A Day In The Life Of A Liveaboard Family

Catching Geckos in The Florida KeysWe lived on land until two months ago and became full-time cruisers who live aboard our boat.  It was our dream to do this and it is really fun but it can be challenging.  We did a lot of research on what it would “look like” to be full-time liveaboards cruising around the U.S. and Caribbean but few people talk about some of the challenges.  Here is a day in the life of the Hamic Family aboard Miss Lone Star.  We are presently located at our dock in Islamorada, FL and we are not underway.

We drove to Key West yesterday to visit the PX and the commissary.  We make the 80 mile trip twice a month to do grocery shopping and pick up odds and ends.  It takes 2 hours because the speed limit is 45 or 55 in most places but the views are amazing.  Our girl-child was on one yesterday and she was beating up on her brother in the backseat.  We tried all of the standard parent tactics: say sorry, don’t touch, no talking, look out your window and then the dreaded spanking.  Nothing worked and she was a mess through almost all of the trip.  Naughty Girl Timeout on Roadtrip Continue reading

Our Weekend Expeditions In The Florida Keys

Florida Keys Mini TripsIt is a bummer that we are living in one place until December but we are making the most of it by taking a lot of mini trips.  In the next day or so we plan to go anchor out at Hen’s and Chickens Reef and then I want to go north for a few miles to find another great spot.  I really want do dive some wrecks.

During the heat of the day, it can be busy with all of the snorkeling tours and dive boats but only between 12-4PM.  We love how deserted it feels after than when it is just us anchored.  We’ve decided that we really love to be on the hook and we want to do that a lot more.

If anyone has a suggestion about a favorite place to anchor please leave a comment!

I am really lucky to have a portable air compressor to fill my own scuba tanks on our boat.  I bought it from my friend in Austin who had re-built it.  It isn’t much to look at and it is 35 years old, but it does the job.  It fills a tank from 0-3000 psi in 30 minutes.

We plan to go out for 2-3 days, weather and food supplies permitting.  I think we learned a lot from our last expedition to Alligator Reef so I think we will be better prepared to enjoy ourselves.  We plan to take along, Brandon, a friend from our dock who is without his family for a few days.  He wants to do a lot of diving and has gone with some of the tour companies.  I prefer diving from our boat with fewer people.  I like staying down longer and not being restricted to going with a group of people.  I think it is diving at its best!

Many of the reefs and wrecks reside in Special Protected Areas (SPA) and there are a lot of restrictions on activities in these areas.  I learned that one can obtain a special fishing permit that allows you to take fish from these area, that is normally prohibited.  We saw a bunch of illegal fishing at Alligator Reef and noticed the boats coming in fast just to take a crack at some huge barracuda.  I thought it was wrong that these people were taking resources from the reef.  There used to be 551 fish species at that location but over-taking has depleted many of them, which is really sad.

Bianca is really hoping to get some beautiful new shells while doing her new favorite pastime with Dad, snorkeling.  I was so happy that she took to it so well!  I held her hand and we swam all along the reef and around the lighthouse.  I think she will remember seeing fish for the first time for the rest of her life.  Blake loves to swim around the boat and use Mom’s GoPro but he doesn’t venture so far.

Onyx probably wants me to dinghy over to the shore to give her a break at night and in the morning, which seems reasonable.  We wish that dogs would use the bathroom in the water.  The reefs are 3-4 miles off shore so that makes the trek inland more difficult.

Aubrey is really getting an aptitude for video and I think we will get of our best footage yet.  I am happy that she has the time to practice here before we head to Cuba and beyond.  We won’t want to miss any of that footage.  We are building so many great memories and I am so thankful that we have them documented so well with this journal, pictures and video.  We’ve noticed that the traffic to our blog has doubled since we started including video on a regular basis and we will keep it up.

If anyone has suggestions for us or if you want to see something send us a suggestion!

Liveaboard Lifestyle- The Actual Costs Of Cruising

Liveaboard Lifestyle The Actual Cost of CruisingWe get hundreds of comments and questions from people and families who are considering the liveaboard lifestyle.  They want to know what it costs.  We decided to write a journal about our experiences of the last two months aboard to give our perspective.

We planned to save money while we cruised and we chose to make our life change for money and family reasons.  How has it worked out?  On the family side, very well.  We spend more time together than ever and we are all very happy on the water.  We travelled for about a month to make it 1250 miles from Galveston, TX to the Florida Keys.  We rented a slip in a nice marina until December until we can cruise to Cuba and beyond.  The Florida Keys is a wonderful place for our family and we are happy.  The kids haven’t watched TV or videos in more days than I can count and many of the dry land habits have escaped them.  We haven’t heard them saying: “I’m bored” since we moved aboard, which is a 100% change from our life in suburbia. Continue reading

InReach Explorer by Delorme- User Review

We were looking for an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) for the boat.  If something bad happens, we surely want the ability to contact search and rescue or the authorities.  There is a lot of information out their about EPRIB and much of it is negative, in terms of the different products available.  There seem to be a lot of people who’ve purchased ones that didn’t work.     I think it is the best product out there, definitely a good value for the money.

InReach Explorer by Delorme

It’s nice buying something that might save your life!

I bought the unit at REI for $379.  It is very small but sturdy.  It has a good warranty and it is apparently shock resistant, waterproof and only weighs 6.9 ounces.  It is powered by a lithium battery and recharged with a USB or USB to wall plug (provided).  I spent a lot of time talking to the salesperson about the unit and its features.  She owned one and that is always a good sign.  It has an awesome bluetooth feature and can be paired with your smart phone or tablet for ease of use.

Information for the InReach Explorer by Delome can we found on their website.  It is not available on Amazon or any discount store, for you bargain shoppers.  REI doesn’t offer a military discount. Continue reading