Jacksonville, Maryland, Connecticut, Maryland, Jacksonville and Georgia    (May 2 to May 23, 2017)

Jacksonville, Maryland, Connecticut, Maryland, Jacksonville and Georgia (May 2 to May 23, 2017)

It was time for a vacation. It sounds strange to say, but it was time to visit family and friends and so we took a vacation. We left AfterMath at Lamb’s Yacht Center in Jacksonville, FL where the annual maintenance was taking place, and after spending a couple of days at Kelly and Craig’s house, we hopped in our rental car and started on our way. First stop, Annapolis.

IMG_8118Rush and Walt were happy helping to plant flowers in the yard.IMG_8128IMG_8159IMG_8193Ford’s only job was to look cute for a quick photo shoot.

John had not yet met Ford, our newest grandson, then two weeks old, so that was our first mission. Walter and Rush, Ford’s big brothers, hadn’t seen John since Christmas and they were thrilled to show off their new baby. They love to talk with John about boats and planes so “Bop” was whisked away quickly so the three could catch up. There was also a lot of landscaping going on at Jeff and Sarah’s house and I was happy to get my hands back in the soil again. Walt and Rush were great helpers with planting and giving those new little plants an extra fertilizer boost.

IMG_8230Don Kirk is sorely missed by this group of good friends.  We have been through everything together from the time we all met and were having babies till now, when we are all grandparents.  It is a group of friends like none other.

As the week ended it was time for another road trip, this time to Connecticut. One of our dear friends, Don Kirk, passed away last September. He and Jan moved to North Carolina a couple of years ago, but a memorial in our hometown of Bethel was planned for Saturday, May 6th. We didn’t want to miss it. Jeff wanted to attend too, so the three of us started on our way shortly after dinner late Friday afternoon. Saturday morning we went to breakfast in the town in which all of our children we raised, passing by familiar sights and the house that we called home for 28 years. The service was lovely. Jeff enjoyed seeing old friends from school and we loved seeing our “gourmet group”, an incredibly close group of seven couples who met as young adults and grew up together as much as our kids did. Jeff stayed at his friend Greg’s house Saturday night and, after a fun dinner in town with the gourmet group, we went to John’s brother, Jim’s, and sister-in-law, Julie’s house in Southbury, CT.

IMG_8246Stacey and her horse, LucyIMG_8251Just another horse at the barn – but who could resist this face?IMG_8254Jeff and Stephen.  Two great guys!

We loved having time with Jim and Julie. On Sunday, Jeff transferred to their house as well.  After Julie and I made a visit to the barn where our niece, Stacey, keeps her horse, we were all able to spend time with Stacey and our nephew, Stephen, for Sunday night dinner.

IMG_8269From the top of Mohawk Mountain in Connecticut

Jeff moved on to see his friend’s new farm in Newtown, CT on Monday and then continued on to Groton to see another friend graduate from Officers Candidate School at the Coast Guard Academy.  John and I  took a nice ride with Jim and Julie through Litchfield and the surrounding areas, and ate lunch at an eclectic little restaurant. Later, after we returned to Southbury, another of John’s brothers, Rich, and his girlfriend, Kathy, stopped by on their way back to Newport, R. I. from Florida.

IMG_8285Brothers!  When Rush gets stuck, Walt gives a helping push with his four-wheeler.IMG_8292Yes, that’s John on Walt’s four-wheeler.  Some things you are just never too old for.IMG_8294Serious fence building taking place here.IMG_8296After a day of hard work a hot dog roast and s’mores cooked outside on the fireplace are the perfect dinner.IMG_8360It was a rainy day, but Jeff and Sarah found the perfect place for us to do a photo shoot – the Naval Academy, right near their house.IMG_8484IMG_8562John thought of asking Jeff to get our picture with the grandchildren.  I am so happy to have this.IMG_8588It is oh, so hard to not be silly!

Tuesday afternoon, Jeff picked us up and we drove back to Annapolis. For the next couple of days we just enjoyed our time with Jeff and Sarah and the boys. John and Jeff worked on building a fence, I got some time to take some pictures, and we both got to spend some fun time with our grandsons.

Saturday, May 13, came too quickly and we were on a plane back to Jacksonville. The fun part was that Kelly and the kids picked us up at the airport. We went back to her house for a little while to visit before getting Kirby at the animal clinic where Kelly is a veterinarian. We returned back to AfterMath that evening, but we only had to wait to the next day to get to spend time with her family again on Mother’s Day.

