The First Few Days Aboard

We had waited for this day forever it seemed; the day we would finally move aboard. Yet, for some reason, we slept in and drank our coffee before we started packing up at the cabin. We had to be out by noon, and we were, but it was fully 12 o’clock before we finally left the little house on the lake. John made a trip to the boat with most of our things earlier because there just wasn’t room for Kirby and Jake in the car with all we had with us.

Before we could board for good, we stopped at West Marine to buy life jackets for both dogs and at the hardware store for a mat that they could use as their yard. We were worried about getting Jake on board. The boat sits very high above the water, the stairs to the side are very steep, and, unfortunately, the boat was in bow first which meant there was no hope of getting them on from the swim platform. Turning the boat around before the dogs got here was not possible because we were wedged in next to another boat. We knew Kirby could get on easily and, at 35 pounds, could be lifted off if need be, but Jake weighs in at about 90 pounds, doesn’t move like he used to, and is a lot harder to handle in these situations. The life jackets afforded us a handle to help with lifting as well as some safety if they should fall in the water, although they are both very good swimmers.

FullSizeRender-12 IMG_0881-2

Finally the time came. We were ready. Our fears about getting on were pretty much unfounded as Kirby bounded up the stairs and Jake managed them just fine. Kirby flew around the boat going up and down every set of stairs in it while Jake needed a little more encouragement to ascend and descend the sets. Thankfully, they quickly settled in. However, neither one was very impressed with their AstroTurf yard. It took 17 hours for Jake to finally give in and use it, but Kirby was having none of it at all. We tried to wait him out, but John just felt too bad for the little guy so he called Kelly who gave him some encouragement, and then he carried him down the steps and out to relief.

IMG_0891-2 IMG_0894

Of course, the biggest adjustment was for the dogs. John and I had no trouble getting comfortable. Although there is still a lot to learn, AfterMath is a boat and we love being on the water. To make it even better after moving on Thursday, Jeff came to visit us for the weekend. He arrived Friday night and stayed until Sunday. We would have loved to have his whole family here, but this time it didn’t work out. The good thing was, though, that John and Jeff got lots of tasks done and we had so much fun visiting with our youngest son. Jeff is great company, very handy, and has a wealth of boat knowledge, so the whole visit was wonderful. Also, while he was here, the boat next to us left and we were able to turn AfterMath around so that we could get the dogs off using the swim platform. It’s so much better now that they are able to go for walks and I think we all feel so relieved for them.



AfterMath is all the way down at the end of this dock, and then around the corner!

IMG_1260 IMG_1259


That’s AfterMath in the center of the back row.


Spicer’s Marina in Noank, CT is a large marina with over 600 boats in the summer. Right now there are about 300 boats between the docks and on land. Our dock is just about as far from the parking lot as you can get! When the weather is nice, the walk to land is a pleasant one, but when it’s as windy and cold as it has been this year, we think twice every time we have to leave our cozy boat. As for the actual living on the boat, it is very home like. Everything we could need or want is right here onboard. I did a large shopping on Friday to stock our kitchen, and the stove and microwave/convection oven work beautifully. The freezer and refrigerator are great and John is working out a few kinks with the icemaker, but I think he has it running well now. We have not tried the washer/dryer yet, but that will be soon.

IMG_1315 with line-Edit-2

Our planned route seems to be of interest to a lot of people. The bright yellow line on this map shows what our dream route will be. Of course, anything is subject to change at any time, so we will keep you updated as to where we are and when.

Our planned route from now through December looks like this:

IMG_1315 with line-Edit

Just a couple of pictures from around the outside of the boat.

IMG_1296 IMG_1297 IMG_1310 IMG_1302

Kirby loves watching the sea gulls bomb the docks with their clams to break them open.  Here is a picture at sunset one night and one of the bomb zone!

kirby IMG_1284

We will be busy with visitors for a few days now, so we will update you with pictures of our guests soon!

