Hooking Our Way To Fort Lauderdale

Hooking Our Way to Fort Lauderdale

It's very rewarding experience for us when we have an opportunity to explore new inlets, coves and potential anchorages while cruising AND we end up throwing the hook for the night. The previous times we’ve cruised north or south between Stuart and Ft Lauderdale we’ve always traveled past Peck Lake, Lake Worth, Lake Boca Raton and Lake Sylvia without ever stopping let alone anchoring. We’ve either been in too much of a hurry to get somewhere else or didn’t have the time, all that is different this trip south on the East Coast ICW. Peck Lake is not so much a lake than…

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New Pass Interlude Near Bonita Springs, Florida

Lisa and I have an unquenched passion, as it relates to cruising, and it has to do with going places we’ve never been. With this in mind we departed Ft Myers Beach and instead of heading out into the open Gulf we decided to cruise the inside route through Estero Bay, south past Big Carlos Pass, to an anchorage at New Pass inlet, just north of Big Hickory Island. The eight mile trek is a well marked channel but you’d better stay in the channel as it does get very shallow very quickly in many places, having a two-foot draft makes a trip like…

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Exploring Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge

Fort Dade was built during the Spanish American War and remained in military control for many years. In 1974 the island was turned over to the State of Florida and became a state park in 1989. In 1974 the southern portion of the island became Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge (also a bird sanctuary). Visiting Egmont Key should only be done during fairly calm water. Because there are no docks, one needs to anchor a ways off of the island shoreline and dinghy to shore. The shoreline is quite open and unprotected. After securing our dinghy we walked up onto…

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Pristine Anchorage at Mullet Key – Fort DeSoto State Park, Florida

As one leaves the Gulf of Mexico to enter Tampa Bay, Mother Nature provides two keys that stand sentinel to the entrance of Tampa Bay. In 1889, Mullet Key, to the north, and Egmont Key, to the south, had fortresses built to guard against invasions that never came, remnants of both forts remain today in the parks that were created in the late 1800s. Robert E Lee made the recommendation, in 1849, that both Mullet and Egmont keys become fortified. Fort DeSoto, on Mullet Key, was built in 1889 and later abandoned by the military in stages from 1910 to the mid 1940’s. In 1962 Mullet Key…

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Two Presentations and a Pizza Party

On the last day Roy Eaton, from the LCCN, gave a wonderful powerpoint presentation at the Anchor Inn Bar, an overview of Georgian Bay and the North Channel highlighting some of the history and many popular anchorages. Later, back at the pavilion, we gathered for a presentation by Mark Coles (above), of Boating Georgian Bay, who gave a geological and historical overview of Georgian Bay. Mark also spent the afternoon photographing and video taping Ranger Tug owners for a piece he was doing on the Boating Georgian Bay’s website. Later in the afternoon we had a boat crawl. It’s always…

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Day Two – Activities and Good Food

Day two started off with a catered breakfast prepared by Kelly, owner of the Anchor Inn. We could have gotten by without eating the rest of the day, the meal was so plentiful and well prepared. Breakfast was followed by a visit to the Cruisers’ Net at the Anchor Inn (see next post for details). (Above Left) Mike and Jim were having some fun at the marina up the road. Later that morning Kenny Marrs conducted a “Ask the Factory” session in which a lot on questions were answered by Kenny with a good exchange of helpful information between Kenny and…

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Rendezvous In Full Swing

It is often stated that the North Channel is some of the best inland cruising you’ll find anywhere and we could not agree more – it is, after all, our backyard boating playground. Lisa and I talked about the possibility of having a Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Rendezvous in the North Channel shortly after we bought our red tug several years ago. With that in mind we approached Jeff Messmer at Ranger Tugs while we were cruising in the Pacific Northwest last summer and by fall the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous was put into full planning mode. Jeff and I contacted…

