About Coming Full Circle: A Voyage on America's Great Loop
© 2010 Bruce and Susan Armstrong
Cruising America's Great Loop is one of the premier boating adventures in North America. We spent four summers on our Nordhavn 35 Gulf Cart completing the trip, logging over 7,000 miles along the way. We survived two floods, weathered a tropical storm and outran a waterspout.
Our first year took us south from Naples around Florida's southern tip with stops in Everglades National Park, Key West and a side trip to the Dry Tortugas. We sailed up the east coast of Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia. We spent time exploring Chesapeake Bay including visits to Washington, Annapolis, and Baltimore. Crossing to Delaware Bay, we visited Philadelphia and Cape May. We boated the Atlantic Ocean past New Jersey into New York Harbor and through the East River to Long Island Sound. After many stops along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts, we wintered Gulf Cart in Newport.
The second year we returned to New York City and turned up the Hudson River. Stopped from entering the Erie Canal by the devastating flood of 2006, we traveled into Canada and the St. Lawrence Seaway by way of the Champlain Canal, Lake Champlain and the Chambly Canal. We stopped at Montreal and Ottawa and boated the Rideau Canal to Lake Ontario. Entering the Erie Canal via Oswego we explored both east and west on the canal before wintering Gulf Cart on the Erie.
Year three took us back across Lake Ontario to travel the scenic Trent-Severn Waterway to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. We followed the Small Craft Channel through the 30,000 granite islands of Georgian Bay and along the coast of Ontario Province through the North Channel. Returning to the United States, we sailed south on Lake Michigan and wintered Gulf Cart in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Our final year started by spending six weeks travelling along the coast of Lake Michigan in a clock-wise direction starting from Milwaukee, stopping at islands and lakeside communities along the way, and ending at Chicago. We turned south at Chicago headed to Mobile, Alabama via the Chicago, Illinois, the flooded Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and the Tombigbee Waterway. Along the way we made side trips up the Cumberland to Nashville and up the Tennessee to Knoxville. From Mobile the route led east, then south, in the Gulf of Mexico along the Alabama and Florida coasts back to our homeport of Naples.
Coming Full Circle: A Voyage on America's Great Loop tells the story of our adventures along America's waterways. It is a celebration of live-aboard boating and cruising. It is a commentary on the places we visited. It describes the joys and challenges of the journey with a sense of humor. It tells of hauling laundry through marinas, picking blueberries in Canada, hiking for groceries, watching gorgeous sunsets in isolated anchorages, arriving at a new port in time for a local festival. It tells about the community of boaters on the Loop, of sharing long water crossings with other boats and celebrating with them afterwards. It is a story of discovery, new places, new friends, new foods and new ideas.
If you have boated the Great Loop, this book will bring back memories. If you are thinking about boating the Great Loop, this book will get your adrenalin pumping. If you haven't considered the trip before, after reading this book you may add boating the Great Loop to your bucket list.
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