Video Episode 3- The Intercostal (ICW) into New Orleans- Day 4 of our Travels

This next episode was day 4 of our travels and you can already see the relief in my eyes, as the boat captain.  I was a little more confident but still giddy like a kid (or Quagmire from Family Guy- giggidy giggidy).  We came through the dreaded city of Intercostal City, LA and into Houma.  It was nice in its own way but it was hot as the Sahara. We met some cool kids and had fun at the city marina, by our lonesome- but it was time to go.

The Intercostal was unremarkable until Morgan City, LA- where it got beautiful.  We saw bald eagles, bogs, swamps and tall trees.  The ICW came together with a river and it was big.  We mooted on towards New Orleans and I hoped, against hope, that we could get through the locks and make it to our marina by night-fall.  We did and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Up and down by 12-15 feet and through the Mississippi was something I will remember forever.  It had a 20 knot current and was over its banks by 50 feet on that day.  It was massive and scary but we made it down the lock to the marina, where we resided for 4 days.  We explored, rode the trolly cars and went to an alligator farm in Hammond.  It was still hot but we didn’t care and the French Quarter was much more tolerable with Onyx leading us.

This is a true account of our travels.

I Lost My Ass In Lake Charles Louisiana (And Not At The Casino)!

Thanks to my bad memory, I already forgot this part of the journey.  Luckily, I have a wife to remind me through her mean video editing.  I hear Aubrey snickering and replaying certain parts of interviews she did with me on the boat in Lake Charles, LA.  It was a sad time.  My memory came back and I remember the fear I had when we just started out.  I remember leaving Texas and not knowing a thing about true boat navigation, seamanship or how it works on the ocean.  My beautiful wife created a video that was actually spot on, in terms of the sorrow of the first couple days.  I still love her but I am planning my revenge.

Being a boat captain ain’t easy.  At all.  The learning curve is steep and now I realize why I go to bed taxed and exhausted most nights.  I always wanted to live on a boat and I didn’t let my lack of experience stop me.  I tired to learn everything I could on the Internet and by reading books but there is no substitute for real experience.  I will always remember Lake Charles for the experienced I gained.

It’s been a couple of months of cruising for us now and I am still learning.  I know this will be a lifelong process and I look forward to it.  Enjoy the video because we did!

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!

Miss Lone Star’s Crew Contracted Florida Key’s Disease!

Florida Keys Disease is real!

Florida Keys Disease is real!

We heard about Key’s Disease from several people since we arrived.  It is a general term that refers to many different things going wrong or attributes that one contracts after moving to the Florida Keys.  We were first warned by a boat broker who said a boat can get the disease after being moved here from fresh water.  Apparently, there are a lot of boats that get moved down here because it is the mecca of boating.  The owners don’t use them anymore.  These vessels fall into disrepair and get eaten up by the salt water while the owners goof off, drink beer and go diving.  Don’t let your boat get Keys Disease.

A dog can get Key’s Disease by misbehaving and not obeying commands because she doesn’t get the exploring time that she craves.  Onyx first started her bout with the illness by trying to make every dog on the dock love her.  She knocked Diesel the dog on our first night by playing too rough and she has made most of the small dogs run in fear of her from her smiling face. Continue reading

Becoming a Dive Master- Zero to Hero

I hit 60 dives yesterday while assisting with a class of new students.  It is hard to comprehend that I had never taken an underwater dive prior to starting my first class less just over 3 months ago.  I took the route, which is referred to as” zero to hero.  I scheduled most of my training in advance and moved from one certification to the next in quick succession.

Dive Master- Zero to Hero

A Dive Master’s day can be tiring but is truly rewarding!

I feel happy about my competency and I learn a few things in each new dive.  My skills are definitely coming up and I am proud of my pace of study.  I really enjoy working with new students and helping them to overcome difficulties underwater.  I am getting through with my dive master training program and I have only a few skills left before I will take my assessment test.  I am anxious to finish but the next few months will be filled with helping with classes, much the same as I do currently.

I descended to 95 feet on a deep dive over the weekend at the quarry.  It was a good dive but it was extremely cold, 46 degrees.  I’ve gone deep before but this was a new spot and the visibility was very low in the dark murky water.  I realized quickly that I need to invest in a new dive light that has powerful LED and lumens.

I completed my mapping project in an underwater navigational dive.  I was really surprised that I was able to get exactly where I needed to go by use of my compass and computer, through the murky water.  This was a much longer and challenging dive than others that I have done in the past.  I realized that I need to trust in the compass and pay close attention because of the low visibility water.  I figured out that I need to invest in a better dive slate.  I’ve seen a lot of divers with wrist mounted versions and I plan to get one on Amazon.com today.

I feel confident in my gear and I am happy that I got quality stuff that should last me a decade or so with good maintenance.  I realized I need a new pair of fins that fit better and has spring straps.

I decided to set goals for myself as I progressed through my training.  My next goal is to hit 120 dives before we leave Austin in July and get scheduled for my Instructor Development Course (IDC) in August or September.  I plan to get certified to teach 5 specialties at the same time so I can get my Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating at the same time.  My plan is to teach in the Florida Keys during the winter until we make the gulf crossing in December.  I think I am on track to accomplish my goals.

