web analytics
Grizzly Encounter At Brem Bay – BC, Canada

Grizzly Encounter at Brem Bay – BC, Canada

We Hit the Jackpot of Grizzly Sightings at Brem Bay! During our last day at Toba Wildernest, a sailboat pulled up to the dock late in the afternoon. Soon after, we overheard the crew exuberantly sharing their grizzly bear sighting further up Toba Inlet. Brem Bay to be exact. We decided it was worth the scenic nine-mile trip to see if we’d have any luck spotting a wild grizzly bear, or two, ourselves. Brem Bay lies on the NW side of Toba Inlet. The bay sits at the base of a huge valley at the mouth of Brem River. The river forks out into the grassy estuary wetland area and into the inlet. The cruise up was calm, but overcast with the sun and blue sky sometimes peaking through the fog and clouds periodically. It was our first time that far up into Toba Inlet. Here the inlet takes a sharp turn to the northeast of the mainland of Canada. When we arrived at Brem Bay, we…

Read More
Owen Bay Anchor – Discovery Islands, British Columbia

Owen Bay Anchor – Discovery Islands, British Columbia

Hiking to View Hole in the Wall Rapids from Owen Bay We pulled anchor at 9:30 the morning on the third day of our stay at Octopus Islands. We timed our departure to coincide with slack tide at the upper rapids of "Hole In the Wall." This time we will be heading to Owen Bay (See map below) and yet another anchorage. Owen Bay is located on the southeastern shore of Sonora Island, one of the outer islands of the Discovery Islands, British Columbia. The rapids were so “slack” the water was absolutely smooth and undisturbed, we idled through effortlessly into Owen Bay. We spotted two more eagles before we dropped anchor. Owen Bay is not far from the juncture of the Hole In the Wall Rapids. Once settled at anchor we took a short dinghy ride over to the government dock, just around the point by the bay. Another boater had told Jim about a hiking path that leads to a spot overlooking the rapids at Hole In the Wall. We thought it…

Read More
Transiting Rapids At Hole In The Wall – Octopus Islands Marine Park

Transiting Rapids at Hole in the Wall – Octopus Islands Marine Park

We Were Surprised – Only a Few Boats Anchored at Octopus Islands! – We timed our departure from our anchorage at Von Donop Inlet, so our arrival at the “Hole in the Wall” rapids would coincide with “slack tide.” Our plan was to get to Octopus Islands Marine Park to anchor for a couple of days. Knowing when slack water, or tide, occurs is important in tidal waters. This is more important where you need to negotiate a narrow pass where water has limited space to move through. With these conditions, water turns into a rapids that can be dangerous to pass through in most any condition other than slack tide. Slack Tide, described by Wikipedia is: "Slack water, which used to be known as 'the stand of the tide,’ is a short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed, and therefore no movement either way in the tidal stream, and which occurs before the direction of the tidal stream reverses." We’ve had to learn about timing our travels to meet up with optimal…

Read More
Laura Cove – Rocky, Scenic And Popular

Laura Cove – Rocky, Scenic and Popular

Laura Cove, Like Most of the Prideaux Haven Area, is Strewn with Large Boulders and High, Rocky Tree Lined Shores. We departed Refuge Cove for a short eight-mile run up Homfray Channel to the Prideaux Haven area of Desolation Sound Marine Park. Laura Cove, next to Melanie Cove, was in our sights as our preferred anchorage. We anchored here during our trip three years ago, and it was one of our favorite spots. On our way in we cruised through the adjoining Melanie Cove to see how many boats were already anchored. We arrived a couple of days before Canada Day (July 1st) a long Holiday weekend for Canadians, hoping to get settled before the rush which never really came. For a National Holiday we didn’t feel there were many boats in Laura Cove, seven at anchor on our first night and only 13 on our last. This was good for us as we gained more personal space for a relaxing long weekend.…

Read More
Refuge Cove – A Hub Of Activity And Social Gathering Spot In Desolation Sound

