Posted by Wes Bradford on Jun 27, 2017

Steve and Meredith Shaw retired in October 2012, and bought a 45-foot boat in the Miami area to navigate the Great Loop (see map). With rivers and connecting canals, the eastern 1/3 of the US can be circumnavigated like an island. Their year-long trip of a lifetime covered ~7000 miles, passing through ~140 locks and under many bridges, illustrated for us with a series of travelogue photos. They met many other “Loopers” and friends along the way.

They started from Key Largo and Key West in Florida, going up the East Coast. They showed photos of manatees, Cape Canaveral rockets on display, container ships, and occasional biking into a town for supplies. They saw Staten Island 8 months after hurricane Sandy, and New York Harbor. They went up the Hudson River past West Point and took the Erie Canal to Canada, where they passed through the Trent Severn Waterway to Georgian Bay (northern Lake Huron).

They reentered the US and visited Mackinac Island in Michigan, then along the east coast of Lake Michigan to Chicago. They entered the Chicago River and then the Illinois River, where invasive Asian carp were seen characteristically jumping out of the water (when they hear the boat motor). From there they went down the Mississippi River with its many horseshoe bends, to the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers and to the Gulf Coast. They ended up at Fort Myers in Florida, where they were greeted by a large school of dolphins in celebration. (If you have a year of spare time and a boat on your hands, it sounds like an interesting experience.)