We loved Shamus. He made us smile every day even when he got into mischief. He had just turned nine this past February and he was taken from us way too early. We are just so glad he was with us this past year all day, every day on our adventures from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas. While living on the boat he was always within a few feet of us and now suddenly he isn’t. Shamus’ passing has left an emptiness in our lives we feel daily.
The Rest of Our trip Home
We left North Palm Beach and headed North up the ICW. We stopped in Jensen Beach, Vero Beach, and Titusville. This section of the ICW is wide and straight and we had a nice steady southeast wind so we had a couple good days of sailing.
March 14 – Bikers Week, Daytona Beach Florida – NEVER AGAIN!!!!
CULTURE SHOCK!!! After spending six incredibly relaxing, quiet and peaceful weeks in Great Harbour Cay Tim, Shamus and I were re-adjusting to the busy, noisy way of life back in the states. Daytona blew us away! We arrived Saturday evening, March 15 which as it turned out was the last weekend of Bike Week in Daytona. MADNESS! As always we took Shamus for a walk shortly after arriving. There were motorcycles and people everywhere. The motorcyclists would rev their engines at every stop light. The noise was thunderous. Our ears throbbed and Shamus was absolutely terrified! Thankfully it was quiet at the marina so we took Shamus home away from the craziness.
I had not been to Daytona before and was curious to see the beach so after taking Shamus home Tim and I grabbed a taxi over to the boardwalk. What a mistake! It was a mob scene! We weren’t there very long before we grabbed another taxi and fled the area! We asked the taxi driver to take us to a nice pub in a quiet section of town where we could grab dinner. He took us to a place called Billy’s Tap Room & Grill which is actually in Ormond Beach. Tim and I highly recommend this place if you are in the Daytona area. The food and service where fabulous and they also happened to have a great musician playing that night. Good prices too!
We left Daytona early the next morning. Biker’s week or not, Daytona is not our kind of town. Never again!
March 15 – 16: St. Augustine
We revisited St. Augustine as it is a place we really enjoy. We made our way to our favorite bar, the Taberna de Gallo, in the old section of the city and relaxed with a couple beers and good conversation with a couple of the other patrons and the bar tender.
The next day we visited the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium. There is definitely a lot of odd stuff to see but the place was full of artifacts and cultural information from very civilized cultures to native/tribal cultures that had little contact with the outside world when Ripley visited them. However Tim and I both agree that learning more about the life and travels of Robert Ripley was the most interesting part of the museum. He was a fascinating man.
March 17, Cumberland Island, GA -
We headed out the St. Augustine Inlet and had a decent sail up the coast. We re-entered the ICW via the St. Mary’s inlet and anchored off Cumberland Island, Georgia. Cumberland Island is Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island. It was established as a national seashore in 1972 and is maintained by the National Park Service. The island is spectacularly beautiful. The first night we walked Shamus across the island to the beach. The trail to the beach weaved through a beautiful forest and the islands sand dunes before ending at the beach. We were looking forward to seeing some of the wild horses that live on the island but we saw no sign of them that evening other than some “piles of recycled grass” and their well-worn paths through dunes. Fortunately we did get to see an armadillo! Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera or our phones so we didn’t get a picture!
The next morning we walked to the southern end of the island to view the ruins of Dungeness, which was a large mansion built In the 1880's by Thomas Carnegie , brother of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, and his wife. It was mostly destroyed by fire but there is enough of the mansion left to see how magnificent it once was. The grounds around the mansion are also beautiful and we were thrilled to see several wild horses grazing there.
March 18 – 19, Jekyll Island, GA
It was still early in the afternoon when we returned from exploring Cumberland Island so we picked up anchor and headed to Jekyll Island. The winds were blowing at 20 plus knots from the NNE and at times was blowing against the current which blew up some steep, choppy waves in some of the wider channels we crossed. We only planned to stay at Jekyll Island for one night but we woke up to dense fog and drizzle the next morning so we decided to stay put. The marina on Jekyll Island offers a courtesy golf cart that we took out to explore the island and pick up some groceries. Jekyll Island is a resort destination. The beaches are supposed to be beautiful and it is a good travel destination if you play golf. Unfortunately we didn’t get to explore the beaches due to the weather and we don’t play golf so we didn’t check out any of the golf courses. We did notice that there are several trails that crisscross the island that can be used for biking or hiking. Jekyll Island has no real town center but in the near future they will complete the “Jekyll Island Beach Village” which will be a shopping area for tourists. Right now all the shops seem to be in trailers in that ring a large parking lot just down the road from the site of the future beach village. At least it was quiet on Jekyll Island and the people at the marina were very friendly which was much needed as our nerves were still adjusting from the shock they received at Daytona.
