Tiny House Living On A Boat- A Family Of 4 In 128 SF?

Our Tiny House Can Go PlacesWe live on an express cruiser that has two gas engines and all the comforts of home. We used to live on our boat part-time on Lake Travis outside of Austin, TX. That was for rookies. We decided to trade in our 3300 sf, two-car garage home for a more simple life on the water. We moved aboard our boat nine weeks ago and had it moved to Galveston Bay where we started the tiny house living journey of a lifetime.

We knew that living aboard was going to be different and we used to watch the show: Tiny House Living, with interest when we had a TV. “We could do that,” we thought and started to say aloud until our thoughts became reality and we boarded our 37-foot boat with our two kids and 90 lb. service dog named Onyx.The Family That Lives In A Tiny House

We’ve travelled over twelve hundred and fifty miles to reach the Florida Keys, where we will remain through November when the hurricane season is officially over. We are officially living the dream! I brought out the tape measure today and took the official measurement. 128 square feet of living space, down below. It should be noted that we don’t live on a small sailboat and we have as much air conditioning as we want. (as long as we are hooked up to electric or running the generator) Continue reading

Liveaboard Lifestyle: Plans Can Change Quickly..

Miss lone Star Reaches FloridaWe’ve been living aboard our boat for 9 weeks and counting and we’ve learned that our plans change quickly with no notice.  For example, we planned to leave to anchor out yesterday morning.  We didn’t leave for an unknown reason but we though we would leave today.  It didn’t happen for some unexplained reason.  I don’t even know what we will be doing for the rest of the day but not to worry.  We don’t care.

Don’t worry, we haven’t decided to make any rash decisions like: living on dry land.  We love our life and wouldn’t change anything except being out alone more often.  We officially put our boat on the market yesterday and hopefully it sells.  We really want to get a trawler so we can use less gas and have more range and living space.  We are looking hard for a 3 stateroom model so we have a space for Aubrey’s Mom and our friends.  We’ve met a lot of friends who are teachers and the thought occurred to us that we could have people come out to tutor the kids and supplement their education.  We are not opposed to running some liveaboard charters or diving trips so the space could be really nice.  We are trying not to spend too much time browsing boats but we made an appointment to see a few tomorrow so we could get the feel for them in person.

We’ve all decided that we would love to make more of a long-term lifestyle of living aboard.  We’ve expanded our outlook to 5-7 years- at least.  It is impossible for any of us to think about what it was like to live in a big city house.  Our lives are so much better now!

I start my Instructor Development Course (IDC) for scuba diving soon and I will be pretty busy for a couple of weeks.  I look forward to getting certified to teach and doing a lot more diving.  A lot of our friends are planning visits.  Hopefully, they like close quarters.

Episode 4- Miss Lone Star’s Crew Visits An Alligator Farm!

Enjoy episode 4 of our travels.  We toured an alligator farm outside of New Orleans and had a blast!  We spent most of the day there and T. Mike Kliebert let Aubrey hold all of his animals.  She is convinced “her people” are in Louisiana and I am just happy I was able to get her out of there without (1) her leaving me for a guy in the swamp or (2) her trying to sneak another animal aboard Miss Lone Star!

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!

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!

Florida Keys Alligator Reef Was Spectacular!

Florida Keys Aligator ReefWe first set off on our voyage about 7 weeks ago in Kemah, TX and we made it to the Florida Keys 3 weeks ago.  We docked Miss Lone Star and delayed filling her up with fuel because she was empty and we wanted to experience some of the amenities of our new dockage.  We were fortunate and thankful to have our car and my trusty Harley when we arrived, which make shopping so much easier.  It was sad for us not to have to walk everywhere because it was fun but now we don’t have to worry about lugging groceries back to the boat by hand with whining kids in tow.

Miss Lone Star in the Florida KeysI start up her engines every few days and I definitely noticed that she had accumulated algae on her hull.  It was sad.  We are located in the bay-side of our Key and the water, although clear, is not blue.  We don’t feel much rocking on our boat because we are in a protected harbor.  It’s nice to have air conditioning and laundry close by but we felt like we were missing out.  I suggested that we take her out for a few days and Aubrey jumped at the idea, saying that she was going to suggest it earlier but didn’t want to complain.  We filled her up with water, cleaned her decks and made the dreaded trip to the fuel dock.  190 gallons later, we set off to the East towards all of the most wonderful reefs of the Florida Keys. Continue reading

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