Brunswick, GA to Jacksonville, FL (December 2 – December 12)

Home, they say, is where the heart is. Our home is on AfterMath, of course. The boat feels like home: it is familiar and warm, we are comfortable there and we have a routine just the same as you probably have in your house. But entering Florida on this section of the trip really felt like we were returning home; entering the state brought warm feelings and happy memories – and we are already making the most of it.


Jake used to relax and sleep on the bow as we traveled, but recently he has spotted dolphin swimming past the boat.  Now he is on the constant lookout for his sea living friends.  He spends hours watching for them and is so happy when he sees them every day.



My first catch of the trip!  Finally, success!!

We headed for Brunswick, GA on December 2nd, and what fun that was! We found a very small marina that was actually called a yacht club, but which didn’t really fit that description. However, the people there were probably the friendliest yet. We were met at the dock by a couple who made us feel like we were the most important guests they had ever had. Bobby (a lady) and Alan welcomed us and the dogs with open arms, made sure we knew that we were invited into the lounge, told us where great fishing off the dock was, and just couldn’t have been nicer. Of course, with my previous fishing failures, I had to get out and try my hand at catching something. I guess that, between the new lures Jason brought to me in Beaufort, and being at the right spot, my luck finally changed. On the second cast I brought in a nice big sea trout! What a joy! I yelled for John who didn’t hear me, but Alan came quickly and got him, making sure there was a camera to document the event. Alan also got us a bucket and took the fish off my hook. (I will never get used to that part!). A few casts later landed me an even bigger sea trout, which, again, Alan took off the hook for me. Then, as we are both pretty much fishing novices, Alan offered to do our filleting! We had plenty of fish for dinner so I stopped the fishing and watched the process. Not one I loved, but those trout were delicious!


A golden sunrise.


One of many great white herons that sat on the trees near our dock.

We hated to leave our dock in Brunswick the next morning. It was so beautiful there (and the fishermen were catching trout again!). The trees beside the docks were lined with great white herons waiting for their day to start, the sun rose bright and golden, and Bobby and Alan were busy inviting us to come back again, but it was time to go. Heavy winds were predicted for the next few days and we wanted to get to Fernandina Beach in Amelia Island, FL. before the bad weather started.


It is always amazing to see how many different kinds of boats and ships there are along the way.  Here is a nuclear submarine at a 16,000 acre base near St. Mary’s, GA



A dragon sailboat!


Cumberland Island, GA.  Can you see the wild horses?


I love watching the birds that swarm the shrimp boats.


Fort Clinch.  Florida at last!!


The first sight of Fort Clinch was wonderful. When traveling south on the Intracoastal Waterway, this is the first you see of Florida. It is pretty much directly across from Cumberland Island, GA. Fort Clinch is in Fernandina Beach and is a wonderful destination that I have visited with Kelly and the grandchildren. When Jeff and I did this trip down the Intracoastal several years ago we were happy to learn that the fort meant we had made it to Florida (really happy, but that is another story for another time!!) and on this trip I had been anxiously awaiting seeing those walls and cannons again.


While I know this is for loading and unloading cargo, I can’t help but think it looks like a giant’s chair.


A Victorian home


After passing Fort Clinch, we arrived in Fernandina Beach. The winds were already picking up and we were glad we had made reservations for a dock instead of going with our original plan of using a mooring. Soon all the docks were full while boats made their way to the safety and comfort of the marina. The next day, Friday, December 3, was a joy. Because Amelia Island is close to Kelly and Craig’s house, Kelly came with Madison and Carter to have lunch and spend some time walking around the little town there. The kids loved checking out the shops, all decorated for Christmas, and playing with the oversized chess set next to the visitors’ center. I was so excited that they could come see us! Michaela was in school, so I missed her, but knew I would see her soon.


