May 3, 2013
On Friday, May 3, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., M/V Blue Heron crossed her wake when we pulled into Waterside Marina in Norfolk, Virginia, at Mile Marker 0 on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Nearly a year to the day from when we started, and after 7,000 miles, 2 countries, 16 states, 145 (or so) locks and countless bodies of water, Captains Craig and Barbara, along with our patient and loyal crew members Joey and Bailey, have joined the company of Gold Loopers! During our years of planning this trip, we anticipated that it would be an adventure of a lifetime, but in every way it has exceeded our expectations. What an extraordinary experience to spend every day for an entire year traveling to new places, seeing new sights and meeting new people! We feel so blessed to have been able to do this and to have shared it with so many wonderful new friends. We have memories to last a lifetime, but the best and most enduring memories will be of the friendships we made along the way. We are grateful, too, to our family and friends near and far who have been so supportive of and so interested in this crazy plan we hatched to circumnavigate eastern North America. It made it so much easier to leave home for a year knowing that you were with us in spirit, and having several of you join us at times along the way.
Over the next few days we will celebrate in Norfolk, first with Karen, our dear daughter and year-long postmistress, and after she leaves, with 200 or so past, present and future Loopers at the Spring Rendezvous here at Waterside. After that we will cruise up to Deltaville, VA for more Looper camaraderie and to give Blue Heron a well-deserved once-over after her long trip. She has been the perfect boat for us and for this trip, and we feel grateful to her, too, for carrying us safely on this very long journey. She looks great flying her Gold Looper burgee!
What’s next? We plan to return to Glendale in mid-late May, and spend some time at home catching up with friends and family and digging in on accumulated projects around the house. Sometime this summer we will return to Blue Heron and cruise more of the Chesapeake. In late summer or fall, we will begin the trip south, bringing her back to Hilton Head or somewhere in that direction, and we hope to return to the Keys and southwest Florida for a month or so next winter. We may not take on an adventure quite as ambitious as the Loop in the foreseeable future, but having had a taste of the cruising life, we’re not ready to stop!
In a while, after we’ve had time to ponder the magnitude of this experience, we may find more articulate words to describe what the Great Loop has meant to us. For now, the best words seem to be along the lines of “Wow, look what we did!”