houses. It was fun!

Next visitor was my brother Mark. He drove his Harley down from Miami. He lives in Amsterdam and has a garage full of motorcycles in Miami. We rarely see him so this was an awesome visit. I miss him.

How cute are we🏍💙

What else does one do in Key West besides eating and drinking?

Shop of course. Duval Street was lined with bars but also shops. I have not shopped very much this last year. I crave getting lost in a Target. I managed to shop here and I found some really cool stuff that I had to have.

I love this flamingo bag!! Cigar shops line the streets and I found these vintage boxes. Not sure what I will use them for but they will remind me of this place.

This towel says it all!


I can totally seeing myself wearing this if I was getting married on the beach. I really wanted to buy it just to have it. It wasn’t for sale. I told the guy “everything’s for sale for the right price.” He laughed and asked what I was willing to pay? I left! A photo would have to do. I will use it for inspiration later.

If your in the right place at the right time you will see manatee. We got lucky one day at lunch. A mother and baby just hung out and ate fish that the fishermen threw into the water. ( I know they are vegetarians but I know what I saWe sat for an hour and Alyssa and I loved watching these big gentle animals. They have been in the marina but I haven’t seen one yet.

One thing I have missed while looping and living on a boat is gardening. Getting dirt under my fingernails. While shopping I found these tiny tiki shot glasses. I instantly told Karen, who I was shopping with, “these would be so cute with a succulent!” After she left for home, I set off to find a nursery with succulents. I eventually found them and returned to the boat to pot them. I pulled them out of their containers and played with the dirt and felt it in my hand. As small a project as this was, it filled that void. And they are ADORABLE!!!

One day I woke up feeling blue. Company was gone and we had nothing going on. I had boxes of beads onboard but they had gotten hidden away for company. I asked Andy to help me unbury the boxes. When I opened the first box, the first thing that literally jumped out at me was a little bright pink happy Buddha face. I smiled and said to myself, “well that was obvious, and he needs to be worn by me!” Making bracelets makes me so happy and I also enjoy the creative energy. I made myself a few new pieces. Then I asked other girls if they wanted some while I had all my stuff out. Before I knew it, my bracelets graced the arms of several girl I have grown to love along the way. I hope that when they see them years to come they will remember me. I love sharing!

Happy Buddha. A reminder to smile.

As our time approaches leaving this great place I want to reflect on how lucky we are to be here. I am still in awe of this last year. Holding still for 8 weeks has been great. It has been a mix of laying around, touring, eating, drinking, bike riding along the ocean, driving along the keys, and company. We loved having so many people come see us here. As I write this I have to admit that I am ready to go.

Whats to come?

We need to get back to Fort Lauterdale to officially “cross our wake” and complete the loop.

Our current plan:

Stop in Marathon for 4 weeks. We have friends meeting us there and I cannot wait to see them. (Ted and Robin from Curti-Sea and Rick and Rhonda from R&R)

Then we will make our way up the coast. Key Largo, Miami and then Fort Lauterdale. This is where we change our flag to a gold looper flag, take a bunch of pictures, cry, drink the bottle of Dom Perignon I have saved for the occasion. (I hope its still good!)

What’s after that???

Well, we have been having A LOT of discussion about the next chapter. It was hard to fathom doing this loop and there was no way to project any thoughts about what would be next. We did this trip with our eyes wide open to places that might feel right. I liked a lot of towns but nothing that I said, “honey, we need to live here!” Andy and I are definitely not done boating by any means. We love being on the boat, BUT we both seem to have the desire to put some roots down. Make house again. We both want the same thing. Small, simple, not fancy and a boat in the backyard. A place we can paddle together often. A place we can spend part of the year and then travel to exotic places the other part of the year. It looks like that place is going to be Florida. On the gulf side, there is an abundance of boating, islands to explore with white sand beaches loaded with seashells.

