2,000 Miles (Day 88)

We passed a milestone today; one-third the distance of The Great Loop. We did it in about three months.

Does that matter? Not really. But when you live from one meal or mile to the next, counting milestones helps track the passage.

People often ask “How long does it take to do The Great Loop?” The simple answer is “as long as you want.” A few with fast boats have done it in under three months. Those are the ones to whom speed and goal matter most. We’ve met many who have taken more than a year (or even years), doing it by parts and taking breaks. Those are the ones who want the experience more than the goal. The most common duration seems to be from nine months to a year, and Many Moons is on track with that.

Like many Loopers, Jeff has planned this for years. He has taken to this lifestyle like a fish to water. He intends to finish it but has no specific schedule or deadline except to see his grandson again before he grows much more. I committed to this about a week beforehand, without a specific goal except to stay on until a natural transition or pause. I expected to do maybe 500 miles, or a thousand at most.

So 2,000 miles is a pretty big milestone for me!

I’m a reflective person who misses having the time (and space) to reflect, and writing this blog helps me do that. Looping boats aren’t under way 24/7, and darkness comes early now, so you’d think there would be plenty of time to reflect. But there isn’t. Days in port are generally spent exploring or shopping or doing boat clean-up and maintenance. Evenings are filled with planning or eating or sharing tips with other Loopers…or just plain resting. Somehow, the time just passes – whether at anchor or in port.

We did another 80 miles today, after close to 90 yesterday. That’s a lot, even if we are going 9mph – about 3mph faster than we went while while traveling up-river. It wasn’t difficult but not quite relaxing either. This river twists and turns, and we never know for sure what’s around the next bend. (We followed a barge for about an hour today because we couldn’t find the right place to pass.) So I’m watching both the navigation app and the VHF radio constantly, to limit surprises, and take the helm now and then to give Jeff a break.

We remained with War Eagle a 2nd day and have learned that many Looping boats travel this section with one or more others because of the isolation. This is smart, since you never know what mechanical or medical issue might arise. We give each other space, but we know the other is there. And when you’re anchored in the pitch-dark, with no civilization for miles, it’s nice to see another anchor light nearby.

I do love isolation. But there are times I like to know that someone is near. Y’know?

I took the dinghy out again tonight but didn’t get into the water. Alligator sightings have been reported. I also like excitement — but not that kind. 😉

Photos and captions below.

Behind us, War Eagle leaves Coffeeville Lock, our last lock of the inland waterway system.
Coffeeville Lock is the first we’ve seen with this “waterfall” next door.
Dredging is an ongoing necessity on the narrow Tombigbee River.
This river is both twisty and shallow, requiring constant attention to the navigation channel.
An example of the twisting Tombigbee River.
We passed the 22-foot Looping sailboat Sweet Pea and called her on the radio to check in.She can’t go fast, and seems so isolated…we worry about her.
Not sure what this is, except another sign of past life along this riverbank.
The “Alabama River Cut-Off” was a perfect anchorage for both boats.

3 thoughts on “2,000 Miles (Day 88)

  1. Mary, I love reading your blog, and so so regularly. Your honesty and depth of feeling in your writing is truly a gift. Don’t ever stop. From the comfort of my home I’m cheering you on and holding you and Jeff in the light. Molly


    1. Thanks so much. I wonder if we’ve met? (No need to respond. Blogs aren’t usually the place for conversations. It’s my 1st blog and I’m always curious about who picks up on it.)


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