One morning, at the dock in Antigua Harbour Marina, we saw a Nordhavn arrive, and it was hard not to notice the family of five aboard from California: a mom named Brooke, a dad named Braden, two young kids named Rooney and Penn, and a baby named Leo in a pouch. We noticed the two kiddos seemed very mature and self-assured. We had to meet the family – the Palmers of the YouTube channel Aboard Mermaid Monster – and hear about this cruising family. Here is what they had to say, based on our conversation:
Robin: Tell us about your family both when you began this liveaboard lifestyle and now.
Brooke: I hate to say it, but land life was tearing our family apart. Braden and I seemed to be going in semi-separate directions. I was doing my own thing with the kids, and he was busy working. We actually had plans to demo our home and rebuild a bigger, fancier home. The day before the demo, I woke up and felt sick about our decision. It was like a scene from a movie. Braden woke up, looked at me, and said, “what are we doing?” We were just keeping up with the Joneses, as they say. We both knew something had to change. We canceled the demo plans that day.
That morning I told him, “you know that boat idea we talked about when dating? What do you think about just going for it now?” He knew this was his one shot before I might back out. We started calling brokers, and three months later, we were driving across the United States in a minivan rental along with our paddle boards, dog, and Eames lounger, where we would move aboard our Nordhavn 55 trawler in Southport, North Carolina. Have we ever owned a boat? Nope. Ignorance is bliss, right?