A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Follow the Magenta Line

The Magenta Line is apparently a route that defines the Great Loop shown on many GPS chartplotters in the USA. There is a vigorous discussion going on in the AGLCA forum regarding the logic of following this line versus using traditional methods of navigation such as paper charts, observing navigational markers etc. Personally, I think I will try using all the above with maybe a bit of common sense thrown in.

When I began planning for the Loop a little over a year ago, the place-names on other Loopers Blogs describing their travels, such as Cape Girardeau to Kentucky Lake, meant as little to me as “Owhanaki to Waikalabubu” would mean to anyone unfamiliar with Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. I found this quite frustrating so, since then, I have “virtually” cruised the Loop via Google earth, read all the waterway guides and checked out such place-names on maps and the intenet. Thus I have become quite familiar with them when I now read about them on AGLCA members blogs. But that was just me researching, and it struck me that readers of our blog may want to know exactly where we are, and where we are going, without having to go to all that trouble. Sure, the AGLCA website has a “Looper Locator” resource that we will utilise, but I figured on trying to make it as simple as possible so people don’t have to go to a lot of trouble to know where we are.

So I have put a Magenta Line on a map of the Eastern US which shows our intended route. On this one I have put some relevant data such as river names, but these will not be on later versions. As we cruise the Loop, I will track our passage in Red and add place-names of significance (I won’t put every stop, or the map would just get too busy). I hope it will help those who are geographically challenged, and be interesting to people (like me) who like to know where everything fits in. Calumet Harbour, just south of Chicago, is where we enter the river system and Indiantown is where we intend to finish “Stage 1”. The dotted line in the Gulf of Mexico depicts an alternative route (The Big Bend) to cutting straight across which we will decide on when we reach it. GICW is the “Gulf IntraCostal Waterway”.  

I will show earlier passage on this map of Lake Michigan that I used for our shakedown cruise route a couple of posts ago.

As anyone who has planned for this adventure will probably testify, there is never enough time for everything to be done as you would have liked before you embark, and our preparation is no exception. But as someone once said; “Time and Tide wait for no man”, and come 13th June at 7.40pm NZST, the big silver bird will be taking us away regardless of how the best laid plans (of mice and men) often turn to custard.


  1. I've been following your blog for a while, now. I must say, I'm almost as excited about following your journey as you must be. I'm looking forward to reading your NZ perspective.

    I've wanted to do "The Loop" since many years before there was such a thing as an AGLCA. By now, I have read so many blogs about it, it almost seems redundant to do it, myself. But still, it beckons.

    Good luck on your journey. Perhaps when you get 'round to Maryland, you will stop in for a visit.


  2. Thanks for the comment, Tim, and welcome aboard. I can relate to your feelings about the Loop - I have also read so many blogs that I almost feel like we have already done it! But I'm picking that there will be nothing like the real thing.

    I will try to make the blog interesting and I fully expect there will be aspects of our journey that will be quite unlike the boating we have done in New Zealand, as well as those that will be quite similar.

    Maryland is on the route for "Stage 2" next year and it is our intention to spend a bit of time around the area, so keep in touch and we will endeavour to look you up on the way past.