Our idea of the perfect day looks like this: Get up, Coffee, Yoga, Walk (the dog I don’t have yet), make a healthy salad, load up the kayaks, spend the afternoon paddling the mangroves looking for dolphin in the ICW, home for a cocktail and a dip in the pool, out to dinner or BBQ. Ok, thats too much for one day but you get the point. Florida offers us all that as far as we can see. The house hunting has begun. Don’t worry, There will be several guest rooms and I expect a lot of company. 😍

Merry Christmas from Key West🎄🎅🏻

Christmas Key West style

Christmas is a wrap. What a Christmas it was. This mama bear got a really good kid fix. They came for 2 weeks!! Just enough time to be together on a boat. Our big boat got pretty cramped and cluttered but I would take that any day! How I have missed them this last year!

There is so much to do here. No shortage of activists to choose from.

We sailed on a 1930’s Wooden sailboat that was owned by General Patton. He never got to sail it. That’s sad. He had it built and called it When and If for “When” he gets done fighting in the war and “If” he makes it back alive. He lived but never sailed her. We had such a good time we actually did this twice.

We had some bad weather come in. We had several days of rain and wind. We made the most of it by staying in all day one day and watched Christmas movies and I made cookies and dinner. The kids actually enjoyed the down day. So who’s complaining??

Tropical storms are no joke. This one dumped tons of rain and wind.

On a windy day we decided to take a drive. The waves were huge and no water activity was going to happen. Andy had heard that there was a History of Diving museum in Islamorada. The drive was pretty and gave us something to do that didn’t involve being outdoors or on the water. We thoroughly bored the kids and Andy enjoyed looking at all the old equipment he had actually used. He started diving at 14 years old, so a lot of vintage stuff was actually stuff he had owned and used. The museum had an impressive display of old diving helmets from all over the world.

Jake was bored but Andy enjoyed telling him about all the equipment he had used. His face is classic!

Christmas night in Key West.

Christmas dinner was a feasts of steak and lobster. No suffering but more importantly I did not cook and have 20 people over. It was WONDERFUL for me. Plus we just sat and chatted and enjoyed each other. I loved it!!

Before dinner we watched the sunset at the famous Mallory Square where everyone gathers nightly. This night we had an epic sunset. It was a gift!

Key West is not for the meek. It’s a town that allows drinking on the streets. The clubs go all night. The transgender community is represented here and everyone is open, friendly, happy and overall it’s just a fun place. We had our share of nights out but also nights in. I cannot keep up! I guess I’m getting old. It’s so hard to keep me awake after 9PM.

Slushy drinks with a rum floater! A nap followed!

Another windy day, Alyssa and I went to the butterfly Museum. We loved it. We also walked past the southern most house (mansion). Owned by a guy who sounded like a real bore!! Not what you think of in Key West.

I strung lights all over the boat. It looked awesome. The hit was my LED dolphins. Everyone stopped to ask where I had gotten them (amazon) and a bunch of people ordered them. I started a trend.

The days went fast with my kids. They are pretty cool young adults. It is nice to see them and have them for a full 2 weeks. I think we will start a new family tradition of sharing these experiences together verses a tree full of presents. They both agreed that this was one of the funnest Christmas escapes. We have done this in the past, Australia was also one of their favorite memories, but as they become adults it has become more important to spend time, not money that means the most.

Me and my girl!

This was in front of Hogfish. The BEST restaurant! We ate there several times! We loved it!

We are here for another 3 weeks. We have more company coming. I hope I can keep up! I have a week to recover, clean and shop before the next set.

Welcome to the sunshine state of Florida!!!

We made it! We are excited! We are so close to finishing the loop we can taste it.

Well, sort of. First we have to see the whole gulf side of Florida. This is my preferred side because the beaches are white and full of seashells. I love walking the beaches and combing them for treasures. I also love all the wildlife. Dolphins are everywhere. It’s hard to go a day without seeing them. They love to jump in our wakes and are really playful. It never gets old for me. Manatees can be spotted up and down this coast. The bird life is amazing. I just love it.

