This will be a quick update, as we have lots to do in preparation for crossing the Gulf to Clearwater. Our internet has been either non-existent or very sporadic. But, we have mostly been doing very well. Our captain gave instruction, but was almost completely hands off. My 13 year old, Aiden, my Mom and I have run the boat the entire way from Dog River to here. The instruction has been fairly good and I feel confident in my ability to steer and follow a route. My Moms steering ability is also good. Aiden shows great potential. He does very well on rivers and channels where the course is clearly defined but needs more practice on open water, when following the gps chartplotter to stay on course. I definitely need more practice docking, but I knew when I purchased the boat that docking would be the biggest challenge. I have had one opportunity to leave the dock and back away, and did it well. I was proud of myself, but need lots more practice. Docking a fairly large vessel can be nerve-wracking.
We have figured out how to change the head-to-holding tank valves, change the navigation light bulbs, how to clean sea strainers, check the oil levels and have a fairly good grasp of the electrical panel and switching from shore power to generator power. Although this came with much hair loss over the a/c power alarm.
The kids have done great. They enjoy the dolphins and swimming off the aft deck. We had one minor sea sickness episode with one of the kids when we first got underway, but nothing since.
Next, we head across the Gulf to Clearwater.