On Thursday, December 14, 2017, we officially completed America’s Great Loop when we crossed our wake at marker “101” at the inlet to the Caloosahatchee River. The imaginary wake is the one we created when we entered the river heading north on the ICW back in May 2015. Continuing on through Big Carlos Pass another 4 miles, we arrived back in our slip at Ft Myers Beach around 3:00. Our friends, Donna and Bill were there to catch our lines and open the champagne. Our journey was just short of 8000 miles… 7997 to be exact!
Our last night onboard was spent at anchor at Cayo Costa State Park, a mere 30 miles from the wake crossing. I guess we wanted to delay the inevitable and enjoy a final sunset on the beach. Although the anchorage is behind the island, we were able to take the dinghy through the mangroves over to the beach for the viewing. We grilled some steaks and were treated to a meteor shower, watching from the rooftop deck under a blanket. (We had to stay awake a little past looper midnight for that!)
We actually were not alone in the anchorage. In addition to a couple of sail boats, there was a looper boat there we had never met before. We took the dinghy over and exchanged cards with Doreen and Greg from m/v Noah’s Ark and commented on the irony of meeting someone new on our last night.
Traveling slowly, we made our way through familiar territory.. Cabbage Key, Ding Darling, the Sanibel Causeway, the Bowditch Point inlet, and the Ft Myers Beach bridge.
After crossing your wake, Loopers get to hang the gold burgee on the bow to show everyone you have finished the loop. Our white looper burgee is quite tattered in spite of my efforts to mend it back in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. So, the gold one is definately an upgrade. But, I think we’ll hold on to the white one, which holds a lot of memories of a spectacular journey.
I know what you’re thinking right now… yes, there is another flag. Loopers completing the trip a second time get to fly a platinum burgee, but that’s it, there ain’t no more. At this point, we are thrilled with the gold and have no plans to go platinum. (Right Skipper Joe?)
This moment is bittersweet. We don’t know what’s next but we don’t think we’re ready to be done cruising. Something new is likely to be on the horizon for us. In the spirit of Christmas, we joined Donna and Bill in Naples Thursday night after our wake crossing to witness Florida “snow”. Every Thursday night at 7:30, snow falls for 15 minutes from the street lights on 3rd Ave.
If you are Hallmark Christmas movie fans like we are, you surely know what it means when snow flakes begin to fall in the final minutes of the show. Some kind of change is a-coming!