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.
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 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.
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!