Great Loop Epilogue

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December 8th 2010
Published: December 8th 2010
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December 2010

The Marilsnick had made it; captain and crew were elated. There had been highlights and “lowlights” during our journey. The highlights were the 18-hour crossing of the Gulf of Mexico at night, the crossing of Lake Okeechobee, the endless but beautiful Intracoastal Waterway, my vacation onboard when Skip and Barb ran the boat, the entering of New York Harbor with my siblings, the vacation on land at the cottage of cousin Marianne Duenhoelter and the scenic wild Georgian Bay and Northern Channel, the camaraderie with other Loopers and finally returning to Dog River after having completed the Loop. The “lowlights” were the accident in St. Augustine at the Bridge of Lions and the two groundings. Problems, which I had to overcome were an unexplained weight loss of twenty pounds, which according to my “medical advisor” Marianne had been caused by stress and a sudden increase in my blood pressure probably due to stress also.

George Penfield and I celebrated our safe arrival at a local fish restaurant. The next day we rented a car to see a bit more of the area. First we visited the battleship Alabama, which had been towed from Bremerton, WA back into Mobile Bay to become the centerpiece of a military museum, which also included a submarine and many vintage military planes. Man is inventive when it comes to planning war!

We extended our car ride to the eastern shore of the Mobile Bay, going to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and finally returning across the Bay by ferry. An officer in the Coast Guard in Mobile who toured the area with his mother explained to us during the ferry ride the boats, which had been anchored in the Bay. Many were waiting for inspections for possible damage done by the oil spill. Others were supplying the oil and gas rigs which we could see from the ferry.

The last days were consumed preparing the boat for the haul-out. The woodwork of the Marilsnick had suffered, the bottom had to be repainted and a few more repairs had to be undertaken. As I write this the staff of the Dog River Marina is putting the final touches on her before she would return back to the West Coast

It is impossible to spend seven months continuously on the boat in sometimes challenging water and not growing during this experience. I learned to be alert at all times, in marked channels as well as on the high seas, on lakes as well as on more quiet rivers, during anchoring as well as docking. For someone with borderline “Attention Deficit Disorder” this is an accomplishment.

The comradeship among Loopers was not surprising but again and again heartwarming and rewarding. I mention the crew of the Mas Bueno, Hal and Cheryl as the outstanding example of such a relationship.

The patience of all members of the Marilsnick crew with the captain was not taken for granted, it was really, really appreciated. All understood that the captain needed some time each day for myself.

Finally, I have to express my appreciation for someone who cannot expect it: the Marilsnick II. What a wonderful boat! She has brought so much pleasure to my life and to those who crewed on her or were guests.

As a 73-year old who took up boating only late in life many situations stressed me more than my younger fellow Loopers. It was most reassuring that I felt to be in God’s hands at all times during the Great Loop as in my whole life.

PS The final note of this blog will be sent to you after she has arrived in her slip in the Gig Harbor Marina.


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