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

So You Want to be a PADI Divemaster…

The Shores of St. Croix

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!

Unbiased User Review- Oceanic Pro Plus 3 Dive Computer

Oceanic Pro Plus 3 Dive Computer

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.

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My Dream is to Scuba Dive in the Caribbean!

Scuba Diving in Texas.  Next stop- the Caribbean!

Scuba Diving in Texas. Next stop- the Caribbean!

This was probably my first childhood dream of the Caribbean.  I always loved the water and imagined the crystal clear waters of the the West Indies as a boy.  I guess we all have dreams and that one seemed as far off as any that I could imagine.  I mean, who actually get’s to live that one?  I don’t know exactly when my dream of living on an island developed but it was strong and never faded away as I got older.  In fact, the dream became more vivd and detailed. Continue reading