After church we loaded the boat up and took off for our final slip in Sneads Ferry, where we would cross our wake, indicating that we had completed the Great Loop. My brother John and his wife Pat were there to see us off. On that final stretch between Topsail Beach and Sneads Ferry, about 24 very familiar miles, we reminisced about what a wonderful trip we had had. We are both so glad we did this thing that on the surface seems so far-fetched.
Along the way, we passed the “pepto-pink” house that many loopers have included in their blogs because it is such a standout along this stretch. When we left the pink was so faded it might not have warranted a picture, but it looks like they painted it just for our return because it is as bright as we’ve ever seen it!
We thought there might be a few people waiting for us at our slip as we had publicized on the blog our expected arrival time of 2PM. Sure enough as we rounded the final bend we saw quite a gathering waiting for us.
The amazing thing was that as I pulled into the slip I started hearing bagpipes! Howard Orr, a member of our church family, used to be a piper but I’d never heard him play. Last I heard his pipes were not playable and beyond repair. So I’m looking around trying to figure out where this bagpipe sound is coming from, thinking it must be a recording or something. Then the people on shore pointed at Howard on the opposite shore, and sure enough we were escorted in with live bagpipes proudly playing Scotland the Brave! Since we left, Howard has joined a pipe band and gotten some new pipes.
In addition to the bagpipes, we were greeted with hugs and mimosas. The gathering consisted of New River Sail and Power Squadron friends and several members of our Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church family. Most of these had been reading the blog regularly, and several said they feared they would suffer from blog withdrawal now that we are back. I think we counted 22 people in all.
We were proud to finally hoist the AGLCA Gold Burgee, which we estimated cost us something upwards of $30,000. But it was worth every dime, and now I will strive for a Platinum Burgee (multiple loops) as soon as we recuperate from this trip.
Here’s one final sunset picture, taken yesterday from our home in Topsail Beach. With sunsets like these right here, you might wonder why we ever want to leave this beautiful place! Even gorgeous sunsets can’t inhibit the wanderlust of a born Gypsy!
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for what we think will be our final blog, in which we will talk about the special people that made this trip so memorable. Also, if you are statistically oriented, we have updated the “Log Book” which is found on a tab on the left of our home page, http://www.betsyrick.com/.