Goodbye Texas (I Didn’t Sink The Boat in Texas)

God blessed Texas with his own hands, brought down angles from the promised land, gave them a where they could dance, if you wanna see heaven brother here’s your chance.  I’ve been sent to spread the message, God blessed Texas.

All that being said, we left for greener pastures.  My lovely bride is finally working the video footage from our voyage to Florida and beyond and this is the first of many new videos that chronicle our epic trip.

I am writing this 7 weeks after it was taken but I remember it like yesterday.  I remember leaving Kemah (TX), where we first lived aboard our boat as a family for a week.  This delay was unexpected but prudent because our boat was delivered, un-repaired and unseaworthy.  Miss Lone Star suffered a hail storm months previous to us leaving Austin and the repair shop had 10 weeks to finish all the required work.  It didn’t happen, unbeknownst to us, but we paid for the work.  We shipped it and dropped it in the water and that’s when the trouble began.

The repair shop made right on their errors and one of the owners came to help me fix all of the problems and 8 trips to West Marine later (and 5 days) we were off.  I can say now that I didn’t know anything.  The dry land me thought 5 days was one hell of a delay.  Not so, it reality.  The dry land me didn’t know anything about seamanship but he was to learn, and learn hard- I did.  Obviously, we are alive and well and I am post-writing this journal from Islamorada, FL.  Alls well that ends well but it hasn’t ended because soon, we are off to Cuba!

We cruised the ICW through Texas to Louisiana and the following segments will detail our voyage.  It was not without troubles, high seas or pirates.  Enjoy!

It’s Easy To Move When You Don’t Have As Much Stuff

The title for this post seemed Ok as I typed it but instantly knew it was a lie when I reread it!  Moving sucks and there is no getting around it.  I think that it was easier to move our stuff into a1800PACKRAT Pod than a traditional house to house move.  I am sore as all get out, sitting here in the morning after but I feel great about all we’ve accomplished in making our dream a reality.

Moving  into 1800PACKRAT Pod

The thought of moving isn’t as bad when you are done!

Continue reading

Getting Nervous! 1 Week Until We Depart!

I am writing this with a few butterflies in my stomach and thinking about our departure in eight short days!  It is hard to believe that our dream has almost come true!  We are really looking forward to our trip and getting underway.  I am personally looking forward to saying good-bye to a house payment and all of the utilities that come with it.  I realize that we will be trading some expenses for an increased cost of fuel for a while but our monthly savings will be huge for us.Star Fist on St. Croix, USVI

It still astounds me that we could save money while living and cruising our boat to new and exciting places.  I was dreaming about catching fish from our boat last night.  We ate fish tacos and tired out another fish sauce that Aubrey has perfected.  I expect that we will be eating a lot of fish each week.  I will be happy to say good-bye to that expense too.  Grocery store fish and lobster sucks and it costs too much!

The price of gas on the ocean is much better than inland: $3.79 per gallon!

We have just a few last things to sell and we are almost completely packed.  Our storage pod is loaded with all of the non furniture stuff we had in the house.  Aubrey has packed the kitchen up completely and our closets have nothing in them.  Aubrey was a good girl and really got rid of a lot of stuff.  She only took two large boxes of clothes and 1 box of shoes.  I have a sneaking suspicion that she hid a box or tow that she didn’t tell me about in the pod when I wasn’t looking.

We are waiting patiently on the upholstery guy and I plan to stalk him later today.  The boat repair yard doesn’t have that much stuff to do before the boat is detailed.  I spoke to the transporter and I think he will be on time.  He knows that if he misses the date, we will have to stay in a hotel and I hope he knows the kids would drive us crazy.

I guess it is about time to schedule our utilities to be turned off and forward the mail.  I’ve moved a lot in my lifetime but it’s never made me so nervous.

User Review: REI Microfiber Towels

We will soon be living aboard our boat for a few years.  We’ve cleared out all of the old cotton towels from our boat, which was daunting.  I was surprised at the space 10 towels used!  Space is so important when you live aboard a boat and we decided to get rid of everything that didn’t make sense.  Our cotton towels got donated.

REI Microfiber Towel- Living Aboard A Boat

It feels as soft as it looks!

We spent a few weeks trying out microfiber towels made by various brands.  We purchased all of them from REI in Austin.  We were completely with the REI brand of microfiber towels and decided to buy a total of 10 for our boat.  We settled on 4 for outside, 2 for inside showers and 4 for drying dishes.

