July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

A Friend In Every Port
By Kismet, Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 When Jim and I began our quest for boating adventures far from our home waters of the Great Lakes, we never could’ve imagined what gems, in terms of social benefits and interactions, awaited us. We rather naively expected to see some beautiful sights while learning more about boating and navigation as we made our way around the eastern part of the United States on our first 6,000-mile Great Loop trip, but the social benefits seemed to escape us at the time. We were so focused on the overall undertaking and preparation there seemed to be little time to comprehend what other advantages lay in store.

During the initial days of our first Loop we were in our own little bubble and quite content to meander by ourselves, first down the Michigan coastline from Charlevoix to Frankfort then, after we crossed Lake Michigan, continuing down the Wisconsin coast and on to Chicago. During this period we were basically learning how to coexist and divide up chores as we started to define our new lifestyle. We worked hard on developing communication between Captain and First Mate while underway and we both struggled to verbalize as well as listen to each other concerning our individual needs and expectations. We find that these skills are imperative when living in the close confines of a 40-foot boat.

We love this shot of the time we met up with a few boats on Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands. We’d all met on the Illinois or Tennessee Rivers five months earlier. Three of us happened to be from Michigan.

After about a week and a half we arrived at the marina in Burnham Harbor, Chicago. Soon after we tied up on the end of one of the t-docks we were looking over at the t-dock just north of us and noticed a Looper burgee prominently displayed on the bow of a beautiful Nordhavn boat. We immediately felt a kinship to this boat and it’s inhabitants as we flew the same burgee on Kismet, so we thought we must have similar goals and interests. After calling to each other across the fairway, brief introductions were made and a plan to dinghy over was shortly arranged. Later in the evening we met again for cocktails and a tour of Evelyn J. This was where we first met Mike and Carol Gordon, also our first Looper encounter. The Gordons were three quarters of the way through their trip and had a lot of good information to share with us. They encouraged us to look them up when we got to their hometown of Fairhope, Alabama, which we have done on both of our Loop trips.

We have paid a visit to the Gordons several times when traveling through their lovely hometown of Fairhope, Alabama. The Gordons were the first Southerners we met who showed us what Southern hospitality was all about.

Meeting the Gordons was just one of many encounters we’ve been privileged to experience while traveling some 10,000 miles (and counting) on our boat Kismet. The more we travel the more acquaintances we accumulate and as we keep re-bumping into some of the same people over and over again, friendships are nurtured and deepened. The statement about having a “friend in every port” is not a big stretch of the truth. We are constantly bumping into boaters we have met in some other part of the United States, Bahamas or even the Pacific Northwest. Quite often we’ll plan our route to include a port where we know we can visit someone we have met before.

Not all the boaters we meet are Loopers. The boating community is vast and diverse. We have been very fortunate to meet people from all over the world who are living out their dream of seeing the world by boat. One time, we were stuck on the free wall in the town of Joliet, Illinois, due to heavy flooding on the Illinois River when we met a French family – parents and three teenagers. They were on a five-year trip sailing around the world. We probably won’t ever see them again but we will never forget them.

Bradenton, Florida was one of the anchorages where we met up with Wade and Suzie for a one-night stay. The next day we both pulled anchor and followed each other to the Fort Myers area where we again split up to go different directions.

One of the first things we do when we arrive at a marina is check out the other boats to see if there is anyone there we know. More often than not we find a familiar name and if there aren’t any recognizable to us there is always the great possibility that we can add another encounter to our growing list as we find boaters to be quite friendly people who generally like to hear where people came from and where they are going.

