Special Blog Post From Captain Sam
Well, it’s over!
Two loops in three years, one month.
It was the most wonderful experience as a couple of our lifetime.
Traveling by boat challenged our skills, patience, and faith at times.
We would not trade it for anything, and we would do it again all over the same way.
Well, maybe without some of the “What Not to Do” scenarios!
We met incredible people, both in person and virtually through our videos and social media!
While I had a 40-year career in aviation and still have close friends from way back, the friendships developed in boating are much different.
There is just a different type of bond: from pulling into a marina helping others tie up to getting help from complete strangers when we broke down.
How We Got Started
When we started the first loop, Rev wanted to video all the trips and publish them.
I was against it, having spent most of my career trying to stay out of the limelight and under the radar.
Rev said she was doing it anyway.
So I reluctantly agreed. I mean, what else could I say?
Our first videos were talking heads mostly to keep family aware that we were still alive.
At about trip #15, we were getting questions on our channel that were technical in nature.
I felt like we had to get it right and it led us to a more educational approach.
In the end, Rev videoed every trip and we made it a point to share what we were learning along the way.
But there is a benefit to us as well. Someday when we are in our rocking chairs, we can sit and watch. We will probably say, who are those two people?
We Learned A Lot and Improved
Rev honed her skills as First Mate, videographer, and chef constrained by the challenges of a mini kitchen.
I gained enough experience to obtain a Master Captain’s license; and with time spent in the engine room (and packs of band-aids) I gained an appreciation for mechanics! I discovered my limitations as well.
We both learned a lot about each other and grew closer together as we marveled at a new way to view our great country, faced daily challenges, enjoyed the freedom, and learned new skills.
It certainly made us appreciate EVERYTHING more.
Our Two Loops
We went around America’s Great Loop. Twice. It is still sinking in!
Our first loop was the “route most traveled” by those doing the loop: The Trent-Severn, Georgian Bay, North Channel, eastern side of Lake Michigan and the Keys.
We kept track of each stop using Google My Maps. It’s really easy to put a pin at each stop. Even anchorages.
To further help us document our loop, we kept an itinerary for our first loop and you can see it here.
Rev also wrote a blog and took pictures as we went along. (Click the link in each trip on the itinerary to see the blog posts.)
After the first one, we just weren’t finished cruising so it was an easy decision to continue.
We started two days later!
Luckily, (although it didn’t seem like it at the time) since we couldn’t get into Canada we had to take an alternate route on our second loop.
So, we saw all five Great Lakes – what an incredible experience!
As a result, we cannot wait to go back up to the Great Lakes plus do more Canada cruising someday!
We also saw the western side of Lake Michigan, which was just as lovely as the eastern side, although different.
And we took the Okeechobee Waterway, so we could experience that as well.
We tracked our trip the second time around again (you can see it here) but Rev did not write a blog. It was just too much work.
Although I will say, her videos got better and better.
Even though we had a total of 234 trips, we stayed at 238 places, since we stopped at additional marinas due to scheduling or needed repairs. During the two loops we only stayed at the same place 36 times, which gave us a total of 202 unique stops.
Here are some statistics for comparison:
Finishing the Second Loop
It was such a thrill to finish America’s Great Loop for the second time.
There are many people who have never heard of “The Loop.”
And there are very few boaters that attempt to do the loop; and of those some never get to finish.
So, of course, the number of boaters who attempt and finish more than once is quite small in comparison.
We weren’t going to let anything stop us!
Here is the Here’s To Us!! docked at Henderson Wharf Marina in Baltimore after crossing our wake at the intersection of Middle River and the Chesapeake Channel!
She is looking good and served us well.
We are considering selling her and moving onto the Great Lakes with a different boat.
In any case, we will continue to have boating adventures, help to educate others, and explore many exciting options as we move forward.
You can find and follow us on YouTube, Rumble, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, and of course sign up for our free newsletter here on our website.
A special thanks to family, friends and fellow loopers as we moved along the two loops.
Also, to those who met us along the way and your gracious hospitality. We have made so many new friends!
For now, it is enjoying life during the summer in the Chesapeake Bay.