I am amazed at the size of the unfolded towel compared with the compact folded size.  My wife is a big fan of a big cotton towel but I prefer the feel of the microfiber.  It dried a person just as fast as a shammy used to dry a car.  We chose to replace the cotton ones because the microfiber dries so much faster.

Laundry time will be much easier because they take up almost no space.  We figure that we will re-use the towels many times and wash them about once per week.  The size will allow us to wash them in the sink on the boat or at the laundromat.  Many boaters hang towels on the outside of the boat to dry in the sun.  I remember the last trip to the lake.  It was windy and our towels blew into the water.  I retrieved them after a lot of effort but they didn’t dry until the next day with full sun.  Happily, we can wring out the microfiber towels. Continue reading

Moving To A Smaller Home- Downsizing Belongings

It’s been a busy week with the Holiday festivities, but we’re back and with our noses to the grind stone, selling our things and prepping for the journey ahead. We are counting down now 14 weeks 3 days, it may sound like a lot of time to some, but for us we know that it is crunch time. We have a 3,000 square foot house that we must pare down to fit into a 37′ foot boat, with about 250 square feet of inside living space!Miss Lone Star travels

The easiest way to get rid of things is to give them away or sell what has value.  We assigned a category to our belongings with an eye on downsizing.  Keep it forever, use now and on the boat.  Keep it forever, pack it into our storage pod to be shipped to us later.  Sell because it has a value.  Give away because someone can use it but it can’t be sold.  Throw it away. Continue reading

Read the Classics

Take some time and dust off the old classics. Recently Robb and I have gotten into my books from when I was a child (remember these mom?). We just finish The Adventures of Frog and Toad, and the kids were so thrilled with it, we busted out this pretty little stack from my box of “specials”.Miss Lone Star Travels Read books ClassicsWe have started at the top with Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, albeit it’s a little scary for a 3 and 5-year-old, but they are hanging in there like champs. It has been brought to my attention (thanks Dear) that until the children learn how to read, there will be a lot of “are we there yet” while we are under way on our year-long boat voyage thorough the Caribbean and Central America.

So I am doing my best to get these two hooked on books. Robb and I made the choice last year to cut back substantially on Blake and Bianca’s time in front of the “boob tube”, while watching a questionable episode of My Little Pony Princess is Magic. After about five minutes, I immediately stopped wondering where Bianca learned to roll her eyes and say “whatever”. I didn’t think I’d have to kill her for that until she was at least 13 years old!

After we cut back on the TV and iPad time, I was shocked to find, that I have much sweeter and far less sassy kids. I know what you all are thinking, and you are right, at first it is harder because they are underfoot declaring their boredom and protesting the injustice. Trust me it gets easier, just give it time.

Currently Bianca is learning to read, and I cannot wait until the day I can lie in a hammock and have her read Shakespeare while I doze off for a nap. Okay, okay I know that’s pushing it, but I can dream right?

Aubrey Gravitar

Ahh, day dreams…

I Survived the PADI Advanced Open Water Course!

IMG_2071-EditI spent the last couple of days diving and completed the P.A.D.I Advanced Open Water certification course.  It was a useful course and I recommend it to other divers.  This advanced course is a must for PADI divers who want to move on to be a Master Scuba Diver certification or divers who want to go the professional route to become a Divemaster.   Continue reading

How We Will Save A Lot of Money While Living Aboard Our Boat

Most people wouldn’t believe that you could save a bunch of money while simultaneously living on a boat in the Caribbean.  Living aboard your boat can save you a lot of money in the long run.  The liveaboard community has existed for decades in the U.S. and the world.  It has grown since the stock market crash in 2008 for many reasons.  Google thinks “Liveaboard” refers mainly to the type of people who live at one marina aboard their boats.  This is a popular option in Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and other large cities in the U.S.  For our purpose, liveaboard will mean traveling, cruising, staying at anchor and sometimes docking at a marina. Boat Sunset We have a unique situation, in that we could live in Austin or anywhere.  Currently we keep our boat at the lake in a slip that has a monthly cost of about $500.  People around here like to have a boat for occasional use on the weekend during the summer and boat ownership is seen as more of a status upgrade. Continue reading

Liberate with Less Laundry

Less laundry equals more playtime, for Mom that is. I’m standing in the living room staring at a mile high pile of laundry,( just a weeks worth) and I am trying to imagine what it is going to look like living with out a washer and dryer on our boat with TWO small children. I went upstairs to the main offender’s room,  and I grabbed Bianca’s 30 pound hamper that was over flowing with 3 days of “dirty clothes” in it, and headed to the laundry room. D94A5848-Edit Continue reading