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Fort Myers, Florida

Kismet is Wintering in Florida – Palm Trees, Dolphins and Beach Walks for the Crew!

Our long-range plan last year was to spend the winter in Florida this year. After hauling the new Kismet across country last fall, we put her away in a storage building in Sidney, Ohio for a three-month winter's nap. We like to be home with our family for the holidays and always leave northern Michigan after the new year. It would be tough, due to ice and snow conditions, to leave Traverse City with a 10.500-lb boat behind our truck. Ohio is a little safer bet. Even if it is in the throws of a storm, we'd be out of it within a day, driving south. We stored our boat in this same building just last year. It is the perfect spot for us due to it being so close to Jim's mom's house, just off I-75.   After three days of successful trailering to Fort Myers, Florida, we launched Kismet at the downtown ramp. Then cruised less than a quarter-mile…

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Delving Into the Oversize Load Permit Process – DIY to Save Money!

We Decided to Secure the Oversize Load Permits Ourselves – There are many things in life I enjoy, two of those things are saving money and learning. In this spirit, I forged ahead with the Oversize Load permit process one has to go through when traveling on highways with an oversized load. I looked forward to learning how it works, as well as saving money doing it myself.  If you are trailering a load, that is wider then 8 1/2 feet, you have to get an oversize/wide load permit from every state and each Canadian Provence you’ll be traveling through. You can do this yourself or pay a company to obtain the permits. Each has advantages, obviously if you do-it-yourself you'll save money. In either case, you need to gather the same data to provide each State/Province government agency. Your planned route, dates of transit, trailered measurements and weights, insurance information, state registration information and more, depending on the government…

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Loading Kismet

A Little Apprehension Loading Kismet for Her First Cross-Country Trek

Heading Back to Des Moines Where We Will Be Loading Kismet Onto its Trailer for the First Time. Apprehension is defined in Websters Dictionary as "anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.” As our time in the Pacific Northwest was coming to an end, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy about trailering our new boat cross-country. The new Ranger Tug R29S is two feet longer and one and one-half feet wider, a little taller and a couple thousand pounds heavier than our previous R27. I've been known to worry a lot when faced with something new to me. Trailering an "oversize load" through city traffic, construction zones and steep grades in the mountains was not something to take lightly. After loading Kismet onto the trailer in Des Moines, our plan was to tow her cross-country to Ohio, where my mother lives. We would visit with her a few days after Kismet was stowed in her berth, a…

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San Juan Islands Sucia Island

Island in the Sun – Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington

Sucia Island Marina State Park – As long-distance cruisers we are routinely motivated by an appetite to explore the unknown. We push ourselves to seek out that which we have not yet seen, filling in with returns to some of our favorite finds. Sucia Island is one of those "return" places for us – this being our third visit to this horseshoe-shaped island refuge. We still remember the first time we set foot on this island paradise with its natural sandstone caves. The park includes 564 acres of parkland with over 77,000 feet of shoreline Spanish explorers, circa 1781, called the island “sucia” or “foul.” A nautical term describing navigational obstacles such as the rocks around the island. Previously we've moored in Shallow Bay and another time anchored in Fox Cove, but this time we opted to tie Kismet up at the southern dock in Fossil Bay. Sucia Island is roughly two-and-a-half miles long and one-half mile wide. The island…

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Cruise To Margaritaville

How Do You Say Thank You?

If you are Fluid Motion, parent company of Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats, you hold the largest “Thank You Rendezvous” the boating community has ever seen! – We attended our first Ranger Tugs Rendezvous in August of 2011, just after taking delivery of our 2012 Ranger R27. At that time it was organized by the owners and supported by the Factory. It was held in Bremerton Washington that year and attended by approximately 68 boats and over a hundred owners. It was a fun event, “Parrotville Party” was the theme that year, very similar to this years theme, “Cruise to Margaritaville.” These tuggers sure like their margaritas. One has to ask why has this event gotten so big, five times the size of the one we attended in 2011? We finally decided it’s not just one thing. But it does revolve around one central fact. Fluid Motion takes care of their customers and the yearly rendezvous is a way of continuing…

