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Old 01-07-2014, 09:14 AM   #21
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Hey, Greg. Don't feel like the Lone Ranger, I'm also stuck in the wonderful weather we are having in Louisville but, at least my truck started.

We are future loopers, also. Maybe we will see you on the river, what are you cruising in?
Hello David, enjoying the -3 degree morning?
Actually I'm very new to power boating and will be shopping for a boat this spring. I'm in the process of building a house off of Rose Island road and will rent a slip at one of the marinas there. Shopping for a trailerable trawler, something simple and small. (with a ring of boat fenders to cushion the learning curve)
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:27 AM   #22
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I'm open to doing the full crossing but I would also like to visit some of the fishing towns in between. Was thinking about Carrabelle to Steinhatchee, then bounce down the coast, Cedar key, Crystal River, Clearwater and then Cape Coral. But no preset plans, never know who you might travel with and plans are meant to be changed.
Gregg, those Big Bend villages are nice to visit. Steinhatchee, Cedar Key, and Crystal River all have some squirlly narrow channels to negotiate. At Cedar Key, don't even think about the Northwest Channel. It is very shoally. Before entering the main ship channel have it firmly in your mind. There is a nasty "S" curve that can be deceiving. There is good seafood to be had at all. At Steinhatchee I like Riverhaven better than SeaHag. It is just beyond the bridge. At Crystal River Pete's Pier is closer to town than 3 Rivers. I love boondocks cruising. Enjoy "old Florida".

Here's a link to Cedar Keys chart

http://www.afn.org/~gofc/charts/CedarKeyChannelScrn.jpg
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:33 AM   #23
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If you're planning on cruising the great loop, you really should join this group:

America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association

These are people who have done it before and can answer all your questions.

Also, there are several books on the subject. Go to amazon.com and do a search. Even if you are not planning on making this trip, the books make great reading.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:44 AM   #24
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Greg, we did the Great Circle Cruise to which you refer in 5 season, leaving the boat stored wherever we stopped in the fall. Several years we had only a vague idea where that would be when we boarded the boat in the early spring, sometimes too early according to THE WIFE.
A couple of hints, there is no way to see all of the trip in one year, impossible. We did the Keys and the Tortugas, to not do so is like going to Rome and not visiting the Vatican.
Same in Canada, the Champlain is fantastic and the Rideau is possibly better. Once you do those then the Erie you wonder, well we did, what is so great abt the Erie? I was told that before we got there and we saw why. Now I would not miss the Erie no way but.
It takes several season to do all of that then the Trent to the North Channel and all, a whole season in that area would not be too much.

Lastly, and we stuck by this WE NEVER HAD A SCHEDULE AND STUCK TO IT.

Our shortest day traveling was 4.5 miles on the Cayouga Seneca Canal in NY.

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Old 01-07-2014, 10:55 AM   #25
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Great thread, with great experienced input!

Still in dreaming stages for being down south in the winter, and upon reading a number of blog's, it appears the Florida Key's may not be the best place in the heart of winter (windy cool), that maybe up a bit near the mainland is better shelter (temperature)?? Also would this be the same for the Bahamas’, or further down towards the Turks and Cacao's be better???

Thanks for the input!
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:15 AM   #26
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Greg, we did the Great Circle Cruise to which you refer in 5 season, leaving the boat stored wherever we stopped in the fall. Several years we had only a vague idea where that would be when we boarded the boat in the early spring, sometimes too early according to THE WIFE.
A couple of hints, there is no way to see all of the trip in one year, impossible. We did the Keys and the Tortugas, to not do so is like going to Rome and not visiting the Vatican.
Same in Canada, the Champlain is fantastic and the Rideau is possibly better. Once you do those then the Erie you wonder, well we did, what is so great abt the Erie? I was told that before we got there and we saw why. Now I would not miss the Erie no way but.
It takes several season to do all of that then the Trent to the North Channel and all, a whole season in that area would not be too much.

Lastly, and we stuck by this WE NEVER HAD A SCHEDULE AND STUCK TO IT.

Our shortest day traveling was 4.5 miles on the Cayouga Seneca Canal in NY.

CCC
Thanks for the input, I will remember it. I have no intentions of trying to see everything, just choose a course and enjoy it in whatever time it takes. Anyway at 6 knots it's physically impossible to see even most, so no reason to try. The "Active Captain" website and interactive map seem like they will be a great resource for finding the kind of secluded anchorages along the way.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:30 AM   #27
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Great thread, with great experienced input!

Still in dreaming stages for being down south in the winter, and upon reading a number of blog's, it appears the Florida Key's may not be the best place in the heart of winter (windy cool), that maybe up a bit near the mainland is better shelter (temperature)?? Also would this be the same for the Bahamasí, or further down towards the Turks and Cacao's be better???

Thanks for the input!
Turks and Cacao's, now that would be ambitious! What seemed ambitious to me was a crossing from say Marco Island directly to Dry Tortugas and then slowly hop from key to key back to the mainland. Possibly a week in Bimini. So many options, so little time.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:35 AM   #28
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Hello David, enjoying the -3 degree morning?
Actually I'm very new to power boating and will be shopping for a boat this spring. I'm in the process of building a house off of Rose Island road and will rent a slip at one of the marinas there. Shopping for a trailerable trawler, something simple and small. (with a ring of boat fenders to cushion the learning curve)
I have slips for rent at Tartan's Landing but it wouldn't be as close as Rose Island or Louisville Yacht, cheaper though.

