Florida Keys Alligator Reef Was Spectacular!

Florida Keys Aligator ReefWe first set off on our voyage about 7 weeks ago in Kemah, TX and we made it to the Florida Keys 3 weeks ago.  We docked Miss Lone Star and delayed filling her up with fuel because she was empty and we wanted to experience some of the amenities of our new dockage.  We were fortunate and thankful to have our car and my trusty Harley when we arrived, which make shopping so much easier.  It was sad for us not to have to walk everywhere because it was fun but now we don’t have to worry about lugging groceries back to the boat by hand with whining kids in tow.

Miss Lone Star in the Florida KeysI start up her engines every few days and I definitely noticed that she had accumulated algae on her hull.  It was sad.  We are located in the bay-side of our Key and the water, although clear, is not blue.  We don’t feel much rocking on our boat because we are in a protected harbor.  It’s nice to have air conditioning and laundry close by but we felt like we were missing out.  I suggested that we take her out for a few days and Aubrey jumped at the idea, saying that she was going to suggest it earlier but didn’t want to complain.  We filled her up with water, cleaned her decks and made the dreaded trip to the fuel dock.  190 gallons later, we set off to the East towards all of the most wonderful reefs of the Florida Keys. Continue reading

Sea Sucker Dive Tank and Rod Holder- Unbiased User Review

I just got my new Sea Sucker holders in the mail and I am stoked!  I am trying to keep our gear list minimal for our boat but these items were a necessity.  I had some very specific needs and I found this product by chance on the Internet.  I am so glad I did!

Sea Sucker Vacuum Pole Holders

My shipment of Sea Sucker vacuum holders is in!

Gear storage for a cruising boat is essential.  Everyone works with different spaces and configurations.  I was concerned that what I wanted, didn’t exist and lo and behold I found the amazing company called Sea Sucker!  I immediately bought two dive tank holders, heavy-duty trolling pole holder and horizontal fishing pole holders for the boat.

This company is known for its quality products that use a patented vacuum seal for the suction.

I had a need to store two scuba tanks on the boat but I have space limitations and strange angles.  I’ve seen a lot of products that require screws and I wasn’t thrilled about having to make holes in my boat just to support hardware.  Nobody wants dive tanks rolling around on the deck and sometimes we will encounter rough seas.  We needed something sturdy enough to handle rough conditions.  The dive tank holders are heavy and made with quality materials (made in the USA).  The 6′ suction cup holds 210 lb. (anything) and will be perfect for my tanks.  I can mount them next to each other or on different sides of the boat.  I can change locations easily.  Price: $90. Continue reading

Portable Coffeemaker For Boats/ Cruisers…

In my house coffee is important.  So much so, it was one of my primary worries when we decided to cruise our boat full-time for a few years.  I was surprised that there is very little concise information on available options.  I decided to write a journal on my decision-making process that led me to purchase a Coleman Quickpot Propane Coffeemaker.

I think that me and the coffeemaker will get along just fine but I plan to fill it full of bullet holes and sink it in the Gulf of Mexico if it doesn’t work out.  I don’t want to think of the things I will do to this coffeemaker if it doesn’t uphold its end of the bargain!travel alert danger visit caribbean blog

There are a lot of choices for portable coffeemaker and this is what I found for boats:

Coleman Propane Coffeemaker

It better make good coffee or it will visit the bottom of the ocean!

Generator for 110 power.  As much as I love coffee, I couldn’t think about this option because it is expensive and noisy at 5A-6A, when I wake up and need that sweet caffeine!

Inverter to 110 plug-in.  I don’t have a large enough battery bank to make this a viable option.  Surprisingly, coffeemaker pull a lot of watts to run for about 15-18 minutes brewing time.  Most makers run from 900-1500 watts and that will kill a batter in no time.

12v plug coffeemaker.  I thought that this might be a good option until I read the reviews on these systems.  It seems that the smaller, 4 pot coffeemaker work well in this situation but I can drink 4 cups of coffee in the first 5 minutes of being awake!  Cuisinart makes a 10 cup model that is nice looking but it got horrible reviews.  I just can’t chance it!

Battery coffeemaker.  This option was a joke and I couldn’t bring myself to research further.