Andy and I have discussed living on this coast when we finish the loop. We will stop along the way to see homes and explore some neighborhoods. We really have no idea where we want to live yet, but part of the fun will be exploring all our options. We are certainly not in any hurry, although I am ready to put down roots, find a community that I can relate to and spread out again.

This tree was in Appalachicola and I loved it but I wasn’t ready to think it was December yet, even though Christmas was coming. How did the year fly by so quickly? Times during this loop have felt painfully slow. Today as I looked at this symbol of Christmas, it hit me how fast it has gone. We left home Dec 8th for a cross country road trip while the boat was being shipped and delivered to Fort Lauderdale. It seems impossible that it is almost the anniversary of that date. This has caused me to stop and take note of all the things that have happened over this last year, all the places we have visited, all the miles we have taken the boat, all the new people who have come into our lives, all the towns we had never heard of but found ourselves in and all the wildlife. It has been awesome and life changing.

I have missed my family and my kids a lot. I have been home several times and I have found that the time we spend together is more meaningful. There is so much to talk about and catch up with. It seems that the concentrated time allows for a deeper connection vs the day to day doldrums of life. I personally think some distance has enhanced my relationships. It has also helped weed out the people in my life that don’t really want to be part of it. They have fallen off the radar. The ones who truly care for us and being part of our journey, have stayed in touch. This blog has helped me journal a lot of stuff that has come up for me in this last year. Loneliness, fear, being uncomfortable, peace, quiet, friendships, marriage and change are just a few that come to mind. It feels so good to shed what wasn’t working. The relationships that matter still matter. I am grateful to those of you who choose to read this and participate with your comments. You are the ones who matter. Thanks for showing me compassion when I lose my shit, and for laughing at my humor. Humor has gotten me though a lot of tough days.

This is our friends Robin and Ted of M/V Curti-Sea. Their friendship has been wonderful and Robin has been a great ear when I needed one. Her compassion and love has been a blessing. We are on the same journey and have some of the same feelings. Ted is hilarious and always makes us laugh. I’m sad today as I am blogging this next part of the story. I will explain:

They made the gulf crossing with us. We arrived together and we toasted our accomplishment after docking. The next day we had fun touring Tarpon Springs and eating our way through the town. The next morning we planned on leaving and taking an easy cruise down to Palmetto to another loopers condo, Jackie and Jim of M/V Dona Pacem. They own a gorgeous condo that has a boat slip and had offered it for us to use while their boat was getting work done. We pulled out followed by Curti-sea. The tide was super LOW!!! They hit something HARD!!! Robin called to say that they were taking on water and we found ourselves in an emergency. They stayed calm and found a boat lift that was available to get them lifted out of the water ASAP and we followed them, making sure they were ok. Once they were safely lifted we found a fuel dock and tied off and waited to hear what was happening. The thing is, on this trip, when you buddy-up, it means no matter what you stay together. Robin told us to just go on and they would get a car later. HECK NO!!! Unacceptable! We told them to assess the damage, make a plan and take a deep breath. A few hours later the boat was secure and they were stuck waiting until after Thanksgiving weekend for anyone to come look at the boat. We told them to jump on our boat and go to Jackie and Jims with us, where they could stay until after Thanksgiving. We were not leaving without them. As upsetting a situation as this was, they were safe, the boat was safe and now they were forced to wait for service until after the holidays. I felt terrible. I fed Ted beers all the way and we enjoyed a nice cruise pulling in right before dark, greeted by a very sweet Jackie and Jim who cooked us dinner and we drank and ate the night away. I am telling this story because THIS is what the loop is. THIS is friendship! THIS is relationships. THIS is people helping people. THIS is just one example of many stories of things that have happened on the loop over the last year.

Others include Danny jumping into our engine room after a long hard day on the rivers to help Andy figure out why our engine was overheating. It was late, we were all tired and worn out from all the locks but he came anyway. He even left a little blood DNA in the cramp engine room space.

Another is a looper who shared a rental car to get groceries. (Thanks Debra and Kurt on Honey Badger!)