The ICW literally winds its way north through Georgia and South Carolina and the landscape is flat and marshy. In a way the marsh lands have their own beauty but it does get monotonous after a while. We anchored off Dolboll Island and in Cane Patch Creek before returning to Thunderbolt Marina which is just on the outskirts of Savannah. There is not much to say about either anchorage except we chose them because we could take Shamus to shore. We all came back from our shoreline excursions covered in mud at both locations and quickly learned that on the marshy shores of Georgia we were at the bottom of the food chain as the no-see-ums and gnats feasted on us. I think our bug spray attracted them rather than repelled the damn bugs like it is supposed to.
The monotony of the Georgia marshes was briefly interrupted when we rounded a sharp bend in the ICW and were flagged down by a fellow sailor who needed a tow. I am not sure what kind of sailboat it was but it was in rough shape. The sails were worn and the captain had hung two tires on each side of the boats for fenders. He told us his engine wasn’t working and he was trying to sail to the closest inlet out to the ocean where he would sail to Charleston. The closest inlet was about 6 miles up the ICW in the direction we were heading. Without us there to give him a tow he would have been stranded for a while since there was no wind and even if there was, that section of the ICW was narrow and filled with sharp bends that keeping the wind in the sails would have been difficult. He threw us a line so weak and frayed that we thought it would snap as soon as it was put under load when we started towing him. Surprisingly the line didn’t break and we towed him to the inlet and waved him goodbye as he started tacking out to sea. The name of the boat was “Pretty Lucky” and Tim and I hoped the boat would live up to its name as we thought he was going to need all the luck he could get to make it to Charleston.
We returned to Thunderbolt Marina. We had received great service at Thunderbolt on our way south and received equally good treatment when we returned. They provided us with free bus passes that we used to take a bus into Savannah. It was a drizzly day so we only explored the small section of the city between our bus stop and the waterfront. The streets were all lined with big beautiful trees and there were several beautifully landscaped squares with statues and memorials commemorating many of Savannahs historical figures and sites. The waterfront was very fun – lots of fun little shops and pubs. St. Patrick’s day was the prior week and we learned that Savannah has one of the, if not the, biggest St. Patty’s day celebration in the country. They likened it to Marti Gras in New Orleans. There were still tons of St. Patty’s day paraphernalia on sale at all the local shops along the waterfront. A big sign in one of the bars said “Don’t forget to take a beer with you!” clued us in that it is legal to stroll around the city with open containers of beer. NICE! Our favorite store was the “Peanut Shop”! The store sold all kinds of yummy delights and you could sample all of them. We came out with a few goodies but our favorite is the Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Peanuts. They are addictive. We were disappointed to learn that there are only a couple “Peanut Shops” and they are in Savannah and Charleston. We were prepared to fill all our empty storage space on the boat with containers of these delicious peanuts but thankfully learned we could order them from Amazon!
We transited the ICW from Thurnderbolt, GA to Charleston, S.C. Our nicest stop along the way was a little anchorage called Steamboat Landing. There is a strong current that runs through the anchorage but overall it’s a great place especially for those travelling with a pup who needs to get to shore to exercise and take care of business. There was a long dirt road that was lovely to walk along.
March 26 – April 5, 2015 – Charleston, S.C.
Tim’s oldest brother John came to visit us for a pleasant long weekend. He arrived Thursday night and left the following Tuesday. The three of us toured a WWII era submarine and the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Yorktown. It didn’t take long to explore the submarine. It is small and cramped but interesting. We took several hours exploring the Yorktown and we still didn’t see all of it. They had a fantastic exhibit of showing progress of planes used for aerial war fare. The planes were beautiful and each had a unique story associated with it from the type of missions it was used for to stories of American heroes who flew them. There were also exhibits showing some aircraft used during the early years of space exploration, and information about and tributes to the soldiers who fought in WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Korea. The aircraft carrier itself was a wonder to see. It literally is a city on the sea. Perhaps the most interesting experience of our day was talking to a veteran who had served on board an aircraft carrier shortly after WW II ended. His description of life on board was fascinating and he indicated that you just didn’t go anywhere on board the carrier if you didn’t have a reason to be there. Because of that he never really got to see the entire ship until after his service ended and he became a volunteer for the museum.
