We Are Off!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Yesterday, we untied the dock lines at Harbor Town Marina in Merritt Island (our home port) and began our Great Loop adventure. It has been a few years in the making, months in the planning, and now we are doing it!

We purchased our boat in August 2014 and had a “shake down” bringing her to Merritt Island from Charleston, SC.  But it was the AGLCA’s (America’s Great Loop Cruising Association) seminar on The Great Loop in January that got us really excited.  So now we are underway and can’t believe it is finally happening.

Our plans are to run up to Charleston, SC pretty rapidly and then begin taking our time cruising through North Carolina and the rest of the journey.  Having lived in Jacksonville, FL for a period of time, we got to know the ICW up and down the East coast quite well. Therefore, we did not want to spend a lot of time in known areas, but wanted to save those days for the other adventures that await.  Our short-term goal is to be in Norfolk, VA in time for the AGLCA rendezvous the first week of May.

Jacksonville, FL area

Pine Island Anchorage

Yesterday, we traveled north past St. Augustine and anchored out at Pine Island in Guana River Wildlife Management Area. This is a marshland area south of Ponte Vedra Beach where we have never visited, and proved to be a great anchorage. It was a quiet location with dolphins and lots of birds all around, despite threatening thunderstorms to the West.  There were two other sail boats in the large anchoring area, and that was it. We had a nice quiet dinner of leftover standing rib roast (from our freezer) and garlic-roasted potatoes. Yes, I am learning to use the convection-micro oven on our boat.

Today we left the anchorage at 7:00 am and made it up to Brunswick, GA where we will keep the boat for a few days.  Denise has to go see a client in Atlanta on Thursday & Friday, and Mark will be working on boat maintenance, office work and other “honey-do” things.  He will also get to explore the cute little downtown of Brunswick just steps from our marina.  We have never stayed here before, so I guess we could say the adventure really has begun.

Brunswick, GA

Horses on Cumberland Island

During our cruise up the ICW today we encountered very shallow water around Jekyll Island as we hit it at low tide.  Fortunately, we only draw 4 feet and made our way slowly along with one other boat.  But the highlight today was seeing the wild horses on Cumberland Island.  Of all the times we have passed this island we have never stayed. One day we are going to make this our destination just to see the horses up close.

Saturday we will head towards Charleston, SC and hope to meet up with Denise’s older brother and his wife. With fair weather and good luck we will arrive sometime on Sunday and spend a few days enjoying all that Charleston has to offer.

Please comment on this blog and let us know what you think. Tell us what you want to see more of, but keep in mind I am still learning how to do this!


10 responses to “We Are Off!

  1. richard deeran

    Hi Mark and Denise,

    Great to hear from you.
    Congrats on the start to a wonderful adventure.
    I hope I can visit you sometime.

    Mark, I’m sure she will be 100% Bristol, all towels will be labelled and there will be an unlimited supply to 37 deg diet coke and fritos.

    Remembering our passages fondly,
    Richard Deeran
    s/v Acadia

    p.s. my first time commenting on a blog post.. guess I’ve been too steeped in other technologies


  2. Seems inappropriate to comment on the lack of sails on this vessel but she is quite pretty. While in C-town, check out Husk Restaurant for something really exceptional and make sure you make it to the Stable/Carriage Bar adjacent to the restaurant. Rainbow Row is pretty as is SOB neighborhoods- but the best thing in Charleston is a walk in Battery Park at sunset with your honey. Keep us posted. JMc/CappyMc/WH1 (original)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doreenratigan

    Thanks for sharing your adventure, Denise and Mark! Looking forward to cruising with you via the blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations and best of luck — or ‘bon voyage,’ as they say! Safe travels and happy cruising!! 😉 We love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave & Dianne

    Let the excitement begin! We are going to miss you guys but will love following your travels. Be safe, D&D

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine kittinger

    Hello! From Christine, have fun! Sounds like a wonderful experience!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Check out Isle of Palms just north of Charleston. If you go up the ICW, you will pass by Jeanne A’s house.


  8. Great post! Good luck all the way, and keep those pictures coming – how about a sunrise since you are on the East coast!


  9. Bon Voyage Mark and Denise! So very exciting. Thanks so much for sharing as we will live vicariously through you. The wild horses sound amazing. And I was wondering what Pine Island is like. 😉


  10. Safe travels! Hope you to do a run while on land in Atlanta!