The Great American Loop, Final Entry of Leg #1 Boyne City, MI To Indiantown, FL

Days 304-320; April 24–May 10

Total Water Miles Traveled: 2758

The Manatee Pocket – a small lake just off the ICWW – is as lovely as it’s name. This is the point at which the St. Lucie River cuts into central Florida and creates a path to Indiantown where the Namaste will rest during our return home to Michigan for the summer of 2016.

We stopped at Mariner Cay Marina to catch our breath, enjoy the scenery and get organized for going home. We spent Earth Day attending a festival in the quaint little town of Port Salerno on the shores of Manatee Pocket and a dinghy ride from our marina. It was a hot afternoon complete with a tiny version of everything you would expect at a summer festival: music, lunch/dinner at Shrimpers, chair massage, a plant sale, hand made jewelry, hand woven clothing, etc. Laundry; long planning walks; boat maintenance and restful pool time kept us occupied until we set out on our last travel day to Indiantown.

It was a warm, sunny and easy Sunday with only 25 miles to go, one bridge to open and one lock to pass. We were out of the mansions and back into the mangroves with wildlife and natural beauty all around. Note the cattle watering holes below. Captain Jim and I commented on how quiet we were as we traveled this final day. The journey has been everything we could have dreamed and so much more. While we are excited to return home to friends and family, it is hard to put this adventure on the shelf until next time and hard to leave The Namaste, the lifestyle and the people. However, in every way it was a memorably perfect final day of travel for now.

We arrived at Indiantown in the early afternoon but the marina staff had already gone home for the day. Thus, we tied up at the gas dock and since we would be here for at least five days, we began to explore and almost immediately felt at home. It is truly a working marina where they have created a community of folks who love to return each year. There is a continual stream of boats coming into the marina every day, receiving tender care and then gently being lifted out of the water onto waiting stanchions or the reverse process of being launched, cleaned up and leaving the marina for parts unknown. Very early one morning I was privileged to watch as a large sailboat with two men aboard slowly crept through the marina and out into the St. Lucie River, heading across the Atlantic for Europe.

A couple of nights we had dinner with Carol & Bob and new friends in the restaurants of Indiantown but the last night we shared a pot-luck of whatever each of us could come up with from our meager final provisions. It was an interesting while tasty meal with lots of laughter and promises to meet again.

The task at hand was to ready The Namaste to be “hauled out” and placed on “the hard” along with several hundred other cruising boats. We have confidently done this many times in Michigan where we prepare her for winter but getting ready for months of sun, heat, humidity, mold and bugs is another story. We followed each directive offered including wiping every surface inside the cabin with vinegar which we all (particularly Sammy) found reasonably offensive; setting out roaster pans of charcoal; blocking every “through hull” with screening along with filling diesel tanks and emptying holding and water tanks; covering as much varnished teak as possible with tarps and finally screwing her to the ground with huge yellow straps just in case a hurricane passes by. We, however, did resist the suggestion to hang bags of formaldehyde! What to take, what to leave and why were the unending questions with frequent differences of opinion but at noon on April 29th – ten months and one day after leaving The Harborage Marina in Boyne City – we boarded our jam- packed rental car and headed for home.

Storms raged all along I75 during our two-day road trip but we managed to navigate them and the endless construction. We stopped and saw all six children and seven grandchildren before arriving at 1563 Blue Heron late evening on Sunday, May 1st. It has been a wonderful reentry and we are absolutely glad to be at home but reading the AGLCA digest each morning and following FB keeps us in tune with the Great American Loop and our Looping friends.

This will be our last Wave from Namaste blog entry for now. While Jo Ann has provided the commentary, all the credit goes to Captain Jim for his knowledge, skill, patience and creativity in making this a safe, comfortable and wildly exciting trip.   We plan to return to the Namaste for leg #2 early in 2017 after welcoming our eighth grandchild in November and celebrating our 50th anniversary in late December. Our plan is to spend much of the winter and early spring in the Bahamas. Please stay tuned . . .

Quote of the Day: “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

(I may have included this quote earlier but it seems worth repeating here.)

Boat Name of the Day: “Windisfree”

Bad Boat Name of the Day: “Knucklehead”

Happy Birthday to: Bev Verkerke, Georgie DeRose, Melissa Spindler, Missy Poppenger, Theresa McFall, Donna Leech and me!

Congratulations to Kelly and Adis!

IMG_0233Carol in her signature hat at Shrimpers in Port Salerno

The St. Lucie River to Indiantown.  Note the fence above which encloses a watering hole for the grazing cattle to drink in protected waters.  Never saw this in any of the many other rivers.  Brilliant!

IMG_0279Jim being a boat angel (khaki brimmed hat in the middle of the picture) is winching up our neighbor in a bosuns chair to fix something at the top of his mast.  Believe me, not everyone could do either of these jobs!

IMG_0277The Namaste engine gets a coat of blue paint.  Isn’t she pretty?

IMG_0293A relaxing afternoon after an exhausting day in the boat yard. 

IMG_0298Under the watchful eye of Captain Jim and Sammy. . .

IMG_0313The Namaste is “hauled out,” her bottom washed. . .

IMG_0321. . . she is covered and resting until next time!


Some of the reasons to return to 1563 in Spring


The seven most important reasons to return home for the summer!

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