On October 21, 2020 Sea Major II crossed her wake in Charleston, SC to complete the Great American Loop. Typically, you cross you wake from the original starting point. Due to the Corona Covid Virus and the delayed opening of the Erie Canal, we stopped in Charleston and restarted in Michigan going the opposite direction.
The first 4,800 miles in 10 months from Lk. St. Clair to Charleston was a wonderful trip on Sea Major I. Some of the highlights where Beaver Island for the Music Festival, Saugatuck where we met more than 12 family and friends, Downtown Chicago for one week, Downtown Nashville for one week, Orange Beach, AL for the white sands, Tarpon Springs, Cape Coral and Ft Myers with family and friends, Marathon Key for 5 weeks, and of course the Bahamas for 5 weeks. The second leg included going under the Mackinac Bridge for the second time, through Lake Erie, the Erie Canal and the Hudson River, and south through NY, NJ and the Atlantic Coast to Charleston.
We were in the Bahamas when the virus hit and after that, it was challenging to enjoy all the towns that were shut down from North Palm Beach to Charleston. As we waited for the news of when they were going to open up the Erie Canal for our trip home, we decided to not buy a house in Florida so we we entertained the idea of a bigger boat to live on for the winter months. New York helped us make our decision by postponing the opening of the Erie Canal from May 15 to August 15th. We traded in our boat, left it in Charleston, and picked up our new floating winter home in Harbor Springs, MI.
After 3 months of doing 6 major projects and vetting all the systems on our new boat, Joe Henk and I left on September 1st and brought Sea Major II back to Lk. St. Clair. On September 12, 2020, Admiral Val and I started on a journey for one week to Buffalo, NY. Eric met us in Buffalo to relieve Val and we made way for one week down the Erie Canal. Matt met us in Albany, NY to relieve Eric and we made way down the Hudson River to Jersey City, NJ. That is where Jim Sicoli relieved Matt on October 4th and for the next 10 days and we made way down to Myrtle Beach. After a one week layover in a hurricane safe marina, Mike Kogelschatz flew in October 20th to help me move the boat to Ocean City Marina in Port Canaveral by October 26, 2020.
Val and I thank Joe, Eric, Matt, Jim, and Mike for helping move Sea Major II 2020 miles in 6 weeks of running. It only took us 5 months to get back to Charleston, SC with our new winter floating residence. Sitting now in Cape Canaveral for one month and spending time with Val’s dad Bob Wilson, hoping that there won’t be any bad weather before heading south. After Thanksgiving, Val and I will be heading to the Florida Keys and beyond, the cruising continues for now.
425 hours of run time, 6,829 miles traveled, 6,810 gallons of fuel, 1 night anchored out, 1 night tied to a lock wall, 306 days in marinas or tied up to city walls (Does not include the summer in Harbor Springs), 6 props repaired, 1 bad day of travel for 177 miles in a 9 hours crossing the Gulf, longest day of 13 hours in Erie Canal, 3 Hours 48 minutes average per day, 215 miles farthest distance in one day, 75 miles average, 30 miles per hour favorite cruising speed, 38.7 miles per hour fastest, 14.5 miles per hour average, 124 days of travel in17 states.
Things we have learned doing the loop:
Took to many clothes, never got bored, boaters have a lot in common (go figure), always throw the midship line first (mostly), always release the midship line last (mostly), the bigger the boat the easier it is to handle, not everybody knows how to handle their boat, the Admiral is always right, cleaning the boat is a daily exercise, there is no budget (but we try), use weatherman Chris Parker mwxc.com for major crossings, being a member of Greatloop.org American Great Loop Cruisers Association was very helpful, made many lifelong friendships, the best real-estate is always on the water, Walmart was a treat when we found one, best Key Lime Pie was at King Fishers in Marathon, FL, and I am a very lucky guy (thanks Val).
Jim Sicoli getting ready for an early start from Jersey City into the Atlantic. Early morning view of the Lady. Heading out to the mighty Atlantic, goodbye NY. Jim at the helm on a beautiful calm day 6 miles off shore. Sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean. While in Norfolk, I wanted to put a 50 Cal turret on my bow, but I couldn’t find one for sale. Sunset Marina was very nice, I felt like I was in Chub Cay Bahamas with all the huge sport fishing yachts. Jim Sicoli got the full looping experience, Ocean, Rivers, and one lock in 510 miles and 10 days. I love seeing all the working boats. Sunset, again. Beaufort, NC was a nice stop, there is always at least one bigger, most times more than one. Coinjock was a famous stop on the intracoastal, another early morning start. This was a common site. Coming through the Pamlico Sound on the inside was an experience I did not expect. This 55 footer passed us up like we standing still and we were going 30 MPH. Mike Kogelschatz joined me in Myrtle Beach for the next week of moving the boat over 550 miles south to Cape Canaveral. Navy man Mike was very comfortable at the helm in any sea condition we were in. We jumped in and out of the Atlantic and the Intracoastal often. Sunset at the Mega Dock in Charleston, SC. We had nice weather, not so nice weather, windy weather with high seas, and calm weather. With the Sirius XM weather installed on our Garmin Chart Plotter, it made it easier to navigate. The effects of a hurricane. Running on a nice day with the top open. Pops Bob Wilson found us at Ocean Club Marina, Port Canaveral. A Space X launch was a treat to see from the boat in Port Canaveral. The journey does not end, stay tuned for more travels and thanks for coming along with us.