Captain Sam – “Over and Out”
Congratulations Sam and Rev! I started watching your videos last year and learned so much from them. Thank you! We start our first Loop in two days from Rhode Island. I appreciate your apprehension your first few days, Rev. and now your confidence is so impressive and reassuring! Sam, you delivered sound bites of wisdom throughout. I had pad and pencil in hand while watching, making notes on your comments on wind and wave and navigation. I still hope to run into you two at some point on the water.
Thanks so much, Janet, for sharing your experience. We are so happy that we could help you get more confident and very excited for you as you get out there on the Great Loop! Have fun out there!
Congrats! Curious on why your fuel usage went up/MPG went down on the 2nd loop even though your average speed was lower
Good Question Dave! I was waiting for someone to ask that! On the second loop at least 3 conditions were different. 1) We had some work done on the engines (turbos redone), 2) I started using some fuel additive, and 3) we had more favorable currents. Part of the current equation was that I was better at figuring them out. The speed is really Speed Over Ground (SOG) which is the result of current and, sometimes wind conditions as well (more power needed against wind and current). You can see we operated the boat less hours (47) as well for only a delta of 86 less miles on the second loop. So, the average speed was up also because of three conditions I can account for: 1) We had less locks to go through. On the first loop we frequently kept engines running in the locks, but on the second loop we shut them down much more often, 2) we anchored more often and efficiently (since we had more experience), and 3) less time maneuvering in marinas (which can sometimes be lengthy at busy ones), since we traveled alone stayed at less busy places and planned better). Hope that helps and it really made me aware of all the differences. Measured over time, it becomes more obvious. Anyway, that is how I reasoned the difference. Thanks for following us on our journey! Sam
Before you started I told you that I admire your courage and commitment in undertaking the adventure on America’s Great Loop. I have followed each segment of your adventure. Well done, I stand in awe of all your accomplishments and of your willingness to share the experiences with others.
Thanks so much Cousin Rus! You were there from the beginning and know that we were clueless. LOL
As always, it’s so entertaining and educational being “along for the ride” with both of you — I feel as if I just crossed your wake, too. Congratulations! What an incredible accomplishment. I love that you might end up returning to do more boating in the Great Lakes; I’ll be watching your plans and hoping to catch up with you at some point if you spend any time around our home port of Suttons Bay in Leelanau County (on Grand Traverse Bay, north of Traverse City). Meantime, have a fabulous summer exploring the Chesapeake!
Thanks, Kari! We are so happy that you came along with us around the Great Loop! Michigan is such a beautiful place and we can’t wait to get up there and explore new areas. We are looking forward to spending a lot more time up in the Great Lakes. Thanks for sharing.
You have been an inspiration to us. We had been planning our own trip and found your YouTube videos. Watched them over and over. We just completed the Erie Canal to Oswego. Going to Canada today!
Yay! So excited for you and your adventures. Have fun out there!
We have been watching your adventures for a year now and we are planning our loop trip for hopefully 2023! Thanks for the inspiration and the information. We will be sailing but our journey will still be in the same waters. Wish us luck and maybe we will have the pleasure of seeing you out there someday
Thank you and have a great time out there! It is very possible that you could see us somewhere on the loop.
Congratulations and best wishes from Brazil
Thank you, Tony!
Fantastic series of videos and conversation. At 72, I am thinking about boating and the Great Loop. Still flying as a private pilot but want something different. Maybe a boat this year, then the loop next year and beyond. Thanks again. All the best.
You’ll love the adventure of boating if you decide it is for you. Thanks for coming along on this journey with us!
Sam and Rev, what great accomplishments. My wife and I have been watching your channel quite a bit and lately have been really focusing on Lake Erie and the locks from Troy. We are about to make our first trip out onto the Great Lakes as we head to Port Clinton to pick up our new to us, Fleming 55 and bring it back to the Chesapeake. To say we are nervous is an understatement. But, we’ve learned a lot from you both and the best lesson is to simply enjoy one another and the journey. T minus 4 days and counting until step 1 (the drive to Ohio) begins. Then….WHO KNOWS?? All the best with your future boating plans and the potential sale of the Here’s to Us.
How exciting!!! Being nervous is expected but a small price to pay for all of the adverntures coming your way! We are looking forward to hearing all about YOUR journey.