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Katie, Reggie, Louise and I completed America’s Great Loop on September 4th, 2014. Crossing our wake just north-east of Northport Point, my stomach was in knots as I processed that it was the last day. I didn’t write in my journal for 5 days because I was having a hard time understanding what I was actually feeling, I was drawing blanks. It’s been nearly 4 months and I am still unsure If I can find the right words, hence my reluctancy to write this post. From the moment I got home, I stopped writing, I stopped reading, I stopped looking at the clouds, I stopped appreciating where I was, and suddenly 4 months passed and I don’t think I have accomplished a thing. Today is the last day of the year, and the first day I am realizing that it is is all in the past. Mission complete : )

I thought it would be fun to reveal my very first, and last journal entries

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This photo was the morning we left Northport, fueling up and saying our goodbyes. We look like babies.

September 4th, 2012  // Leland, MI

“Sitting on the dock in Leland. Cannot figure out how to start this journal for the life of me, I’ve never been one to write. English was my least favorite class. Last Fall Katie and I decided to buy a boat, and sail it to the Bahamas. Today we left. And for some reason, I am more relaxed right now than I have been all summer. I am happy. I wonder if it will last. Reggie is eating flies. Katie is fixing our amateur dock-line situation, Ben and Tucker are grilling us a bass dinner. This is the beginning. I have zero answers to my millions of questions. I don’t know where we will end up, or if we will ever make it home. I don’t know how we are going to make money. I am impressed we even made it here today without hitting something. The only thing I know is that I have a new home now, and it sails.

When we rounded Northport point and I took the last look at my little town, the only thing clear was that I haven’t a clue what I am doing. But I am okay with it. I know we will be okay. I know we will mess up. But it’s okay. In two days we will be in Muskegon to un-step our mast and cross to Chicago. As much as I am looking forward to Katie and I being on our own, and figuring things out together, I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to Ben – who will be getting off the boat in Muskegon. I don’t know when I will see him again. I don’t expect him to wait. If I linger on the subject it makes me queasy.

Quickly we are becoming resourceful. Peeing off the stern to save room in our holding tank, and trapping bugs by duct taping them to the ceiling.  The return fuel line even popped off and diesel was everywhere in the engine room. Ben fixed it before I even registered what the problem was and when he asked me what I would have done if he wasn’t there I said ‘ Shit. I don’t know.’

This is fun. I wonder whats next.”

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Angry skies on our last leg home.

September 2nd,  2014 // Sturgeon Bay, MI

“I’ll never forget this day.  I have given up. I’m crumbling like a stale muffin. Screaming like a boiling tea pot. Mother nature does NOT want us to make it home, she has dictated every decision we have made as incorrect. With 34 miles to travel from Mackinac to Beaver, we left the harbor knowing it wasn’t going to be a pleasant ride. At this point home is around the corner, if something goes wrong – I can call the wizard, even though he probably wouldn’t answer the phone. Every degree we turn the wind follows, every tack we make is pushing us backwards. In 8 hours, the Mackinac Bridge is the exact same distance behind us. When we passed underneath the structure, it was magnificent. Now I just want it to go away. By 7 pm we give up, darkness is closing in, Beaver Island is too far. A mushroom cloud is taking over half of the sky. Its been creeping on us all afternoon and at this point we are being stalked. The wind continues to increase nearly stopping us in our tracks. We divert to “Sturgeon Cove”.  The change of course lays Louise on her side and we fly forward moving the same speed as the storm clouds. We can’t outrun them anymore. The sky has turned Mammatus, my favorite of all clouds, although it represents nastiness. We set anchor in the cove, which is not at all a cove, exposed in every direction but one. In the cockpit I am stiff, perplexed – I am done. Spending the a few days with our Mothers on Mackinaw was so comforting, I could taste home, making these last 3 days unbearable. I just want to be there. Right now is the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, which is kind of making me angry. The sky has been raping us all day, and suddenly it wants to cuddle.”

I really had myself convinced I was over it, ready to be home, ready to move on. Over the last 4 months, it is clear to me that my frustrations were mistaken. I was only hating that it was all coming to an end. I spent two years figuring out my role on the water, and suddenly I had to do it all over again on land. I didn’t want to start over. I spent all my time thinking about what my life on land would be like once I got home, and now here I am spending all my time thinking about what my life would be like if I never came home. Reading back on this now makes me laugh. Sometimes things only make sense in retrospect.

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Two days later, we round Northport Point on a cloudy day wearing nothing but smiles. Well not really, we had clothes on. We knew the “dad’s” would be zooming our direction in the Pantera at any moment and kept a close eye on the horizon.  Katie’s phone rung, it was her Dad, “Hey girls, we broke down we gotta hop on the Mastercraft, but keep on coming.”  We found this hilarious and envisioned throwing a line to the broke down “Pantera” and towing them back to the marina for our grand finale. I mean what are the chances that the dads break down on their way to welcome home their daughters? Silly question. The chances are good, very good.

