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!

It Doesn’t Suck to be Stuck in Apalachicola Florida!

IMG_9843Apalachicola Florida is a really special place. It reminds me of what the US must’ve looked like in the 1930’s. We’ve walked and boated around the town and spent a lot of time with local people and visitors. I have yet to see any chain store, fast food restaurant or even a lit sign. We love it here.

Apalach, as the locals call it, sits at the feed of two rivers that come into the gulf behind breakers far out in the gulf. It is really know for it’s Oysters (Apalach Oysters) but they have been mostly gone since the BP oil spill. I was told that the chemical that was spread to stop the spill killed off the shells. The spill didn’t affect this area and it was spread out as a precaution. Apparently the oyster business is on the mend and this place will be thriving again in 6-7 years after re-growth occurs.

D94A8271I heard great things about this place but I really had no idea until I could set foot on dry land. The city is about 2200 people or so and the entire county of Franklin is only 3500, which covers some vacation areas where people claim residence but don’t really reside. It is a sleepy little place with warm and friendly people. Fishing and oysters is the biggest business here and apparently this is the world’s largest producer of oysters.

There are mainly stop signs in town and just a few blinking red lights. No high rises or anything over three stories exists here. There are laws for that here. There are lots of shops and the food is unreal. We’ve eaten out most nights and we are in awe of this place. Aubrey loved collard greens when she tried them for the first time. Food is inexpensive, as are most things here. Boat fuel is $3.80, which is a good Florida on the water price. We paid $60 for a slip here. The Water Street Hotel and Marina is the largest hotel in the area and it has about 50 rooms and 15 boat slips that are mostly vacant. There is a pool for the kids and they are making the most out of it.

Raccoons love our boat and they had a party the first night we arrived. I stored Onyx’s food on the deck in a plastic container. The coons made fast work of it and apparently four of them had a hay day as people watched from their screened in porches. Coons brought out about 20,000 sugar ants and I had to spend about three hours cleaning and spraying off the boat. Such is the life of a boat captain. Onyx has been posted topside each night to prevent further outbursts from the local coons. It has worked so far.

We have taken advantage of the amazing sunsets and walked around sight seeing and taking evening dinghy rides to capture post card quality photography. We found the bone yard of boats up the creek last night and Aubrey really out did herself.

The kids are catching fish like little otters and taking spare tome to explore, find crabs, grasshoppers and sit on time out. That happens a lot but they are trying to go coast to coast on timeouts at every fun place we visit. They are on course to reach their goal.

We planned to leave yesterday for Tampa on our next blue water crossing but weather and high seas prevented us from moving. You wouldn’t know that the seas are 5-8 feet in the gulf from our dock and the sun is out now with the temperature at about 90. The heat index is high.IMG_9811

We plan to lay over until the day after tomorrow and set our course for Tampa Bay. The journey will take us into open water and it is 156 miles. We’ve been averaging 25-27 knots cruising speed. I feel confident in Miss Lone Star and I pray for our safe journey.

#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

Photography in St. Croix

st croix travel miss lone star #travel #travelblogger Christiansted Walking Tour vacation

Walking around in Christiansted St. Croix and enjoying the old buildings.

Camera Miss Lone Star TravelsBelieve it or not, it took a long time to take this picture.  Please notice the rooster at the corner of the frame.  He was elusive but he had to be in the picture.  We were coming from doing a little shopping and life seemed to slow down.  We strolled down this old street and I could picture how it was to walk on this same street hundreds of years ago.  It was an “ah ha” moment, indeed. I loved Christiansted Harbor and the old town although it wasn’t packed with tourists or filled shops.  It was quiet and there was enough to entertain us as we walked along.  We ate at a local place for lunch and we were content.  The light was coming through the tight street at an interesting angle.  There were vines and moss growing on the old walls.  The proud rooster patrolled his territory.  I hope he would of this picture.

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

Captain of the Miss Lone Star

Sometimes I Just Want to Throw Them All in the Sea..

St Croix US Virgin IslandsTourists can be jerks, especially Americans.  We downed a pot of coffee and ate breakfast by the beach at a nice little spot.  It is hard to believe that people can complain in paradise.  I heard a man fussing about his sausage and the poor woman fielding his complaint was beside herself.  Caribbean women have such a good sense of humor.  She came towards us and I asked her if she was getting fussed at and she acknowledged.  She said, “sometimes I just want to throw them all in the sea!”  I laughed, still in disbelief.  Our food arrived and it was horrible.  Undercooked eggs are not Aubrey’s cup of tea.  We served ourselves several refills of coffee and I cleaned up our plates.  We left quietly after she charged us only half price for breakfast.  I surely don’t want to get thrown in the sea.  I’m no dummy!

We awoke to the sounds of crashing waves and a light breeze blowing.  It is delightful here in St. Croix.  We missed our flight from Miami and we arrived after dark.  It was exciting to have new scenery when we awoke.  The winds blew us to the east side of the island and a mile long, uninhabited beach.  Aubrey enjoyed terrorizing all of the cute little creatures of the sea while I snorkeled.  The water is clear and warm.  The creatures are plentiful.  We are both happy clams.

Our Jeep took us to many great places today, all of which we photographed.  It was a success all in all.  We didn’t get lost or stuck on the beach.  No wrecks or rooster fatalities.  Chickens cross the roads here on a regular basis.  We ate very well at a lovely seaside spot in a deserted area of the island.  We were the only people eating in the restaurant.  We went grocery shopping and paid $8.00 for a cube of butter that costs $2.50 in the states.  We paid $19 for a $50 bottle of wine so the way I see it, we are way ahead.

Relocating to St Croix USVI

We are staying on Protestant Key in Christensted.  A ferry carries us to the town that is filled with chickens and beautiful roosters.  The locals affectionately refer to the town as “chickensted.”  We really enjoy the place and it is really slow-paced.  There are few tourists and we haven’t heard any loud music since we arrived.  I don’t think there is much to do in this town, save the back alley strip club we noticed when leaving town today.

Aubrey is going full “Rambo” on me and adopted my combat knife today.  She wears it on her hip held up by her bikini.  Black steel goes well with pink; that’s what I always say.  We don’t have any firm plans for tomorrow but I expect that we will find lots of interesting sights to see.