Refuge Cove – A Hub of Activity and Social Gathering Spot in Desolation Sound

Refuge Cove is Chock-Full of Character Situated on the southwest corner of West Redonda Island, Refuge Cove is centrally located in Desolation Sound. The small general store is good for minor provisions, fuel, water and propane. Besides being a unique little waterside community, it's a hub of activity and social gathering spot for the myriad of boaters spending their vacations cruising Desolation Sound. During this visit to Refuge Cove, we wanted to dock overnight to really experience life in Refuge Cove for more than the two hours we spent in 2013. We typically don’t come back into a marina for a while after we’ve just been to one. Only two days ago we were at Powell River for a two-night stay, but I forgot to pay bills. So, after we left Grace Harbour, we headed to Refuge Cove where we heard WiFi was available. During our stay, we fueled up, refilled a propane tank, paid bills, updated the blog and bought some cinnamon sticky buns all…

Read More
Jervis Inlet – Deepest Fjord In BC

Jervis Inlet – Deepest Fjord in BC

Jervis Inlet Has a Maximum Depth of 2,402 ft – We untied our lines from our slip at Pender Harbour at 7:45 a.m. to start our 48-mile trek up Jervis Inlet fjord. Timing for this trip needs to be well-thoughtout ahead. It's important to time our arrival at Malibu Rapids, the mouth of Princess Louisa Inlet, at slack tide. The rapids are located at the eastern shoreline of Jervis Inlet. At the speed we travel, 8 miles mph, it took us 5 hours to reach the rapids, from Pender Harbour. We arrived within half-hour of dead calm. You wouldn’t want to have to wait and hover outside the rapids very long or go early and risk running the narrow dog-leg channel at full force with a 10-knot rapids. Jervis Inlet is a fjord carved out by glaciers and has three arms, or reaches – Prince of Wales Reach, Princess Royal Reach and Queen’s Reach. Princess Louisa Reach is a side inlet off…

Read More
Pender Harbour Dock – A Maze Of Islands, Coves And Bluffs

Pender Harbour Dock – A Maze of Islands, Coves and Bluffs

Pender Harbour Dock – Stocking Up and Staging – Before we started the long haul up Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet and finally Chatterbox Falls, we first needed somewhere to stock up and stage ourselves – close to the entrance to Jervis Inlet. From Pender Harbour Dock, we could leave early the next morning and be cruising up Jervis Inlet in no time. Our plan was to spend at least three days at the dock at the falls, maybe four with anchoring out or catching a mooring ball the last night. We departed Lasqueti early in the morning to make the 25-mile cruise down the east side of Lasqueti Island, then over the north side of Jedediah Island, around the south end of Texada Island and finally east to Pender Harbour Dock. It was a beautiful cruise seemingly removed from civilization with natural breathtaking beauty for as far as we could see. Spending the night in Pender Harbour Dock would put us in close…

Read More
Hornby Island Anchor, Tribune Bay – After Dinner At The Thatch Pub

Hornby Island Anchor, Tribune bay – After Dinner at The Thatch Pub

Smooth cruising to Hornby Island today – Our destination today is Hornby Island. First for dinner at The Thatch Pub, before we throw out the hook in Tribune Bay. We heard about Hornby Island from another boater, Norm, at our marina during our stay in Victoria, BC earlier this year. We were there for the month of February. When cruising an area unknown to us, I always try to ask as many locals as I can about their favorite cruising spots. Norm is in the band, Jolly Mon Band, he travels on his Grand Banks with his band to play on some of the islands during the summer. Gotta love that lifestyle, right? Norm suggested to us the large cove on Hornby Island called Tribune Bay. The bay, we learned  has a great beach to walk if one so desires. Local Knowledge is Important when Seeking Out New Spots to Explore This type of information, local knowledge, helps to whittle down potential cruising destinations in this vast PNW cruising mecca. We…