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In no time, we spot 4 jackasses ( I say that with love ) hooting and hollering like teenage boys. My dad was driving the Master-craft at what looked like full throttle. We immediately start laughing so hard we’re crying. They keep coming towards us, and my Dad circles around so close to the cockpit he drenches us with spray. They were just as excited as we were, if not more. They were proud. We were proud. The moment was better than the one I had dreamt up in my head since day one, instantly erasing any negative I had ever felt. We did it.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did it.

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To my readers… thank you for coming back time and again. You are the our greatest source of encouragement.

There is so much more I have to say.

So many people to thank.

This blog is not over yet.

We have several presentations coming up this month, and I will keep you updated on the when & where.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

 

WE DID ITTTTTTTTTTT!!!!

 

40 thoughts on “WE DID IT!!!!!!!

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing writing and photos. You have convinced me to make this happen. The plan is the fall of 2016 Hope to see you both in Chicago later this month. Congratulations! Jake Krancic Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Thanks Katie and Jessie…it was a fun ride. My friend and I have done a good portion of the “Loop” and I’m desperately trying to talk my wife into taking a year off and spending some time together with other water folks doing exactly what you have done. I’ve toyed with the idea of a MacGregor with a 4 stroke but a lazy part of me likes a trawler. As long as I’m on the water.

    If you had one thing to say that would convince my wife that a trip around the loop would be the trip of a lifetime, what would that be?

    Congratulations and again, thanks for the ride.

    Stan

    1. Ask your wife what the best days of 2014 were for her? And she will say… “hmmmm, let me think about that for a minute”
      Then tell her that if she spends a year traveling the loop, her immediate answer will be too long to answer in a single sentence : )

  3. Congrats girls!! So happy for you to complete your journey!

    Glad I got a chance to meet you when you were in Catskill NY….hope you remember me and stop in again if you’re in the area!!

    Regards,
    Lori @ The Purple Food Truck

  4. Congratulations! You girls ROCK and please dont stop writing about your adventures. I know personally that there are lots of things you didnt write about. Maybe you should start writing about those things 🙂

    Happy New Year!!

  5. Congratulations, and thanks for bringing the rest of us along vicariously! I hope the two of you never loose your desire for adventure, no matter where life leads.

  6. Trip of a life time, since meeting Katie at the La De Da in Lee Vinning, I have enjoyed following along on your adventure. Having met half of the crew in person has added a dimension to your writing. The photos have been amazing, you are an true artist, something you should pursue. Publish a book of your travels. I will miss reading your muse. Due to your trip, we have encouraged our Daughter to pursue her dream of travel and she will be leaving on a round the globe trip in 2 weeks, (by air). Thank you for sharing and please find a way to continue to enlighten us.

  7. Congratulations!! About a year ago I found your blog/website. Each month I looked forward to, and loved, reading of your adventures. Just as one doesn’t want a good book to end, I didn’t want your blog to end.
    Your journey (great loop) is on my “bucket list” of things to accomplish. I’m ready to trade my offshore racer in for a cruiser.
    You will never know how much of an inspiration you two (..and Reggie) have been. I hope you consider appearing at boat shows and cruising seminars. I’m sure many would pay to here you.
    Take Care, God Bless!
    Bob

  8. Congratulations…Yes you all did it….When you compile your book( you have already wrote it) label your photos…like Mom, Dad, Uncle…We enjoyed meeting you all…Yes, we will treat you to dinner again, when you are in town….Your life adventure continues!

  9. Congratulations on what sounds like an outstanding voyage! I enjoyed reading of your great adventures, and hope to read more in the future.

  10. Congrats! I have really enjoyed following your 2 year adventure. I commend both of you for the courage and the strength that you have shown to complete this ” Journey of Dreams”. I wish both of you the best and hope that you continue to explore and live life to the fullest.

    Thank You for sharing.

    Cheers!
    John

  11. After more than a year since we returned, our friends still like to hear “Tales of the Great Loop.” So we run out the beauties of the Hudson and Canada, the glories of Chicago, the terrors of the Mississippi, the decadence of Stock Island, etc., etc.

    But among our favorites is “Then there were these two girls (I know, young women, but I’m old) on a beautiful little Cal 27 and a fantastic dog and a cat with a few problems.” But thanks to Bird, we got a cat in Demopolis, Alabama, and little Sparta is curled up in luxury on John’s bed right now.

    Two girls — beautiful girls, funny girls, great writers, great seamen, great daughters, great people.

    Aloha oukou,

    Paul & John
    Memsahib

  12. Y’all are awesome and have been a great inspiration to me as I have begun sailing and am preparing to leave circumhorborgating fir deeper waters! See you in Chicago!

  13. Found your Blog two months ago, got up at 8am didn’t stop reading until I finish 11pm…..I’m looking for a sailboat! Worst part is the delays in your postings.

  14. Well done and congratulations. you both are very inspiring. My girls aged 5 & 6 loved your blogs (ones called Jessie also). We plan to retire soon with the girls to sail around the world and you do inspire us to do it. We plan to leave next year. Take care and keep us all posted on what you do whatever it is. love from the UK. PS The photo’s are superb.

