It’s so hard to believe how quickly time goes, but, although we have not moved since our last post, we have been busy! Our days have been filled with holidays, family, boat maintenance, and a couple of trips to the gulf coast of Florida. Today is a good time to catch everyone up on all of our happenings during the last month because it won’t be too much longer before we are again on our way.
Many days, John has had to be on the boat while the crew at Lamb’s Yacht Center worked on Aftermath. While he does the work he can, he is also able to watch and learn from the amazing people that work here. For our boating friends, if you ever need work done and are anywhere near Jacksonville, please check out Lamb’s. Every single person we have met here has been wonderful. They are knowledgeable, skilled, fair, and very, very nice.
Madison loves gymnastics. And she loves leotards! Photographing a two year old while she moves and bounces is tricky business!
Carter’s Christmas program.
The touch tank
Trying out the new underwater camera for the first time. It’s a little scary putting your camera in the water!!
Learning how clouds are made at the science museum.
Madison loves every Disney princess!
Only Madison wanted to visit with the Claus’.
St. Augustine at Christmas time
On the horse and carriage ride with Carter helping the driver out.
Several days, while John has worked on the boat, I have been able to spend time with Kelly and the kids. I’ve been able to watch Madison and Carter at gymnastics, help Michaela with homework, go along to pick Carter up from school, watch his Christmas program, go to the science museum, have a truly amazing trip to the zoo (a day I will never forget!), and have lunch with Kelly and the kids. John and Craig haven’t been left out of all of the fun, though. We all spent an evening together at the Jacksonville Zoo which was decorated with thousands of lights the week before Christmas, we went to St. Augustine on my birthday to see the famous light display there and to take a horse drawn carriage ride, and, of course, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day at Kelly’s house so we could see first hand if Santa managed to find his way there with presents.
We also had a very special time in December when our niece, Karen, and her husband, Josh, were in Florida from Michigan for Josh’s work. We all met for dinner in Neptune Beach and then, the next day, while Josh worked, Karen, Kelly and I had a wonderful day catching up. We loved having them here and hope to see them again soon.
Ned and Anne at Arts & Eats
John celebrating – but do those glasses really say 2016? They do!!
Back to the house!
New Years Eve found us driving to St. Petersburg so that we could continue our annual tradition of celebrating with Ned and Anne. We went to one of our favorite restaurants in Bradenton, Arts and Eats, where we had dinner and rang in 2016. We stayed at Ned and Anne’s house until the 2nd. It was wonderful to see them, to enjoy the view of the water from their back yard, and to be back in southwest Florida again. Sadly, we said goodbye and headed back to Jacksonville as AfterMath was to be taken out of the water on Monday, January 4th, to have her bottom painted, her props checked, and her transmission worked on.
Susan and Dick
All went well with the haul out Monday morning, so John and I hopped back in the car and started back west, this time to Sarasota, to stay with Susan and Dick while we took care of annual doctor appointments. I was so excited to see my buddy, Susan, who I hadn’t seen since we stayed at their house in March when we started our adventure. On both trips, Jake and Kirby rode with us and stayed at their favorite resort, K9-Kampground, where they always boarded when we lived in Bradenton. We had a great time at the Busby’s and again, after three nights, hated to leave. John also got to visit with his friends, the Brielmans, as well as his collegues at Sarasota Yacht & Ship.
After arriving back in Jacksonville, we stayed at Kelly and Craig’s house until the boat was back in the water. It felt so strange to be off of the boat all those days, as it is so much our home now, and although we had a wonderful time and appreciated everyone’s hospitality so much, it was nice to be back on.
Now it is time for our preparations to go offshore, first heading to the Bahamas. The boat is really getting in great shape; it has undergone 45 days of maintenance to prepare it for a 2-year offshore trip. This included bottom painting, new zincs, cutlass bearings, tune up on the diesel engines, attention to the windlass, the water maker, the stabilizers, and the engine cooling systems, some fiberglass touch up (all those locks put a few nicks in the finish), as well as stocking the boat with a considerable number of spare parts. We have now installed a new washer/dryer combo, for which I am very thankful – I really hate laundromats, and the dining area will have its new upholstery project completed on Monday. We bought a new coffee table and some teak furniture for the cockpit, too. Also, we are doing what it takes to get the dogs and their paperwork ready to take to various islands along the way. For example, the Bahamas require an import permit, rabies certificate, and other paperwork to prove that they are healthy before they are allowed on shore in the country. They had an appointment with Kelly on Thursday where all of their vaccines were updated and where the staff at her office spoiled them rotten!
So, by the end of this week, we hope to have the boat completed and be ready to be on our way. The future is exciting for us! We will miss being so close to our family, but we know we will see them somewhere soon. We will head south along the coast of Florida before we head to the Bahamas, thereby shortening our crossing and catching the Gulf Stream rather than fighting it. Updates will be posted as soon as possible. In the meantime, we hope you all have a wonderful year in 2016 and that you are living your dreams.