Read More
Burgee Exchange – Nanaimo Yacht Club, BC

Burgee Exchange – Nanaimo Yacht Club, BC

Past Commodore Dick Craig Made the Burgee Exchange with Us – If you belong to a yacht club, you most likely know what a burgee exchange is. Most yacht clubs display burgees from other clubs in their clubhouses. The colorful burgees make a room very festive and interesting because you can’t help but wonder where some of them came from. Burgees are usually given to a club from an out of town yacht club member who are either boating or just visiting the area. In turn your own club member could visit another club in another city or state and give them a burgee and acquire one in return. This practice is called a burgee exchange. We did another burgee exchange just the other day, in Nanaimo BC, Canada. We are currently cruising British Columbia from South Pender Island to the Broughtons. The Nanaimo Yacht Club is an 86 year-old club. We made arrangements, ahead of time, for the exchange with…

Read More
Pirates Cove, De Courcy Island – Gulf Islands

Pirates Cove, De Courcy Island – Gulf Islands

Pirates Cove on De Courcy Island – A Provincial Marine Park – We slated a two-day stay anchored in the well protected Pirates Cove. The park has two dinghy docks, one on the little peninsula and one on the far, inner side. There are many eye hooks and chains around the cove, making it easier to stern tie an anchored boat to shore. De Courcy Island is 300 acres of beautiful rocky shores, strewn with driftwood and mossy thick woods. There are about 40 private residences on the island and the owners have their own boat dock, Russell Landing, located in the cove across from the entrance. Feeling a Part of the Boating Migration North By now it really is starting to feel like we’re making progress heading north. We also feel very much a part of the seasonal migration north to destination such as Chatterbox Falls, Desolation Sound, Broughtons and beyond. We have seen eagles in every anchorage we've stayed in so far, often two at a time. On our…

Read More
Ladysmith – Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Ladysmith – Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Ladysmith – Our Next Stop While Cruising in and Out of the Gulf Islands – We pulled anchor at 7:15 a.m. and departed Princess Cove for Ladysmith. The village of Ladysmith is on Vancouver Island and has a long rich lumber history, with active mills, log booms, transport ships and tug boats. We had one of those calm early morning days where the water was glassy smooth, complimented by a mostly clear sky so we decided to take advantage of the great conditions, cruise at 6 MPH and soak in the morning….slow motion. We were delighted with the almost new docks, wash rooms, showers, laundry room and onsite cafe at Ladysmith Maritime Society Marina that we decided to stay two days. With a town to explore and eager to stretch our legs, we ventured up the hill into town to investigate. We needed to pick up some groceries and have lunch. Back at the boat the docks were filling up fast…

Read More
Princess Cove Anchorage – Wallace Island

Princess Cove Anchorage – Wallace Island

Poking Our Way Along the Gulf Islands to Princess Cove – Short cruising days are my kind of days on the water. When I planned the Gulf Island part of our summer cruising, I decided to explore mostly places we had not been to on previous trips. Most travel days now are around 20 miles long or so. Leaving Cowachin, we had only 14 miles to cruise northeast to our planned anchorage at Princess Cove on Wallace Island. Wallace Island is located in beautiful Trincomali Channel between the northern ends of Saltspring Island and Galiano Island. The island is in the southern Gulf Islands. With this type of leisurely boating schedule we can leave later in the morning, arrive at our destination and still have plenty of time to explore. There are two coves on Wallace Island Princess Cove is one of two coves, the other being Conover Cove, on Wallace Island. Both now part of Wallace Island Marine Park. The…

Read More
Cowichan Bay – Vancouver Island, B.C.

Cowichan Bay – Vancouver Island, B.C.

Cowichan Bay is a Colorful Fishing Community –  While taking a day-tour in a rental car from Victoria, a few months ago, we stumbled upon the small village of Cowichan Bay. We didn’t stop but made a mental note that this would be a place we’d like to return to by boat when we returned in June. Fast forward four months and we made true on our promise. We had glassy waters and a nice clear blue sky for our 14-mile, 6.5 MPH slow motion cruise to Cowichan Bay, the start to a picture perfect day. Later we docked at Cowichan Bay Fisherman's Wharf, amongst the fishing fleet and high charactered and old boats, we felt right at home. We remembered the little town on shore from our road trip, so we were anxious to get off the boat to explore. Before we could get out of the marina though we had to climb the marina “gang plank.” At the time…