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Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island sits north and west of downtown Seattle – Eagle Harbor was our choice for one night on the hook. On a clear day, you can plainly see Seattle’s skyline eight miles to the east across Puget Sound. Eagle Harbor is home to the City of Bainbridge Island, which can be a little confusing. Kind of like New York, New York but in this case it’s Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island! After finding a suitable spot to anchor, we dinghied to the city dock so we could explore town, this being our first visit by boat. We were fortunate in…

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Port Townsend Recommendation

Over the years people have highly recommended a visit to Port Townsend, WA, but, for whatever reason, we have never made the stop. During our trip out west this year, we put Port Townsend on our planned route as we headed south from the San Juans toward Puget Sound. Port Townsend sits at the northeast point of the Olympic peninsula where Strait of Juan De Fuca and Admiralty Inlet meet. In the late 1800s Port Townsend was intended to become the main city in the Puget Sound area, so a great deal of new buildings and Victorian houses were built.…

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Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

After spending a pleasant night on the hook at Hope Island, we woke to a blanket of fog so thick, we could hardly see more then 150 feet in any direction. We waited and waited until finally, close to our planned departure time, the fog began to lift a little. We pulled anchor, turned on our radar and headed towards Deception Pass. A safe trip through Deception Pass needs to done at slack tide. We needed to be positioned at the pass for the optimal tidal event. The fog continued to lift as we made our way to the pass,…

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Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Leaving the dock at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, I saw our fuel gage flashing a bright red “low fuel” light, setting my mind into a bit of a panic. Idling to the fuel dock, I was hoping we’d make it before running completely out. how embarrassing would that have been, I haven't run out of fuel since I was in High School. The good news is we made it to the fuel dock without conking out in the harbor. Confidently fueled up, we headed through LaConner and up into Skagit Bay, where we caught a mooring ball off Hope…

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Last Stop in the San Juans – Spencers Spit

Spencer Spit, situated on the eastern side of Lopez Island in the San Juan Island chain, is a Washington State Marine Park, which means the area has mooring buoys, beach campsites, and hiking. We’ve never anchored or moored here, so we choose this spot as our days end destination, after we departed our yacht club friends at Garrison Bay. What’s nice about Spencer Spit is that one can choose which side of the spit to anchor or catch a mooring ball on, depending on the expected wind direction. We had no concerns about wind that day and spent a calm…

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Grand Traverse Yacht Club Contingent Overtakes Garrison Bay – San Juan Islands, WA

We left Roche Harbor to go whale watching in Haro Strait, the water was glassy smooth. It would be the last chance for a whale sighting this trip to the PNW – unfortunately it was not meant to be, but we had fun looking. Our next stop was Garrison Bay and a long-planned rendezvous, by boat, with fellow members of Grand Traverse Yacht Club, our boating club in Michigan. Richard and Diane, Steve and Deb, Jim and Geri, Fred and Lisa and Mike and Carol had all flown out to the PNW to charter two sailboats to cruise the San…

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Reunion in Friday Harbor with Willy’s Tug and Circle T

Friday Harbor is a picturesque town and the largest small town in the San Juan Islands; you could say it's the hub of commerce for the islands. This was our third time staying in the harbor. It has been said that the boating community is a small world, our slip just happened to be right next to Herb and Willy from Willy’s Tug, Tim and June, on Circle T, from California were also docked nearby. Both are Ranger Tug owners we know from our cruising time in the PNW – most recently when we all joined the Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation…

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Toodle-oo Canada

We left Vancouver Island in our wake as we bid Canada goodbye, with our bow now pointed toward Haro Straight, we began to feel the pull of our country drawing us back to familiar shores after the close of a long-planned boating adventure. It was late in the day when we arrived back into home waters, so after checking in with customs at Friday Harbor, we idled back out and across the San Juan Channel to anchor overnight in the protected confines of Parks Bay, off Shaw Island. It’s our cruising philosophy, when paying for overnight dockage, to strive to…

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Bear Sighting in Chemainus, Vancouver Island, Canada

