First off we would like to thank all of our followers for coming along on our journey. We hope you enjoyed it as much as the crew of RAMA did.
Next a huge shout out to our partners. Without your support our trip would have been a bit tougher. All the products made it a bit easier and enjoyable. Our partners are Bolster Buddy, Impact Fenders, Swift Knot, Fortress Anchor, Danik Hooks, The Boat Loop, Cooper Anchors, Top Knot and Aqua Vault.
Now Some Stats 5936 miles traveled, 382 days from start to finish, 139 days underway, 692 hours underway, 71 locks, 46 Anchorages, 56 Marinas, 30 Free Docks, 6 Mooring Balls and 2 Yacht Clubs…..isn’t that a mouth full.
I would like to take this time to thank my wife. Without her the journey would not have been possible and certainly not as fun. We laughed, yelled, cried, smiled and certainly experienced so much. It is with a lot of pride and accomplishment that we have completed a huge task. This by no means was a year long vacation. It was a journey well thought out and planned for a year and a half prior to departure and then planning daily. Despite the work it was an experience worth its weight in gold. Less people complete the great loop, then climb Mount Everest yearly. We did it!
3/21 We depart Savannah early to a swift current at the dock. So what do we do, we bump the anchor of the boat in front of us like a couple of amateurs. You would think that we would have this stuff down by now, 😉😂! We are headed to Defuskie Island a short journey today. Upon arrival we find that the marina wanted $3.00 per foot and they could not guarantee water or electricity, see ya Defuskie! We will have another opportunity to visit since we are now in our home state South Carolina. We press on to Beaufort and will sit the boat a few days due to weather. Beaufort is a wonderful town with majestic oaks and a great town. Make sure you visit it is well with the stop.
3/25 We depart Beaufort early in the morning as we have a long day in front of us. We are headed to Charleston a 60+ mile trip today. We travel through the Ace Basin Wildlife Refuge as well as several inlets. The wind is howling at 20+ miles per hour. We arrive at St Johns Yacht Marina and the only good news is, it is slack tide. The wind is blowing us from the dock and as amateur as we were leaving the dock in Savannah, we were the pros putting it in the slip! Holy smokes what a ride. We spent time over the weekend visiting family in Chucktown and do the tourist thing.
3/28 We head out to McClellanville these are waters that we have traveled and feel comfortable. However this is not a time to relax, it is a time to pay closer attention to what is going on. We stay at Leland Oil Company a no frills marina, guess what it is Monday and everything is closed, GO FIGURE!
3/29 A short trip to Georgetown, we are so close! We spent the time doing looper things. We visit the town and have a great meal at Rollin Local. We prep for our last 13 miles. Not sure how we feel but I do know that we are tired and looking forward to being home.
3/30 We leave to hit our new Marina at high tide. The river is also in flood stage due to heavy rains. The river is docile and we cruise a slow pace toward our new destination. We go by our old marina at about 9:30am we have official crossed our wake.
Ah yes the smell of the infamous paper mills along the southern coast of Georgia and South Carolina. Yup, the odor of solid bleach sulfate (rotten eggs) tells us we are closer then ever.
3/16 We depart Cumberland Island and head to St Simons Island. You move along and with so many inlets you press against the tide on one side and get pushed on the other side. A bit windy but a nice day out on the water. We stay at Golden Isle Morningstar Marina and have one of the best meals along our trip at Coastal Kitchen. We had duck fries, gotta say they were probably the best fries I have ever had, must try. Followed by a true low country dish of shrimp and grits, superb. We used the courtesy car to explore St Simons a bit.
3/17 Top of the Morning to you! Happy St Paddy’s! Erin go Braugh! 🍀 We depart early as we have a long day ahead of us. We decide to push the distance a bit so our next day is just a short move. We arrive at Delegal Creek Marina in a beautiful spot. The cruise was outstanding, could not have asked for better weather. We cook dinner talk to a few folks on the dock and hit the sack early, bushed!
3/18 We depart Delegal and are tied up at Thunderbolt Marina just outside of Savannah. A short cruise of about 3 hours. We are here for the weekend, excited to have completed another state and just miles from our home State of South Carolina. We meet another boat Perikana, Michelle and Duane from Melbourne, Australia. Yup, Aussies doing our Great American Loop. We spent time together and really enjoyed ourselves with them. Thank good because the current pushed us upon departure and our dinghy bumped into their anchor and we knocked it out of the track. Oh yeah the damn low current currents because of the huge tide changes, just another reason I know we are close to home.
A step back in time! A great National Park with a lot of Rhode Island roots. General Nathanel Greene, you know the lad that came down during the American Revolution and lead the southern troops with the help of our South Carolina buddy Francis Marion. They joined together to beat Cornwallace down in the south and took back the harbor of Charleston. A vital port and major turning point in the war. The Greenes built the original mansion.
Oh yeah a fella by the name of Carnegie had stakes here as well, he built the Dungeness Mansion. We had wild horses and the live oaks were amazing. I found the hull of a boat under the sand. The picture with white and the number 7. The National Park Service has done a great job with this property! Enjoy the pics!
3/7 Depart Eau Gallie with a frown. The stop was great, the marina was filled with awesome folks and town was in walking distance. But, we press on to Titusville! We were very excited that a rocket launch was scheduled for the next morning but just our luck it was cancelled due to highs winds! 😭 We find a nice anchorage for the flotilla and rest for the night.