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Out of the Wild and Into City Life – Tacoma, WA

Lots to do with Silas in Tacoma! – By Thursday, knowing that Silas would be ready to burn up some pent up energy, we headed to Dock Street Marina in Tacoma. Just cruising into the busy port gave Silas some maritime visual stimulation. He asked lots of questions about his surroundings at the busy marina – all day long. After docking, we gathered up the accumulated garbage bags to dispose of, and walked a short distance into town. One nice thing about Dock Street Marina is its close proximity to a fairly vibrant harbor town. We wanted to take Silas to Tacoma Children’s Museum, where he could hang out with kids his own age.           Silas had fun at the museum, which was more of an inside play ground chock-full of activities.         We had all really worked up an appetite by that time, so next we headed over to The Spaghetti Factory for…

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Silas Onboard

Silas Onboard Kismet – Penrose Point State Park and Filucy Bay

We've Waited a Long Time to Have Silas Onboard for a Weeklong Adventure! – Monday afternoon, Lisa, Silas and I waved goodbye from shore to Ross and Hadley and headed back to the boat. To see the wonderment in Silas’ eyes, as we departed Gig Harbor, brought back memories of when I was a child spending time on the water in a boat. From Gig Harbor we cruised through the Narrows into Hale Passage en-route to Penrose Point State Park, off Carr Inlet. We have never cruised much in South Sound, except for one trip to Gig Harbor in 2011, when we took possession of our Ranger Tugs R27. The day was sunny warm and clear, the water very calm, so we decided to anchor out for our first night. What a delight to have Silas onboard with us. We wondered what Silas would think about sleeping on the boat, which he has done many times, but always at a…

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Silas First Boating Adventure

Silas First Boating Adventure – Gig Harbor

Our First Guests on Our New Ranger Tug, Kismet! – It is often said that people are a “product of their environment.” We had our grandson, Silas, on his first boat ride, in 2013, before he was a week old. Since that day, we’ve had a few boat rides with him, his parents and recently minted sister, Hadley. As he is now almost four years old, we thought it was time to immerse him into our boating lifestyle. So we invited him to join us for – Silas first boating adventure – a week-long cruise in South Puget Sound, Washington. There was no hesitation in his reply. "When do we go?" he said. We chose South Sound for its close proximity to Portland, where Silas, his sister, and parents live. After our Ranger Tugs orientation in Des Moines Marina, we spent several days commissioning the boat with many shopping expeditions to stock and equip the boat. We left there Saturday…

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Insights Into Jim’s Packing Science

Packing for a Cross Country Trip is Like Preparing for a Marathon Getting ready for a cross-country trip requires some mental gymnastics! We’ve only got one shot to pack up the truck before we head west. Better to be well organized from the start. We knew it was going to be tight, especially since we were taking a few containers of personal items to our son, Ross and his family, who live in Portland, OR. We actually started the packing process back in April when we unloaded the contents, of our sold Ranger Tugs R27, from our truck into the garage. I sorted through it all and weeded out things we never used. Then I put most of the boat paraphernalia into containers that would eventually fit neatly in the bed of the truck. Once we depart home there's no chance we’re turning around, unless it’s Lisa who’s not in the truck. We are fairly familiar with the drill and…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Ready and Waiting at the Factory – Kismet a Ranger Tug R29S

When does a boat become a boat? My thoughts are... “when it is ready to float and cruise!” Based on the final assembly production photos we just received from the factory, it appears Kismet, a Ranger Tug R29S, is ready to become a boat. The Ranger Tug R29S sports a larger head than our R27. There will also be more privacy with the head being positioned in the stateroom. The stateroom is a step up for us, having slept on a V-berth for the last six years on the R27. We are also loving the spacious under bed storage area. There will be plenty of natural lighting, more elbow room in the galley for better maneuverability. We had our new Kismet built in the same Hero Red as our recently sold R27, as this is our favorite boat color. You just can't beat the photo op of a bright red hull sitting on deep blue water. You might also notice the brows around the…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R-29S