We visited Ft. Sumter where we learned a lot about the history of the civil war and the significance of Charleston Harbor to keeping supply lines open for the confederate army.
We also visited the Angel Oak which is a huge oak tree outside Charleston. No one really knows how old it is but easily a few hundred years.
Mostly we just enjoyed walking around Charleston. It is a beautiful city. After a day of sailing with John we had a fantastic “low country” meal at a restaurant called “Jestines”. Tim ordered the best fried chicken I have ever tasted, and I had a great grilled chicken but John’s grilled shrimp with grits was AMAZING.
We had a great time meeting a bartender who was wearing a shirt illustrating Bill Murray’s face on it. One of us commented on his shirt and we ended up getting a great story about how he was such a fan of Bill Murray’s that he had his likeness tattooed on his rear end. One day he found out from a friend that Bill Murray was in town and just a couple blocks away. He ran out to meet him and begged Bill Murray, in front of his children, to autograph the tattoo on his butt. Bill Murray was pretty amused by him and signed his butt. The bartender then promptly went to the nearest tattoo parlor and had the autograph made permanent. It was a great story but stupidly none of us asked to see his tattoo!
While in Charleston I was able to visit with my friend Grace Thoma and her family. John, Tim and I met Grace and her daughter for lunch and then a few days later Grace, her husband, and daughter took me out in the motor boat to explore Charleston Harbor. Grace was diagnosed with leukemia a few years ago and had a bone marrow transplant. Needless to say it has been a difficult few years for Grace and her family and I was grateful to just be able to give her a hug.
We needed to transit the next section of the ICW (near McClellanville) during a high tide. High tide was occurring in the middle of the night so after John left Tim and I spent a few more days in Charleston waiting until high tide occurred early in the morning before we could continue on our journey.
April 5 – April 17
After leaving Charleston we stopped in Southport, Swansboro, Oriental , Bellhaven, Columbia and Elizabeth City. In Oriental , N.C. we were able to catch up with our friends Monty and Amy Edge and their son Austin. The Edge’s are Caliber owners who we met and befriended a few years ago when they were cruising in Maine.
Then just north of Elizabeth City we were invited by Paul and Joyce Wheeler to use the dock at their home. Paul and Joyce also own a Caliber 40 and I believe had heard of us via the Caliber owners website and had found our blog. They contacted us and invited us to stop by when we were in the area. They have a beautiful house right on the ICW between Elizabeth City and the first lock of the Dismal Swamp Canal when you are headed north. Paul and Joyce were wonderful hosts and we are so glad we accepted their invitation. We hope if they decide to bring their Caliber 40 “Time” to Maine that we will get the opportunity to return their hospitality and spend more time with them.
April 18 – 29
By the time we reached Deltaville, MD Shamus’s health problems started to occur. His right eye was swollen but he was holding both eyes shut and wasn’t showing his normal enthusiasm to go exploring on shore. Our initial thought was that I had possibly injured his eye when I accidentally poked him in the eye a couple nights prior. We consulted with Chris and Jen via phone but it was difficult for them to determine what might be happening with his eye without being able to physically examine him. They were a little concerned that he was holding both eyes closed and not just the injured one and that his energy level was off.