Read More
Poets Cove – Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Cruise

Poets Cove – Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Cruise

Our Trip North Started at Poets Cove on South Pender Island –  Poets Cove Resort and Marina, on South Pender Island in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, is where we started the Canadian portion of our summer cruising season. The start of our trip north was conveniently scheduled to match up with a 60-boat Ranger Tug/Cutwater get together at Poets Cove. After a quick check-in with Canadian Customs, right next to the marina at Poets Cove, we started to feel the excitement for the start of the three-day event. One of the best things about attending a factory sponsored cruise like this, is getting to meet other Ranger Tug/Cutwater owners, making new friends and catching up with old acquaintances! Another benefit of having this year’s event at Poets Cove is that they have a heated swimming pool that overlooks the harbor, which we visited shortly after our arrival. Lisa, who loves to swim, made it a trifecta by getting up to…

Read More
2016 Summer Cruising Season In British Columbia, Canada

2016 Summer Cruising Season in British Columbia, Canada

Our Summer Cruising Season Will Take Us to the Broughton Islands –  Have you ever been somewhere before that you’ve loved so much you cannot wait to return? Have you ever wondered why it took you so long to discover it? In our early summer cruising adventures we never dreamed territory such as the Pacific Northwest, San Juan and Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls and Desolation Sound existed. We’ve returned this year to cruise some of our favorite summer cruising stops from 2013, then we’ll continue further north to explore the Broughton Islands, a territory rich wth wildlife and natural wonders. Our trip will start in Anacortes, Washington where we’ll provision and prepare for our three-month long adventure north to British Columbia. We’ll spend two weeks in Canada’s Gulf Islands exploring places we have not been to before. First stop will be Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands as we stage to cross over to Canada to Poets Cove for the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater…

Read More
BUMS Did A Great Bottom Job!

BUMS Did A Great Bottom Job!

BUMS Did a Professional, Efficient and Seamless Bottom Job on Kismet –  Lisa asked that I write a post about my bottom. I looked at her with amazement that she wanted me to write about such a personal thing. But here goes! It had been over three years since I prepped Kismet’s bottom and applied two coats of non-ablative bottom paint. It was starting to show. During that three-plus year period, I did touch up the water line and bow area twice when the boat was on its trailer. That area was in good shape but the hull was truly in need of a bottom paint job. My goal was to have a complete sanding of the hull and have two coats of bottom paint applied before our Pacific Northwest summer cruising season started. We left Victoria, BC the first of March for Port Townsend, Washington. We had met the owner, Joe VonVolkli, of BUMS (Bottoms Up Marine Service) at the…

Read More
Southern Vancouver Island Loop

Southern Vancouver Island Loop

Heading Out on the Southern Vancouver Island Loop – Never ones to turn a blind-eye to exploration, while docked in Victoria we decided to rent a car for a day-long road trip. Vancouver Island, at 285 miles long and 62 miles at its widest point, is the largest North American Island in the Pacific Ocean. With a one-day car rental we only had time to carve out a small bit of real estate for our road excursion. We left Victoria to begin our Southern Vancouver Island Loop west towards Sooke and our first stop, French Beach Provincial Park. There we hiked down through the woods, the tall tree trunks covered in moss resemble a rain forest. From there, we could see across the Strait of Juan deFuca to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Once at the water, we had hopes of seeing whales from the beach, but they still manage to elude us. We continued our trip along the coast stopping at China Beach Provincial Parkland driving through the back roads of Vancouver Island,…

Read More
Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Soo Locks Campground and RV Park is a Very Friendly Place to Stay Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie Michigan – This border town is just south of the Soo Locks on the St. Mary's River. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada is to the north, over the International Bridge, and is about the half way mark to our destination. We will arrive in Little Current, Ontario, in the North Channel, one day early for the 2015 Ranger Tug/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. Some friends of ours gave us the idea to camp at this RV park several years ago when they sent us a photo of them sitting on the grassy shore, in front of their RV, watching the freighters go by. As luck would have it, the park had an opening for a much coveted site on the water, but only for one night – that's all we needed. We pulled right in and before we knew it our new camper neighbors were making us feel at…

Read More
Ranger Tugs/Cutwater 2015 North Channel Rendezvous!

