Many Moons Reunion

I’m back.

It feels good.

I’ve reunited with Jeff, and Mainship Many Moons, at Hontoon Island State Park in central Florida after three months on land. If you’ve been following the journey of Many Moons since we left Lake Superior last July to start The Great Loop, you might have wondered when – or even if – I would return. I wondered myself! I committed to a week, then a month, then another month until it turned into four. (Most Loopers, or people who do the 6,000-mile Great Loop, commit to the whole thing at the outset although they may do it in stages.) I began the Loop mainly as a favor to Jeff but have been trying to “feel it out” on my own terms. I knew Jeff would undoubtedly find a way to complete it without me, since he generally finds a way to complete whatever he starts. So while on land, I asked myself honestly: Do I want to return to the boat for myself rather than for him?

The small marina at Hontoon State Park, Fla. (Many Moons at upper left)

Well, here I am. So, yes. It’s my trip, too, and I missed it. I missed the boat! The Loopers. And, of course, Jeff.

But I was glad for the break. I needed that, too.

Jeff was just fine without me, of course — more than fine. He’s traveled several hundred miles, with two other first-mates, until arriving at this park that we visited by car two years ago. (We rented a houseboat for three nights to explore the St. Johns River, which was a kick.) After his son left from here in January, Jeff began volunteering at the park and receives a free slip for his work. He may be one of the most productive volunteers they’ve ever had, which doesn’t surprise me a bit since I’ve been working on projects with him for years.

I’ve been here for three days, in the company of Jeff’s visiting brother (with his wife) and my girlfriend who accompanied me down here. I’ll catch you up on some of the highlights of those days in coming posts. For now, the story of our arrival.

June and I arrived at midnight after a 14-hour drive from the Washington D.C. area. Since the park (and Many Moons) is on an island, Jeff had to pick us up by boat. June stayed a few days before driving my car back to my house. Those doing The Great Loop find inventive ways to leave and return to their boat, and I’m lucky to have friends to help.
The morning after our midnight arrival, we took the ferry across to retrieve our stuff.
Everyone who visits this island-park must take their stuff onto the ferry in a wheelbarrow. If they are staying in the campground or a cabin, they must push that wheelbarrow of stuff a fair distance — or, they can ask a ranger for a ride.
My “stuff” included Boo, in her carrier. I could have left her home on land, but what would this adventure be without Boo the Boating Cat along for company and entertainment? Many Loopers take their pets along.
Hontoon Island State Park on the St. Johns River is one of the lesser-known Florida state parks, but a gem.

Jeff was back at work the morning after our arrival — here, pressure-washing the docks, which he would later stain.
In his capacity as park volunteer, Jeff’s “uniform” of sorts includes a t-shirt, cap, and even name tag.

4 thoughts on “Many Moons Reunion

  1. It was good to see and hear your voice for a fleeting second as we motored by yesterday! We will be in Sanford for at least a week and will stop in Hontoon on the way back north. Hopefully we can have a proper visit. Glad to read that you’re continuing the loop on your own terms. See you down the road. James Iverson MV Alvin James

    Sent from my iPhone



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