One of our favorite stories about making new friends began with a stop in Grafton, Illinois, which is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. We were stopping at the town dock, for just a few minutes, to run into town to pick up our mail (we had arranged for a package of mail to be sent to Grafton about a week before). On our way back from the Post Office, we noticed another boat tied up in front of Kismet and it wasn’t long before we introduced ourselves to Wade and Susie Ehlen, on Miss Happ. In this 20-minute introduction period we exchanged boat cards before we were both on our way into the Mississippi River. As the months wore on, we spent some memorable moments in the company of the Ehlens, as we’d find ourselves at the same marinas or anchorages. We would spend some time cruising together then we would go our separate ways because of different schedules and interests, but keeping in touch all the while to see if our paths might cross again, if so we would make plans to hook up. Consequently, we have both been to each other’s home (or, in our case, homeport, as we haven’t had a house since 2005) for visits by boat or by car when needing time off our boats.

Another story we love to tell is when we met Louis and Diane Wade, on Bella Luna, in our homeport of Charlevoix, Michigan. After a group of boats descended upon our marina the Wades approached our boat in their dinghy yelling to us, “You guys are one of the reasons we’re doing the Loop.” Louis religiously follows several Great Loop blogs/logs, ours being one of them, as research before they set out on their trip. It’s funny how just a chance encounter like this can really change your life for the better.

When Jim was helping our friend, Rick Garton, move a boat south down the ICW, just after we completed our first Loop, he ran into two boaters walking on the dock in Waterford, New York. The last time we had seen one of them was in that very spot just a few months earlier as we entered the Erie Canal. John was now helping Bob take his boat back south for the winter. They’d met during their Loops, became close friends and it made for a very typical encounter among boaters. On the same trip south Jim and Rick bumped into a woman, Mary Ellen, a singlehanded sailor, on Indigo Lady, in Sarnia, Canada. We had met her for the first time on the river system nine months earlier. (Mary Ellen is also one of the contributors to our book When the Water Calls, We Follow – Reflections While Traveling On The Great Loop Adventure, www.favorsventures.com/hm-bus.html).

Here we are, all tied up at the downtown dock in Savannah, Georgia. Five boats, good times.

As I’m writing this, Kismet is docked on the free town dock right in downtown Savannah, Georgia, along with five other boats that we’ve met in the past on one trip or another. As we have mentioned in previous logs, we have been traveling with the Wades on Bella Luna ever since we reached Morehead City, North Carolina; we’re traveling together for a couple of months and are headed for the St. Johns River in Florida. We reached Savannah together on Friday afternoon and secured our spots on the floating dock. We had talked with Bob and Charlotte Snider on Foreign Exchange on the radio earlier in the day and knew that they planned to join us on the dock early Saturday morning. When they showed up they let us know that they’d talked to Ed and Linda Brennan, on Shore Thing, and they also wanted to join us later in the day if there was enough room for them on the dock. On Sunday, we squeezed in Brantley and Brenda (friends of Louis and Diane, we had met them a few months ago), on Reel Estate mid-afternoon. They were just in time to join us for a big Happy Hour on the dock. Four out of the five boats had at one time or another met each other while traveling on the water. We are all migrating south towards Florida for the winter. Louis and Diane and Brantley and Brenda left from North Carolina, the Brennans from Connecticut, and the Snider’s from Toronto, Canada, we initially left from Solomons, Maryland where we spent the summer. (Diane, Charlotte, and Linda are all in our soon to be published book: Women On-Board, www.favorsventures.com/p/bus-wobc.html.)

Of course whenever more than a couple boats merge in one area a party is shortly organized on the dock. There was no exception the first night tied up in Savannah.

Because of our boat travels we’ve made close ties to people in Michigan, Alabama, Florida, New York, Connecticut, North and South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada. We have several ports to visit, on our trek south, where friends are waiting for us to stop. It is such a great feeling for us to recognize familiar boats and be able to hook up with them as we are all out there messing around in our boats. We look forward to the friend in every port, the welcome mat and the ready smiles. Whether we are standing still at our homeport marina or actively traveling, we are all ready to meet and greet each other with useful information or a helping hand, funny or interesting stories, usually followed with food and good cheer. What more could we ask for with the vagabond lifestyle we have chosen for ourselves?

 

 

The guys jockeyed the boats around tightening the space in-between so that we could fit one more boat in.