The Valley’s John and Susan Robin received their BaccaLOOPerate degree for completing their unique cruise. (submitted photo) The Valley’s John and Susan Robin received their BaccaLOOPerate degree for completing their unique cruise. (submitted photo)

Cowichan Valley couple complete the Great Loop

Boaters doing the Great Loop are on a 6,000-mile journey

The Cowichan Valley’s John and Susan Robin have recently returned from a boating trip that took two years and was an adventure of a lifetime for the semi-retired couple.

The Robins returned to their home on Bell McKinnon Road after completing one of the world’s most unique adventures, America’s Great Loop, on their 37-foot cruiser Eagle Heart.

Boaters doing the Great Loop are on a 6,000-mile journey that circumnavigates the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada, cruising up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, through the New York State Canals, into the Great Lakes, down the inland river system, across the Gulf of Mexico, and around the southern tip of Florida.

John, a retiring electrical safety instructor, and Susan, who worked as a unit clerk at the Cowichan District Hospital for 36 years, bought Eagle Heart in Perth, Ont., before heading out on their adventure on June 25, 2016.

Their journey took them down the Rideau Canal, across Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan to Chicago before entering the Mississippi River and the Tenn-Tom Waterway all the way to the Gulf of Mexico before leaving their boat in Mobile, Alabama, on Oct. 15, 2017, to head back to the Valley for the winter.

They returned to Eagle Heart on Feb. 15, 2018, and skirted the east coast of the U.S. and Canada through North and South Carolina, Washington D.C. and New York before heading up the Hudson River to Montreal and back through the Rideau Canal and arriving in Perth on June 19.

“We were anxious to get back home for the birth of our first grandchild,” John said.

“We’re leaving again on Aug. 16 to take Eagle Heart through the Lake Superior area and we expect to return home again by about mid-October. After that, we plan to head back down to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas to cruise around in 2019.”

The Robins have received their BaccaLOOPerate degree from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association for their trip.

Approximately 100 boats complete the Great Loop each year, making it a feat more unique than swimming the English Channel or climbing Mount Everest.

Susan said the most memorable part of the entire trip were the great people they met along the way.

“We made some life-long friends and we never had a bad day,” she said.

“Seeing Canada and the U.S. from the water is a totally different perspective than seeing it from the land. It’s a unique experience that I’d recommend to anyone.”

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