3/8 We depart Titusville early and head out to New Smyrna, we are greeted by a beautiful rainbow. Nice day on the water however the winds start to kick up again as the day progresses. As we approach the harbor we see all the anchorage is full so we press on around the inlet and head to Ponce Inlet Light area. There is a nice spot however the wind is ripping against the tide creating lots of fetch, for non boaters fetch is waves. We bounced at anchor for quite some time but it eventually settled down. We woke up and we had another large catamaran in our back yard this time! SERIOUSLY, you had the entire anchorage and you have to drop the hook on top of us! 😡
3/9 We decide to make a long run and go to St Augustine, approximately 60 miles. Breezy but generally a nice cruising day. About and hour from the port we get hit by a massive thunderstorm, coming down sideways rain, hot fun. In true southern fashion though about a half hour later we had blue skies. We latch to a mooring ball for the night and then head into our slip in the marina the next morning, we are staying the weekend. Rain Friday and Saturday, cold! Brrrrrrrr, what are in Florida! Lots to do and we even saw the St Paddy’s Day parade, and went to the Celtic Festival. We actually saw a great Celtic band named SYR, out of Columbia, SC. Long time friends Jim and Deb Ivarone paid us a visit as well.
3/14 We depart St Augustine and head out to our designated anchorage but we got lucky and were pushed by the tide most of our run so we pressed on to Fernandina Beach. The wind made it very tricky to hook to our mooring ball and after much stress we finally got hooked. The crew was tattered! Weather is going to turn so we decided to press on to get tied up. So we are leaving and will be crossing into Georgia tomorrow.
2/27 Out of the shoot we go, happy to be on the water again. Excited that we see the finish line but wanting more then ever to have the journey continue. We depart the Marina at 8am, traveling with two other boats New Adventure and Benita. The weather is just right for our first day back out on the water. We transit 48 miles to a little island/National Park called Boca Chita. We are greeted by a wonderful lighthouse and salsa music. We see Miami over Biscayne Bay about 20 miles in the distance. We explored the island, swam and enjoyed the company of our fellow loopers.
2/28 Last day of the month and we are headed to Sunrise Bay in Ft. Lauderdale. Very breezy all day! Upon arrival we dropped the dinghy and tried to find a place to go ashore, major fail. So we just enjoyed the harbor and the weather in the cockpit of the boat. For some reason I just got a bad feeling and checked the harbor before turning in. Well the wind shifted and a big catamaran drug anchor to about 10 feet of our boat. The problem was they were directly over our anchor, so we could not retrieve it to try to move. Needless to say Marie and I ended up doing shifts to keep an eye on the boat! Emergency plans were formulated if we needed to move! Not a pretty scene! Everything worked out and we were able to retrieve our anchor with some skillful work of the crew😉!
3/1 Sunrise Bay to Palm Beach anchorage was uneventful but it was quite windy. Traveling in the protected water of the Intracoastal Waterway makes life a bit nicer. We really only had a light chop on the water most of the day. We stopped at Deck 84 in Delray to meet up with our friend Kim Dorley for a quick visit and lunch. Kim and her hubby Jim always stop to visit us when they move their boat to and from Florida.
3/2 Palm Beach to Stuart another great day on the water. We ran into some old friends on the water Cashlemara and Gemini. We passed them while they were waiting for a bridge opening. Our group all just slid on by because we all cleared the bridge height. So now we actually had 5 boats headed to Stuart. The other two boats were staying in Stuart for a few days. Once we put the hook in. We went ashore to Pirates Cove Marina and meet up with Richard and Chris Churchill for a late lunch.
3/3 Stuart to Coconut Point Anchorage in Sebastian. Long day 57 miles and a tough time getting into the anchoring spot because of the shallow water. Once we hooked we jumped in the dinghy and went ashore for a walk in the nearby park. We headed back and had drinks ands apps on the fly bridge on New Adventure. Wonderful day!
3/4 Coconut Point to Eau Gaille Yacht Basin, short passage today about 25 miles. Water was nice and flat. We arrived early so we had time to visit the town a bit. Here through Monday as the wind is going to blow quite hard and the weekend is here. That tells us it is time to let the weekenders have the water.
NOT!!! Our time is over in the keys though,😭. However, we made a highlight out of it. We took a beautiful trip out to two reefs and snorkeled. The tour was well worth it. We saw Parrot Fish, Barracuda, Nemo and many more! If you ever make it to Tavernier checkout the Reef Roamer, they do a great job with customer service.
So after coming into the slip 2 weeks early, Marie and I are enjoying our down time here in the keys. We have done numerous things throughout our stay. We have spent time with new friends John and Jane Dumont. They are Rhode Island natives but have lived in Florida for many years. Coincidence brought us together and in true RI fashion we have many common acquaintances. John has a center console boat and we took it offshore to conch reef and the infamous sandbar in Islamorada. We visited the Marathon Turtle Hospital with fellow loopers Steve and Ann on New Adventure. We visited Theater By The Sea with loopers Tim and Kate on Sweet Day. As well as meet up with other friends in Marathon on another day and visited Crane Point. There we had pedicures done by hungry fish. Yup heard me right we had fish nibbling on our feet😜!
We Bought bicycles and have peddled to church and other sights regularly. Bought bikes???, yup and already have the cash in hand from the new owners who will take possession once we leave. We have spent much time just relaxing by the pool and enjoying keys life. We have a couple of more weeks before we shove off and truth be told, I am looking forward to the last push homeward. We will spend about 6 weeks moving up the coast of Florida, Georgia and finally back to our home state of South Carolina.
This was very cool. The manatee spent a bunch of time with us. However, look closely at the back and notice the marks. Unfortunately they are propeller strikes. This is very common among the manatee and dolphin here in Florida. My guess is this occurs because of the swallow waters and people not adhering to posted signs.