Bucket List:

Complete the Great Loop – ✔️

October 28, 2019

At 2 PM this day, after 7,123 miles, Whisky Business crossed her wake on the Tennessee River at the Barkley Canal. It took us 1 year, 2 months and 9 days to get here. What a ride!

In anticipation of this event we preordered our Gold Burgee which signifies the completion of the Loop and had it shipped to Green Turtle Bay. Will mount tomorrow.

After refueling, a party ensued when we reached our slip, which then carried over to a local restaurant.

Didn’t think I would ever open this. But with the crews of 12 Looper boats on hand for the celebration it certainly seemed appropriate.

Take a look at the bottom right corner of the map below. You can see the little red line that crosses over the land. That is actually the Barkley Canal that runs across the top of the Land Between the Lakes. On the left side of that red line is where we crossed our wake.

Just a few interesting statistics about our journey:

Miles traveled: 7,123

Elapsed time: 1 year, 2 months, 9 days and 5 hours

Fuel Burned: apx. 4800 gallons

Cost of Fuel Burned: Do not want to know.

Bottles of Bourbon consumed: 7

Bottles of Absolut Mandrin consumed: 6

Bottles of Jerry’s Splendid Manhattans consumed: 6

Bottles of Champagne consumed: 72

Bottles of Wine consumed: 24

Cans of Beer consumed: 3

Cuss words exclaimed whilst in the engine room: 1 brazillion

The long green object below is a barge being painted at Paducah River Painting

Pretty darn gloomy day.


There are 2 routes we could have taken to get to Green Turtle Bay Marina. The shortest and most convenient would have been to go through the Kentucky Lock on the Tennessee River. At the briefing we attended at Hoppies we were told to take the longer route down the Cumberland River and through the Barkley Lock. It was explained to us that the shorter Kentucky Lock route would have us waiting for many hours for a transit. We were told the Kentucky Lock operators do not like pleasure craft. Sure enough, the day before we would leave Paducah, fellow Loopers waited 8 hours to get through, arriving after dark. One boat ran aground. Day before that it was reported Loopers waited 6 hours to get through. The route suggested through the Barkley presented it’s own challenge. It is closed daily from 6 AM to 6 PM due to repairs. We would not be able to get through until after dark. Kinda acceptable as you can see GTB marina from the lock. Deb and I do not like to travel at night.

What to do?

When I got off the boat this morning I noticed Saltie had left. The dock hand told me the captain had called the Kentucky Lock and was told he would get through later that morning. I then called the Kentucky Lock, spoke to a very gracious fellow who told me they were only taking down bound traffic today and they could get us through, depending on when we got there our wait would be 3 hours worst case. At least we would get through in daylight. By now it’s 9 AM. I banged on Curti-Sea, Here’s to Us, Saltaire and Vitamin-Sea (of course Captain Sam on Here’s to Us was still in his jammies). We were wheels up by 9:30 headed for the Kentucky Lock. When we arrived the lock doors were open and a tow was exiting. Awesome! As we started for the lock chamber maybe 300 yards away, 2 eagles dove for fish right in front of us!!! Great omen! Too fast to get a photo.

In the video below you can see a couple of tows waiting for the lock to cycle them down.

We had to take on quite a bit of fuel when we arrived. My hand got tired so my brain went to work.

All of the Looper boats in Green Turtle Bay Marina with us. With all of us on the same dock it’s gonna be a great couple of days!

This next little video needs some explanation. Captain Sam from Here’s to Us is quite the prankster. Whenever we went into the same marina, if he got there first he would always tell the marina office “if that guy from Whisky Business tells you he is only 46 feet long, he’s lying. He’s at least 60 feet.” I would then have to ‘splain things to the dock hands to get things straightened out. Marina’s charge by the foot. What a hoser! Well, turnabout is fair play. When we got to GTB it was payback time. Best part was Robin, the gal who was running the office at the time really got on board with my plan. Bear in mind Sam and Rev have a 50 foot long boat. Listen carefully to the young lady behind the counter tell Sam and Rev she knows their boat is 70 feet long.

Our adventure is coming to a close as we will be making our way up the Ohio back to Louisville. Truly bittersweet. We are looking forward to seeing family and old friends that we haven’t seen in months but our new friends will be sorely missed. The upside is most everybody we have traveled with will be near Punta Gorda, Florida where we hang out in the winter so we will see them soon.

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