Scottsdale couple gets degree for boating the ‘Great Loop’

Doug and Dana Belknap, of Scottsdale, received their BaccaLOOPerate degree from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association for completing America’s Great Loop. (Submitted photo)

Doug and Dana Belknap, of Scottsdale, recently received their BaccaLOOPerate degree for completing America’s Great Loop.

Considered “one of the world’s most unique adventures,” America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association recognizes boaters achieving the Great Loop on a 6,000-mile journey, according to a press release.

Adventurers circumnavigate 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, according to the release.

The couple completed the Great Loop aboard their 43’ Selene power boat, Misty Pearl. Conquering the challenges inherent to long-distance cruising, the Belknaps enjoyed views of the U.S. and Canada from the distinct vantage point of the water’s edge.

“We left Washington D.C. on May 23 of last year. That’s a ton of miles and locks, and drawbridges and boats, and dolphins and boat cards, and tows with barges, and rivers and canals, and long days and great restaurants, and gorgeous sunsets, and crappy days and fog, and new friends who became old friends. What a trip. Thanks to the zillion folks who made it the best 388 days of our lives,” said the Belknaps in a prepared statement.

During the trip, the couple relied on America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association to provide them with information and assistance to successfully complete the journey, the release said.

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

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