A Successful Launch

IMG_1128IMG_1129   IMG_1136 IMG_1138 IMG_1142 IMG_1145 IMG_1146 IMG_1157IMG_1176IMG_1181

IMG_1188 IMG_1197 IMG_1204

It finally happened!  Today was the day AfterMath was put back in the water!  The day started early as we headed out to the marina anxiously awaiting the big event.  Tom, pictured in the second image above, who was the previous owner, came to help us today.  He knows the boat so well and we know we have a lot to learn about all of her various systems, so having Tom along was absolutely wonderful.

At about 10:30 the boat movers showed up.  In no time at all, they had the straps placed under AfterMath and then they began transporting her across the boat yard.  In just minutes, she was placed in the water and tied up so Tom and John could do a quick check that all was well before they started the engines.  Thankfully, the launch went easily and they were able to get underway to our dock.  We are staying in Spicer’s Marina in Noank, CT, where the boat was on the hard this winter, for a few weeks while we continue to learn about our new home and wait for the dinghy we ordered to arrive.

As promised, I am including some pictures of the interior today.  While we have things pretty much squared away, we haven’t hung pictures yet, or changed pillows on the sofa, or fixed up the pilot house or gotten bedspreads for the v berth, but you can see pretty much what the inside looks like now.  Soon I’ll get more pictures from the boat to show the cockpit and the flybridge  too.

IMG_1209 IMG_1207 IMG_1216

This is the main salon, or our living room.

IMG_1215 IMG_1213

The galley.

IMG_1220 IMG_1222


The pilot house.


Stairs to the bedrooms.

IMG_1229 IMG_1230

Our room.

IMG_1235 IMG_1241

The v berth and a shot looking from the pilot house into the salon.

We will add more pictures as we start getting some decorating done soon!

It Seems More Like Ours!

IMG_1116IMG_1115 AfterMath!  We picked that name over three years ago now.  Way before we were sure this was a reality.  Way before we even knew what she would look like.  Way before we were within a couple of days of actually living on a boat.  But now she wears the name we picked for her.  We met Frank Flynn at Spicer’s Marina in Noank and he said he could put her name on – in 22 karat gold leaf!  We think he did an amazing job!  It’s big and bold and beautiful.  Even our hailing port of Bradenton is in gold leaf.  We are thrilled to say the least!

As for updates, while we expected to be put in the water last Thursday, there were a few boats in front of us that weren’t quite ready, so our launch date was delayed until tomorrow.  Then Mother Nature came along and brought rain, cold, and wind today, so those boats in front of us were delayed another day.  Now the launch date is Wednesday. FullSizeRender-9-2 In the time we had available, we unpacked the trailer that we dragged behind us from Florida and kept for 29 days.  I can’t say I was sad to see the trailer go!  It was wonderful to get our things onboard, although bringing everything in was a lot of work as the boat is quite high off of the road.  We now have all of our belongings stowed away neatly and AfterMath is starting to feel like home.   As soon as it is in the water, we will take some living area pictures and share them here.  I have had a lot of requests for interior views.  They are coming soon!

Back on Board


Today I finally got back on AfterMath!  While John has been on and off her quite a few times, that ladder, the cover, and the snow, all while on the hard, dissuaded me from making the climb.  Today I could take it no longer!  The climb up was far easier than I expected and I was able to get into our new home for the first time since October.  No sooner did I set foot onboard than I entered my “boating mode” where nothing bothers me and I can relax and enjoy life.  First I took a look around the living room.  Just as I remembered it.  Then I went to the galley and checked out every drawer, cabinet, and the appliances.  Note:  Microwave/Convection Oven needs a little Bartender’s Friend to spiffy up the inside.  Next I went into the pilot house and made myself more than comfortable at the table, dreaming of being underway.  Now down to the bedrooms and bathrooms.  I opened the drawers and closets and nooks and crannies.  Then I stripped every bed of the custom made sheets and the blankets.  I’ll take those to the laundramat and have them clean and ready to put back on the boat before we get underway.  Next, back to the living room for some serious daydreaming about colors and decorating.  I have a new heavy duty sewing machine and it will be put into use soon!  The day made the adventure seem so much more real and I am ready to get started!

