We visited Fort Myers and attended the AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association) event. This included a daylong seminar titled, “Great Loop Cruising: A guide to the Looper Lifestyle.”
The loop is a circular route going around the eastern half of the United States encompassing about 6,000 miles.
During the seminar, Gold Loopers (people who have completed at least one loop) told about their experiences. Sitting at our table, we met boaters who keep their boat in Holland and winter in Florida. It’s a small world after all! There must have been 150 attendees. Everyone seemed eager to introduce themselves and were friendly.
A couple of tips gleaned from the presentation:
- Keep no schedule; and stick with it!
- Be flexible
- Slow down and savor the waterways!
Chris and Alyse Caldwell gave presentations on: “Cruising Together,” “What Not to Leave Without, Provisioning and more.” If you get an opportunity to attend one of their seminars, we’d highly recommend them. The couple gave practical tidbits and advice for those who plan to cruise. Visit their site for more information; http://captainchrisyachtservices.com/
On the way to Trawler Fest, we stopped at a park by Lake Okeechobee and enjoyed a picnic lunch. While there, we saw the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam. Loopers travel through the Okeechobee Waterway to get from the Gulf to the Atlantic.
Lake Okeechobee is a fresh water lake.
We traveled along the canal leading from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic and saw looper boats going through. It is hard to imagine that one day this could also be us on our boat going through that same passageway!
We also attended the Trawler Fest in Rivera Beach, Florida. Steve attended a 2-day Diesel Engine Maintenance and repair training class. One classmate lives in Singapore. The presenters were Nigel Calder and Steve Zimmerman. The class proved very informative and hopefully will help keep Sanctuary running at her best.
After the class, we attended the Trawler Fest: a boat and equipment show. Even though it rained for two days straight, it was still preferred over the frigid weather at home. We saw everything from multimillion dollar yachts to simple inflatable dinghies.
While at Trawler Fest, we ordered an expensive shiny metal object for Teresa and Sanctuary. It is important to keep the girls happy. In the spring, Sanctuary will have a new Mantus anchor (AKA – expensive shiny metal object). The salesman and wife team originated from Ludington Michigan, but now live on their boat in Florida.
We are now a new member of the MTOA (Marine Trawlers Owners Association) and received a burgee for Sanctuary to prove it. Our MTOA member number is 5310.
While only present at the marina site for one day, we gathered a lot of information, boat cards, and links to investigate.
In our travels, we find it extremely interesting to view Florida even from the car windows. Wildlife, orange trees and flowers, road signs, pooling of water in such low elevation reminds us that we are indeed in a “foreign” land.