What an awesome surprise awaited us as Sanctuary was happily greeted along the channel in Muskegon by marina friends and family. A group of looper boats followed us into the channel and back to our home marina to help celebrate our completion of the Great Loop and return home. We had a wonderful time sharing our home port with our Looper friends who had not visited Muskegon or Michigan before. Feeling filled to the brim with a sense of overwhelming love and outpouring of shared joy over crossing our wake as we return home. A great ending to a great adventure! It is sad to see our fellow Loopers leave to continue their own great adventure. We wish them blessings and travel mercies as they travel closer to crossing their wakes too.
Sanctuary Returns to Muskegon
We left one year ago with a crisp, new white AGLCA flag on the bow of Sanctuary. Now that same flag looks faded, soiled, tattered and worn, but that is to be expected after a year of sun, rain, wind, and storms. Our flag has led us over 5778 miles of water ways, 16 states and two countries. It has stood guard on the bow of Sanctuary day and night and never asked for a break. The flag has protected us in calm anchorages and others that were rough, but it never went off duty. One night during strong winds, it was almost swept off the deck when one of its tethers broke loose. Yet, our flag survived by clinging to the remaining attachment. A little rest indoors out of the sun and elements will be in order when the new gold flag takes its place.
In every port and anchorage, our AGLCA flag announced:
“Loopers are Here!”
The flag helped the crew of Sanctuary meet many wonderful people. We think those announcements were one of our flag’s most important jobs—leading us to priceless friendships and memories, and a collection of over 210 boat cards. We are blessed and extremely thankful to have shared Loop sights, sounds, and memories with family, longtime friends and new friends. Each of you contributed in your own way, including those back at home who encouraged, prayed, read and commented on our posts. All y’all helped make our adventure a most remarkable journey. We give credit to God for bringing us through from beginning to end.
This same flag escorted us to sunny shores, through severe down pours, warm and humid temperatures, but never icy or snowy. Our flag has been part of many sunrise and sunset photos along the way. It has shown us remote mangroves, deserted shores, crowded waterways and tall sky scrapers. A few of the trip highlights it led us to: Boot Key Harbor, Baie Fine, dolphin escorts, Egmont Key, manatee sightings, rainbows, the Statue of Liberty, Today Show appearance, Washington DC, and numerous parades and celebrations.
When we return to Muskegon Michigan, our Great Loop adventure will be complete. When someone completes the loop, they graduate and are entitled to a Gold Flag and are now identified as a Gold Looper. Some might say to throw out that old tattered and torn flag. Not so—we plan to place our precious flag in a proper display, honoring it for leading us around the loop safely.
So now when you see Sanctuary with her shiny, crisp new Gold Flag, remember the Gold Flag receives the honor for completion, but the faded, soiled, tattered and worn flag braved the entire loop with us.
To our flag we say;
Thank you for this Great Adventure!