4,000 Miles and Still Going…

Sitting at a gusty but private anchorage tonight near the town of Swansboro, N.C., it all seems so improbable. On July 30 last year, the Mainship Many Moons left Keweenaw Bay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to start The Great Loop, not knowing how far we would get. Along the way, we’ve learned that we are smaller, slower, older, and less “equipped” than the average Looping boat. Along the way, I left the boat for three months and Jeff stayed put for about two. Now here we are, more than 4,000 under-way miles later, on Day #238 and Stop #105 — well “ahead of the pack” of Loopers lingering south of us as they await warmer weather to the north.

Like I said. Improbable!

Also improbable was the waterside wave we got from a couple today as we passed by Wilmington, N.C. We grew up together in Michigan but haven’t communicated in decades. They spend time in Wilmington each year, and contacted me weeks ago to find out when we might be passing through. Many texts and updates later, we yelled and waved at each other at a predetermined spot. Fun! Thanks for coming out, guys!

We went east as much as north today in our 70-mile cruise, as the land mass reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean. After three nights and a very soggy day at Carolina Beach State Park, we were glad to feel the sea breezes again. I did enjoy a rainy day in port, though–in the way you enjoy something when it’s rare. Time to make brownies. Do laundry. Take a wet (but warm) hike. Read a book. And hear a local’s sad story about an abusive husband, autistic child, and life in a camper. Underway life isn’t always easy, but it certainly is easier than hers.

Counting my blessings….photos and captions below.

P.S. As I write, coyotes yip nearby, seemingly in the midst of twinkling town lights. Are they often so near humans, I wonder? We hear them often in far-north Michigan, but they’re usually far from us.

The 4,000-mile route taken by Many Moons since leaving Michigan in July 2021. The blue dots represent stops–both marinas and anchorages. If/when Many Moons completes The Loop, the blue dots will intersect.
During the all-day rain at Carolina Beach State Park, I took a long walk to absorb the quieter hues of nature-when-wet. (It was a pretty warm day. Warm rain is rather comforting.)
See what I mean about quieter hues? Nature doesn’t always shout. Sometimes, it whispers.
At the park, we maneuvered the boat to the fuel dock in close quarters and a steady drizzle in order to take advantage of the price…$3.80/gallon! (diesel)…before it went up by a full dollar/gallon. The park ranger had to reach way down to hand the fuel hose to Jeff on the floating dock.
Jeff celebrates our good fortune at finding a good fuel price.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway gets close to the ocean at places. It’s on the other side of that sand spit.
Mark and Brenda Rosenlund, who we knew in Michigan decades ago, came out to greet us as we passed Wilmington, N.C. We were sorry we didn’t arrange to stop and chat.
They took this pic of us passing under this bridge as it began to close. It had opened for a boat in front of us, but Jeff told the bridge tender it could close as we passed under. We are only 14 feet tall and know the height of bridges before we approach them.
We passed Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base for miles and miles, past signs warning of live-fire exercises. We considered a popular anchorage near here, but Jeff said he “prefers not to get woke up by “ka-boom!””
At Onslow Beach Bridge, Eleanor Grace caught up to and passed us. We reconnected with them in Beaufort S.C. nine days ago. We saw them pull into Barefoot as we pulled out. Then we saw them pull into Southport as we pulled out. We’ve been about 10 miles ahead of them and keeping an eye on them.
…and now, they are ahead of us as seen here on the boat-tracking app called Nebo.
Marcy on Eleanor Grace took this photo of us as we passed through the bridge behind them. You can just make out three more boats behind us. Many bridges on the intracoastal open on a schedule, and boats go through in a parade. We waited 20 minutes for this one to open.
This sign on Onslow Bridge reminded us that we were still in military territory.
Eleanor Grace hit the throttle after passing us to make it to Beaufort (N.C.) by nightfall. We aren’t fast enough to do that. We’ll be there tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “4,000 Miles and Still Going…

  1. Your comment about nature not always shouting but sometimes whispering was lovely. It reminded me of your beautiful writing style. After reading this, I felt warm and comforted somehow. Manny and I will be starting that improbable journey as soon as we find the perfect Looper boat. Roz, Admiral and firstmate


  2. Enjoying your Great Loop blog. We finished in Oct of 2019 in Pickwick Lake ( Aqua yacht harbour marina) – The Blessing 🇨🇦


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