There and Back Again: A Riverboat’s Journey


The Seahorse Returns After Its Epic Voyage Around The Great Lakes

Despite having spent the better part of the last 13 months living on their boat as they circumnavigated the eastern United States, Dan and Angie Frick were calling from their boat.

They took time after completing the Great Loop cruise that took them around the eastern half of the United States by river, canal and ocean, to bring us up-to-date on their journey. Turns out, the couple were relaxing onboard the Seahorse, trying to figure out the next phase of their lives.

Dan, a retired medical practice consultant, and Angie, a retired physician from King’s Daughters Family Care Center in Portsmouth, set sail August 5, 2014, from the Holiday Point Marina in Franklin Furnace, Ohio, on a Great Loop cruise. The cruise occupied 419 days and 6,836 miles, and they ended back where they started, at the Holiday Point Marina on Sept. 27, 2015.

Now, these Type-A hard-charging folks were in a planning phase once again.

Their current mooring at Green Turtle Bay Marina at Lake Barkley in Cadiz, Kentucky, puts them within a day’s drive of most of their family, including a new granddaughter. And, they’re within three weeks of sailing to be on Lake Michigan to the north or in the warm waters of Florida to the south.

“We could get a condo here for the winter or stay with friends in Florida and then cruise again in the summer,” Dan said. “We’re figuring out what’s next.”

Other than a few trips home for family visits, doctors’ appointments and the like, the couple lived in about 350 square feet on their 40-foot-long Mainship trawler during the voyage. The Seahorse is equipped with two bedrooms, a full galley, a shower and panoramic views from the fly bridge.

After years of boating with their friends at Holiday Point Marina, they were part of the “Quiet Corner,” a finger of the marina where the boaters developed a close-knit group. But they yearned for broader horizons and found out about the Great Loop, a popular boat voyage of the continuous waterways that encompasses the eastern portion of North America, including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals and the inland rivers of America’s heartland.

They spent several months planning and practicing for the trip, selling their home and most of their possessions to enable them to live onboard.

Thanks to their extensive research and planning, the trip went off with few problems. They had to be flexible because of the weather, but every day they planned where they would stop that evening and what sites they would stop and tour

“We found it to be challenging to do it in one year – we were on the go all the time, leaving early in the morning so we could get to the next anchorage with enough daylight to go sightseeing,” Angie said. “Every time you pulled in a new place, you wanted to go explore it, whether it was hiking trails or a new town. Some people were a lot more laid back about the schedule than we were, but we worked hard to have fun.”

“We did work hard, but it was the best job you could ever have,” Dan said. “There were charts to look at, water to be understood; it wasn’t quite as relaxing as we thought it would be.”

The problems they did have turned out to have silver linings anyway. The generator plagued them in Canada, but some local folks out for a sail tried to fix it and gave them good advice on a marina to stop at that could tackle the faulty gear. The lack of a generator meant they had to carefully manage the batteries and forego some luxuries like the coffee maker. The Seahorse and the local boats were heading into the Rideau Canal locks together when Dan asked for some advice.

“It was challenging to me because we were in another country, and I wasn’t sure about the waterway and where I could get good service,” Dan said. “They made a difficult time much easier.”

Turns out, the people they met along the way were the best part of the trip. They traveled along with another couple across the North Channel of Lake Huron in Canada, anchoring in Baie Fine, the only inland fjord in North America.

“It was a bay surrounded by cliffs with unbelievable scenery. We got up the next day and hiked the trails up the cliffs to a topaz blue lake surrounded by white cliffs,” Dan said. “Sharing that experience with that couple was more fun than if we had done it by ourselves.”

They teamed up with people they met at marinas or along the rivers, grouping together for sightseeing and meals out on the town or getting together for “docktails” at sundown.

“People on the water are easy to get to know and you share a common bond and situation,” Dan said. “If you want to talk to someone, just mention their boat and they can talk quite a bit. There are several we’re still in touch with and I think those folks will be a part of our lives for a long time.”

Dan and Angie undertook the journey of a lifetime for one reason: to make one of their dreams come true. After more than two years of planning, preparation and voyaging, the biggest lesson they learned was simple yet profound:

“If you have a dream to follow, don’t be afraid of financial problems; there are ways to figure them out,” Dan said. “If you’re dreaming of doing something, uproot yourself and go for it. Don’t put it off.”


America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Associatio

Dan and Angie’s Blog

Photos compliments Dan and Angie Frick

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Gary Wollenhaupt