Time passes so quickly these days. We continue to work on getting AfterMath ready to sell, and we also make time to enjoy our family and friends, and to do a little traveling by land and by sea. Although we are working on the transition back to life on land, right now it still feels good to be on the move. The weather has been hot, though, and sometimes we seem to move slowly. We are, however, making progress and all is well aboard.
The first half of July was spent in Georgia, still at Brunswick Landing Marina. During our time there we were able to be at Madison’s birthday party, a privilege we have missed during our travels over the past four years.
One night, we asked Michaela to come join us aboard. She and I went to a class on St. Simon’s Island where we painted pottery bowls then filled the bottoms with colorful glass before they were fired. We had so much fun together! The next day we baked macarons from scratch, visited an animal sanctuary on St. Simon’s, shopped at pet stores, and went to a garden shop where we found a cute little bonsai tree for her to grow. It’s hard to believe that Michaela will be turning twelve soon, but she is such a lovely young lady and we are so happy she still wants to come and spend time with us. Carter’s turn will be next and I have some fun planned for him in Brunswick!
We dropped Michaela off back home on Sunday evening and then made our way farther south in Jacksonville to meet up with wonderful friends who lived in our neighborhood in Bradenton, FL. Eris Boucher moved to Jacksonville a few years ago, and Jackie and Roy Woolf have just recently moved there. It was so much fun to get together again and to catch up on all of the news of everyone’s families.
On days John is working in the engine room it is usually wise for me to leave AfterMath. When he is working the hatches are open, which means there are two large, gaping holes available for me to fall into. Having had the experience once of falling in, I have a healthy respect for those holes, and I prefer to be elsewhere, off of the boat. These days allow me some time to explore the area that we have begun to truly love. I spent one of these days out on Jekyll Island enjoying the beautiful scenery there and taking pictures along the way. There is so much to see on Jekyll Island, and I’m sure I will spend many more days out there with a camera in hand.
Another engine room day sent me to St. Simon’s Island for a photo exploration. John and I have really fallen in love with this island, and it is quite possible that we may end up there when we are looking for our land based home. It has beaches, shops, stores, and those gorgeous live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. We love the island feel of it and think the size and location is perfect for us. Time will tell, and we never make guarantees, but for now, we love going to the island and always come back thinking it would make a great place for us to live.
Soon it was time to start up the engines and take a two-day trip from Brunswick to our favorite maintenance marina, Lamb’s Yacht Center in Jacksonville. John wanted to have the bottom of AfterMath painted there as well as some other pre-sale maintenance work as we have always been pleased with the job they have done. We left on July 20th and made our way to an anchorage near Fernandina Beach. It was wonderful to be back underway again, and to be back at anchor for the night.
The next day we continued along our way to Lamb’s, arriving Sunday afternoon. It was fun to see the large ships again, and, as always, to watch the colorful tugboats hard at work along the St. Johns River. For us, though, there was much to do after we were docked.
The plan was to pull AfterMath out of the water on Tuesday, so we needed to be off of the boat by that time. This meant that I needed to get laundry done, defrost the freezer, make arrangements for Kirby to go to a boarding facility, and pack for the week we would be away. John had all sorts of jobs he needed to accomplish before they could haul the boat out, and he only had Monday to take care of it all. As always, though, we managed to get everything done, and Tuesday, the task of raising AfterMath out of the water was accomplished.
We spent Tuesday night at Kelly and Craig’s house, where we got to celebrate Kelly’s birthday two days late. It was great fun to be together, of course. Soon it was time to carry on with our travels, and we were excited to be heading to Bolivia, NC to see our special friends, Vera, Rolf, and Jan. We have been lucky enough to be able and stop to see these wonderful people several times in our travels, and, as always, we enjoyed our visit with them so much. We stayed with Jan this time, but we all went out to dinner the evening we arrived and then to breakfast the following morning before heading farther north to Annapolis.
Jeff and Sarah had been asking us to visit with them in Annapolis this summer, and with AfterMath being out of the water, this seemed to be the perfect time. We weren’t sure how long we would be staying because our return depended on when the boat would be back in. We ended up there for a week and we really had great fun spending time with the boys and with Jeff and Sarah. One of the highlights of our trip was getting to take a ride with Jeff in his newly restored 1970 Opel GT. This car was Jeff’s first car, which he bought from my Uncle Bob when Jeff was just sixteen. Over the years it has been driven a lot and stored often, but for the past few years it has been at a restoration garage in Tennessee. Jeff just got it back a couple of months ago, and riding in it with him was exactly the same as it was over 20 years ago. This car has a fun history from even before Jeff owned it. The car was purchased by MGM for a movie that starred Debbie Reynolds. After the movie was made, Reynolds drove it for a while before it was put up for sale. My uncle purchased it and used it for several years, then stored it in his garage for many years before selling it to Jeff. We love the story, but we have never found out which movie it was originally purchased for.
