It was really important for us to find a lifestyle that could fit with our lives. Cruising feels like a natural fit. It is one thing to buy a boat and prepare for a voyage, but another actually picturing yourself actually on a boat for a year. We are trying to make the best plans to continue our lives on our boat.
It is harder with kids. That’s what all of the cursing/sailing live-aboard blogs say. Some people think we are crazy to set off for a year with two little ones. Ours are 3 and 5, not counting the 2-year-old German Shepard who thinks she is a human. We have spoken to a few people who actually think this will be a once in a lifetime experience for our kids. I tend to agree but we are having to make a plan so that we don’t go out of our mind before we arrive in St. Croix, USVI. I always love to hear from people who are currently living aboard a boat with kids and I would love to have some comments and suggestions.
My wife Aubrey and I decided to take this seven or so months before we get on the boat to enrich our lives with some pursuits that we’ve dreamed of. One big one is to learn how to paint from a classical teacher here in Austin. We are stoked to learn how to draw and paint. I think it will give us a great hobby to spend time while we are in some of the most beautiful territory on the planet! We also bought some additional camera equipment. Aubrey is a professional photographer and I didn’t think she could want or need anything else but I was sure wrong. We got a super cool (Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L) wide-angle lens that I can’t wait to try out. We are already planning our coffee table books of amazing images from our journey. I can’t image how many amazing family pictures we will have after a year.
We are both full-time college students and moving on to second careers as elementary school teachers when we are done with our degree. We enrolled in a fantastic university that is online and highly accredited. I am taking as many courses as possible before we leave so that I can say ahead of my expectations. We are really happy that we can study and earn credits while we are aboard. There is a big shortage of teachers in the US Virgin Islands and that is one of our considerations for relocating to St. Croix. Thanks to the US Army for providing for my degree. I am a service disabled veteran and my benefits also allow Aubrey and the kids to go to college for free.
Aubrey plans to continue photography for weddings and portraits once we get settled in. She is an amazing artist and it is important to me that she can still do what makes her happy. I guess a lot of people use the USVI as a destination for weddings. I bought a nice camera and I am learning as much as I can. I look forward to all of the opportunities to get once in a lifetime images as life goes on.
I am learning to play the guitar because I can’t sing. I think that will be a good way to pass the time on the boat and I can’t wait to hear Aubrey sing to some cool tunes. Our daughter Bianca has a great voice too.
I am getting re-certified on my scuba certification and taking some extra classes in Texas before we leave. I plan to get some time as a wreck diver in Florida when we are counting the days until we go into open water. This seems like a really fun thing to be able to do in addition to being a great skill to have living aboard a boat. My plan is to have my advanced open water rating then add wreck diving and rescue diver in Florida. I am going to buy some extra air tanks so that I can go longer between fill ups at port. I have dreamed about finding some cool Caribbean wrecks all of my life. I am hoping to skin dive for most of our lobsters so I don’t waste air in my tanks. imagine that, free lobster! It is hard for me to believe that my dreams are coming true so soon. I am truly thankful.
I feel somehow addicted to Amazon and all of the great books that I can’t stop buying. I am burning through them as fast as I can open the mail. There is so much to learn. I read a book called “The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South” yesterday. It was a good read and written by a man who has been cruising the Caribbean for 30 years. It was a good buy but I can say that his book “Tricks of the Trades” was just a re-cap of the first book and I wish I hadn’t bought it in combination. He isn’t much for buying fishing tackle. He told a funny story about using a Barbie head with a hook inside as a lure. I’m glad I didn’t read the book when I had a young sister in the house! I feel sorry for what I did to her Barbies without using them to catch fish.
I spend a lot of time on a great forum that seems to have no shortage of useful information. I like that I can post a topic and many experienced people give comments and suggestions. If you are reading this journal because you are planning to live aboard a boat it needs to be book-marked on your computer. I have found a lot of other blogs or YouTube channels that interest me on this forum.