Always on the lookout for something new to experience, we decided to visit Chemainus on our return trip south, through the Gulf Islands, on our way back to the U.S. The name, Chemainus, originates from the native shaman and prophet “Tsa-meeun-is,” which stands for Broken Chest. Legend goes that the man survived a massive wound to his chest and then became a powerful leader, his people took his name to identify their community, Chemainus First Nation. Later founded as a logging town, in 1858, the town is now famous for 39 beautiful painted murals that grace the downtown buildings depicting the town’s…

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At Anchor in Departure Bay for One Night

We left Jedediah Island refreshed and confident in heading out again, we continued our crossing of the Strait of Georgia the day after being literally blown off the water. As you can see Lisa's taking photos again and while this day looked much better it was still a little stormy when we started out, however with some blue sky showing up on the horizon. The water conditions were still a little lumpy, but comparing it to the day before, it was a walk in the park, so to speak. By the time we completed the last 10 miles of our…

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Pender Harbour… Calm Before the Storm

We timed our departure from Chatterbox Falls to catch the first slack tide at Malibu Rapids; once back into Jervis Inlet we enjoyed a leisurely cruise, retracing the 40-mile route as we headed for our end of day destination, Pender Harbour. A lot of the Canadian boaters we met during our Desolation Sound cruise this summer recommended a stay at Pender Harbour, a natural harbor just off of the Strait of Georgia. The harbor has a number of marinas and a few good anchorages to choose from along with a little town, grocery store and several restaurants close by. By the…

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Dinghy Ride Away from Shore for Better Vantage Point of the Falls

While out exploring by dinghy at high tide, we idled in as close to the falls as we dared, waterfall mist soaking us as we floated over the seabed we had earlier in the day been walking on. We were also able to get a better vantage point of the waterfall in it's entirety as we got farther away from the dock. For those so inclined anchoring in front of the falls is possible, providing the best viewing of the falls. The falls (above) were created by the heavy rains of late. If you're interested in some scenic property, there's a…

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Princess Louisa Inet – The Inner Sanctum

Called Suivoolot, Sunny and Warm, by the Sechelt Nation Natives   Princess Louisa Marine Park was created in June 24, 1965, sitting on the other side of Jervis Inlet with Malibu Rapids acting as the dividing point, it is a 5-mile long spectacular fjord surrounded with 3,000 foot high, waterfall littered, snow-tipped mountains. The inlet boasts about a 1,000-feet of water depth and measures no more than a half-mile wide. At the end of Princess Louisa Inlet is the equally stunning 120-foot tall Chatterbox Falls. The marine park is only accessible by boat or plane, there are no public roads.…

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Transiting Malibu Rapids to Gain Access to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

In order to gain access to the inner sanctum of Princess Louisa Inlet and subsequently Chatterbox Falls, you first have to negotiate the entrance to the inlet, Malibu Rapids. (This is also where the Malibu Club sits promptly on top of the big boulders at the entrance to the inlet.) Although it is unwise to transit the rapids any other time but slack tide – when the current changes direction and the condition in between when the tide stops going out and before it starts coming in, or vice versa, it’s at this point that the current is minimal and,…

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Jervis Inlet to Malibu Rapids

Jervis Inlet is a 45-mile long fjord that leads to Malibu Rapids – once you’ve transited the rapids Princess Louisa Inlet awaits to lure you to a destination point, all the way to the end of the Inlet, which many boaters consider to be the Holy Grail of cruising, Chatterbox Falls. Unfortunately we had a rather cloudy day for our cruise up Jervis Inlet but even with the gray skies and murky waters the mountains stood superbly majestic as they lined our route to Malibu Rapids.