Another was a fellow looper on MountainWave who raft our boats together as we were in trouble with an overheated motor while waiting hours for a lock to open. They kept us from hitting the rock bank while giving us time to cool off the engine.

Another has been the many dinner invitations, Docktails in the marinas after days traveling together, dinner reservations made by someone who took charge and never excluding anyone that was found to be in the same marina.

Another is traveling in a group to the next spot and the lead boat calling out potential dangers for the following boats. “Log to the port, Missing marker on the starboard, etc.”

Another is girls shopping days, boys bike rides while the girls played. (Jody and Wayne of Chasing 80!)

Another is all the radio chatter between fellow loopers. Where are you headed, what marina, what speed you running, how about docktails when we all arrive!

Another was an invitation to the home of a looper who had just finished the loop for a homemade dinner. (Laurie Jean and Kevin!!)

There are so many more!

This is truly what looping has been all about. People looking out for people. I have loved every second of it. I have loved the feeling of real friendships and bonding though boating. THIS has been the gift.

I get sad as I think about people at home that I haven’t seen or talked to since we left. Then I think of all the many many friends that came into our lives this year. AMAZING!!

On the topic of friendship is a story about a girl named Kim. This picture was taken by Kim. She heard we were going to be passing by her town. She rode her bike to the bridge and waited for us to pass through taking our picture and waving to us. She was the very first looper we met, by chance, as we drove across country. Kim and Jim had finished the loop that very week and invited us to see their boat and share lots of stories as well as answer a ton of questions we had. I loved Kim right away and we remained in contract through F acebook as our own journey unfolded. She followed us and once in a while I would send her a message with “you were right about that, or what did you do about that!” Friendship and the common bond of loopers. Thanks for the wave and greeting and great photo!

Here we are passing and me so excited to see her a year later. Later they picked us up and we had a lovely dinner and shared stories.

This is the ICW. We are back in weekend congestion and waiting for bridges to open. It is awesome. I actually love all the business and watching boats go by. Looking at all the homes along the water. Maybe we will find one, who knows.

Some of our stops included:

Palmetto and Riviera Dunes Condos and Marina where Jackie and Jim let us use their slip and opened their condo to us for a few days.

This is the famous Don Caesar Hotel in St. Pete’s Beach. (We skipped over this place because we have already been here and we wanted to get to Palmetto to Jackie and Jims condo. We will be back)

Next was the Punta Gorda at Fisherman’s Village. Here was a spot we thought we would like to possibly live so we found a realtor and set out to see some homes. I will spare all the details but we crossed it off the list. This is actually a good thing because looking at homes is fun but it is also narrowing down areas we can concentrate on. The biggest downfall about Punta Gorda was the distance to the beach. Too FAR!!

We drove our rental car back up to Venice, Osprey and Sarasota and cruised those canal neighborhoods the next day. Those 3 are ON the list. We are narrowing it down.

The next stop was Fort Meyers at the Pink Shell Marina and Resort.

Ok I could have stayed here a month!! I LOVED riding my bike on the beach and collecting seashells. I was in heaven! The town was cool with beach bars and the beach went on for miles.

I did leave shells on the beach for others to find! There were hundreds! I only took the perfect ones and I still ended up with a huge basket full. As much as I loved it here it is also crossed off the list of possible homes. The island is a tourist zone of beach house rentals and tall condos. There were some canal homes but they were also too many rentals and not exactly great neighborhoods. That just isn’t going to work! NEXT!!! (I will however revisit this great spot!)

Onto Marco Island. We cruised in the ocean for this leg and the day was beautiful. We passed Naples (not on the list, too expensive) and pulled into Marco Island through a very shallow inlet. We fueled up in preparation for our next crossing to Key West. We rode our bikes around to get a feel for this place. We were not sure what Marco was all about. What we discovered was the billionaires came in and pushed out all the millionaires. So, again, off the list!

