By June 7, 2015 3 Comments Read More →

The First Thousand Miles of The Loop

Proud Mary on the Tombigbee River

Note:  My friend, Mary, is a “Looper” and she is going to share her adventures with the rest of us. This is the second installment of many as she “loops” the Eastern United States  in the Proud Mary accompanied by her husband, Jim, and  Walter, their intrepid Cairn terrier.  She has taken some wonderful photos which I have posted at the end.

A Thousand Miles by Mary

OK River

Sunrise on the Okeechobee River

CapeFear

Cape Fear Lighthouse

We have completed a little over 1000 miles of the Loop starting in the Tombigbee River and now in Fort Pierce, Florida. We have plied rivers, bays, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Okeechobee.   To date we have anchored out in creeks off the river (on the “hook”), docked at busy marinas in major tourist destinations, and tied up in quaint out-of-the-way fishing villages. We have visited air museums, maritime museums, and art festivals. We have crashed dock parties, joined new friends on balconies for “docktails”, and walked waterfront neighborhoods. We have done laundry, washed salt water off the windshields, bought provisions, and taken afternoon naps on board.   . . . and not to mention the seafood – oysters, conch, shrimp and crab galore prepared most anyway you could want. Walter has made new fur friends in virtually every port – even a few feline acquaintances.

It is impossible to pick a favorite experience or location as there is value and beauty in each and every one. We loved the river cruising as it was leisurely almost to the point of lulling you to sleep at the wheel. No wonder Huckleberry Finn and Mark Twain were so attracted to the big river. We in Texas have no clue about navigable rivers. We got GREAT fuel economy going down river, thanks to the current. When we hit the open Gulf of Mexico at Carrabelle FL, we hugged what is called “The Big Bend” to avoid a wide-open is crossing. Call us CAUTIOUS!!! This area of Florida is referred to as the “Forgotten Coast”.

PM in Demo Lock

The Proud Mary going through the Demopolis lock

We have finally fine-tuned our seamanship skills – monitoring coast guard radio, reading water charts, plotting courses on our navigation devices (plural), using the iPad for navigation and weather prediction, tying knots worthy of sailors to cleats and fenders, holding to lock bollards, not to mention hailing other boaters and tug captains on VHF.

I would love to share every photo I have taken so far, but it would crash Living Ben for sure. So among a couple of others, I will post a photo of the Proud Mary on the Tombigbee River taken by a Tow Boat US captain – thank goodness he was not towing us! He has since become a FB friend to keep tabs on us around the Loop.

We are now ready for the east coast part of the trip much of which will be in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW). We will take in Savannah, Charleston, Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River, Delaware Bay, and the Hudson River. Updates to come. Hoping for “fair winds and following seas”!

Note from CAM: Here are some of my favorite photos of Jim, Mary and Sir Walter on the Proud Mary.  My friend is also a great photographer.

Manatee

A mother manatee with her baby on the east coast of Florida

Capt Walter

Sir Walter at the captain’s helm

Bunksters

Captain Jim and First Mate Walter taking a nap. Last Mate, Mary, somewhere probably doing chores?

foldingbike

Captain Jim and his folding bike going for supplies

Aft Shot PM

The aft view of the Proud Mary. Next, headed for the Dismal Swamp, Chesapeake Bay & the Potomac River.

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About the Author:

I am an observer of our interesting world , sharing my passions and my outrages, and thinking of Incredible Ben, his amazing blending of a social and civic life with superb common sense.

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  1. Carol Ray says:

    Happy Looping! What an adventure!

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