When you meet with your psychiatrist and they say “go to your happy place,” my wife Susan and I have one that we go to all the time: our 45-foot 1993 Bayliner 4588, which has three staterooms, two heads, a full galley, a pilot house, and a fly bridge. We purchased the Quo Vadimus (“where are we going”) in April 2010.
Our dirt house is in Wilmington, DE, about 45 minutes from Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbour (BBYH) marina. Our home slip is off the Bohemia River at Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor. We often go down on Friday and head north on Monday morning. Much as we would like to warn you away and keep this place our little secret, we really can’t speak highly enough of our slice of heaven. The Bohemia is great, and the crew at BBYH makes them the top marina on the Bay.
In the Chesapeake we’ve done trips to Baltimore, Annapolis, St Michaels, and Oxford. When we came up the Bay at the end of our Great Loop we did the Potomac and stayed at Tangier, Smith Island, Crisfield, Cambridge, and Tilghmans, all of the spots everyone should see on the Lower Bay.
Our Great Loop cruising adventures could easily fill a few issues of PropTalk. Let me say the 6000-mile, 13-month trip was like being a four-year-old at Disney—day after day of interesting places, people, sights, food, etc. And it was a trip full of regrets, “Why didn’t I do this earlier in my life?!” We fell in love with so many places. If we were not Delaware snow-wimps, we would live in Milwaukee in a heartbeat.
When we finished the Loop in 2015, we became Harbor Hosts. On the Loop, Harbor Hosts were a key support service for lots of us. Only about 100 to 120 boats complete the Great Loop every year (well below the number of people that climb Mount Everest), so we get to meet a pretty eclectic group of boaters. Some are retired and are working on their bucket list. The most interesting was the family of six aboard a 32-foot Bayliner. On the Chesapeake there is a network of Harbor Hosts from Norfolk up to us in the Upper Bay.
Here’s an example of the kind of outreach that made the trip special: We were at a marina on the Tenn Tom, and a guy we had just met handed me the keys to his truck. I was kind of dumbstruck, “You don’t know me; I could run away with your truck.” “Nope,” he said. “Y’all coming back, I got your boat.”
Our Harbor Host area is from the Bohemia River to Delaware City. Ideally I hear from Loopers when they are in the Lower Bay and can suggest places to visit (Baltimore, Rock Hall, Havre de Grace, Chesapeake City), so they can maximize their trip through the waters we love. We also suggest our favorite anchorages on the Eastern Shore, our secret fishing spots, etc. (Umm, no, I’m not telling the rest of you those spots!).
Once they are here in the Upper Bay, we meet the Loopers and help them get to grocery or pharmacy, cell phone stores, parts places, or whatever else they need. Some Loopers have shipped items to our house, and I drop them off. We help with trip planning on the next legs of their Loop and hand them off to the Cape May Harbor Hosts.
There is also an online forum (greatloop.org) that we participate in; we try to convince Loopers to spend two years on the Loop. One year for spending time on the Chesapeake, the other for the rest of the 5200 mile trip.
Note to PropTalk readers: Loopers’ boats fly a white or gold flag. It’s got an outline of the route they are taking along the east coast and down the middle of the USA. If you see one in (your/our) (favorite/secret) spot (anchored/fishing), don’t fret. They are just passing through, and I’ve sworn them to secrecy about the location. But, if you row over and hand them a beverage or one of your special lures (yea that one with the red and blue spots on it), you’ll meet some great people and help create special memories of their dream trip.
by Foster Schucker