The past week and a half have flown by.  We did get some relaxing time in at the little cabin in Ledyard.  The snow has now melted and the lake has thawed, but John has kept busy tending the fireplace which is the living room’s only source of heat.  We had to leave the cabin this weekend as it was already rented by the time we came along, so we are staying in a nice little bed and breakfast nearby.  We will move back into the cabin on Monday, but we expect to be on the boat by Thursday.  In the meantime, we have kept pretty busy

. IMG_1011 IMG_1009 IMG_1004-Edit Easter was a day of nostalgia as we took a drive to places we had previously only visited by water.  In our sailing days, we spent summer vacations cruising Long Island Sound.  Watch Hill in Rhode Island was a favorite for our family.  The kids loved the merry-go-round there.  They would grab the brass ring over and over and the rides continued for a long time.  Closed now for the winter, the merry-go-round brought back memories of our time spent with the Samsons while we were on Solitude, our 30 foot Hunter sail boat.

Monday night we met up with Becky and Judd Everhart in Bridgeport for dinner.  Becky and Judd are more family than friends and have been part of our lives for close to 40 years.  (Becky’s picture will appear on this blog soon, I promise!!)


Happily, AfterMath no longer has “Outback” written on her transom.  We had it removed this week and we are waiting with anticipation to see her new name installed soon.


Spring is showing signs of arriving in Connecticut now.  For those of you in the south, this is not something that is a huge deal, but to those in New England, the signs of crocuses and just ready to open dafodills are signs of hope and the promise of warm weather to come.  While I have truly become a Florida resident, seeing these flowers reminded me of how exciting spring was when I lived in the North East.

IMG_1016 IMG_1014

If you wonder what Mystic is like, to those of us who have ever lived in Connecticut, it is the captains, the fisherman, the past,  and the sea.  Everyone in Connecticut knows about and has visited Mystic Seaport.  It is a museum about those who have lived on the ocean and who have made their living there.  But Mystic still lives.  The pictures above are from the marrina where AfterMath has spent her winter.  Lobster buoys and mussels are the norm here.  Tangled lines are winter’s sign of the new season to come.  It’s a beautiful place in the world.  It brings me back to the first time I went to the British Virgin Islands. There we met Foxy on Jost Van Dyke.  Now, Jost Van Dyke is an island untouched by time.  Goats wander about, the only way to get there is by boat and hermit crabs crawl along the dirt paths as if they are made for the crab’s benefit.  Foxy owns a bar on the island and is a legend himself.  He sings songs and fishes and the rum is far cheaper than the Coke it accompanies.  But when Foxy heard we were from Connecticut (at the time) he said he wished that Jost Van Dyke could preserve its heritage as well as Mystic Seaport does.  Apparently he had been there once and was very impressed!


Today, while John was scraping and sanding, I took off for a while to do some photography.  Here are a few views of Mystic Seaport.  And below, is one more special one for my family.  If you go to Mystic by boat, you have free access to the museum while you are docked there.  Here is the exact place we docked so many years ago. IMG_1097 Other views of the area are interesting for those who have never been here.  The houses, scenery, and white steepled churches are beautiful but the weather is not always as wonderful! I guess I grew up not realizing that Connecticut has an overabundance of cloudy, rainy days.  Today was a gorgeous day, but yesterday was not.  it was cloudy, cold, misty and foggy.  Enjoy the pictures of the area below.

.IMG_0991-Edit IMG_0999-Edit IMG_1100 IMG_1093 IMG_1023 IMG_1020 IMG_1019IMG_1103IMG_1104

We expect to be in Mystic for another month or so while getting the boat ready for the trip.  I will enjoy spending time here and living life on the water.  More updates soon!

