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.
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.
Ford came home wearing the outfit John picked out for Jeff’s homecoming 35 years ago.
Walt loves his 4-WheelerSilliness 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.
AfterMath at the dock with a big sister LRC.
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.
Traveling along the ICW
The beach at Marineland
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.
The bridge near Marineland is beautifully decorated.It 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.The lighthouse at St. AugustineSt. Augustine is very picturesque from the water.
Several 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.There is always something different to see along the way.Getting close to Jacksonville.One of the most fun sunsets I have ever photographed.Our view from the dock at the Metro Marina.
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.
Heading to Lambs Yacht Center
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.
At the butterfly festival
Michaela on Peaches.Kelly’s turn
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!