Bubba Blade Knife Review

Cleaning fish is our main priority and it is how we will eat many days on our boat.  I needed to find good knives that would work and last a long time.  I also didn’t want to break our budget in doing so.  I’m happy to say that I found a good solution in the Bubba Blade knife!

Bubba Blade Knife Review

My selection of Bubba Blade Knives!

We will be catching a lot of different fish aboard Miss Lone Star.  A knife is so important and can make your life very hard if you make the wrong choice.  I looked at all of the different products out there and chose this knife company because of its good reputation for ease of use and quality materials.  I found their website through a simple google search and I noticed that they had a lot of products.  It turns out that they are sold at Wal-Mart, Cabelas and through Amazon.  I never noticed them in these stores before my purchase. Continue reading

User Review: Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit

We needed a way to charge all of our gear and we ordered the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Solar Kit.  There is overwhelmingly large selection of systems on the market and it was confusing to me, being a first time user/buyer.  I found everything from a direct order from China to various other systems offered by suppliers.  Finally, I stumbled upon the company Goal Zero and looked on the website for more information.  I couldn’t be happier with this charging system, but I thought that it would be a different feeling once I received it.

Sherpa 100 Solar Kit

Sherpa 100 Solar Kit- a complete charging system!

It has a list price of $600 directly from Goal Zero and they are not listed on Amazon.  I searched EBay and found several units that were almost list price in new condition.  Luckily, I found a guy selling a new in the box unit for $480, shipping included.  It was a steal and I felt confident in the EBay guarantee so I bought it.

It arrived new in the box as described and it was smaller than I thought.  I opened it up and I didn’t need to consult a manual to hook it up.  So simple!  Plug the solar panel into the inverter, place in the sun.  It is just as easy to charge devices.  Plug them in and that’s it.  The Sherpa 100 has a separate plug adapter that allows for 110 plugs.  I chose this model because I need to charge a Macbook Pro.  Apparently, the Macbook Air could charge off of the smaller Sherpa 50 but the Pro needed a little more juice. 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

User Review: Brute Bison 150 Cooler

I saw the UPS mail delivery email confirmation on my computer.  It read “left at door.”  I felt like a kid chasing after Santa as I opened my door to see the Brute Bison 150 Qt. Cooler.  It was massive.  It was majestic.  And it was mine!  How could a guy get so excited about the purchase of normal, day-to-day type of item?

King Kong doesn't have sh!$ on the Brute Bison 150 Qt. Cooler

King Kong doesn’t have sh!$ on the Brute Bison 150 Qt. Cooler

The Bison 150 Qt. Cooler is massive and it weighs about 100 lbs. empty.  This may sound like a hinderance but I look it as a benefit because of the sound and solid construction.  I saw an advertisement on the company page where they put the Bison 150 under a front truck tire and it kept its shape.  I thought that they must’ve filled it with concrete, when I saw it the first time.  I had to see this cooler in action.  I stood atop its frame and jumped up as high as I could.  Surprisingly, I landed without crack or dent to the cooler.  I repeated this exercise a half-dozen times with the same result. Continue reading

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!