  15. Congratulations on your accomplishment!!! This has been my favorite blog about the Great Loop. Your pictures and honesty have just put it at the top of my list. Thank You so much for sharing your adventure over the last two years!!!

    P. S. I initially found you while reading Swing Set on the Hook. Mike spoke so highly of you that I had to go and read your blog. Took me a little while to get caught up since you were already in the Bahamas, but it was well worth the effort.

  16. Congratulations!!! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and following your progress. I feel like I do when I finish a really good book. I’m not ready for it to be over! Thanks for sharing and good luck in your future endeavors. You’re a real inspiration to all of us!

  17. Congratulation Ladies! You did something that most people would be afraid to attempt and for that you should be very proud. Thank you for allowing us to share in your adventure through your blog. I hope you ladies set off on another adventure soon…and take all of us in cyberspace with you!

  18. Congratulations to both of you!

    Found you guys when Pat posted about you on your initial visit to Cedar Key and how they rescued you from the harbor. Have checked the blog almost daily since. It has been fun following your adventures. Having traveled to the GA and SC coast since a childhood, I found your recap of your visit to Cumberland Island and Dafuskie Island very familiar and well written.

    Best of luck to you both. I will miss the weekly mindless entertainment your blog provided. Hopefully, Pat will fill in the void with more postings on his blog!

    Parker
    Charlotte, NC

  19. There are those who DO, and there are those that talk about doing. Not having all the facts makes it a bit easier to Do! You don’t have to see over the horizon to live life nor even the horizon itself- you just have to see what is out in front of you and take a step. Grand inspiration will come on the way.

    My next step is the Maryland School of Sailing!

    So very happy for you both. I love the Loop pennant! No one can take that away from you!!!

    Now, about that Ocean Cruisers Club pennant…

  20. You guys kept me entertained for so long, it was a pleasure to follow you on the loop. I hope you both continue to explore the world around us and continue to blog about it. Hats off to you ladies!

  21. What a wonderful trip you’ve taken! Congratulations, and I’m sure it won’t be the last excitement. I look forward to hearing what comes next for you, Katine & Reggie.

  22. I stumbled across your blog early on (you had only just arrived in Chicago) and have followed it ever since. Day by day, week by week, anticipating your next entry; the start of your next chapter! So well done in so many ways; the writing, the pictures, the heart and soul! I live in CT (although I did live in Michigan as a child) with my wife and 4 year old daughter and are avid boaters on the CT river and around Long Island Sound. My wife and I both have the loop on the top of our priority lists for retirement and “living” your adventure through both of you only cements our decision as the correct one! (Although that’s still 20+ years down the road!) Congratulations both of you for an amazing job and for being such an inspiration to so many. I look forward to your next adventure. You both will be successful in what ever is next, that is clear. As long as your blog is still available to read in the coming years when my daughter is old enough to read it and understand it, I am certainly going to show it to her and hope that she reads it from start to finish. (Or maybe there will be a book by then!) I want her to know that she has no limits and she, like both of you, are capable of anything you put your mind too. From an inspired father, thank you!

  23. I have to say it, I am sad this trip has come to an end. I am happy for you girls and a congratulations is due, but still kind of sad. I loved reading about your trip. It helped me escape a little. Some days, jumping into a boat and sailing off sounds exactly like what I need! Thank you for the awesome journey and the beautiful photography. I’ve been receiving the email updates for almost a year now, and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. I wish you two the best in your future endeavors and I hope to someday hear more tales of adventures! Take care.

  24. Congratulations Ladies (and Reggie),
    From our first meeting in the first lock south of Chicago we have enjoyed your company and your blog. You have come a very long way from those early days. Two girls who were unsure how to anchor are now two very impressive sailors. You battled mother nature and murphy and won. Like us, you now have to answer the quesiton “What next?” Relax, the next chapter will most likely be almost as interesting as the last. If you ever want a boat to hang out on or a place to stay at the top of the Chesapeake, you have our address.

  25. Congratulations!

    What an accomplishment!!

    I sorta figured you had crossed the finish line, but nonetheless, I’m glad to get the official word.

    Mixed feelings, yes, I know about that. The good news is that you finished. the bad news is that you finished.

    Personally, I will miss the adventure (oops, I accidentally worded that like I was with you, ha) but these things must come to an end. Your posts were always a joy to read: something new each post, quite eclectic.

    I want you girls to get rested up real good. Your next adventure will come sooner than you think. You can get a little comfy in the familiar setting of home, family, and friends. Just remember, your next adventure awaits you and will someday jump out of the bushes and scare the daylights out of you, as in “What? We could never do that!”

    Thanks again.

    Blessings,

    AlanG

  26. Congratulations to the both of you on completing your adventure! We have never met, but I actually first learned of your journey and this blog from the story in the Leelanau Enterprise after you arrived back in Northport last fall. I looked up the blog and have pretty much read the whole thing. The pictures are great, the stories are well written, and the videos are fun! I love the can-do attitude you both took on the journey and your willingness to let strangers share in your journey. Now I want to sail the Loop! Thanks for sharing all your stories on this blog!

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