Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Btw...what is the Great Loop?

The term Great Loop refers to the circumnavigation of eastern North-America.

(Actually, this ship we met at the Baltic Sea in 2012.....)

The distance varies between 4,300 to 6,500 NM depending on the way the cruisers choose. In order to avoid hurricanes in the summer and ice in the winter, most people go north in spring, be at the Great Lakes during summer and take the rivers south during autumn to arrive in Florida in November.

Screenshot from Great Loop - Google Maps

Using this plan, the loop starts in Stuart/Florida following the Intercoastal Waterway for 2,600 NM to the north. By doing so, one avoids going over the open sea for a long stretch. The Intercoastal Waterway ends in Manasquan/New Jersey. From there it is just a short passage on the Atlantic before reaching New York City harbor.
From New York City most travelers follow the Hudson river to Waterford, then take either the Erie Canal to Lake Erie or Lake Ontario. Alternatives are the Champlains Canal to St. Lawrenceor or the Rideau Canal. The Trent Canal connects Trenton/Ontario with Port Severn on Georgian Bay. Nothernmost of the loop is the North Channel.
After reaching Chicago at the east side of Lake Michigan, the route follows downstream the Illinois and Mississippi River, the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers and the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Mobile, catching up the Intercoastal Waterway going to Carrabelle/Florida and Fort Myers. By taking the Okeechobee Waterway the tour ends being back in Stuart/Florida.
There are many side routes and alternative ways to go. It is possible to go down the Mississippi to New Orleans although the Tennessee route is recommended.

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