Fun in Fernandina Beach




Fernandina Beach is a Victorian town and we were lucky to have arrived during their Dickens weekend. The streets were beautifully lit, people were dressed in Victorian clothes, caroling was taking place in the closed off streets, and there was even a dog parade/costume competition. I took Kirby to view it, but we did not participate, as we didn’t have any Christmas outfits for him to wear. He was very excited to be there, though, and happily socialized with all of the passing contestants.

Friday night John’s brother, Rich came to have dinner with us on AfterMath and on Saturday he and his girlfriend, Kathy, who had just returned from visiting her son and new grandson, came to visit. They own a home on Amelia Island and we love spending time with them. After catching up on the boat we found a great little Italian restaurant and enjoyed dinner together.


Making our way down the St. John’s River





This small cruise ship seemed to be everywhere we were.  It is docked now in Jacksonville for a winter time refurbishment.

Pedicures for the girls

Sunday morning we left early and started on our way to Jacksonville. We headed down the St. John’s River, through the city and the past the Landings there. Our plan has always been to get the boat’s annual maintenance done when we got to Jacksonville so we scheduled time at Lamb’s Yacht Center, a working marina with a stellar reputation. Here we are preparing for our trip to the Caribbean. We are having the water maker serviced, the engines will be tuned up, the stabilizers will be serviced and the bottom will be painted. There have been people on our boat all week and it will be hauled next week for the bottom work. In the meantime, I have been able to spend some time with Kelly and the kids. Wednesday we had lunch together, did some shopping and then Kelly, Michaela, Madison and I went for a pedicure. It was 2-year-old Madison’s first time in the salon and, although she really was just getting her toenails painted, she loved the whole process and made sure to put her feet in the water and have her little legs rubbed with lotion too.


Madison was having way too much fun to pose for pictures!

Kelly and Craig lent us one of their cars for our time in Jacksonville and that is making our lives so much easier. Friday I was able to go meet Kelly and Madison and attend Madison’s gymnastics class. She looks so cute in her little leotard and she loves swinging on rings, walking on the balance beam, jumping on the trampoline, tumbling, and all that there is to offer at the gym. Afterwards we again had lunch and did a little Christmas shopping. Tonight we had dinner at Kelly and Craig’s house. It’s so much fun to be close to family.


Christmas time on AfterMath

Because the boat will not be out of the water until the end of the week, I made it my mission to make it look like Christmas. I bought a little artificial tree, which we decorated with tropical and sentimental ornaments brought from our house, and I picked up a few other decorations to give AfterMath a festive spirit. While the boat is out of the water we will stay at Kelly’s house. We are looking forward to that time and we have lots of plans for fun activities while we are there. We will spend Christmas with them and we are looking forward to seeing what Santa brings!

Now that we are in Jacksonville FL (our 2015 destination), we have completed our first year leg:  Connecticut – Canada – Jacksonville.  All told, we have traveled, since May, 3,470 miles, traversing 9 states and two Canadian Provinces – all without a single mechanical delay. We have loved every minute of it and are looking forward to our 2016 travels. We invite you to join us via our blog, or better yet, for a visit.

Here is where we are today.


Stono River just west of Charleston – Rock Creek – Beaufort – Isle of Hope (November 23 – December 1)

Thanksgiving week finally arrived! But where we would meet up with the kids was a mystery until just a couple of days before the event. We considered Charleston (too close), Savannah (too far) and Beaufort, SC (just right!) So, after many changes in plans, we made reservations at the Downtown Marina in Beaufort and started on our way.

IMG_1307Fort SumterIMG_1310Charleston, SCIMG_1314IMG_1318

IMG_1332We always enjoy seeing the military aircraft fly overhead, and this one was low and slow.IMG_1344You never know what you will see on the water.IMG_1340I think this is what “America the Beautiful” means in the phrase, “From sea to shining sea”.IMG_1363Sunrise time at Rock CreekIMG_1367Monday brought us through Charleston, SC. Unfortunately, we just passed by the city this trip and continued on our way south. We anchored for the night and got an early start the next morning, continuing on our way to another anchorage on the Rock Creek. Both nights we were all by ourselves in secluded areas and the low country that surrounded us was gorgeous. The grasses stand tall at low, but when the 6-foot tide comes in, what previously resembled an African savannah becomes flooded until only the tops of the grasses are exposed. The morning and evening sun both cast a golden glow on the land and water that makes it seem that all must be right with the world.IMG_1372Moon rise over a small cruise ship in Beaufort