The next day we woke up at dawn and headed out to make our last big ocean crossing day. 110 miles and we would be in Key West where we would take a huge break and finally relax, enjoy marina life, become a tourist and find a gym!! Have I mentioned how much weight we have gained living on a boat?? Yes, I am a squishy bag of fun loving blubber. It’s ok, seriously, I love myself and this is one of the many looper issues. If I was disciplined, I would have woken up at dawn and walked before untying the lines. I am not. I love my bed!! It’s all good! I am looking forward to being sore again. I have the Deep Blue and Aleeve ready!

Back to Friendship. Here is a group of people I enjoy. We all gathered for drinks in Key West. We are all feeling relieved and ready to party.

Dan and Jodi of Done Diggin, Greg and Susan of Lucky Me, And Grace and Bruce from Seas Today!

Friendship is one of the many benefits of this trip. The other thing is the sheer accomplishment of taking the boat sooo many miles up the east coast side of the country. Then into the canals and waterways made to help move commercial traffic in the early days before railway systems. The fact that they have kept these systems working for pleasure craft now today is remarkable. Then traveling through the massive fresh water lakes in the center of the country, into Canada and the Canadian canal system. Next the massive rivers that connect the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. There are sections that are carved out, man made stretches to connect some of these rivers. It is an engineering marvel and had us amazed we were taking our boat down these narrow sections that would lead out to a bigger river. It was CRAZY!!!! I frequently would say to Andy , “Are you SURE you know where your going?” He would laugh at my anxiety and it became funny. I started making this as a daily joke. (But always half serious!)

We are in Key West now. We made the 110 mile crossing without any problem. The ocean was kind, the crab pots not so much. They’re everywhere. We kept watch the whole time and pulled in just fine! Now its time to park AQUAMAN and relax, settle into a daily routine and become a tourist in this very cool town. We will celebrate Christmas. My kids are coming, HORRAY!!, and lots of friends will be flying in for a visit.

FRIENDSHIP!!! Those that matter, MATTER!

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you!”

— Dale Carnegie

Crossing the gulf 🌅

Cross our fingers and hope not to die!

Just kidding, We never expected to die!! I am being overly dramatic but It was definitely something we had to plan and not take lightly. The boat would have to perform at top speed for 10-11 hours. If the weather changed the ride could be awful. Loopers before us had told tales of horrific crossing, adding to the stress. Everyone had a tale to tell. We had always been open water boaters in the Pacific and never thought twice about it. Several people we came across had never been in the ocean and feared it greatly. The story’s were grand, which caused me to question everything and increased my fear. I had to trust my captain and know our boat was sound.

We headed out at first light (or just slightly before). The tide was at its lowest adding to the stress. We had to pull the boat forward in the slip because the props were sitting in the mud. We managed to turn on the motors and shift into gear without the props sticking to the bottom, Thank God! We motored slowly following Curti-Sea to the channel through a very narrow cut called Governors Cut. It was SHALLOW!!! I had to stop looking at the depth gauge and the shallow alarms sounded over and over. Instead I watched the sun come up over the horizon. I said a prayer for a smooth ocean and crossing. Then I spotted dophins as we approached the cut. It was a sure sign that this was going to be a good day!


I love how they glide along the bow. Hard to photograph them because I am always in the moment of enjoying them before they swim off. What a blessing.

This is the narrow cut we came through following Curti-Sea. It was a little hairy before we exited with shallow water and current but we did it!

Now it was time to open up the throttle, sit back and enjoy the 10 or so hours it was going to take. The ocean was kind to us. It wasn’t flat but it was comfortable. I made coffee and and sat quietly reflecting and feeling grateful. We had our friends on this beautiful day which gave us some comfort. Florida was in sight!! I could hardly wait. We lost all signal so I was forced to put my phone down and just be. That part almost killed me! LOL!! I was fine! I did nap however!

The time passed and we pulled into Tarpon Springs an hour before dark. We docked our boats and toasted to a great day! Relieved, joyous and grateful.


Nothing from here will be difficult. It is all down hill. We cannot wait to get to Key West. But first…….. We had to check out this cool fishing village that was made famous for sponge diving. It’s a Greek village and boy did we find amazing Greek food!! It was a nice break to all the fish and shrimp we have eaten the last few weeks.

