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Old 28-10-2015, 10:03   #1
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Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

We set off about 3.5 months ago from Kemah in our 37' Cruisers with 2 kids and a large service dog. We took the ICW though TX and LA and from Destin to Apalachacola, FL. Otherwise, we were off shore. We made it to Islamorada where we will stay until December- then it is off to Havana.

We are presently in a dock doing repairs, projects and diving. If anyone is on the same path, send me a message and let's meet up. We homeschool our kids when they aren't fishing. We stayed in a lot of different places along the way and if anyone needs any info about our experiences, marinas, etc. let me know.

We have a YouTube channel where we have a bunch of videos about our journey, thus far if anyone is interested. Thanks.

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Old 28-10-2015, 10:42   #2
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

I will be looking at your youtube videos when I can, sounds like a dream of a lifetime.
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Old 28-10-2015, 11:29   #3
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

We are truly blessed and we are having the time of our lives! Our kids are thriving and we are surprised everyday by the world around us. Our journey is about to get more exciting for us but in the meantime I am working on the boat quite a bit.

We started out thinking that we would try it for a year but we now know that we will be doing this for 10 years or more. We will sell our boat in a year, after cruising season and move to a large monohull or a trawler. Thanks for watching the videos.
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Old 28-10-2015, 13:50   #4
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Robb,


Just watched some of your videos, looks like you guys are having a blast!
Your kids will remember this adventure for life.
Good for you guys for stepping off the treadmill & enjoying life instead of being a slave to it. Keep having fun & stay safe.
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Old 28-10-2015, 14:14   #5
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Thanks for watching! We definitely made the right choice for our family and I don't think any of us will ever regret it. We can't wait to get to more blue and clear waters!
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Old 28-10-2015, 14:58   #6
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Robb, this is your ex neighbor Ken on the Eggharbor. Great meeting you guys in Islamorada and stay with the adventure. Have fun.
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Old 28-10-2015, 20:50   #7
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Hey Ken! Great to see you here! We miss you guys and we didn't approve of the "Mayor." Stay in touch and I hope you have a lot of great luck!
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Old 29-10-2015, 09:37   #8
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Robb, What a trip! My wife and I just completed a journey that originated in Jupiter, Fl. The trip was to bring our new to us boat home to, Lake Charles, La, roughly 1500 miles. I would guess that we crossed paths as we just got back to Lake Charles 2 weeks ago. Too bad we didn't meet, we love meeting fellow boaters. Continue to have a great time! There's nothing better than life on the water! Take care and if you are ever around us, look us up! My boat is a Meridian 41, "My Gypsy Soul". Safe travels!
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Old 29-10-2015, 15:48   #9
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Hi Robb and Audrey. This is inspirational stuff. My wife and I are planning to do something similar, leaving in about 2 1/2 months time. Our kids are a girl, three years old and a boy nearly 7. The route is a bit different since we are in Australia. The plan is to head north, across to Noumea and start exploring the Pacific from there.
We have the boat, a 42ft Boro Benito Ketch and at present a house full of STUFF. So much to do, sell as much as we can and get the house ready for rent. We need that contribution towards our cash flow.
Our plan is to be gone for two years but how knows....
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Old 29-10-2015, 16:34   #10
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Send me some details of the trip. I'm planning on doing this spring 2016, and am curious of the current state of the ICW.
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Old 30-10-2015, 09:20   #11
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

I watched the Youtube videos. They were nice, except there are a few things I waas looking for I didn't see.

Most of the footage was either the interior of the boat, or sitting at a restaurant, or petting alligators, or fishing.

Fun, but not what I expected in a cruising video. A few seconds of footage going through ONE lock, very little other sea time.

As a family production I can sympathize with the captain being too busy driving the boat to be making much video, but the wife could have filmed while He drove.

Some video of the anchorage approaches, entering the marinas, and channels, and fuel ports would have been great.

Maybe a hint to the next family to make the trip?
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Old 31-10-2015, 09:16   #12
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

You are absolutely right Bill and we will be putting emphasis on more of the boating aspects of doing things as we move forward. I was in way above my head for many of the days that we cruised from Texas and it was hard to get a lot of footage. We are still on the move and I'm sure our videos will get better. Here is some more info about the ICW trip.

Texas ICW was uneventful and free of much traffic. Crossing Galveston Bay was busy with commercial traffic. We maintained a steady speed though the first 180 miles of about 25 knots. There were areas that required a slow down but not many. Commercial traffic wouldn't answer the radio and we found ourselves just steering clear of the barge traffic. We opted to go to Lake Charles and it was an easy trip up. Not much traffic but the ships were huge. We stayed at Contraband Bayou and I highly recommend it.

Lake Charles to Intercostal was desolate. There were a few locks to go through and a pontoon bridge that had to move out of our way. It was easy to raise them on the radio. Intercostal had the cheapest gas on the ICW and there was no town at all. We tied up on the city dock to wait for fuel the next day because there was a death in the fuel dock's family. I always recommend calling ahead to ensure that the fuel places are open or selling. We found many that were listed in the Waterway guide or GPS that were closed. Some of the side trips took time off our travel and lead us to sketchy areas. Sabine Lake was one I'll never forget.

Intercostal to Houma was uneventful. Not too much traffic. The ICW got really beautiful after we passed Morgan City. No gas in Houma FYI. We stayed at the Municipal marina and that was our favorite. There are 2 slips with full hookups right next to the city park. Easy to walk into town. Nice people and great food.