Propane coffeemaker.  This seems to be the best and most viable option for me.  I see that the 4 cup models are most frequently utilized but there are a few 10 cup models.  There are a few different brands but one maker is no longer in business.  I’ve owned a lot of Coleman camping gear in my past and it has never let me down.

Miss Lone Star Travels CaribbeanI like the advertised features of the coffeemaker I purchased.  It states that a small propane tank will last 4.5 hours on a full-burn, which equates to about 10 pots of coffee.  The brew time is a reasonable 18 minutes.  It looks and works like a normal coffeemaker, front load.  It is not a percolator.  I don’t care for percolated coffee unless it is the only option.

This devices weighs in at a shocking 10.4 lbs but I got a nifty nylon carry case and have a spot picked out for it next to our cooler on the deck of the boat.  It is three parts: pot, coffeemaker and case.  Most models come with a glass pot that wouldn’t last a few nights on a boat so I upgraded to a nice thermal metal one.  I hope it keeps the coffee warm long enough to enjoy the last cup.

Miss lone StarWatch out if you are trying to buy one on the Internet because you can get screwed from trusted sites like Amazon!  The list price for the package I got was almost $300 new.  A search of the normal Internet sites yielded a huge range of prices, shipping costs and delivery times.  In the end, I purchased each item individually from Amazon to save money.  It is a shame we have to get crafty to save money these days.  I paid $125 out the door with free shipping.  I will have an extra glass coffee pot that won’t go on the boat but can be donated.  If anyone is interested in just the pot and propane maker, Amazon beat out Target online by $6, $71.99.

I feel pretty good about my choice but the proof will be in the cup.  I’m not planning to use it until we are underway because I don’t think I can handle the rejection if it doesn’t work.  I will keep its box and send it back to Amazon (100% satisfaction guarantee) if it doesn’t work.  That is, if it makes it off the boat alive after a disappointing brew..

miss lone star robb hamic captain travel blog #travel #travelblogger caribbean

Captain of the Miss Lone Star

Caribbean Travel Blog- Q&A With WikiAnswers

I was interviewed by Wikianswers and Answers.com about our choice to live aboard our boat and cruise the Caribbean for years in search of a new home.  It was a great interview and I decided to publish it to my Caribbean Travel Blog to allow our readers to better understand why we made our choice and what it is like to live aboard our boat.  Enjoy!Caribbean Travel Blog

Q&A with Robb Hamic on Answers.com.

Robb, you live on your boat, the Miss Lone Star, with your wife and two children. Can you tell us what life is like living on a boat?

Living on a boat with the whole family is interesting each day! The live-aboard lifestyle is fun, relaxing, hectic and chaotic all at the same time. Living in a small space with a dog and two kids can be challenging but we make the most of it. We don’t have to remind ourselves that we are living the dream everyday but our pesky kids try to give us the business, when they get the chance. We are always busy until there is nothing to do. We take the time to share some of life’s greatest moments with each other and we have grown much closer as a family aboard our boat.

What influenced your decision to live on a boat?

I had the dream of living in the Caribbean since I was a kid. I dreamed of sailing the open sea and diving for pirate gold at the bottom of the ocean. I would catch lobsters with my bare hands someday! It was a kid dream that never died, in reality. We ultimately came to the radical decision of living on our boat because of a number of factors. School violence in the US is prevalent and early childhood education is spotty in schools. We thought we could do better but why do it from a home in a suburban neighborhood? We felt guilty for having a big house, multiple cars and too much stuff that we didn’t use. It made a lot of sense to keep only what we used daily or wanted forever. We actually save a ton of money living on a boat in the Caribbean compared to our everyday life in Austin, Texas. We are creating memories that are unreachable for many people and we felt the positives outweighed the unknown. Continue reading

10 Bucket List Visits For our Caribbean Travel

adventure caribbean travel blog visit destination miss lone star blog scuba diving liveaboard boat kids family relationships

Join our once in a lifetime Caribbean travel adventure!

I have had a bucket that existed only in my head since I was a kid regarding my eventual retirement in the Caribbean.  It has steadily increased over the years and I am pleased to announce that I will be checking off these 10 visits as soon as possible.  We will be underway in 4 months and we will let the ocean be our guide.  It is our pleasure to have a Caribbean Travel Blog!