On April 23 when Tim and I arrived in Salomon’s Island Maryland we decided we needed to get his eye checked by a local veterinarian. We took him to the Solomon Veterinary Medical Center. To all of our surprise we found no injury to the eye but instead that the pressure in his right eye was off the charts and that he had developed Glaucoma in his right eye. Glaucoma didn’t make any sense to the examining vet or Chris and Jen given that it is more or less a genetically inherited disease and only certain purebreds are commonly affected. He was given intravenous, oral, and topical meds to try and reduce the eye pressure. When that didn’t work we were referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist in Annapolis Maryland. The only way they were able to reduce the pressure in his eye was to extract some of the eye fluid. We knew we would need to closely monitor his eye pressure if we wanted to prevent blindness in his right eye and watch for the possible development of Glaucoma in his left eye. We discussed with Chris and Jen that we would drive him back to Maine and put Shamus in their care while we finished bringing the boat home. Unfortunately, Shamus’ eye pressure skyrocketed again and we agreed to have the ophthalmologist perform laser surgery on his eye to reduce the production of eye fluid and to save vision in his right eye. The surgery occurred on Thursday, April 23. It went well and Shamus was hospitalized for the next couple days to monitor the eye pressure around the clock. We planned to drive him from Annapolis to Portland, Maine to be put into Chris and Jen’s care on Monday, April 27. The plan was they would work with a local veterinary ophthalmologist as needed during his recovery while we moved the boat back to Maine. Unfortunately the shit hit the fan on Sunday night before we were able to pick him up. The ophthalmologists caring for Shamus called us to let us know he was exhibiting signs of hemophilia which made no sense. We gave them permission to run tests and send the results to Chris and Jen. When we picked Shamus up on Monday morning it was apparent he was feeling very sick.
Enroute to Maine Chris called to say the test results he received showed Shamus had an acutely inflamed liver and was going into liver failure. We were no longer worried about him losing an eye; his situation was now critical. Chris and Jen started treatment as soon as we arrived.
April 28: We returned to Annapolis and departed on Carina the following day. Chris and Jen gave us multiple updates on Shamus’ condition each day. We arrived in Cape May, N.J. on Thursday, April 30 and due to weather we would be stuck there a couple days. My dad, who has a single engine Cessna 210 airplane, flew down from my hometown of Blairstown NJ and flew me to Portland so I could be with Shamus. While I was gone Tim visited with his family who live just outside Philadelphia in Ambler, PA. I returned to Philadelphia via train on Saturday and Tim and I departed Cape May at sunrise on Sunday, May 3. We pulled into DiMillos Marina in Portland Maine at 10:00 p.m. Thursday, May 7. We had made it from Annapolis Maryland to Portland Maine in a week including the two days we had to stay in Cape May.
While stuck in Annapolis for Shamus’ surgery we rented a car and explored the National Mall in DC and also checked out St. Michaels, MD which is a lovely little bayside town on the eastern shore. We were there the day of a big wine festival but we spent most of our time in a great little microbrewery called Eastern Shore Brewing. They had some of the best varieties of beer we have ever tasted.
We were able to bring Shamus up to our family’s camp in Belgrade Lakes on May 13. We were joined a couple days later by Tim’s four brothers, his sister-in-law Diana and his dad for the annual spring camp opening. At the time we thought Shamus was on the slow road to recovery so we enjoyed our week at the camp and spending time with everyone. Most of the family left the following Monday. Mark and Diana stayed to enjoy a few more days at the camp which was great because Tim and Mark were able to finish the big spring project of renovating the downstairs bathroom.
After Shamus passed May 24 we took the boat to the Goslings for a long weekend and then took Carina to Brewers Marina in South Freeport where we had her hauled so we could touch up the bottom paint, remove the tannin stains from her hull that are common on boats that have transited the Intra Coastal Waterway and polish and wax her.
We were also able to catch up with our friends Rodd, Cara and Zoe Collins, and the Donahue clan.
On June 3 we travelled to East Burke Vermont. A stunningly beautiful area we have been visiting for years. We come here to mountain bike in the summer and fall and ski, or snowshoe during the winter months. We are staying right on historical Darling Hill in David and Catherine Dwyer’s guest cottage. A fabulous location for its mountain views and also because it sits in the center of all the mountain bike trails. David and Catherine are fabulous and fun people. We are so glad to have met them!
We returned to Portland June 12. Portland was having its Old Port Festival so we dropped our dock lines as soon as possible and headed to Jewel Island for the night. The next day we hoisted our spinnaker and had a beautiful downwind sail to the Goslings. We returned to Portland on Monday and then drove back here to Vermont on Tuesday, June 16. Our friends Charles and Tabitha Hilton arrived on Thursday to enjoy the trails and partake in NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Association) FEST – “a celebration of summer and all things mountain biking”. The event is sponsored and attended by some of the best mountain bike manufacturers, so there is plenty of cool equipment to see and demo, good food, fun contests, beer, food and great music.
We will be spending the rest of our summer and the remaining months of our “ first retirement” travelling between Vermont and Maine where we can enjoy our favorite sports: sailing and mountain biking.