This day was a great recovery day. We walked all around this cute town and got some boat chores done. The relief was palpable and we all rested up, ate good food and planned our next journey down the gulf coast to Key West.

On our way to Appalachicola🦐🦀🦞

Say the name of that town 3 times fast. Our friend Ted cannot say this town and it was quite hysterical to here him try. We came up with all kinds of alternatives. Appa-Coca-Cola, Appa-Cherry-Cola, Appa-What-Ever. Hilarious!!

It was finally the day to make our way to Appalachicola. This would be our staging ground to make the big Gulf crossing. The boat was back in the water and had passed all the inspections. We were given permission to shove off. We could not have been happier or more ready. We had a buddy for this section and all of us were ready.

FINALLY!!!! 18 days later. A huge list of things fixed, replaced and a very large bill later. Boat bucks they are called! 💵💸💰

First stop was Destin Beach. As much as I wanted to explore here, I also wanted to just get moving. This was an overnight stop. We pulled into the guest slips in front of MargaritaVille Restaurant. The docks were full of tour and sightseeing boats. I thought to myself that we probably won’t sleep too well in front of this famous happening restaurant but it turned out to be very quiet. I guess it’s off season and we were one of only a few tables there that night. All good with me. We had another day to travel.

We were literally next to the restaurant and boardwalk. Would have been fun stop but I could tell this was a real party zone and honestly I was so ready to keep moving on.

We did get there in time for an awesome sunset! This is why I love this coast.

I love a good sunset! They do not disappoint!

Next stop was Panama City. We had an uneventful day in the protected ICW and pulled into a nice spot with an epic restaurant. We enjoyed a nice dinner and Ted and Andy started plotting our crossing day, looking at weather and booking a marina on the other side in Tarpon Springs.

We were parked next to a pirate ship! Kinda cool!

Next stop is Appalachicola. This is the staging ground for loopers to sit and wait out weather to make the Gulf crossing. Here or Carebelle, but honestly everyone said it was just as easy from here and the town is cool so we choose this spot. We pulled into a funky old dock in front of a seedy hotel. Ok, I’m not judging but this was no 5 star resort. I felt like I had landed in some hillbilly town and I expected an old guy in overalls to appear to check us in. That would have been better then the lady who didn’t seem to know what was up or who was who. It all worked out fine.

Aquaman in shallow water in the marshes. “Are you sure we should stay here? We might wake to the props in the mud!” We did!! But it was silty and we were fine. OMG!!!

I wish we had had another day in this town. What turned out to look like a hillbilly village happened to be the coolest place with old everything and boutiques, all closed gosh darn it!! There were cool Bars and old shit everywhere. I wanted it all. I wanted to buy everything old and banged up. What is it about old chippy wood and paint falling off do I love so much? I don’t know. The crappier it is, the more I want it. Old rusty metal and all. I walked into a liquor store with Robin that had a window full of old bottles. I wanted to pack them all up and take them. They were NOT for sale!! WHAT???? NOT FAIR!!! Totally bummed I took pictures. I tried really hard to get a few but the guy wouldn’t have it!

The town was full of shrimper boats. I wondered if we would see Forest Gump!

We walked the town and it was awesome!! It was totally rough around the edges and so fun. I loved it!

Tomorrow is a big day. We will make the 180 mile gulf crossing. People do this slowly and overnight. We decided to go fast and in the daylight hours. Curti-sea also wanted to do this trip fast so they were perfect to buddy with. Once we cross it’s all down hill. We will be in Florida and we will back in the ICW and stopping along the way at all our favorite towns. We have been looking forward to this part of the Loop and here we are, finally! So excited. Now Aquaman just has to perform at top speed for 10 hours straight. We were both nervous because the boat hasn’t been tested in a long time. We rarely go over 10 mph because you just can’t. The weather also needs to cooperate and we need to run fast and dock before dark.

Wish us luck!!!

