Just as news of the Coronavirus was making its way to the U.S., Larry and Jamie McCullough were finishing up a 10-month cruise around the Great Loop. It was one of their cruising goals to wind around the system of interconnecting waterways and they had a great time doing so from the comfort and safety of their Nordhavn 59 CP Independence. They had the boat equipped especially for their cruise, including having the radar arch hinged in order to sneak under a low bridge in Chicago. Larry admits that doing the Loop in the N59 CP was probably border line “too much boat” for the task, especially given another low bridge on the Erie Canal which they did not fit under, and the Rideau Canal in Ontario being a bit too shallow for their draft. “For us, though, the 59 is the perfect boat for cruising,” he said. There are many different routes a Great Looper can take, and while a few options weren’t accessible to the McCulloughs, they were perfectly poised to handle the 8-foot waves encountered on Lake Michigan. “It was nice to have the confidence and comfort of the 59,” Larry said, adding that their goal was not to get a Great Loop boat (“I don’t think anybody could call a certain boat the perfect boat for doing the Loop. There are way too many variables.”), but a boat that would also be able to meet their needs for offshore cruising. In fact, their warm-up to the Loop was a trip over to the Bahamas. Post-Loop, the couple had plans of transiting the Panama Canal and made it to Roatan, Honduras before having to turn back due to Coronavirus restrictions.
To commemorate their journey around the eastern third of the U.S. and Canada, the McCulloughs put together a video homage. Part 1: Marathon, FL to Lake Erie documents the first three months of their trip, including their warm-up cruise to the Bahamas. They’re working on the second video now, while also planning for their next adventures: winter in the Bahamas; and heading north to Maine in the spring.
Watch The Great Loop aboard Independence, Part 1 below.