We arrived in Beaufort (pronounced Bew-fort) on Wednesday and began preparing for Jason and Lisa’s visit. I borrowed the courtesy car and went to the grocery store while John worked around the boat. Jason and Lisa arrived after traveling from New Port Richey, FL on Thursday morning. We had time to relax before heading out to a Thanksgiving buffet on Lady’s Island, just a few miles from Beaufort. After dinner we enjoyed visiting back on AfterMath, but soon everyone was tired and we all called it a night early to get some rest for the next day.

Friday, Jason drove John around town running errands while I was lucky enough to have Lisa color and cut my hair. We all finished our projects around the same time and the rest of the day was spent walking around town and then celebrating Lisa’s upcoming birthday, which is on December 1.

IMG_1504Our horse and carriageIMG_1507Don’t you wonder what these two are saying to each other?IMG_1512

IMG_1535Beaufort, SC is a beautiful city with trees draped in Spanish moss.IMG_1525A typical home in the historic district

Saturday we all thought it might be fun to learn the history of Beaufort while riding in a horse drawn carriage, and it was! Beaufort has been the setting for many movies including The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini (both were books written by Pat Conroy who lives in this town) and many parts of Forrest Gump. Our guide was quick to tell us that Tom Hanks and Nick Nolte were very well liked in Beaufort, but Barbra Streisand wasn’t quite as popular here.

IMG_1543The Chapel of Ease on St. Helena Island.  Built in 1744, it was destroyed by a forest fire in 1886.  These are the ruins.IMG_1547

IMG_1550Jason and LisaIMG_1546

IMG_1557Fort Fremont, also on St. Helena Island, built in 1898

After our carriage tour I asked Jason to take us on a ride to see some of the other islands that are part of this area. It was fun to explore while we had a car available and we appreciated him driving us around.

Too soon, it was time for Jason and Lisa to leave and make their way home, but our fun wasn’t over yet. Kelly, Craig, Michaela, Carter and Madison made the 3-hour drive from Jacksonville to spend Saturday night and Sunday with us. Kelly came armed with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, vegetables, and stuffing and we had a turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie and whipped cream ready. We all wanted to eat Thanksgiving leftovers, and, because there weren’t any, we made them! After a delicious dinner we watched the Gators unfortunately lose to Florida State and then settled in for the night.

IMG_1566We all thought this swing was wonderful!IMG_1573



IMG_1592A spider web that twirled made a big hit – especially with Kelly and Craig running around to do the spinning.IMG_1561

IMG_1690Michalela always finds the horses nearby.IMG_1677A lovely home on the water in BeaufortIMG_1669What a wonderful family!IMG_1710What could be better – gelato in one hand and a lollipop in the otherIMG_1715


FullSizeRender-21Carter’s lollipop was as big as he is!

Sunday was lots of fun with the kids as we went to the playground, bought lollipops in the candy shop, and gelato in the store next door. We ate more leftovers and walked around town to make sure everyone got time to stretch their legs and burn off a little energy before heading back to Jacksonville. It is always sad to see the kids go, but we will be seeing them very soon!

IMG_1385Daufuskie Island, the actual location of Pat Conroy’s. “The Water is Wide”.  I guess you can tell I am a Pat Conroy fan.IMG_1413This is the graveyard that is featured in the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.IMG_1415Fishing along the bank of the graveyard.

John and I pulled out of Beaufort yesterday, Monday, and made our way to Isle of Hope, which is in Savannah, GA. It was a gorgeous day to be outside, as was all of our weather in Beaufort. We will probably be back in Florida this weekend. We left Florida last April and we have missed it, so we are excited about crossing into the Sunshine State again!

Here is where we are now: