Just TWO MONTHS to go

Mid-March 2023 – Washburn Marina, Washburn, Wisconsin – No boating today!

We’ve been retired for a little over two months, and it is less than two months until we head back to Wisconsin to start our Great Loop.

People ask when we’re leaving and our response is “When the ice melts!” Last year there was still some ice in the marina on May 8, which was later than normal. Looking at this picture from the marina web cam (notice the height of the plowed snow next to the car), it looks like it probably won’t be an early spring.

But not to worry, we’ve been keeping busy. After a January road trip to California and Arizona where we visited 14 different relatives in three states, we have been working feverishly to get the house ready to rent out. More and more feverishly as the time grows closer!

In between trips to Home Depot to get painting supplies and trips to Goodwill to drop of the results of downsizing, we’ve been able to squeeze in a few boat related goodies.

Boat Show

At the Seattle Boat show, we bought an AIS transponder and ordered a new VHF radio.

AIS stands for Automated Identification System and is a technology that let’s other boats and ships see our position and let’s us see theirs. Boat information such as name, size, and direction and speed of travel is transmitted to the system.

The boat did not come with AIS and the VHF radio on the boat would sometimes work and sometimes not. The VHF is a critical piece of safety equipment and was a no-brainer to buy. The AIS is a nice-to-have piece of safety equipment and a nice upgrade to our boat.

The next step is to try to get them all installed and talking to the other equipment on the boat.

Boat Cards

Boat cards are handed out to other boaters you meet over the course of your journey.

Since on the loop, you and all the other boats doing the loop are going in the same general direction in the same general time frame, you will likely see each other a time or two along the way. With over 200 boats doing the loop, the boat cards help you keep everyone straight.

We are excited to finally have our cards. We’ve already given out a few at our boating club and a class we are taking.

Radar class

One of the first things we did 11 years ago after joining the America Great Loop Cruisers Association was to join the Tacoma chapter of the United States Power Squadron/America’s Boating Club. We joined for the education and also have made great friends. Lance has been an instructor for a couple of different classes for much of the time we’ve been members.

When the Radar class was offered this winter, we jumped on it. Our boat came with an older radar system, but we didn’t know much about it.

We know a lot more now!

Retirement is here! Now what?

Picture of our boat, Blessings Flow

As our retirement is here and we say goodbye, we’ve had a lot of questions from friends about our plans. I thought it would be good to write a post to answer some of the questions. You may have heard a bit here or there, so this blog post is to give an overall picture of what we hope to do in the next couple of years and to clear up a couple of misconceptions.

Yes. There is a boat involved.

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2022 Summer on the Boat

Well, our “summer” on the boat was really more like two weeks. But it was a jam-packed two weeks full of boat chores, getting to know dock neighbors – including AGLCA harbors hosts – and the big event, welcoming training captains Scott and Karen DeVoll on board for a full curriculum of line handling, boat systems, close-quarter manuevering, docking, anchoring and more.

Fitting out the new dinghy
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Where are they now? Sam & Rev, What Yacht to Do

When I first “discovered” Sam and Rev in September 2019, they were three months into their first Great Loop and just starting on their YouTube adventure. They had a whopping 613 subscribers hoping to reach 1000! Today? 10.9 THOUSAND subscribers. [Sam tells me they get ~8 subscribers a day, so that 10.9 will be 11 in short order.] I would say they definitely have reached “influencer” status.

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Sailing the Great Loop for Free – The Wayward Travelers – Poulter

Sailing the Great Loop for free? Now that’s an eye-catching idea! What? How?

Earlier this summer, some gorgeous photos started appearing on the Great Loop Facebook page, with very encouraging, emotive posts.

I thought I saw something about looping for free, but then thought I must have imagined it when I didn’t see any more about that on her posts. But no. It’s a real thing.

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