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Postcards from the Great Loop

Old 03-25-2019, 05:42 AM
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Great Loop route map

After all this time, we are almost ready to shove off on the Great Loop!

We quit our jobs, sold our house and cars, bought a boat and moved aboard, and we will leave from Vero Beach on a 6000 mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of North America on April 1, a week from today. THT has been a big help over the last year as we got the boat worked on and fitted out, so I want to keep in touch as we go. I'm going to try to post something each week with where we have been that week, and our plans for the next week. As we get in to some of your guys home waters, I'm hoping you can chime in with great anchorages, nice marinas, and must-see spots along the way.

We will not be in a hurry on this trip, expecting to average maybe 200 miles a week, so we have plenty of time to soak it all in. The first week will be in familiar waters, from Vero Beach to St. Augustine, with planned stops in Cocoa, New Smyrna, Daytona, Marineland, and Fort Matanzas. After that, we will pretty much be in new territory until we get all the way around to Tarpon Springs sometime around Christmas. We plan to "close the loop" in Vero Beach in February of next year.

Hope to see some of you out there!

Last edited by TopCat; 03-25-2019 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:44 AM
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Snowing?
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:07 AM
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Subscribed Godspeed
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:13 AM
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Enjoy Lady's Landing....
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:23 AM
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WEEK 1 LOG
The BellaGatto shoved off for the first leg of the 6000-mile Great Loop journey on April 1, saying goodbye to Vero Beach Municipal Marina after almost two years. This first week we are keeping the pace slow, cruising through familiar waters visiting some old favorite spots, and having some guests on board to see us along our way.This week on our way slowly north along the Florida ICW, we made stops in Satellite Beach (free dock), Titusville (marina), Ponce Inlet (anchor), Daytona Beach (marina), Matanzas Inlet (anchor) and ending the week in St. Augustine (marina). Our total travel distance this week was 161 miles, and we burned a total of 39 gallons of diesel, for just a hair over four statute miles per gallon. Wildlife sightings along the way included lots of dolphins, white pelicans, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, and manatees. The Haulover Canal (the connection between the Indian River and the Mosquito Lagoon) had at least 30 or 40 manatees.

The weirdest thing happened at Matanzas Inlet….we were anchored by Fort Matanzas when a huge swarm of flying ants descended on the boat, almost covering the decks. Jayne got the ones in the cabin and the pilothouse by sucking them up with trusty Dyson vacuum cleaner, but thousands more got crushed on to our freshly washed non-skid. It will take a clean scrub down today in St. Augustine to get them all off.By the end of next week we hope to be around Savanna, Georgia, probably at the town of Thunderbolt, which is a good cheap diesel stop.

Now that we don’t have guests aboard, we will likely anchor out more and make fewer marina stops. Possible stops include Sisters Creek, Fernandina, Cumberland Island, Brunswick, Darien, and then Savanna.

So Far so Good!




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Old 04-07-2019, 08:24 AM
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A beautiful anchorage right by Fort Matanzas....



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Old 04-07-2019, 09:44 AM
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Cumberland is a good stop if you've never been, just make sure to stop at the main dock and not the sea camp dock
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Old 04-07-2019, 09:51 AM
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Nice, I want to do this myself probably in 10 years or so when the kids are done with college and all that. I think as you go this thread will become very popular I wonder if you could add information about your boat in the first post as I'm sure many will ask. Best wishes from Ohio.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:06 AM
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Thanks for bringing us along. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:41 AM
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Good luck, planning on this trip myself in a few years.
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Old 04-08-2019, 07:13 PM
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Be aware of the passage through "hell's Gate" on your way towards Savannah, i heard that one of the markers is missing and you'll need to plan to pass through at high tide.
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Old 04-08-2019, 08:16 PM
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Love it!
living the dream!
This is on my bucket list but alas, probably won't happen as an older parent with young children.

Keep the pictures coming!
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:24 AM
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Will you be coming through Lake Champlain or are you taking ther Erie? We get a lot of loopers through Champlain that have never been and they all love it. I’m the manager of a marina up here, shoot me a message if you’d like!
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:30 AM
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Please keep posting. My dream is to do this one day.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:33 AM
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Thanks gnrphil and plfarrell…

I'll keep my eyes open at Hell's Gate (now there's an ominous sounding name). We are definitely planning to do the Lake Champlain route, and I'll look you up on that.
We are at a free dock in Jacksonville this morning, where we sat out a pretty fierce squall last night. Heading for Cumberland Island today.

Jayne is doing an extended version of our trip log with lots more photos at: Bellagatto36.blogspot.com
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:40 AM
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Sounds fun. Let me know when you are in NC, I know some great spots.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:09 AM
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Stop by the provision company in Holden beach on the water for a shrimp burger and hit up dank burrito in Beaufort NC.
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:13 AM
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subd
Congrats!! let me know if you need a hand in Chesapeake or Potomac river (don't know if you will be making any side trips)
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:15 AM
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Can't wait to see the pictures on this trip! Good luck and when you get up to Michigan, don't overlook Mackinaw Island, the Peninsula in and around Traverse City, Frankfort/Manistee and Ludington.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:23 AM
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Totally subscribed!!! thanks for taking the time to post about the trip.
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