Welcome to the Great Loop Adventure website! Hopefully, those who are interested can follow our adventures and misadventures as we endeavor to complete the Great Loop, starting in Boston in early May 2014 and planning to return to Boston in June of 2015.
For those who may not be familiar with the Great Loop, it is a circumnavigation of the eastern half of the United States entirely by water. While there are some options for alternate routes, our planned itinerary is as follows: Boston to New York via the Cape Cod Canal and Long Island Sound; north on the Hudson River into Lake Champlain; north on the Richelieu Canal through Canada to the St. Lawrence River; west on the St. Lawrence to Montreal; west on the Ottawa River to Ottawa; south on the Rideau Canal to Kingston, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Ontario; west on Lake Ontario to the Trent-Severn Waterway, which is a historic system of canals, rivers, and lakes that connects through Canada to Lake Huron; west on Lake Huron via Georgian Bay and the North Channel; through the Mackinaw Straight which separates the two Michigans; south on Lake Michigan to Chicago; through the Chicago Canal to the Mississippi River; south on the “Inland Rivers”, including the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Tombigbee Rivers, which takes us to Mobile, Alabama; east along the Florida panhandle then around the Florida peninsula; then north from Florida to Boston along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Our vessel is a 34’ power catamaran called a PDQ, co-owned by myself and my neighbor and good friend, Tom McNichol. The vessel is named the Joint Adventure; it has a 17’ beam and is powered by two 75 hp inboard diesel engines. It sleeps six when the dinette is converted to a bed, and can sleep up to eight for short periods of time. It draws just 2 ½ feet of water.
We plan to leave Boston Harbor in early May; start heading into the Trent-Severn Waterway by late June; arrive in Chicago and start down the Inland Rivers by Labor Day; arrive in Mobile, Alabama by late October (after the Gulf hurricane season); arrive in Fort Myers Beach by mid-December, where we intend to leave the boat for 4-5 weeks and come home for the holidays, returning to the boat in mid to late January; round Florida and the Keys over the winter; then start heading north along the Intracoastal Waterway in late March, arriving in Boston in June.
Paul Coates will be on board for the entire voyage; my wife Tricia and Pat Coates will be on board through the summer and for school vacations when possible; Tom McNichol will be on board for a month this Spring in Canada, again throughout the Fall on the Inland Rivers, and likely again for various times in Florida and on the Intracoastal heading north. Various friends and family will be coming and going for various segments of the trip, including my Dad, who will be turning 90 this Fall but still pulls his weight and then some as an excellent crewmember.
I intend to post an update to the blog once or twice a week, depending on the vagaries of our voyage. This is boating, so plans will inevitably be altered and shaped by wind, weather, waves, mechanical issues, and unforeseen events as we proceed. I intend to send an e-mail notice to those on the distribution list each time I post an update. We would love to hear from you, so please feel free to respond to the e-mail if you’d like, or post comments on the blog.
I hope you enjoy following along with our voyage!