The Gulf of Mexico🐬🦀

We found the shrimp boats! 🦐

I was overjoyed with gratitude to be in Mobil and done with those rivers. I was excited as we crossed the bay. The seagulls followed us and dolphins jumped in our wakes. We got back into the ICW and found Saunders Boat yard. Andy had arranged to haul the boat and do an inspection of the props, bottom, trim tabs, etc. We have traveled a very long way and it was time for a “once over!”

It always freaks me out to see our home lifted and moving on these straps.

The props had some dings from stuff we hit in the water but nothing major thankfully.

We thought this would be a few day stop so we booked a luxury beach front hotel. We deserved it after the last 1300 miles.

This is the Lodge at Orange Beach. The sand was powder and soft!

Once we checked in I ran to get my toes in the sand. The sugar white warn sand was exactly what my soul needed. I am a beach girl. I always have been. It started as a child. My mom would load all my brothers and I up in our station wagon and take us for a day in Malibu. We would frolic in the waves, boogie board, get really sunburnt ( these were before the days of sunscreen). I would lay on my towel and fry my skin to glowing redness of perfection. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and potatoes chips and occasionally she would afford an ice cream. These days are imprinted in my brain as a very happy time. The crashing waves are therapy to my soul. The smell of the beach is something I can close my eyes and bring into my consciousness. It is my happy place and just perfect!!

The hotel was amazing and I felt so spoiled. We sat on the balcony enjoying a cocktail looking at the gulf. We said, “how did we get here?” A bunch of times. The wonder of this trip, how we have managed and gotten along, as well as just the sheer number of miles we had gone sometimes overwhelms us.

Here is the current map. Florida is in site!

Andy decided to stop here to regroup and do some boat work. The only problem with this plan was that the moment the boat was up in the air we added a lot to the list. We kept saying, “since it’s up in the air lets do……”. The list grew and so did the time it would take to make the repairs. The props had minor damage from an occasional smack. Nothing really major but the list of “desired improvements” grew. After a week there and the end of the project no where completion, I decided to fly home. I ended up home for 10 days!! I needed it. So much happened for me while I was home. I was super busy doing lots of things and seeing lots of family. Andy’s uncle had passed away earlier this month. We were in the rivers and couldn’t fly home. It upset me a lot so I helped my cousin and soul sister start the process of cleaning out the house to sell. A lifetime of stuff had to be sorted, thrown, donated, sold. It was a daunting task but I got the ball rolling. Remember I have done this now so many times for family and also my own life. I have gotten very good at it. We moved onto the boat to do this trip so ya! No more stuff.

These are my babies, now adults. This is my favorite picture of them as beach lovin babies. They could play on the beach all day like their mama!!

My kids really have missed me and Andy and it was super great to be there to lay in bed, chat, cry, hold each other, and be present with each other. Mommy needed that. Also some good dog cuddles and play. I also miss my furry grandkids! Finn sequels when he sees me. Evie takes a while, then she can’t get enough love.

I don’t know who’s prettier, Finn or Jake!

I spent good quality time with both my mother in law and my parents. We had lots of dinners out and I got all my hometown food craving fulfilled. I saw my brothers. I feel so blessed to have such a strong close family. Mom, Alyssa and I got a pedicure! This was my first one in a year and boy did I miss my guy who does the best foot massages!!

I was able to see my nieces 3rd baby the day he was born. Sawyer is just perfect and beautiful.

I was busy and the time flew by. I felt recharged to return to my Andy and the boat still up in the air!!

We were stationary long enough that our buddy boat was able to catch up to us. They arrived while I was in LA and Andy loved having them there. They needed a break after completing the rivers and were happy to wait for our boat to be ready to make the gulf crossing. We would stay together for that trip and it was wonderful and comforting. I missed Robin and Ted. I arrived back to Mobil and we prepared for the next run to stage for the crossing. A few more town before the big day. I am ready! Let’s do this! Florida is in sight!!

