Many of our readers have asked about details of our plans, departure dates, etc. I am always surprised at the amount of people who lead or are looking to lead the cruising or liveaboard lifestyle. We leave in two weeks and we are so excited!
Move The Boat!
I made arrangements with a boat transporter to pick up our boat at the marina ship yard where it is being repaired. I must have a lot of faith in God that he will see our boat through its last repairs. I am lucky to have met up with a lot of nice people who seem to understand that we have tight time constraints and must leave on a certain date! The boat will be placed on a lift and set it into the trailer. It will travel from Austin to Seabrook Boat Yard at the mouth of Galveston Bay. We had to contract separately with the yard to off load and launch our boat. We will stay a night and pick up our tender from a few harbors over. Our plan is to leave the next day towards Louisiana.
Cost: $2000 to transport and $410 to offload and launch in the water
Miss Lone Star’s Course
The Southern Waterway Guide was a really big help. I found an online and interactive version as well as a spiral bound book on Amazon for much less than the retail priced version.
Day 1,2– Galveston Bay to somewhere in Louisiana. Assuming the boat checks out mechanically we will cruise under full-power along the Gulf into Louisiana. Our boat loves to go 30 mph (and is most fuel-efficient) so we have a luxury most cruisers don’t have. We will try to make it to Houma, LA. I’m sure we can get there in a couple of days and it is 180 miles away but I think it is doable, depending on the vessel traffic once we enter the ICW. We have 150 miles of open water and I know we will make good time. 30 miles in the ICW with no bridges to open or locks to go through.
Aubrey really wants to check out Louisiana and I hear that Houma is a nice place so we might stay an extra day to check it out. Fuel will be a top priority. We can anchor in a few places or use a nice dock for about $9 per day.
Day 3– Houma to New Orleans. This leg of the trip is about 85 miles on the ICW. I don’t know what kind of time we will be able to make and there will be a lot to see so I am open to the possibility we make good time or not. There is a lock we must pass through below the city. Our boat doesn’t need a lot of clearance and it looks like we don’t have any low bridges to contend. Happy me. Continue reading
I completed the PADI Enriched Air Diver course tonight. It was a good certification and I think it will be useful in for me in my diving career. This seems like a good skill to add for any diver, especially people who are going on resort dives. Most people take the class so that they can stay down longer than compared with normal air. I took the class so that I can stay down longer to take pictures of all that goes on underwater. Enriched Air (Nitrox) is a blended gas that is usually 32% or 36% oxygen and divers who use it enjoy more dive time, longer no decompression limits and more options for exploring the seas. I know I will be diving in the Caribbean at 18 meters a lot and having nitrox will allow me to stay down for much longer. At 18 meters air would allow me to dive for 56 minutes, 32% nitrox at 95 minutes and 36% nitrox at 125 minutes. Continue reading
The Shores of St. Croix, USVI
I recently decided that I wanted to take the training to become a PADI Divemaster. The Divemaster rating is the first professional certification in the PADI evolution for divers and most people never contemplate it. After doing a little research on the program, I can see why! It makes sense to me that a Divemaster’s skills need to be really solid to teach and lead dives. While every diver is responsible for their own safety, a Divemaster is responsible for everyone’s collective well-being. My Divemasters have been jack of all trades and have a great deal of knowledge. I decided to pursue the course last night as I contemplate finishing my Rescue Diver certification in a couple of weeks.
I figured that the learning curve would be pretty steep but after a little research, I saw that a Divemaster’s endurance and swimming assessment is certainly no joke. One portion of the training is this assessment, which is daunting. It is completed on the same day with no rest between the watermanship stamina exercises. All skills are timed and points are awarded for performance. A candidate must pass with a minimum of 12 points out of a possible 20. I have never settled for mediocre or barely passing so I set the following goals for myself. If I complete it as stated, I will get 19/20 points.
400 M swim with no gear or goggles- 6-8 minutes
800 M swim with snorkel gear, face down and not using hands- 13-15 minutes
15 minutes of treading water and or floating, hold arms out of water for the last 2 minutes
100 M diver pull in full gear, pulling a tired diver who wears full gear- less than 2 minutes
I think this will be fun to train. I have never been a swimmer and frankly, I have never swam laps. I am going to take a few swim lessons to hone my skills. Luckily, we have been working out regularly and my cardio is getting much better. Thankfully, I have lost about 20 lb. in the last 3 months, which makes me want to run like Forrest. I will need to incorporate about 5 days worth of pool time per week into what I am already doing for exercise. I love the fact that Aubrey gets in the pool with me and swims laps. The kids are even swimming a few times per week and making good progress. We are turning into a pod of dolphins!
It is strange to think of our transformation from land dwellers to being in the water so much in just a few short months. We will be leaving dry land for the boat and uncharted waters in less than five months. We are so excited!
Oceanic Pro Plus 3 Dive Computer
I purchased an Oceanic Pro Plus 3 dive computer recently and I have used it on ten dives. I like my new computer but I found the set up a little confusing and it took a long time to sort things out. I wrote this review for scuba divers who are having issues with the computer and for those contemplating a new purchase. I found a great discount from the manufacturer, which is available to previous Oceanic customers.
I purchased the computer from a local retailer for $704 (USD). The MSRP on the unit is $829. I negotiated a 155 discount because I was purchasing a lot of gear at the same time. I’ve looked around the Internet and see that the price I paid is about comparable to most of the online retailers. I recommend that the buyer have the opportunity to look at the unit and see if it is right for them in a store, prior to purchase. As with most gear, retail shops will come close to price matching with their Internet competitors. It does not come with the USB cable that you need to import dive data into software, which will keep logs on your computer. I recommend getting one at the retailer because Oceanic charges $85 plus shipping if you wish to buy one from them. They will ship for free to an authorized dealer but the wait time can be more than a few weeks.
I purchased it for the following reasons: newest computer on the market, reasonable price for the features, large display, attached compass and lifetime warranty.
I 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