Where do I start? These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise….. No, that’s not it, although it is a good tag line. This is the beginning of documenting our life aboard ‘April Fools’.
First, a little about us, John and Robin Halstead.
Robin – Graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Recently retired from 25 years of service working for the government. Living on the boat and doing the ‘loop’ was on her bucket list. Something she’s wanted to do ever since the first time she heard about it. Some how, she was able to talk me into it.
John – Also a graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey and Wilmington University in Delaware. Retired Electrician / Instructor from a Nuclear Power Plant after 44 years. I’ve been boating all my life, most of it on the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.
Robin and I were married in 1991 and we’ve enjoyed boating together every summer. Boating was a way to get away from the ‘rat race’ and pressure from work. We always dreamed about retiring on a boat someday. Little did we know that it would actually take place. Robin read about the ‘Great Loop’ and decided that we needed to give it a try, so here we are.
For those of you who don’t know, America’s Great Loop is a route that circles the Eastern third of the USA and Canada. You can begin the journey from any point along the way. The main route travels up through the intercoastal waterways, up the East coast to the Hudson River and Mohawk Rivers, through the Erie Canal, through the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi or Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (also known as the Tenn-Tom) to the Gulf of Mexico and back to Florida.
A few years ago, Robin handed me a book she bought, “Honey, Let’s Buy a Boat”. (I was soon to find out that many a spouse had become hooked with this simple maneuver.) The book chronicles the life of a couple who sells everything and moves on to a boat to cruise the Great Loop. So began our journey.
At the time, we had a 42’ Meridian and found that it didn’t have enough fuel to be able to make it through certain portions of the journey. I had always loved the DeFever 49 RPH. However, when we actually got on board a few, we thought that they were just a little too small for out family visits, enter the DeFever 53 POC. Finding one to fit our budget was a whole different story. We spent a lot of time on the internet and looked up and down the coast. We found one in Annapolis but decided that it needed too much work, so we kept looking. The following year I found another POC on Kent Island, Maryland.
Imagine my surprise when we went to look at this new boat, only to find that it was the same one we had seen a year before in Annapolis. The owner had done some work on the boat in the previous year that made the whole idea a little more appealing.
She was old, 1988, and still needed a lot of work. Robin wasn’t very happy with my choice, but I was hooked and told her that I could fix her up good as new. (Famous last words.)
Anyway, that was March of 2018. We quickly made settlement and I began the task of bringing her up to date. First, all the heads and hoses were removed and replace with new. The handrail was removed and re-bedded. Portholes were removed and re-bedded to eliminate leaks. The galley was updated with a new refrigerator, stove, microwave, counters and sink. The salon seating was reupholstered. New canvas was installed, the deck was re-glassed and painted. There was much more, but you have the gist. Lots of work! All of this took most of the past two years.
Here we are, August 2020 and we’re ready. We’ve moved on to the boat. The plan is to spend the rest of the summer here at Kent Narrows, Maryland and then take the boat south for the winter. Even with all the boating experience I have, this will all be new. I don’t know what’s next in store, but it promises to be an adventure. We’ll keep you posted as we go.
PS: Look Honey, we Bought a Boat…………