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Armadillo Delight By Martin Mullan


’m Martin Mullan, aged 11. I live with my two brothers, my sister and my parents on a 39-foot ketch (yes—only 39 feet for the six of us!). Our boat is a Camper Nicholson. We are from Ireland and we started this particular journey about three years ago— when the boat was bigger and we were smaller! My sister Michelle is 15. James, my older brother is 12. And Peter, my younger brother, is 10. My Mum is called Sharon, and my Dad is called Jim (a few other names get mentioned at times if we miss the dock!), but I’ll just call them Mum and Dad. Oh—and I’ll keep their ages a secret. We were feasting out on Thanksgiving Day at St. Mary’s, GA, when some friends told us that there was a lot of wild life on Cumberland Island, which sounded cool. I love wildlife and seeing all the different species that we don’t have back at home. So we took off the following day in search of Cumberland Island. When we arrived, the water was a bit choppy, but we went ashore anyway. Once we landed the dinghy, we went on the walking trail. Nothing jumped out at us, so after a while, we switched over to a road trail. Bingo! Dad spotted an armadillo. I’ve always wanted to see a full armadillo, because at all the zoos I’ve been to, all I could ever see was their butts sticking out when they were sleeping inside a log (it wasn’t a pretty sight!). This armadillo was sticking his nose everywhere searching for bugs. It was fantastic to see one up close and in its own natural habitat. So close in fact I could have touched it, but I didn’t. When we were in Trinidad, I was

Martin and the armadillo.

Left to right: Martin, Pete and James exploring Cumberland Island.

told that armadillos are a delicacy. Well, not for me, thank you! Soon we wandered off, heading for Dungeness, a ruined mansion. We couldn’t go inside to explore because it was unstable and unsafe, which was a pity. It was severely damaged by a fire in 1959. Peter and I climbed the garden pillars onto the capping stones; we thought it would be fun to make faces pretending to be gargoyles, not difficult for our Pete and his face (only joking, Pete). Soon, we went around the back to see some wild horses. We saw a total of eight and a foal. They weren’t bothered with all the people around. Now for the history lesson. Timucuan Indians lived on Cumberland for over 3000 years. In the mid 1500s, Europeans reached Cumberland Island, and the island flourished for 80 years. In 1736, the English took possession of it. The ruins are the remains of Thomas and Lucy Carnegie’s Dungeness. It was built in the 1880s. The island is now owned by the National Park Service. They also have a museum on the island with lots of interesting skulls, sharks teeth, shells and lots of photos to look at. It was getting dark so we headed back to our boat. I would have loved to have spent a couple of days exploring, but we had to move on the following day, farther south, for more adventures. I would fully recommend visiting the island to other cruisers. So, if you are up that way, stop by and take a look. Have fun!!!

Wild horses at Dungeness, a wild mansion. 78