Ranger Tugs/Cutwater 2015 North Channel Rendezvous!

Join Us for the Second Annual Ranger Tugs/Cutwater 2015 North Channel Rendezvous! If you've never cruised in Canada's North Channel, this might be the time to trailer or cruise your Ranger Tugs/Cutwater boat to join us in Little Current, Ontario, for the second annual Ranger Tugs/Cutwater 2015 North Channel Rendezvous. With spring in the air the much anticipated boating season in Canada’s North Channel is just around the corner. With that in mind the official registration process for the 2015 rendezvous is in full swing. See the fun we had last year! Rendezvous Location: Little Current Downtown Docks Manitoulin Island Little Current, Ontario The marina is centrally located in the heart of the North Channel. The dates for the Rendezvous are August 9, 10 and 11th, 2015. If you have an interest in joining us, please mail info @ trailertrawlerlife.com for registration form and more information. Click Here to DOWNLOAD and PRINT the REGISTRATION FORM We will handle marina reservations for August 9, 10 and 11th…

Read More
Doing Research On Two Anchorages Between Key Largo And Marathon

Doing Research On Two Anchorages Between Key Largo and Marathon

Research and Local Knowledge As with most things in life, we find it comforting to return to places we've been before. Revisiting takes a lot of the guesswork out of the trip planning process. This is especially true when traveling by boat. With that said, it can also be exciting, rewarding in fact, to try something new. I do a lot of research before we venture out on the road to launch the boat in new territory. Before heading out I check several mapping resources, such ass Active Captain and Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net. I then review the charting resources. These include Navionics and my Garmin GPS. My preferred method of research is by contacting locals in the area where we plan to cruise. We do this either ahead of time or as we are cruising. This most valuable resource is called “Local Knowledge.” While we docked in Key Largo, I checked with several boaters native to the area. One was good friend and Eco Tour…

Read More
Hooking Our Way To Fort Lauderdale

Hooking Our Way to Fort Lauderdale

Exploring New Inlets While "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 Fort 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 it is a very large indentation off of the ICW south of Jensen Beach/Stuart area, it is separated from the ocean by Jupiter Island. We spent a windy night on the hook there with eight to ten other boats, with the crashing sound of ocean waves shifting their way over the sand dunes that…

Read More
New Pass Interlude Near Bonita Springs, Florida

New Pass Interlude Near Bonita Springs, Florida

New Pass, a welcome break before we head into Fort Myers for a month. 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 this a lot easier for our Ranger Tug. The cruise to New Pass could very well have been a day trip, however we thought it would be nice to stretch this scenic cruise into a couple days stay. New Pass is surrounded by parks and nature, not…

Read More
Exploring Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge

Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge – from Fort to Ruins 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 what used to be a brick lined boulevard of Fort Dade’s military base. Most of the housing, fire department, general store structures are long gone. So it felt eerie walking the streets and walkways of where a whole community of buildings once stood. There is still a manned lighthouse station…

Read More
Pristine Anchorage At Mullet Key – Fort DeSoto State Park, FL

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

Two Fortresses Were built to Guard Against Invasions that Never Came, Mullet Key is one of them 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 was turned over to Pinellas County and became the Fort DeSoto Park. In our quest to find new and unique anchorages during our winter cruises, we stumbled upon Mullet Key while doing some research of Florida West Coast cruising grounds. On the charts…

Read More
North Channel Rendezvous – Two Presentations And A Pizza Party

North Channel Rendezvous – Two Presentations and a Pizza Party

Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous Last Day! 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 interesting to see what additions, improvements and/or enhancements others have made to their boats. I came away with a cave area, storage shelf, idea I saw on Mike and Jess’s boat, Illusions. Lisa liked a spice rack (above-left) that was hand built by Randy and Cindy on, I Think I Can., she also liked their…

Read More