IMG_8783Madison just couldn’t resist getting right into the tide-pool, dress and all.IMG_8793Carter makes everyone smile wherever he goes.  IMG_8796Michaela is getting so grown up these days.  It’s hard to believe she will be 10 this summer!IMG_8831The perfect way to spend Mother’s Day.  With family and on the beach.

Mother’s Day was warm and beautiful, unlike the weather we experienced in Maryland and Connecticut, so we piled into Kelly and Craig’s van and went to Fernandina Beach. There we had a wonderful lunch and then walked along the beach. The children played in tide pools, of course getting wet and sandy, and we all had a wonderful time.

IMG_8852And finally, we had our picture taken with Kelly’s kids after dinner on AfterMath.

Monday was spent provisioning the boat again, and, as Kelly chauffeured me around to do so, we were able to spend the day together. There was shuffling of kids between school and dance class, but we ended up aboard AfterMath for a pizza dinner with the grandchildren. Of course it was sad to say goodbye again, but we are so happy we will be seeing them in just a few weeks when the whole family will gather at Jeff and Sarah’s house for the Fourth of July weekend.

IMG_6586It was great fun watching this helicopter practicing in Brunswick, GAIMG_6604

As always, it took a couple more days for the boat to be ready with last minute adjustments and fixes, but we didn’t get to see kids again as there was school and work for them to attend. On Friday we left Jacksonville and started our way north, stopping along the way at various anchorages in Georgia. In Brunswick, where we stopped to fuel for the first time since the east coast of Puerto Rico, we were entertained by a Coast Guard helicopter’s practice right near us. Today we are near Savannah, the only boat in an anchorage, waiting for some thunderstorms to pass by.

The waters are different here than in the Caribbean for sure, but we are happy to be here, nearer our family and in calm seas.  Everyday is still an adventure.  There is so much to see!  We are now looking forward to our weekend in early July with all of family at Jeff’s house in Annapolis,  We haven’t seen Jason and Lisa since we got back, as they were sticking close to home awaiting the birth of Lisa’s daughter, Ashley’s baby, Jace, who just arrived last Wednesday!  It’s so hard to get everyone together with births, work, school, and activities, but we will do it and I can’t wait!

Here is where we are today:

From North Palm Beach to Jacksonville with a Special Delivery in Annapolis in Between (April 16 – May 2, 2017)

From North Palm Beach to Jacksonville with a Special Delivery in Annapolis in Between (April 16 – May 2, 2017)

John drove me to Ft. Lauderdale on April 16th to catch my plane to Annapolis. It was exciting to think that I was leaving AfterMath and would return just a few days later with our sixth grandchild as part of our world. My flight went well and Jeff picked me up in Baltimore the day before the new little guy’s arrival, which happened to be Easter Sunday. After a fun evening with Jeff, Sarah, Walt, Rush and Sarah’s parents, Mike and Susie, everyone scurried about packing and getting ready for the new baby who was scheduled to be delivered the following day.

IMG_7220Walt IMG_7212Rush

Ford’s arrival.  April 17, 2017

On the morning of Monday, the 17th I enjoyed playing with Walt and Rush while the rest of the crew headed off to the hospital. Around noon I received a message that Sarah and Jeff were moving to the delivery room so I handed the boys off to Diana, their new au pair, and made my way to the hospital. Although it was just a couple of hours it seemed like a long time until those of us who were grandparents were actually called to the room where we could finally get our hands on the newest little boy of the Daigle and Dunn families. Ford Nelson Daigle was perfect at 7 pounds 8 ounces and 19 ½ inches long. Just a short time later Susie and Mike went back to the house and picked up the big brothers and the family of five was together for the first time.

IMG_7800Ford came home wearing the outfit John picked out for Jeff’s homecoming 35 years ago.IMG_7815IMG_7833

IMG_7853Walt loves his 4-WheelerIMG_7961Silliness with brothers!

For the next couple of days there was some shuttling about back and forth to the hospital so everyone could have a chance to visit and cuddle with Ford. Sarah and the baby came home on Wednesday, much to everyone’s delight. Both mother and baby are healthy and well and we are forever grateful that we have a new grandson to round out the Jeff and Sarah Daigle family.