Of course, no trip to Jeff and Sarah’s would be complete without time on the water. We took one of his boats to Annapolis for breakfast one day, and we also spent time watching Jeff, Walter, and Rush riding the wake board while Sarah did the driving. First Jeff took Rush on the board with him, then Jeff and Walt rode, and finally, Walt, all by himself. Those boys have salt water in their veins, just as their father does!
Also, while in Annapolis, we were able to visit with our friends, Scott and Noi. We met Scott and Noi in Grenada while they were living aboard their sailboat, Symbiosis. We traveled with them and with Debbie and Larry aboard their Nordhav’n for much of the trip back from the Caribbean. Back on land, Scott and Noi now live very near Jeff and Sarah and we were so pleased to be able to meet them for breakfast one morning while we were there.
Finally, on Wednesday the 31st, Lamb’s called to tell us that they would be putting the boat back in on Friday, so, sadly, it was time to pack up and leave again. Everyone made us feel so welcome there, insisting that we should stay as long as it took. Hugs and cuddles from Walt, Rush, and Ford were treasured, fun meals with many cheese quesadillas for Rush were made, and bedtimes with long conversations and stories read will long be remembered.
Back in Jacksonville, work on AfterMath continued. Lamb’s has been great at having people working on the boat every day, keeping the progress moving. Another engine room day found me at a lovely park nearby, one to which I will surely return when the weather cools off just a little. Walking trails abound in this park, and it is just gorgeous; I have a long way to go before I am done photographing that place!
Before we took the boat to Lamb’s we made sure they knew that we had a firm date with our dear friends, Becky and Judd from August 10th to the 13th. Becky and Judd made plans a few months ago to come visit us aboard, and we were not about to lose that chance just because of maintenance work. Although they had visited us when we were in Grenada, we were not able to take AfterMath out of the marina at the time. The slips were so tight and it just wasn’t a possibility for us. We wanted them to be able to be underway with us and had thought we would be in Brunswick when they arrived, so we planned a trip to Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island. Unfortunately, scheduling our maintenance wasn’t as easy as we hoped for, so, as always, we had to be flexible. Instead of the Golden Isles of Georgia, we decided we would take a trip a little way down the St. John’s River with Becky and Judd. They arrived Saturday, August 10th, and although we originally planned to leave that day, because of the heat, we decided to leave Sunday morning. We had a wonderful trip to Doctors Lake, had a fun dinghy ride around the area, and planned on dinner on shore at Whitey’s Fish Camp. Once again, we had to be flexible with our plans. As we watched from the boat, thunder and lightning storms rolled in along with winds and white caps. So, instead of going ashore, we grilled steaks and had a fun dinner aboard. Again because of the heat, we decided to return to Lamb’s on Monday after a ride around Jacksonville on the boat. It was a perfect day to take a ride, and after our return, we again chose to just enjoy each other’s company while we ate aboard.
Unfortunately, Tuesday arrived too quickly, and it was the day Becky and Judd had to fly back to Connecticut. Thankfully, though, their flight wasn’t until 5 PM. They were interested in seeing Brunswick, St. Simon’s Island, and Jekyll Island, so we took a day trip north, to see the sights and then to have lunch together before returning them to Jacksonville Airport. Having these great, longtime friends aboard was delightful. We laughed at old memories and we made new ones. No matter how long we are apart, when we are back together it is as if not a single day has passed. I will see Becky again next month at her house in Chincoteague, VA, when our group of “gourmet ladies” will have a weekend together. I can’t wait!
For now, we are in Jacksonville for a few more days, if all goes as planned. Then we will go back to Brunswick Landing Marina to complete the work that must be done before Aftermath is finally on the market. People continue to ask us when that will happen, but we don’t have a date yet. There is some cosmetic work that John would like to get done first, and no one knows exactly how long that will take. I will guarantee, though, that whoever ends up aboard this boat for its next chapter will have a treasure. AfterMath has taken us on, and will continue to provide, the adventures of a lifetime; I can’t even imagine not having this opportunity to live our dream.