Good luck on your boat search.
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:51 AM   #29
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I have slips for rent at Tartan's Landing but it wouldn't be as close as Rose Island or Louisville Yacht, cheaper though.

Good luck on your boat search.
I would really like to get a slip in Alexis Cove, but I don't know if there are even any openings or if you have to join what appears to be a family club??
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:28 PM   #30
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I'm here in Sarasota (SW FL Gulf Coast) and loving it. 50 degrees now, perfect weather to work. They're calling for 80 again by Saturday, but we're loving the temporary cool. Our plan is to start the loop in March 2015 now, but will probably cruise the Keys this year.
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Old 01-07-2014, 01:56 PM   #31
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I'm here in Sarasota (SW FL Gulf Coast) and loving it. 50 degrees now, perfect weather to work. They're calling for 80 again by Saturday, but we're loving the temporary cool. Our plan is to start the loop in March 2015 now, but will probably cruise the Keys this year.
Let me know if your going be near Duck Key, we could plan a dinner shoreside, I'd love to see your manatee.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:11 PM   #32
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I would really like to get a slip in Alexis Cove, but I don't know if there are even any openings or if you have to join what appears to be a family club??
Alexis Cove is Louisville Yacht club. I can get you the phone number of the marina manager if you like, they manage Tartan's also.

O, wait, you need to get a boat first! I believe you said pocket trawlers.

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Old 01-07-2014, 08:49 PM   #33
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We are loopers who are 265 days into our trip. We are members of the AGLCA and attended a fall reunion. Our experience with the AGLCA and the boaters doing the loop is quite positive.

The AGLCA is a business and the only one I know of that is dedicated to the Great Loop. It provides a valuable source of information to current and potential future loopers, and is justified in earning a profit doing it. If it wasn’t value added, it would quickly disappear. Joining AGLCA is frequently recommended as the first step by loopers for anyone interested in this experience.

The seminars at an AGLCA rendezvous are largely provided by couples who have done the loop and are experts or live in and are very knowledgeable of a designated area. Each seminar is designed to cover a small section of the loop helping others anticipate and plan their travel and be aware of risks.

There are vendors at the rendezvous selling charts, guides and books directly related to the needs of loopers. This makes it easy to compare and select the different guides that you will need.

There are also marinas at the rendezvous acquainting boaters with the benefits of their locations, accommodations and services. Some give discounts on fuel or slip fees to AGLCA members.

There are dinners and social events and loopers opening their boats for others to tour. Again, a chance to learn a lot.

Having a boat broker with a booth or speaking who specializes in boats for loopers is also very useful since some of the attendees have not yet purchased one for this trip. Others have looped and are looking for a “better” boat for future cruises. It is not uncommon for loopers to buy boats that have already completed the loop, since they are well outfitted and suited for the trip.

Seeing boats along the way flying the "little white burgee" helped us to quickly identify and make friends with people who we had something in common with. We cruised for short periods with many of them and remain in touch.

The boaters we met were quite experienced and knew their boats inside and out. Many like us were doing all the maintenance successfully themselves. When needed, there was always a helping hand.

Most loopers we met anchored quite regularly and are proficient in the required skills. We anchored 30% of the time and this seemed typical of others.

Most loopers we met also do the trip in one year which is quite adequate to get around without feeling rushed. Others loop over and over seeing new things each time.

We are great supporters of Active Captain and found it indispensible in our every day planning and piloting.

The combination of the AGLCA seminars and forums, and Active Captain crowd sourcing data helped greatly to make our looping such a great experience.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:21 PM   #34
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OK as the OP of this thread it is my job to reign things in if they get off track. Actually I don't think they are far off track, some strong opinions, but I like that, some pull back and I like that as well.
As the previous poster said, as soon as AGLCA stops benefiting members it will go out of business post haste. Active Captain will be as good as it's participation by us water folks. The service they provide will grow in value with our participation.

So let's get back to some fringed weather daydreaming if that's acceptable. Bimini, will that satisfy my blue-water urges? Several days waiting for a weather window, crossing, spend a week or so, again waiting for a window and crossing back. Is that enough or better to wait and cross over to the West end and then hop islands for several weeks in the Bahamas?
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:38 PM   #35
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OK as the OP of this thread it is my job to reign things in if they get off track. Actually I don't think they are far off track, some strong opinions, but I like that, some pull back and I like that as well.
As the previous poster said, as soon as AGLCA stops benefiting members it will go out of business post haste. Active Captain will be as good as it's participation by us water folks. The service they provide will grow in value with our participation.

So let's get back to some fringed weather daydreaming if that's acceptable. Bimini, will that satisfy my blue-water urges? Several days waiting for a weather window, crossing, spend a week or so, again waiting for a window and crossing back. Is that enough or better to wait and cross over to the West end and then hop islands for several weeks in the Bahamas?
I would wait for a weather window to hop over west end then cruise the abacos. Two weeks is enough if you in a hurry. If you not in a hurry I would recommend staying a month as AC said.
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