THE GREAT LOOP
 
 
 
 

 

 

Blue Heron at Buffalo Rock

Blue Heron at Buffalo Rock

Blue Heron is Our Home

Our Plan is … No Plan

And We Are Sticking to it … 

CAPTAIN’S LOG

LOCATION:               ACULPULCO, MEXICO  

VESSEL:                     MOTOR YACHT   “ADVENTURE”

ITINERARY:               STUART FL.  TO  SAN DIEGO, CA  –  PANAMA CANAL

WIND:                       15 KTS FROM THE S.E.                                    

TEMP:                       94                                                                                                                   

SEAS:                         4-6 Ft    

Since departing Costa Rica we have been at sea for six days,  five nights   and by mid-afternoon today we will arrive at our next port, Acapulco, Mexico.  Everyone on board is anxious to relax for a few days at Acapulco but before any celebrating begins we will all share in completing a few routine preparations.   First, we will refuel the boat, secure our mooring, clear customs, and make a list of needed provisions.  Top on our list of provisions will be fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and a few bottles of wine.  Fish we have plenty of – one fishing line is always in the water while underway and, as good fortune would have it, our freezer and bellies are full of Big Eye Tuna and Mahi Mahi.  Tomorrow morning we will  be up early and ready to explore the beaches, cliffs, and sites of  Acapulco.

The weather is very good today but a tropical storm is forming to our south and slowly heading in our direction.  To be safe we plan to stay 300 miles ahead of the storm as it tracks our way.  Typically, when Pacific hurricanes reach latitudes this far north along the Mexican coast  they tend to  track  northwest and out to sea. 

 Our next destination is planned to keep us north of any danger, taking us on a heading of 290 degrees for 110 miles to the small village of Zihuatanejo, Mexico.   Zihuatanejo is located on a secluded bay and has a good reputation for excellent fishing and snorkeling.    We will spend a few days on the hook (anchor) and explore the bay and a nearby village in our dinghy.  Mark and I recently purchased two new spear guns in Panama and we are anxious to see how efficient and productive they are in comparison to the Hawaiian slings we used in the Bahamas.  TODAY IS JUNE 13th AND ONCE ASHORE WE HOPE TO LOCATE AN INTERNECONNECTION SO WE CAN CONTACT OUR SON, DAN, AND WISH HIM A VERY “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!”        

Gale & Maureen

Gale & Maureen

Immediately after retirement we wasted no time implementing our retirement plans and moving aboard our sailing catamaran, “Blue Heron.”   Our first goal was to cruise a 6,000 mile loop around the eastern United States and Canada that is commonly referred to as “America’s Great Loop”.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

America’s Great Loop

It is difficult to be brief in describing “America’s Great Loop” since it traverses the USA and Canada. The following few paragraphs identify portions of the route along with what Maureen and I considered significant points of interest.

The Adventure Begins

We began our 6,000 mile adventure from the port of Annapolis, Maryland.  From there we sailed up the east coast to New York City and north up the Hudson River Valley to the Erie Canal and on into Lake Ontario. We then crossed Lake Ontario and entered the Trent-Severn Waterway spending several weeks passing through the locks to arrive at Georgian Bay.

Canada, the Great Lakes, and the Heartland

The next part of the adventure took us

“Americas Great Loop” route provided us with a unique opportunity to view and experience some of North America’s most beautiful and historic destinations.  We sailed “Blue Heron” past famous national monuments such as the “Statue of Liberty” in New York Harbor and the “St Louis Arch” on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.

We cruised down the Chicago River in the shadows of magnificent skyscrapers and stadiums.  We sailed down the Mississippi River past Mark Twain’s home of Hannibal, Missouri and were in total awe as we anchored in the pristine wilderness of Canada’s North Channel. We explored the coves and historic towns of the Chesapeake Bay and anchored in the beautiful estuaries of North and South Carolina. We viewed the

Gale's Big Fish

Gale's Big Fish

spectacular fall colors of autumn that covered the bluffs and shores of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers.  We lingered on Florida’s white beaches and swam in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Our life on the water allowed us to experience all these beautiful places while comfortably aboard “Blue Heron.”

