Friends, Linda and Gus and Pat and Sandy, join us in Key West as BellaBlue rounds its Southernmost point on the 7000+ mile Great Loop.
We are now on Gasparilla Island, FL. and moving south to the Keys over the next week. We’ve had a great time in St. Pete and seeing our old friend, Dale Ott, in Sarasota. Steve Horton and his wife, the previous owners of our boat, joined us for lunch as the boat (not us) crossed its wake by returning to its home port at Marina Jack’s in Sarasota.
Bella Blue in St. Pete FL
Well, we have not done a very good job of keeping our blog up-to-date. We have now been on the Loop for six months and have traveled over 4,000 miles, a little more than halfway around. We are now in Gulf Shores, AL about to head east across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. We have had a great time so far and have met some great Loopers. We hope to be able to finish the 7000 mile journey returning to Norfolk, VA for the Spring Rendezvous on May 6th, exactly one year to the day after starting America’s Great Loop.
We made it! We are finally Loopers after dreaming of this for 25 years. We’re at Waterside Marina in Norfolk, VA where we will officially start our Loop. The AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association) Rendezvous starts tomorrow with four days of seminars on cruising the Loop. So excited!!
We’re not newbies when it comes to cruising in Grand Banks but BellaBlue is a larger boat than DJ’s Folly and with all the latest electronics they didn’t have 25 years ago, we needed some training. Captain Dave Skolnick safely delivered us to Norfolk for the rendezvous and taught us as much as he could in two days. Dave, you were a pleasure to have on board. See you down the road!
Evening ‘docktails’ are something to look forward to! We met two other Grand Banks’ owners in the marina where we have been readying BellaBlue for departure on the 28th. Sally and Rick graciously invited us over to their boat for a wonderful spread of hors d’oeuvres and drinks. They introduced us to Pam and Grant from Ottawa, Canada. We had a lovely evening and hope to meet up again with both couples on the Loop.
James and everyone at CC West put on a great retirement party for Rex and wished us ‘Bon Voyage.’ For those who don’t know, James, our son, is taking over the helm and I will work part-time remotely and return home every month or so to check in. Henry Alvarado started with us Day 1 and came to see us off after almost 22 years to the day – very special!
BellaBlue is heading to the water. With new bottom paint and all polished up, she is ready to go. BellaBlue is finally seeing the light of day after six months of being locked away. Norfolk, VA – next stop. Leaving Oxford, MD on the 27th of April.
Hello, we are Donna and Rex Couch from Austin, TX. For over 25 years we have dreamed of traveling the waterways of America’s Great Loop. In seven days we will head to our boat, a 49′ Grand Banks Eastbay named BellaBlue. After purchasing BellaBlue in October 2017, we put her in heated storage for the long winter in Oxford, MD. Now, it’s finally time to depart. We will provision and ready the boat with all the last minute details before heading to the AGLCA Rendezvous in Norfolk, VA. We are looking forward to meeting other ‘Loopers’ and learning all about this fantastic voyage. Norfolk is where we will head north and begin our adventure on the Great Loop. Gracie, our dog, is not quite as excited as we are!