We lived on land until two months ago and became full-time cruisers who live aboard our boat. It was our dream to do this and it is really fun but it can be challenging. We did a lot of research on what it would “look like” to be full-time liveaboards cruising around the U.S. and Caribbean but few people talk about some of the challenges. Here is a day in the life of the Hamic Family aboard Miss Lone Star. We are presently located at our dock in Islamorada, FL and we are not underway.
We drove to Key West yesterday to visit the PX and the commissary. We make the 80 mile trip twice a month to do grocery shopping and pick up odds and ends. It takes 2 hours because the speed limit is 45 or 55 in most places but the views are amazing. Our girl-child was on one yesterday and she was beating up on her brother in the backseat. We tried all of the standard parent tactics: say sorry, don’t touch, no talking, look out your window and then the dreaded spanking. Nothing worked and she was a mess through almost all of the trip.
Our boy was great and he enjoyed swimming on the beach at the Naval base with all of his clothes on. He has turned into such a beach kid. I noticed that he was trying to pull down his shorts and I told him not to do that. He obliged and ran directly into the waves like he had permission. I guess he did. Aubrey and I enjoyed a beer and watched the kids swim and collect shells on the deserted beach.
We drove through town a bit and saw how congested it is for most people. We located what was named the “most Southern place in the US.” There was a line down the block and people were taking selfies in front of a marker. There was no parking available and what was taken cost $20 for the day. We noticed that the marker was close to a fence that was marked US Government Property. We realized that the Navy base was actually the most Southern part of the US so we went there and passed the security checkpoint with our ID’s in hand. Parking was free and we didn’t lock our car. We were alone on the beach and it was peaceful. We drove home and it was anything but peaceful thanks to my naughty daughter.
We pulled into our marina and Aubrey saw a land crab running in front of the car. She jumped out as I slowed and caught the creature. She assisted Onyx the dog on the capture of an iguana a day earlier. I’m surprised the word isn’t out but she still catches new species daily. We unloaded the groceries and the 40 lbs. of ice that it takes to keep it cold. The kids dined on sandwiches since it was getting late and there was no time to cook dinner. They went to bed while we dined on fish dip and chips. We spoke with our dock neighbors for a while and we realized that we still hadn’t put the groceries away. It takes a long time to do simple tasks on the boat, such as putting groceries away or cleaning the kitchen.
We awoke to a wet spot on the floor where the dog sleeps. Apparently, she was dehydrated and she drank a ton of water when we returned last night. She pee’d her bed. There was another suspicious smell in our boat, not attributed to the dog. Apparently our daughter did the same. Great. The kids evacuated the boat to play on the dock but not without checking in a dozen times while Mom and me drank our coffee. It wasn’t peaceful.
It was time to clean the boat and the kids were out making new messes on the dock. They were put in time out a few times for taking shells from other people’s boats, picking flowers from other people’s flower pots, scattering their breakfast throughout the dock and other general disobedience. Aubrey slaved away on reorganizing the kitchen storage and unpacking the groceries. I cleaned the outside of the boat and the decks. I had to remove everything because there was too much mess to wash around. I suspected the kids but I couldn’t prove it.
Bianca came back a half-dozen times to ask for things while I was cleaning and subsequently got hosed off without a word exchange. That’s just the way it goes. A few hours later, I was done and we had a lunch on the deck. The kids dropped all of their crumbs but decided to try to pick them up after a few words of encouragement. It was about Noon and it was time to get a break from the heat so we went below. Blake took a nap on our bed.
Bianca lugged the pee sheets and blankets topside and hauled the cart to the laundry room for a wash with her mom. I wrote this blog post to take a break from my chores. Typing this, I look around and see a bunch of things left undone and another day’s worth of chores. Our boat is too small for moving messes around that was done easily in our big house. I guess the positive is that we take whatever time it takes daily to get our boat in order. Aubrey is now finishing a new video and Bianca won the fight to get on our bed by asking so many times, in so many different ways that she finally got her way. She should write a book on how to win friends and influence people despite reprehensible behavior, because it would sell. I can think of at least one North Korean dictator that might buy it.
What is on tap for later? We shall square the inside of the boat away and I will install the new carbon monoxide detectors and two new LED lights that have been on my list since Kemah, TX. We still have to cook and clean dinner and get the kids in bed. We won’t forget a certain someone’s diaper tonight and the dog will get another long walk before bedtime. We will hope for the best, because that’s all we can do.
In summary, it is challenging to liveaboard a boat full-time, especially with kids. We are all in close quarters at all times and it has been about 75 days since we’ve got a date night. A girl who lives on the dock offered to watch the kids but stood us up with no notice or explanation. Maybe the kids stole her sea shells? On the positive, we are untying our boat tomorrow and headed back to the blue water to anchor out for a few nights. After I replace the port side battery.