Where are the Loopers? Here!


Now that I’m back on The Loop, I find myself wondering where the other Loopers are now. Well, here! Some of them, anyway. Three other Looping boats joined us this week at Hontoon Island State Park on the St. Johns River in Central Florida, and three more passed by recently or arrived as we prepared to leave. This is a bit surprising because this park is more than 100 miles off The Loop route. But it’s also not surprising because this is a well-known “destination river” for those passing time in Florida before heading north. And most Loopers are spending the winter in Florida, by design — some of them three months or more. Most of our friends are south of us, but I’m heartened to see that a few are slightly north of us as we prepare to head that way. We are cleaning and organizing the boat for travel after my 6 days here, and Jeff’s 6 weeks. As he ends his stint here as park volunteer and then marina host, there’s the usual mixed feelings … sadness to leave new friends behind and eagerness to move forward. (Sort of like military duty, when you’re always saying good-bye to someone as duty stations change.) I’ll publish one more post featuring the awesome flora and fauna of Hontoon and then will post from under way again as we head north. Forward, Many Moons! About 3,400 miles under your hull, and about 3,000 more to go. Maybe. 😉 Photos and captions below. {Note, for those tracking our daily movements via this blog: As I write this, we have left Hontoon Island and are anchored in Silver Glen Spring on our way northward. And, for anyone who has experienced technical challenges–which is all of us!–I’m amazed I got this post done, at anchor, after my laptop lost its charge and then my clumsy tablet-with-remote-keyboard option raised a ruckus and then we couldn’t find batteries for the keyboard. It feels like another “shakedown cruise.” 😉 But I’m grateful my mobile hotspot works here, as I remember many signal-less days on the inland river system. Why do I bother? It anchors my memories. And I know that many of you look forward to the next post. Thank you! PS: Boo-the-cat is doing fine.}

A quartet of Looping boats in the quiet fog of morning; Many Moons, DeDe, Sea Moor and Red Knot.
Bonfire with fellow Loopers Jim and Jeri of Red Knot, Robin and Joe of Sea Moor, Diane and Henry of DeDe. Sea Moor and DeDe are on their second round of The Great Loop. Henry and Diane did their first loop in 2015 and started this one last September. Their boat is just 28 feet long.
More than 100 Looping boats – maybe a lot more – are spending the winter in Florida, waiting for warmer weather to head north. Most other Loopers are south of us.
Most dinghies spend their days while in port on the back of a boat. This one gets used daily when I’m around. Here, it’s tied to Hontoon Landing across from the park. (See Many Moons across the river?) People often point, chuckle or even laugh when they see me rowing this thing. I guess nobody rows any more? At least not a dinghy like this little gem.
I borrowed a fellow campground volunteer’s kayak for a spin. More boats have joined us in the slips.
I brought down a new flag for the boat when I came by car. (Flags last a few months on boats before they start to tatter.) See the paddle-wheel boat in the background? It runs on donations alone.
Hontoon Island State Park boasts miles of trails…and palms.
Late afternoon is a great time to hike the park.
This popular resting spot sits atop an old Indian shell mound and next to a gigantic live oak.
This park will miss Jeff’s industriousness when we leave.
This park is the only free one in the Florida state system and is supported by donations.

7 thoughts on “Where are the Loopers? Here!

  1. Greetings from Lanse, MI.
    Thank you for boarding the boat again and gifting us with your posts! Gail and I were going through opiate withdrawal during your absence. Our best wishes to You and Jeff going forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With your permission, the CAPT. AND i ,would like to swipe the first picture on this post. The composition in the picture is fantastic. The mist, partially obscuring the fauna in the background, the way the light colors of the vessels reflect on the still waters. Absolutely Beautiful….Bill, (the Capt.), Shirley (the Admiral), Landlocked with “The Reel Deal” in Kansas City,MO> until June.

    Like

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