Goodbye Rivers, Hello Mobil Bay🐬🕊

I could not wait to lift our anchor this morning and get the very last section of rivers done. Today was a long run but a welcome long run and would be the end of this section of the loop. I was totally up early ready to get going. I was eager to lift the anchor and float away. I was already seeing seagulls and couldn’t wait to emerge to salt water and hopefully spot a dolphin. The day was cold and the river mist was thick. Leaving when its misty/foggy means it’s hard to see the water and man the debris has not let up. So we waited a little while but ultimately left the same time as everyone else. We would be going further then the group today so we passed them one by one and Andy took the boat up to 16 knots. That’s really fast for us. We usually travel around 10 knots. I think he was over it as much as I was, I just bitched a lot louder. Typical.

With every mile that passes I was feeling lighter and lighter. My mood was lighter today because this day was the very last of a very long section of The Great Loop. Close to 1300 miles of rivers from Chicago that ends in the Mobil bay. The Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Tenn Tom, and finally Mobile River. This river system section is either loved or hated. I was on the list of haters. That being said, we had some good days but most days we traveled in current, in chocolate milky brown yucky water, with tons of debris that could do serious damage to your boat or even take you out of the game. It did happen to some. Not us. Andy had to be alert the entire time. This section of the loop has so many obstacles that the days are not chill and relaxing. It’s not all margaritas and Jimmy Buffet. It was HARD!!!

We would typically crash at night after making dinner to wake and do it all again. The locks were a whole other issue, as in the previous post, they can really delay our days travel. The barges were a constant daily issue. Passing them required a radio call to get permission to pass. The captain would say what side to pass by saying “pass on the 1 Whistle” or “pass on the 2 Whistle.” It’s just stupid code for port or starboard and there are no whistles. It is too hard for me to explain what all that means but it indicated the “safer and preferred side” the barge captain wanted you to pass on. This whistle thing was for me, an ass backward, dyslectic left handed girl” meant I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. Thankfully Andy totally understood and for all 1300 miles explained it to me every time patiently and by the end I got it. Still I think a stupid way to communicate. Besides the fact that these captains speak some kind of southern dialect that only a southerner could understand. Most of the time we just listened for the word 1 or 2 and forget the rest. I should have taken a “southern dialect” class before this river system.

Ok by now, after you read all 3 “River episodes” you got the fact that this last few months has been tough on me. I knew what I signed up for but I just hated them. I hated the stress my incredible captain was under everyday. I tried really hard not to be grumpy and suck it up. Friends along the way MADE it all possible to endure. I would like to say that Jody, Laurie, Debra, Rhonda, Robin and a few others will always have a place in my friendship heart. We bitched and whined behind the guys backs, complained and commiserated with each other. Thank you girls for being there for me.

As we approached the Mobil Bay the seagulls flew in formation behind us for miles and miles. They dove into the prop wash catching fish. I didn’t even care about the poop because seagulls meant ocean. I kept my eyes pealed for dolphins and we did get a visit from a few. I was too busy watching them to grab my camera. We crossed Mobile Bay to the inlet to the ICW in only 6 foot of water. Andy wasn’t done being on careful watch. Once inside the channel the depth improved and we made our way to Saunders Boat Yard.

Here we planned to pull AQUAMAN out of the water for some work. The boat has been just perfect but we felt it was time for a visual inspection of those props that has taken a few hits and get some maintenance done while out of the water.

We checked into a beachfront Gulf Shores hotel. It was incredible. Nice big bed, long showers, gourmet restaurant, the sound of crashing waves from the patio. Andy found us an amazing hotel and I was once again my happy beach girl self. I took a long walk on the beach, toes in the white sugar sand and looked for sea glass and shells. I was in heaven. My soul is at home at the beach. Maybe that is why I was so grumpy in the rivers. Here, on the beach, I felt my spirit lift and my eyes brighten and my spirit restored. It is my happy place. Time to recharge my batteries.

At this point we have traveled a long way of the loop. We are close to completing this. We are headed to Key West for a few months to play in the ocean, dive, snorkel and relax. We have a lot of friends and company coming, so its going to be really fun.