An opportunity for an adventure within an adventure came up during our first winter on “Blue Heron” while Maureen and I were cruising the Florida Keys.  We had just anchored off Marathon Key when Mark and Diane Holt called us on our cell phone and told us they were planning a 5,000 mile trip from Florida to San Diego via the Panama Canal and asked if we would like to help them make the voyage.  We had all been

friends since high school and Mark & I had also attended classes together while earning our United States Coast Guard Captains License.  When I told Maureen about my phone conversation with Mark, she didn’t hesitate for a second in making a decision and immediately said “of course let’s go!”  My wife was not about to let an adventure like this pass us by,  but I am talking about a girl who thought nothing of riding her Harley Davidson to every state in the USA, logging over 60,000 miles!

The rest is history and hence the log entry from Acapulco, Mexico that introduced you to our story. We had the time of our lives aboard “Adventure” with Mark and Diane Holt during the months of May and June 2010 and safely arrived in San Diego on June 26, 2010.

Looped

Looped

Maureen and I have since returned to “Blue Heron” and on September 12, 2010, completed “America’s Great Loop”.  We will now spend the fall cruising the Chesapeake Bay and then sail the Atlantic coastline back to Florida for the winter.

Our future plans include meeting up with old and new cruising friends, exploring the Bahamas, sailing to Belize, exploring new sailing destinations and spending time with family.

Regardless of your age or financial standing it is often difficult to make the decisions and take the steps that will bring you closer to your goals and dreams.  It is as simple as it sounds – “If you have the will, there is a way.”  It is up to you to decide.    

In closing I feel it appropriate to end this story as it began, with a few log entries.

 

CAPTAIN’S LOG

LOG DATE:                   07/06/09      GALE & MAUREEN GORANSON

LOCATION:                  HOTHAM ISLAND, NORTH CHANNEL, ONTARIO, CANADA

VESSEL:                        CATAMARAN “BLUE HERON”

ITINERARY:               AT ANCHOR TODAY

WIND:                            E 20-25 KNOTS

TEMPERATURE:       RAINY AND 60

SEAS:                              N/A

It started raining sometime during the night and continued into the morning hours.  We slept in and enjoyed the peacefulness of this place, listened to the wind and rain, and felt the boat being gently blown from side to side on the anchor.  We decided it was a good day to stay put especially knowing that if the wind was affecting us so much in a protected cove, it wouldn’t be much fun out on the open water.  A black bear cub showed up about the same time of the afternoon in the same spot we saw the adult bear yesterday.  We believe there were two cubs and a mother bear living in the vicinity.  Again, we tried to get some pictures, but the only way one would know there is a bear in the photo is if we point it out!

In Jamaica

In Jamaica

CAPTAIN’S LOG

LOG DATE:                  08/07/10     GALE & MAUREEN GORANSON

LOCATION:                 MOON RIVER, MILE 594.8, S CAROLINA ICW

VESSEL:                        CATAMARAN “BLUE HERON”

ITINERARY:              SOUTH RIVER, MILE 653.7 TO MOON RIVER

WIND:                           SW 5-10 KNOTS TO “NONE” TO  E 15-18 KNOTS

TEMPERATURE:       80 TO 90

SEAS:                             N/A

We began our day at 8:15 am with a mostly cloudy sky, a temperature of 80°F and a SW breeze of 5-10 knots.  The forecast called for increasing winds which sounded like a good sailing day.  We decided to go on the “outside” for awhile and left the ICW at Doboy Sound.  We cruised on the Atlantic for 18 miles, but the wind never picked up – in fact, it laid down completely!  At least the skies were overcast and it didn’t feel as hot as usual.

We reentered the ICW at St. Catherine’s Inlet.  Wouldn’t you know it, the wind picked up later in the afternoon to 15-18 knots out of the East!  It was nearly 6 pm when we dropped anchor in Moon River.  How romantic!  It was a quiet anchorage with lovely homes along the waterway.  We watched the dolphins play around the boat as the sun set on another terrific day.

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