IMG_7983AfterMath at the dock with a big sister LRC.IMG_7985

Thursday, April 20th, came quickly and I was back on a plane headed to Ft. Lauderdale. I took an Uber back to North Palm Beach and climbed back aboard AfterMath that night. Early the following morning we left our dock and started back up the ICW. It was a beautiful day outside and we enjoyed our views of the waterway as we moved along to Fort Pierce. There we found an anchorage in Faber Cove and we dropped an anchor. As soon as we thought we were settled we got a call on the VHF radio from a homeowner on the cove. He saw us in our Hatteras LRC and offered his dock for us to tie up to. One side of the dock was already taken by his 58 foot Hatteras LRC, but he kept the other side open for visitors of this type of boat. We pulled anchor and took him up on his kind offer; Vince and his wife Mary were wonderful hosts. We enjoyed our visit with them in their home and loved seeing the two sister type boats together.

IMG_7991Traveling along the ICWIMG_7992IMG_6405IMG_6407IMG_6413

beach1The beach at Marinelandbeach 2

Over the next couple of days we moved along and anchored at the Pinada Causeway, then in Titusville. On April 24th we planned to anchor, but the winds were really blowing so we pulled into Halifax Harbor Marina where we met up with Jason and Lisa a little over a year ago. The following morning we continued up the coast to Marineland Marina, a quirky little spot that we stopped in on the way south. Across the street from the marina is a truly gorgeous beach and Kirby and I spent some time there that afternoon.

IMG_6417The bridge near Marineland is beautifully decorated.IMG_6418IMG_6424IMG_6426IMG_8001It was interesting to see some of the damage left by Hurricane Matthew, the hurricane that we were happy to dodge back in Grenada over the summer.IMG_8002IMG_8007IMG_8010The lighthouse at St. AugustineIMG_8014St. Augustine is very picturesque from the water.IMG_8015IMG_8023IMG_8024IMG_8030IMG_8033

IMG_8037Several years ago, while sailing the ICW with Jeff, we saw just grass from the low vantage point of the cockpit of Prerequisite.  Here, I went to the fly bridge to see what we had missed.IMG_6433There is always something different to see along the way.IMG_6435IMG_6436Getting close to Jacksonville.IMG_6438IMG_6445IMG_8086One of the most fun sunsets I have ever photographed.IMG_8092IMG_8095IMG_8101Our view from the dock at the Metro Marina.IMG_8103

Continuing along, on the 26th we made it to St. Augustine where we picked up a mooring for the night. The following day we continued up the ICW to the St. John’s River and tied up at the Metro Marina in Jacksonville. This marina is a real treasure for cruisers. Unless there is an event, boaters are welcome to tie up at the lovely docks for free and, if you want to plug into electricity, the fee is nominal. We witnessed a spectacular sunset that evening and really enjoyed our stay next to the sports complex there.

IMG_8109Heading to Lambs Yacht CenterIMG_8111IMG_6448IMG_6449IMG_6455

Finally on the 28th we made it to our destination for a couple of weeks, Lambs Yacht Center in Jacksonville. Before long Kelly came to pick us up. She took us to run a few errands and then drove us to the airport where we rented a car for our stay in the area.

IMG_6459At the butterfly festivalIMG_6462IMG_6471IMG_6507IMG_6520IMG_6541IMG_6550

IMG_6555Michaela on Peaches.IMG_6557IMG_6561Kelly’s turnIMG_6575

On Saturday, while John worked on the boat a bit, Kelly and I took Michaela, Carter, and Madison to a butterfly festival at a nearby nature center in town. We had a wonderful time with all of the crafts and displays there, and, of course, loved the main event of being able to visit with all the butterflies in the enclosure. Everyone had dinner together that evening and we were happy being with our family again. Sunday, April 30th, Kelly picked me up again and we went to watch Michaela’s horseback riding lesson. Not only did Michaela ride, but so did Kelly. This was great fun for me, as I hadn’t seen Kelly ride since she was not much older than Michaela is now. It was an altogether great day.

AfterMath was hauled on Monday, May 1st to clean and check the bottom as well as to replace zincs and to paint the running gear. We moved out for the event and spent the next couple of nights at Kelly and Craig’s house. Kirby finally got to a groomer on Tuesday, and we prepared for our next journey – a road trip to Maryland and Connecticut that was to start on May 3rd.

So, after all of our time overseas, and after loving being in all of those islands, we still are finding it wonderful to be near family and to enjoy the ease of being back in the states. We look at our pictures of our time in the Caribbean and those of our friends still there with a bit of whimsy, but we know we have lots more time aboard AfterMath and our adventure is far from over. We love our vagabond life and we are not ready to move back to land yet!