 

#1 Caribbean Travel Blog For Family Travel

Caribbean Travel Blog

Caribbean Travel Blog

It is important for travelers to have good resources when visiting the Caribbean.  We write one of the top Caribbean travel blogs for family travel while we are actively cruising to all of the countries that touch its seas.  I became frustrated because there was little information on the internet for families traveling with kids in the Caribbean.  We live aboard our boat and will visit each country, documenting places it visit, top attractions, safety concerns, accommodations, travel guides and the top things to do in each island nation.  Our blog is Miss Lone Star’s Travels (named after our boat).

Caribbean Travel Blog Scubapro mk25/ a700 review

The Caribbean still has deserted beaches for you to explore!

Get The Most Out Of Your Caribbean Travel

I have always been a lover of the Caribbean and wanted to retire there someday.  In the process, I married and had two kids who wanted to come along on the journey.  We realize that many are just planning a visit and don’t wish to retire.  We have spent numerous trips to the Caribbean doing research on the best places to visit and the top things to do.  We noticed that there were no first-hand accounts of family travel in any Caribbean Travel Blog written by real people with kids.  We decided to create a true resource for people who had up-to-date information so people could get the most out of their expensive vacation plans.

Caribbean Family Travel Is Different

Visiting new countries with kids can be challenging.  Depending upon the kid’s age, available activities can be limited.  Adults need resources to find fun things to do without spending a fortune.  I’ve traveled with kids for many years and I like to mix scheduled activities combined with a lot of free time for the kids to run around.  Younger children may need to stay close to the hotel room around nap time.  Family travelers have to consider different dining choices because it is never a good idea to take the little ones to swanky restaurants.  I’ve never met a parent who likes to spend $30 for chicken fingers!  Are your kids good swimmers?

Safety Is Always a Concern When Traveling With Kids!

Do you remember going anywhere you wanted before having kids?  It seemed so effortless and carefree.  Parents must make new allowances for family travel while still getting the most out of the visit.  In unknown territory, many families stick close to the available attractions without venturing too far for safety reasons.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a real-time understanding of safety concerns relative to the specific country you visit?  The Caribbean Travel Blog is co-authored by Robb Hamic, an international personal protection expert.  My family’s safety is the #1 concern!  I will give your family all of the information you need to stay safe while visiting unforgettable places!

Adults Want To Have Fun While On A Caribbean Vacation With Kids!

Where’s the babysitter?  I know that I’ve yearned for some good alone time with my wife in the Caribbean!  We live on a 37 foot boat with two small kids and a dog.  We have learned some really great tricks to get the most out of our alone time while we visit Caribbean islands with the kids.  Our travel blog is filled with insightful information and strategies to feel like you didn’t stay at an amusement park for the whole trip.  I wish I learned many of these tips a long time ago, believe me.

Caribbean Travel Blog

The Caribbean Travel Blog shows you how to keep romance alive during your vacation!

How To Visit Unique And Less Traveled Caribbean Destinations

I can only stand in lines or be on guided tours for so long before I want to find interesting and less visited places to share with the family.  The Caribbean has 30 million visitors per year and many of them will be visiting during the same time due to kid’s schedules and the hurricane season.  Peak tourist season in the Caribbean runs from January through early June.  Hurricane season lasts from June through December.  Bad weather can ruin a visit and it is important to visit at the right time.  Excessive tourists can also ruin a visit or make it less pleasurable, in my opinion.  Once you’ve landed, how do you find new and interesting things to do that aren’t guided tours?  What can you expect?  We tell you how, what, when, where and why.  Save time and browse our Caribbean Travel Blog.  If you don’t find the answer to your question, please e-mail us and we will do our best to answer your question or point you in the right direction.

Have Fun With Your Hobbies or Interests While Visiting the Caribbean!

What are your hobbies?  Are you and amateur photographer?  If so, bring your camera because your Caribbean paradise awaits!  Do you scuba dive?  The Caribbean has some of the best scuba diving sites in the world!  Do you like to experience new cooking?  Caribbean fare is some of the most tasty we’ve found and you can easily steal some good recipes to cook back home!  Whatever you enjoy doing, the Caribbean offers many fantastic experiences for you and the family!

Caribbean Travel Blog

Take the kids (and dog) to the Caribbean!

We hope you found this Caribbean Travel Blog interesting and informative.  We update it a few times daily and we invite your questions!  E-mail us for in-depth and local information.

Robb and Aubrey Hamic

misslonestaradventure@gmail.com

A Family That Plays Together Stays Together!

robb hamic caribbean travel blogI am truly thankful that my wife shares in my interests and takes the time to come along on most of my adventures.  It is fun to have her around and it takes the stress away from me spending time away from home to learn and do new things.  The support of your spouse can make or break achieving your dreams.

miss lone star caribbean travel blogI love learning new things and I have spent countless hours away from the home practicing new skills and or teaching.  Aubrey and I were recently married and I never thought about taking her a long when I participated in new things.  I assisted an open water scuba diving class over the weekend as a dive master in training and she and the kids came along during both days.  I’ve never brought my wife along on any of my adventures and I didn’t know how it would go.  I was worried.

