Many Moons Comes Home


Mainship Many Moons returned today to her homeport of Huron Bay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, with Jeff’s son Josh and grandson Jaxtyn on board for the final leg. It was a big family event and milestone for the three of them. Congrats to three generations!

The Great Loop, plus. Done.

I’ve seen this kind of boating called “nautical tourism,” which sounds like a vacation. It wasn’t that. Some people think of it as extended pleasure boating. It wasn’t that either. You also hear it called “the trip of a lifetime.” I’ll buy that. Memorable? Yes! Unique? Absolutely. And a lot of work…two people on a 34′ boat making it happen by themselves, day-by-day, in all kinds of weather and water conditions, punctuated by physical and mental challenges, facing decisions almost daily about timing and priorities and expenses.

But what about the fun, you ask? Of course–that, too! It’s just not as ubiquitous as the casual reader probably assumes.

Jeff returns home to be feted as the adventurer and conquering hero while I return home to reflect. Because a journey isn’t just about the taking; it’s also about what you “take home” from it. Or so I believe. Photos and captions below.

Leaving Munising well before dawn.
This boat has gone through three flags during this journey. They tatter pretty quickly.
I will miss watching the colors of the water change…
…and keep on changing.
Many Moons under way again on Lake Superior.
Our stops up the east coast and northern Michigan on the way home. (We went down the west coast of Michigan on the way out. The stops in the north are repeats.)
Passing red cliffs on the southern shore of Lake Superior.
Approaching Marquette.
I went to college in this city and became a working journalist here – both broadcast and print. I’m sure nobody here remembers me.. Just as well, since journalists have rather a bad reputation these days!
Jeff’s family and friends came to greet him, as his hometown is just two hours away. (Mine is not much farther, but my family has moved away.)
That’s an old ore dock behind the boat. Mining was big in rhe U.P.–both copper and iron ore–for decades. My grandpa was a copper miner here when he first immigrated.
I drove to my camp on Huron Bay to enjoy its beauty while Jeff did the last leg of the trip with others. (A friend from the east coast brought my car to me. I won’t miss the complicated logistics of getting to/from the boat! Many Loopers work that issue. Jeff himself never left the boat.)
I sure have missed my bonfires!
Many Moons arrives at Huron Bay, where she will anchor off shore (near my camp) while Jeff decides his next steps.
Jeff’s grandson (and first grandchild) Jaxtyn joined him on the last leg of the boat trip. A perfect ending!

22 thoughts on “Many Moons Comes Home

  1. I imagine that bonfires and reflections are natural ways of winding down from the daily pressures of the long journey. Job well done, Mary! Your family in Virginia misses you and celebrates your journaling. We all went with you to places we would never have seen if it hadn‘t been for your pictures and confessions of the soul. It‘s the book one wants to hold long after finishing the last chapter.

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    1. Thank you for your consistent interest and support! On evenings when I did not feel up to writing, I knew you were waiting for the next installment and that kept me going. 😃

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  2. Mary and Jeff, We briefly met you guys in south haven Michigan early in your journey. We were in the slip next to you. That was our longest trip we have taken, saugutuck to south haven in our boat. I stumbled across your blog shorty after and have enjoyed following your journey. Hopefully one day I can take the trip myself. Thank you for sharing your journey and congratulations to the both of you. Take care. Matt

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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    1. Oh my goodness, I remember South Haven! And I believe I remember meeting you. How nice to hear this period thanks so much. Wishing you the best as you pursue the idea yourself. I know you will have many sources of inspiration and support but feel free to write to me also when the time comes.

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  3. I will probably have withdrawal symptoms now that the trip is complete. It was amazing and so was your writing and pictures. In 1964 a friend and I took my cabin cruiser from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh a 1000 mile round trip on the Ohio river it took two weeks but it pales in comparison to your journey………Walt

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  4. I already have withdrawal symptoms. Many thanks to Walt Brater for keeping me abreast of such a fabulous journey on Many Moons. It was as if I were on deck myself. Your comments & especially your photos were so professional. I would be proud to see it all again if it were in book form.

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  5. We were just thinking of you. It was about this time last year that we made Mackinac Island so calculated that by now you should be close to home. Congratulations on the completion of the Great American Loop.

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  6. Good morning, Mary, To me, this post is a sad occasion. Yes, I have followed you and Jeff through your many trials and many times I thought you were wacko. I wonder how many individuals have followed you two through your writings and pictures and how many would think as I did. Did you have many others that chatted with you through the trip? Amazing: North going South, turning left and going East, pausing for a side trip to, of all places- Egypt. Then, back on board to go somewhat Northeast to go eventually straight north and returning to Northwest. I have appreciated your commentary, Mary. Your pictures were no less telling. There were soooooooo many times that I wanted to take you aside and allow you to unravel your thoughts. Perhaps, I should recall a bit of biography.

          Dad was in the Navy, discharged in 1946, L.T. Comdr. He commanded a small ship out of Hawaii. We settled into our family home in New Jersey. Lucky for us, he never got the salt out of his veins. We started chartering sailboats in the early 50s and covered the waters of New York (L.I. Sound). Each year, he became more confident in his crew (family, I was born in '39), and we moved to larger vessels and bolder territories. Annually, we covered the waters from Cape Cod to much of the Canadian Maritimes. Fog, weather and other obstacles abounded, and to this day, I am amazed that we did it all with no Radar (or even Loran), no Dept Finder (I threw a weight), no GPS (Eldridge's). We have been there, done that! 
    
          So the purpose of the above? Can we share stories? You mentioned that you had a friend in Maine. May I invite you to our abode in Tenants Harbor? Presumably, you will be building in God's country (MI) so you might be busy. But then, you might have duties in the DC area. In either event, It would be an honor. 
    

    Jock

    PS In case you don’t recall who the devil we are, Day and Jock Cowperthwaite had the pleasure of sharing breakfast with you in Beaufort (SC) and then researched the town for Frank’s diabetic meds.

    John K. Cowperthwaite, Jr. PO Box 261 Tenants Harbor, ME 04860

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    1. How perfectly you describe that! Thank you guys so much for being part of our journey in so many ways. As if I could forget who you are! And believe me, I do think about visiting you guys in the northeast.

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