Making Our Way North

After a relaxing night at the Hollander Hotel in St. Pete and a wonderful dinner and breakast there on Tuesday morning, we picked up John’s friend, Bob Hodge, and headed back to Bradenton for Bob to board the 18′ Boston Whaler that he purchased.  I have to be honest and say that watching our last physical tie to The Inlets leave the canal for its final time brought a tear to my eye.   We had ten and one-half wonderful years living there, enjoying being near our kids, the weather, our home, the pool, the friends we made, the incredible beaches, and the gorgeous scenery. But, to achieve our dream we had to move on, so we picked up the dogs, stopped at a self-service dog wash to bathe them and then headed to the hangar for the last time.  We attached the UHaul trailer to the Honda Pilot before starting out on the road to Kelly and Craig’s house in Jacksonville.

FullSizeRender-2-2FullSizeRender-3-2  FullSizeRender-4-2

It was wonderful spending time with the kids and grandkids.  We were able to assist with homework, read, play, and go to a science museum with Craig, Michaela, Carter and Madison. With the addition of Kirby and Jake, there were six dogs in the house (also two cats, a bird and a fish).  As you can see in the picture above, Jake is a typical golden retiriever and nothing ever bothers him.  Madison was in love!  Both Kirby and Jake got their checkups while we were there along with some supplies and medications needed for a year away, and Jake had his first dental cleaning ever thanks to Kelly!  Kelly is now Kirby’s and Jake’s official veterinarian as she will see them again next year when we head back through Jacksonville on our way to the Caribbean.IMG_7046

We were also happy to be able to meet with John’s brother, Rich, and his girlfriend, Kathy, for lunch and a tour of their incredible new house on Amelia Island, which is very close to Kelly and Craig’s home.  Another stop that was important to us was at St. Brendan’s Isle, our mail forwarding service.  We wanted to see the facility and to ask a few questions.  We were very impressed and now feel even more comfortable with the process.

Three nights after arriving in Jacksonville, we left Florida and headed on to Bolivia, North Carolina where our friends Vera and Rolf Redin and Jan and Don Kirk live.  Unfortunately, Vera and Rolf were away, but we stayed at Jan and Don’s beautiful new home there.  The Kirk’s have an 18 month old Old English Bulldog, Jones.  To say that Jones and Kirby had a great time would be an understatement.  Kirby finally met his match in the playing territory!  Poor old Jake was happy just finding a quiet place to lay down while the young whipersnappers played wildly.

IMG_0756 IMG_0766

IMG_0768 FullSizeRender-5

Next stop was Annapolis, Maryland, to visit with Jeff, Sarah, Walter and Rush.  We hadn’t seen them since November, so we were anxious to visit with everyone.  We had a wonderful time taking Walt dinghy shopping with us and going for ice cream as well as just spending lots of quality time with both boys.  Walt and I made play dough from scratch as I used to make when my kids were little.  It was a huge hit!  Rush is just on the verge of walking.  It’s always amazing to me to see a one year old learn to walk.  Rush looks so tiny to be able to stand up and take those steps. After four nights in Annapolis, it was time to move on.

Leaving all five of my grandchildren was so hard for me.  Each tiny little hug and kiss brought me to tears.  I know we will see them all sooner rather than later, but the physical act of leaving them was so very hard.  We love each one of them so much!


The drive from Maryland to Connecticut was an easy one and we arrived in Mystic in the early afternoon.  We went past the marina to make sure the boat was in good shape after a long hard New England winter.  The yard did such an wonderful job shrink wrapping her!  Right now, it still says Outback on the transom, but that will change soon.  The marina said there should be no trouble launching her by April 15th, but in the meantime we are staying at a little cottage on a lake that is still frozen.  There is snow in the front yard here, too.  We are heating the living room of the cabin with a wood burning stove!  All so very different from our Florida home of just over a week ago.

A final thought before I end this post.  So many people have told us that we are living their dream, or that they admire our nerve to sell everything and take this plunge.  To that I say, John and I know we are lucky that we share this goal.  We also know that anything worth doing takes drive and hard work, that it won’t always be easy, but that the pay off will be more than we can even imagine.  We are ready to get this adventure started!!!