Today, 12/30/2018, a week earlier than planned, Makin Memories faithfully returned her captains, Jean and Jerry Coleman, to their home port in Tarpon Springs, FL after having successfully completed 7300 miles of the Great Loop. We soloed 19 hours and 166 miles of the Crossing from Carabelle to Tarpon Springs.
We suffered no major injuries (a couple of cracked ribs) to person or property, no major illnesses (one case of flu), only minor mechanical challenges and no damage to shafts or props, so common on various parts of the Loop, especially when rivers are flooded and debris is rampant. We were blessed by so many people, places and events during our Loop experience. Here are just a few for which we will be eternally thankful: (hopefully in the rough order of their occurrence):
Makin Memories at Cabbage Key Inn near Jimmy Buffet and Randy Wayne White’s photos IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Seeing the amazing shades of blue of the waters around the Keys, Marquesas and Dry Tortugas IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Watching our boat pull anchor while we were ashore on Islamorada having a beer at the Lorelei resort and being able to get out to it, get it started and get into a slip there.
Having friends, Tom and Faith stay with us in Key West ON OUR OWN BOAT!
Taking part in the Archbishop’s Blessing of the Fleet in Saint Augustine IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Our friends not forgetting us and letting us Skype into book club from OUR OWN BOAT!
Re-visiting the wild horses and beautifully pristine National Seashore of Cumberland Island for the first time since I was 20 IN OUR OWN BOAT
Waking up to celebrate Easter morning in Savannah, starting with the half dozen donuts that were delivered daily to our boat at Thunderbolt marina!
Reconnecting with Colin in Charleston after hearing the Canterbury Boy Choir sing at Grace Episcopal Church.
Celebrating our anniversary at the Southport Marina in a VERY valuable briefing about weather and conditions from Cape Fear north to Norfolk.
Going up the Potomac on the way to D.C., and visiting George Washington’s home Mt. Vernon IN OUR OWN BOAT!
Getting to visit DC on Embassy day and see 5 different embassies with Andrea!
Weaving around the Staten Island Ferries, tugs and barges and freighters, in New York Harbor, to anchor behind the Statue of Liberty, IN OUR OWN BOAT. And then getting to see Hamilton on Broadway!
Watching Eric Clapton live at the Greenwich Town Party from the back deck of OUR OWN BOAT. (thanks, Tog and Doreen).
Being boarded for the second time by the USCG in New London with our cousins Tog and Doreen aboard, on our way to dock at the US Coast Guard Academy!
Having Leland aboard to ride the Hudson River up the west side of Manhattan and past the Palisades in OUR OWN BOAT!
Getting to do the Ausable Chasm ropes course when we were on Lake Champlain.
Crossing into Canada on Canada day and spending two months in Canada, seeing Quebec City during the Fete d’Ete, whale watching in the Taddousec Bay and then being part of the International Fireworks Competition at La Ronde in Montreal mostly IN OUR OWN BOAT,
Going up the Flight of Eight locks to enter the capitol city of Ottawa and into the amazing Rideau Canal IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Getting to see Niagara Falls and visit Niagara on the Lake.
Getting to swim in the gorgeous, clear water of the Thousand Islands and see Boldt Castle IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Visiting Hans and Keith at the Trenton Rotary Club and then having them and past RI President Wilf Wilkerson join us for drinks aboard OUR OWN BOAT!
The various marine mechanics and electricians who helped teach us more about our boat, especially David and Danielle.
Experiencing the Trent Severn Canal and riding the Big Chute and Peterborough Lifts IN OUR OWN BOAT.
Meeting up with dear Tarpon Friends, Bob and Diane in St Ignace, MI
Having Blake and Zack visit Milwaukee and ride through Chicago with us ON OUR OWN BOAT!
Taking a break from the boat to do the “Western Loop” through the Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Flaming Gorge (where we saw a pair of moose!) and Dinosaur Park.
Having Annelise explore St Louis and then freeze with us along the FLOODED Mississippi and seeing a pusher with her name on it!
Seeing wild deer and turkeys along the banks of the Cumberland River and then getting to see the Grand Ole Opry and visit my high school roommate Kathy in Nashville,
Having a reunion dinner with Looper friends in Clifton, IL L->R Bob, Jackie, Nancy, Sean, Jean, Jerry, Laura, Glyn, Cat and Gilles aboard Sadaya 2.
Playing dodge ball with the trees in the FLOODED Mississippi and Ohio Rivers
Enjoying a concert during docktails in Columbus MI where Prof. Tom Sparks played a violin that he had made!
Tying up at Hoppies and Bobby’s Fish Camp and praying for the wind and current to take the debris to the east side of the river – enough said! Loopers will get the reference here.
Sharing a Looper Thanksgiving dinner with great friends at Turner’s Marina in Mobile (and we have so very much to be thankful for)
Having BJ aboard to explore Pensacola and The Wharf and waking him up to help avert the great barge bash with us!
Getting to reconnect with college buddy, Evelyn and share Christmas Eve together in Panama City!
Making 166 miles of THE CROSSING from Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs safely as a solo vessel in zero-zero fog most of the way and coming home! Now I get to wear the T-shirt!
And Makin Memories gets to wear the Gold!
Photo credit: Sue Thomas who was there as we arrived!
There are so many more memories, but I don’t have enough room or attention span to share them all. Jerry and I have a lifetime of conversations starters like: “Do you remember the time we (fill in the blank)? And “Where were we when…(fill in the blank)? ” It takes a village of Loopers to remember the names of all the places we have been, though maybe not at the same time. Loopers, we are a little jealous of those of you who are just starting your Loop and to those who we have traveled with along the way, we have enjoyed our folie à plusieurs (shared delusion)!
Jerry and I thank our family and friends for your support. We could not have begun to undertake this without your blessing and encouragement. We thank the 18+ Rotary Clubs we visited, especially Columbus and Trenton, who proved that Rotarians are an awesome group of people no matter where they call home. Thank you to Coins for Alzheimers Research Trust for appointing us ambassadors on our “Cruise for the Cure.” http://www.cartfund.org/ (We will be the Tarpon Springs Rotary Program 1/31/19 and we hope you will join us then – bring your cons, checks etc!)
We thank the harbor hosts who turned many ports into homes-away-from-home for us. We thank Kim at the AGLCA for keeping the forums up to date with great advice and information about everything nautical.
Thanks go out to Boat US, for the discounts and fortunately for the fact that we never needed to call them for a tow!
The experienced Loopers who allowed us to make our own mistakes but who were there when we needed help were invaluable and we send all of them a special thank you. Our new Looper friends from all corners of the world, thank you for sharing this amazing experience with us and friends at home, thank you for bearing with us through 52+ blog entries and I have no idea how many FaceBook posts, you amaze us with your friendship even when we are apart.
We look forward to the next chapter of Makin Memories but for now we…
thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Jean and Jerry
Aboard Makin Memories