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Positioning Ourselves at Hardy Island for the Run Up to Chatterbox Falls

We were somewhat protected by Texada Island as we cruised 21 miles southeast from Powell River to Hardy Island, located at the base of Jervis Inlet, for our eventual cruise up to Princess Louisa Inlet, Malibu Rapids and finally Chatterbox Falls. Entering Blind Bay we found calm waters ideal for anchoring in a narrow, well protected, cove within Hardy Island Marine Park. As we were scouting for a spot to drop our hook we came across a small black bear strolling by the waters edge. The bear was just as startled as we were and immediately hightailed it up the…

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Wet and Bumpy Ride to Powell River

  We had strong, guess you could almost say instinctual, reservations about leaving Lund the next day, it was rainy and quite windy, so we waited a bit to see how the rain and wind conditions would develop. Our intent was to cruise to Hardy Island to anchor out for the night. From the protection of the marina in Lund, we noticed several boats heading south so we decided to give it a try ourselves, thinking we could always turn back if it was undoable. At first, conditions were acceptable, but, as this scenario often seems to goes, it quickly…

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Wrapping Up Our Desolation Sound Cruise in Beautiful Roscoe Bay

We saved the last two days of our Desolation Sound cruise for Roscoe Bay. Once inside the narrow entrance to the inner cove (which guide books state is best navigated on a rising tide), we took our time to slowly cruise the anchorage (photo-below), we wanted to find the perfect spot before we dropped anchor and stern tied to shore. There was plenty of room available, so we could be choosy about our selection which was located all the way up into the bay. Surrounded by pine trees and high rock bluffs, the cove offered, not only a picture perfect…

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Fighting Rapids at Squirrel Cove – Desolation Sound, British Columbia

We left Pendrell Sound this morning to motor over to Squirrel Cove. Several boaters recommended this spot as a very well protected anchorage and since our weather turned a little sour we decided the cove might just be the ticket for a good night's sleep. The photo below not only shows a pretty typical type of cruising boat in Canada's Desolation Sound but some of the huge logs boaters have to contend with when cruising this area. Squirrel Cove is a popular place, it provides a very protected anchorage for a large number of boats and, as a bonus, there's…

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Negotiating Rapids At Hole In The Wall – Octopus Islands Marine Park, Desolation Sound

After a restful time at Toba Wildernest we departed late morning for Octopus Islands Marine Park on Quadra Island in Desolation Sound. Our departure was timed according to the tide schedule to achieve safe passage to and from the Octopus Islands area. Boaters have to properly negotiate one to three sets of rapids through narrow, shallow passages, depending on one's chosen destination. "Rapids?" You may ask, "How the heck does someone do this in a boat?" First of all the key is to do it "properly." The tide fluctuates twice per day, up to 12 feet per cycle, but usually…

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Something Special About Toba Wildernest

We found Toba Inlet to be some of the most beautiful areas in Desolation Sound. When we were there the water was that greenish color, almost like we'd see in the Bahamas, it seemed to have phosphorescent glow about it. As we approached Toba Wildernest Resort, we enjoyed a parade of boats passing us as they left the marina. As we slowly approached the marina dock I radioed Kyle, who gave me instructions to dock on the inside of the T dock closest to shore. My immediate concern was if there would be enough water being that close to shore. With…

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Cruising Homfray Channel to Walsh Cove, British Columbia

One of the beauties of cruising in Desolation Sound is that when you leave one place you have plenty of spots to consider for your next days docking or anchorage. We left Laura Cove after the three-day holiday weekend and headed northeast up Homfray Channel. We passed Homfray Lodge, a stop recommended by some friends, but we decided to pass on it and continue cruising as we were hoping for a black bear sighting. We had heard bears were often sighted along the shoreline of the channel, however, after striking out on the bear sighting, we cruised up to Wildernest…

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Settled Into Laura Cove For Canada’s Civic Holiday – Another Hike To Unwin Lake

Once our anchor was set and lines tied to the big rock, Lisa prepared lunch to take out on a dinghy exploration of the surrounding area. We ventured out of the cove into Homfrey Channel turned the outboard off and floated around while having lunch with a spectacular mountain view surrounding us off in the distance. Afterwards I dropped Lisa off at the boat and continued on, by dinghy, to a hiking trail located off Melanie Cove. I'd read about this trail somewhere and how it leads up to Unwin Lake, the fresh water lake we'd hiked to and swam…

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