1 Visit Cuba

Coming in at #1 is a long visit to Cuba.  Recently, the United States relaxed sanctions and travel restrictions for normal people wishing to visit Cuba.  I was going to spring for an education trip at the expense of thousands of my dollars before the president kindly eased the restrictions to include individuals who which to travel for any reason.  We will reach Havana, Cuba on our boat and it will be the first stop after we depart from Ft. Lauderdale.  US Airlines have no flights at this time but travelers can board foreign airplanes headed to Cuba from the United States, such as Air Canada.  US visitors can also travel to Cuba from The Bahamas or Mexico without breaking any rules.  Personally, i can’t wait to get that Cuba stamp on my passport.

2 Scuba Dive in Cuba
scba padi diving cuba caribbean travel blog

Imagine the scuba opportunities in Cuba!

I am an avid diver and of course I would want to dive on the pristine reefs that Cuba has to offer.  I have many european friends that have reported back to me over the years and they were impressed.  I am happy that Cuba hasn’t ruined most of its reefs and the tourist industry is not as big as some if its island neighbors.  I will be diving to catch many lobsters and I hear that they are bigger in Cuba.  Diving from our boat will make planning my dive trips easy! Continue reading

Knock Your Socks OFF Lobster Fried Rice

Knock Your Socks OFF Lobster Fried Rice D94A3739 Spicy Sauce You will need

  • 2 ripe guavas peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 oz cranapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon Asian red chili sauce

Wasabi Cream Sauce You will need

  • 3 tablespoons wasabi paste or powder
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

Lobster Fried Rice You will need

  • 2 – 1 1/2lb lobsters, steamed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice, cooked
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced thinIMG_2329

Putting it All together Cut the lobster tails in half and remove meat (keep warm. Remove knuckle and claw meat; chop into chunks and reserve. I like to reserve the heads and claws for garnish (this freaks the kids out). Blend all of the spicy sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and reserve. In a small bowl, combine wasabi, sour cream and heavy cream. Mix well and set aside. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Sauté garlic, be car full to not over cook. Add rice and stir-fry, break up any clumps of rice. Add sprouts and peas and fry for 2 minutes. Then add oil and egg gross to coat rice, cook 2 more minutes. Add lobster and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve by pooling a bit of sauce on each plate then add rice and lobster chunks. Then… Garnish to freak out the kids!

The First Mate of Miss Lone Star

The First Mate of Miss Lone Star

Seared Tuna Steaks over Roasted Garlic Vegetables

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You will need

  • 2 Tuna Steaks (6-8oz each)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVVO)
  • Lemon Zest
  • Ground Pepper
  • Kosher Salt

Set aside for serving

  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice

For the Roasted Veggies

  • Whole Carrots with Greens
  • Baby Potatoes
  • 7 Cloves of Garlic Peeled
  • Asparagus
  • 3/4 Cups Young Carrot Leaves chopped

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F. Then Place your tuna steaks on a plate and coat them with a generous portion of EVVO on both sides, sprinkle with lemon zest and pepper (you will salt them just before you sear them, right now they are marinating). Slice up the vegetables and garlic setting aside the asparagus and carrot greens, toss them with salt pepper and EVOO. Place them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.IMG_2316

Once your vegetables are tender, pull them out of the oven and add the remaining vegetables and put them back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Heat a heavy cast iron pan over medium heat until the pan is very hot. Remove the lemon zest, and flip the steaks a few more times to ensure that they have enough EVOO not to stick to the pan. Sprinkle with salt on both sides, make sure your pan is throughly heated and place steaks into the pan. Make sure not to touch the steaks until you see that they are cooked through the bottom portion  1/3 of the way. When they are flip and repeat.

Plate your vegetables and place your steak on top immediately as not to over cook the meat.  Drizzle the EVOO and the lemon juice, garnish with a carrot sprig and ENOY!

Our Kids loved this dish too! very simple to make and healthy to boot!

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The First Mate of Miss Lone Star

The First Mate of Miss Lone Star