I have always been somewhat of a ‘serial hobbiest’ in my life.  I embrace new strange things and I want to learn.  My quest to become a scuba diving instructor certainly seems a lot more sane than having become a tactical knife fighting instructor, in my past.  I have spent months away from home learning, teaching and traveling to teach.  I traveled to many breathtaking locations and I often wondered what it would be like to share it with my wife.  My previous marriage wasn’t happy and honestly, I don’t think we liked each other.  In my quest to find the perfect woman, I sought to find the woman whom I could take anywhere.

Many spouses don’t really care what the other does with their life.  Worst still, some spouses are jealous of the new hobby that is pursued.  I know many people who feel guilty learning new things and spending time away from home.  These are the people who don’t stay for lunch after training or who’s phone is always ringing during training.  I am truly grateful to not be in that category anymore.  I think a happy marriage is built upon mutual love, respect and yearning to be around the other person.

I was still worried that my wife and two small kids would be bored during the long training days or would somehow get in theCaribbean travel blog miss lone star way.  I am pleased to report that neither of those two things happened and that the time was a complete success.  I immediately noticed that the people in the class loved seeing my wife and kids.  How great would it be to have someone who supported you so much in your hobbies?  The kids took the opportunity to meet everyone and interact.  I don’t guess it is normal to have kids around a scuba class.  The dog had a better time than anyone.  Oh yea, did I forget to mention that we took the entire family?

Onyx is a certified dive dog and loves to be around me in all that I do.  She comes with us on the boat so we figured we would take her to the quarry we were diving in.  She ate up all of the positive attention that she received from everyone and jumped in to sniff me before I descended to the depths below her.  She whined when I was underwater and was so happy to see me when I came to the surface.

The kids made the best out of the time to explore and had a great time on the first day even though it was raining.  My wife was smart to bring their rain jackets and umbrellas.  Did I mention the 2 changes of clothes?  That too.  They have really grown to love the outdoors and we are trying to instil self-reliance.  I think anytime we give them the opportunity to be alone or together entertaining themselves is a good thing.  The kids have really attached themselves to my scuba instructor Steve (Scuba Steve) and his dive master Jason.  We’ve hung out with them several times and I am happy they are great with kids.

Aubrey took the time outdoors to catch a wild Canadian goose and several minnows.  She divised the perfect trap to catch a bass with her hands.  She guided the kids (and dog)  on several excursions including a raft ride across the quarry.  I had to laugh at the similarity to Tom Sawyer.  She became a ‘dive Mom’ by cooking hot chocolate in a big pot on top of our portable cook stove.  She made everyone’s day by adding marshmallows and cookies.  I was genuinely surprised by the her hospitality towards the class.caribbean travel blog miss lone star diving scuba

I know you’ve heard different sayings about families such as, “families that play together stay together,’ and I think it is true.  Having my family present made it a better experience.  I guess this is a good thing since I want to lead dives for many years to come.  I plan to open up a dive shop in the future and I think it will become a family endeavor.  Take your wife, kids and even dog along on your next adventure and see how it works out.  You may be surprised to see that you have a much better time.  It will bring you closer as a couple/ family.

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

Captain of the Miss Lone Star

Scubapro Knighthawk BCD User Review

I decided it was time to write a review of the Scubapro Knighthawk BCD that I purchased a few months ago.  I think this is a great BC and I would recommend it to anyone thinking about purchasing a high-end product.  I’ve used it on my last 20 dives and I am completely satisfied.

I bought this BC in my first open water class and I wanted to get a top of the line item that I could use for a long time.  It cost about $700, including my discount.  I bought it from my local dive shop and the price was less than I found online.  I liked the comfort of the BC in the showroom but I had no knowledge of how it would work underwater.

Scubapro Knighthawk BCD review

The Scubapro Knighthawk BC is comfortable, even fully -loaded.

Continue reading

4 Steps- Become a Rescue Diver!

rescue diver paid become scuba emergency action plan eap course cost review

Rescue Divers respond to water emergencies

I think the Rescue Diver course is a good idea for any diver, especially the people who dive frequently.    Rescue Divers take recreational scuba diving to the next level by learning tools and techniques to help people who have problems in and out of the water.  It is a really good feeling to know that you can save a diver underwater if necessary or observe issues that arise before they cause a problem.  The course is very demanding and difficult but well worth it in the education and confidence you gain.

I remember when I took my Open Water Diver course and I noticed the more experienced people around me.  Diving is an intimidating sport and the learning curve is steep.  Experienced divers get to see a different world of scuba, even before they ascend into the depths.  Gearing up seems effortless.  They have excellent buoyancy and get the most from their underwater experience by working effortlessly.  Rescue Divers enjoy the benefits of experience combined with advanced life saving skills. 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