Houma to New Orleans was a full day and there was more traffic approaching NOLA. Lots of slowdowns and many people who lived along the ICW, in contrast to the previous few days. Harvey lock was easier than I thought. It took about 30 minutes to hold in place while we waited for an opening. You have to call River traffic and advise you are entering the Mississippi to head down to the Industrial lock. It was about 10 miles down. We had to tie up and wait 3 hours to get through Industrial. I heard some of the other captains asking for status every 30 minutes or so and I did the same so they wouldn't forget us. We stayed at Seabrook Marina and it was nice. They had a loaner truck that we used several times and nice facilities. We enjoyed NOLA and stayed for a few days.

NOLA to Gulf Shores was easy and a nice ride. No traffic to speak of and we stayed in the bay. We liked Gulf Shores and stayed a few nights.

We had weather crossing the bay to get back in the ICW through Alabama. 3-5 seas for an hour but the ICW was sheltered. We saw dolphins and bald eagles. Not too much slow down or traffic. Florida was a happy sight. We made it into Ft. Walton Beach that night. Lots of marinas here but many were full. We stayed at a nasty marina and we were happy to leave.

We had a long ride the next day to Apalachicola. This was probably my favorite part of our journey and the ICW was gorgeous! The water is the color of coffee. The ICW was tight but not many people. We made good time. We stayed for 4 days enjoying the town and waiting out some weather that was in the gulf. I used a phone ap called wind finder to see the sea conditions in addition to looking at NOAA updates.

We thought we were going to cross to Clearwater, which was 165 miles but the seas were too rough so we tucked into Clarabelle. It looks cute but there are a bunch of weird locals that made our stay uncomfortable. I worried about theft of our property and they used the dock after hours, drinking beer and making a lot of ruckus. We attempted the crossing the next day.

It was clear and NOAA reported 1-3 with 5 second intervals in the Gulf. No wind to speak of, just the way you would want it. We got out there and it was 3-5 with some 7's, cross bow. It made for an unhappy trip for my kids and wife who got sea sick. I turned East and South after about 45 miles because it was too rough for them. The boat could handle it. We made it into Suwannee River but had to wait for tide to rise because the depth was too low. We went in the south way, in the river channel. FYI the north way is probably better but depth was always a concern. We were 12 miles off of the shore- couldn't see land sometimes but the depth was about 10 in many places. Anyway, we made it in and it was a nice place. We walked to dinner and got some beer at the most expensive store in the world.

We made it into Clearwater the next day and it was an easy trip offshore. We stayed at the City Marina, which was nice but it cost us about $4 per foot to stay as a transient. We walked everywhere and the store was about 3 miles away- after we crossed the river in our dinghy. There was a dock available.

We made it into Marco the next day and it was so hot- we didn't leave the inside of the boat once we docked. Happy to leave the next day.

Marco to Taviner, FL was fun but again the depth was a concern. This was a 110 mile day. Beautiful country. I found the ICW on the bayside and we made it into the marina. We stayed at Mangrove Marina for a night and it was a dump. Not recommended. We changed to Plantation Yacht Harbor and took a monthly slip. I think we pay $22 per foot for the month. Great place! Gas is about $4 per gallon. There is no store in walking distance but we have our car, so it's not a problem.

I have each day broken down on our blog- different places we stayed, costs of dockage, gas, etc. Our blog is much more specific on the boating aspects of our trip. We have a lot of pictures, etc. Our blog is down for another couple days for re-design but you may want to check it out for reference.

We are in Islamorada, FL now and we are making a lot of repairs, improvements, etc. We plan to leave in December to Havana. We've taken our boat to a few of the nice reefs and different spots around here for several days and there is info, pictures, etc. about our outings.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me anything about specifics.
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Old 31-10-2015, 09:19   #13
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Better Days View Post
Robb, What a trip! My wife and I just completed a journey that originated in Jupiter, Fl. The trip was to bring our new to us boat home to, Lake Charles, La, roughly 1500 miles. I would guess that we crossed paths as we just got back to Lake Charles 2 weeks ago. Too bad we didn't meet, we love meeting fellow boaters. Continue to have a great time! There's nothing better than life on the water! Take care and if you are ever around us, look us up! My boat is a Meridian 41, "My Gypsy Soul". Safe travels!
We loved Lake Charles and we stayed at Contraband Bayou. Too bad we didn't cross paths. We didn't meet another boaters who were traveling until NOLA. Strange that we didn't see many people out cruising. We figured it was because of the heat and the fuel prices.
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Old 31-10-2015, 20:03   #14
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Commercial ships ONLY answer if you call them by name, or id number. If they are moving toward you that means you need an AIS. After I bought a VHF that had AIS built it, I wouldn't go the ICW without one. It was literally day, and night, from a nail biting ordeal, to a walk in the park, even a 5 ship passing was easily sorted with a couple of calls.


Something I should have mentioned on this board last summer, (sorry), there is a good FREE dock in Pensacola just off of the ICW near the Hilton hotel, and behind Hooters restaurant. I stayed there several days in a small sailboat I trailered up there last summer, only downside is lots of curious tourists walking by day & night.


You are in the middle of Pensacola's night life, and numerous restaurants, and shops within walking distance.
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Old 31-10-2015, 20:48   #15
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Re: Our 1300 mile trip taught us a lot!

Apalach was cool and we stayed at a dock behind a hotel that had a raccoon problem. They called out the sugar ants but the dog took care of them the second night. The dockage was about $80 per night and I would've preferred free. I had to dinghy over to the next marina to borrow their laundry. I brokered the deal only by promising to fill up before we left the area. Cool place. Hope to go back to visit the town again.
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