Thursday, December 13, 2012

We've been in St. Augustine, FL  for a week now.  We had intended to stay for just a few days, but we've enjoyed this beautiful, old city so much we're still here!  More about St.  Augustine later, but for now I wanted to share this picture of me and Jack on the balcony of the St. Augustine lighthouse.  He really wanted to go because he had heard it was quite haunted.  He climbed the 219 steps to the top looking for ghosts the entire way!  I thought he was going to ask for a refund because he didn't see any!  He wants to go back and night now. . .

Thursday, December 6, 2012


We spent two lovely days anchored off Cumberland Island, Georgia's largest barrier island.  All four of us were completely taken by the place.  It's so peaceful and unspoiled.  It's hard to pick my favorite part of Cumberland Island -- the moss-covered draping canopy of the live oaks, the feral horses, the spectacular ruins from a bygone era, the pristine beaches, the birds.  We spent our first day on the island hiking trails and visiting the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness.  The mansion was built in the late 1800's and abandoned in 1925.  In 1959, Dungeness was mostly destroyed by fire that was a result of suspected arson.

The Ruins of Dungeness
Dungeness Safe

Fleur de Lis fire back

The feral horses on Cumberland Island have been here since the 16th century. There are approximately 150 that roam the island. They graze openly on the marsh and forest areas of the island.  They occasionally go to the beach, but we didn't see any while we were there.  My guess is they avoid the beach most of the time since all it really offers to them is a case of sand colic.    We were lucky enough to spot five on our way to the ruins.  They'll let you get close, but not too close. We probably would not have seen any horses had it not been for these two grazing in the picnic area.  They hung with us for several minutes before heading off into the wood.  We followed them and found three more.

There are wild turkeys on the island too.  Unlike the ones back home, these guys don't seem to mind our presence.  I wonder if they realize how lucky they are they're not hunted here. . .

After lunch, we took the advice of a park ranger and headed over to Racoon Key to look for shark's teeth.  When we arrived, there was already someone there combing the beach.  We introduced ourselves and she gave us some tips on where to find the teeth.  She frequents the beach often and has found over 5,000 teeth over years.  She said she pretty much cleaned the beach out for the week and gave the kids a handful of teeth!  I managed to find just one before the sun began to set.    The tooth I found is on the top right.

Day 2 on Cumberland Island was a beach day!  It was a sunny 80ยบ day.  We took this beautiful path that lead to the beach:
 And spotted a lovely Pileated Woodpecker!
We had hoped to see some of the other island wildlife like armadillos and boars, but they remained elusive!  We saw only one other couple while we were on the island and they saw 3 armadillos, but no horses!  Guess you have to be in the right place at the right time. We were the only people on the entire beach the whole day!  The kids played in the sand, splashed in the surf, chased seagulls and combed the beach for ocean treasures.  It was the most relaxing part of our entire trip so far.  The salt air did us all a world of good.


American Oystercatcher
Ghost Crab  

Another trip to Cumberland Island is on the schedule when we head North!  We barely touched the tip of the island!

Monday, December 3, 2012


St. Simons Island, GA

This morning we anchored on the Frederica River and went ashore to explore the military town of Fort Frederica.  First established in 1736 by British General James Oglethorpe on present day St. Simons Island, Georia. The end of the war with Spain in 1748 resulted in a decrease in the garrison at Fort Frederica and a decline in the population at the town.  In 1758 a great fire destroyed most of the town and by 1763 most of the population and the garrison were gone. 

It's a beautiful site with many ruins to explore.  We also visited the welcome center and checked out many of the artifacts found on the site.  The center had a nice little theater where we watched a short video about the history of the fort as well as the Bloody Marsh Battle.  A great history lesson for the day! (click on pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, December 1, 2012


We spent 4 nights on a dock in Wadmalaw Island, SC.  The yard at Marine Propulsion belongs to our friend, Anthony Black.  The yard sits on a lovely creek overlooking beautiful marsh land.  In the morning, dolphins swim around the boat fishing for their breakfast.  Everyone at the yard was so helpful.  One of Anthony's employees helped fix our idling issue much to K.'s excitement!  Fiona and Jack schooled in the morning and played with all the critters running around. There's a never-ending assortment of dogs running around -- Nipper, Happy, Lily and a 2 month old chocolate lab puppy named Sadie.  Of course, I can't forget to mention yard mascot, Aflac -- a very noisy and hungry goose!  In the afternoon the kids usually got together with Anthony's kids.  Fiona and Grace are about the same age and are now fast friends.  We toured the Charleston Tea Plantation on our last day.  It's America's only tea garden.  Not only did we learn how tea is made, but that Wadmalaw Island is also home to bobcats and 4 different poisonous snakes!  

Thanks for the great memories, Anthony, Susie, Simon, Rachel, Diana, Grace, Alex, Josh, Maisey and Talluaha!

Fiona & Jack feed Aflac

On the dock at Marine Propulsion

Fiona on the beach

Original tea garden at Charleston Tea Plantation

Fiona & Jack and the former jockey trolley 'Man 'O War' --now used for plantation tours