Sunday, March 17, 2013

Working Hard, Playing Hard

Days on cruise:  309

Some might say the title of this post reflects exactly what we’ve been doing for the past year, and that would be true. But the focus has shifted to preparing the boat for sale, and saying goodbye to Looper friends, so nothing like actually doing the Loop, really. We’re not traveling, and not seeing new and interesting places every day. And we’re seeing lots of relatively new, but very dear friends (Looper friends), but not meeting new people anymore.

Carolyn and Susan, friends on “Sojourner” who completed their Loop last Fall, have put her in storage in Stuart for the summer hurricane season yet to come and are driving home to Lexington, KY. Their route takes them past Fort Pierce, so we drove to a restaurant by freeway and met them for breakfast. We’ve been invited to Lexington in October to go to the horse races together, and we just might take them up on the offer of a visit!


Below is their beautiful 36’ Selene, back in the days when we were at Bobby’s Fish Camp and running part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway together.


Next up, Craig and Barbara on “Blue Heron” arrived in Fort Pierce and are docked at the Municipal Marina across the river from us. They invited us to their boat for cocktails, including very fine wine and appetizers to celebrate the completion of our Loop! We first met them in Norfolk last May, seemingly a lifetime ago. We’re sorry we won’t be in Norfolk this May to catch their lines as they cross their wake.


Last night Craig and Barbara came aboard Next To Me for dinner (and brought more wonderful wine), and we sat up long after the solar lights on the sundeck came on, sharing Loop stories, talking about our families, and discussing possible future adventures, together and separately.


Last week we were in touch with Bob and Debi, neighbors from back home (20 miles away makes you neighbors when we’re across the country, right?) They bought their Loop boat at home in November, we attended In My Element’s christening in December while home for the holidays, and they shipped her to Dog River Marina in Mobile, AL to begin their Loop. After final out-fitting and provisioning, they began their Loop and were in Carabelle awaiting a suitable weather window to make their Big Gulf Crossing.


We were their designated “Float Plan” contacts, which means we were the folks who were to call the Coast Guard if they didn’t arrive on the far side of their journey within a certain timeframe. A Float Plan is pretty much the same thing as a Flight Plan for an airplane, providing the specific planned travel route, identifying information for the boat and crew, emergency contacts, and lots more.


They were making the overnight crossing alone, as the primary Gulf Crossing season is over for most Loopers. They left Carabelle at 2:30 Friday afternoon, arriving in Tarpon Springs  mid-day Saturday. We both slept well that night despite knowing they were “out there”, but Cathryn did awake hourly for 2 minutes to mentally “will them across the Gulf”, which no doubt contributed greatly to their successful completion, HA! We’re hoping they’ll make it this coast of Florida before we leave so we can see each other one time on their Loop.

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