Construction of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Marrying the Hull of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S Having something built from scratch, such as a house, car or in this case a boat is usually best left to the professionals. As you’ll see from the following photos there is evidence that a tremendous amount of thought and mindful design goes into building a boat, before and during manufacturing. There is a coordinated effort, before the actual production starts, to have on hand all of the hardware, wiring, hoses, batteries, glass, lighting, engine, generator, electronics, solar panel, seating cushions, tanks, etc. This ensures production occurs smoothly and on time. If not planned properly, I could see how delays and backlogs in production could very easily happen. In this case our new Kismet was complete almost before we knew it, that’s because of the efficiency of the professionals at Ranger Tugs… they know how to build boats and they build them well. In the past, when we've ordered a…

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Shoal Harbour

Shoal Harbour, A Great Hidey-Hole for Bad Weather

  Shoal Harbour is Located Close to Pierre's Echo Bay at the North side of Gilford Island – After lunch, we stayed a couple of hours relaxing in the Burwood Group, it was that spectacular. Our plan was to anchor for the night in Shoal Harbour. En-route there, we explored while cruising in and out of Scott Cove and eventually Pierre's Echo Bay, taking a quick spin around the famous floating marina (we had reservations secured for the next day). After our exploration cruise, we arrived into the north arm of Shoal Harbour as planned – late afternoon. The harbour is a well-protected, shallow watered, anchorage. Navigating into Shoal Harbour can be a little nerve wracking, as one needs to negotiate a narrow channel before entering the harbour. Its called Shoal Harbour for a reason, I would guess, many parts of the bay are “shoaled.” With that said, we found a spot in five feet of water at low tide. Shoal Harbour has a logging operation located in the…

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Laura Bay

Laura Bay is a Popular Anchorage in the Broughton Islands

Laura Bay, south of Penphrase Passage, is a popular anchorage with good protection behind a scenic, un-named island. The Broughton Islands are comprised of 200-plus remote islands included in the over 240,000 islands between northern mainland British Columbia and the north-end of Vancouver Island. From Anacortes Washington to the Broughtons is about 233 miles. At least a week's worth of cruising for the serious boater to get to the Broughton Islands from the US border. The number of year-round residents in the Broughtons is less than 1,000. Keeping all this in mind, we have a lot of remote wilderness to explore during our three-week adventure. The day of our departure from Kwatsi Bay, we cruised 15 miles to Laura Bay and our second anchorage in the Broughtons. Along the way we saw two eagles and many dolphins as we slowly worked our way up Tribune Channel. Being new territory for us, we took a side trip and to cruised up into Watson Bay to get up close to Lacy Falls. Not much water…

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Forward Harbour

Seeking Protection in Forward Harbour

We departed Shoal Bay at noon to time our transit of Greene Point, followed by Whirlpool Rapids, at or near slack tide. All went smoothly until we approached the intersection of Cordero Channel and Loughborough Inlet. It was at this point the waves started to build into wild unpredictable rollers. The swells grew larger the closer we came to the fetch of the Johnstone Strait area. We continued until we made a much welcomed turn off the strait into Wellborn Channel. Johnstone Strait, 59 nm in its entirety, is notorious for strong winds, swift currents overall uncomfortable cruising. Riding those waves was exhausting. We were more than ready to leave the chaotic water of the strait to seek the protection of Forward Harbour.       For two days and nights we had gusty, gail force winds while on the hook in the protected cove of Forward Harbour. As always, our anchor held us securely in place. Last thing we wanted…

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Roscoe Bay

Roscoe Bay Anchor–Hike to Black Lake for a Refreshing Swim

Roscoe Bay Provincial Marine Park is known for the thousands of moon jellies that congregate there annually. We woke this morning to a clear blue sky and knew it would be a great day. We only had a handful of miles to travel for our 11 A.M. arrival for a 2-day stay at anchor in Roscoe Bay. Our day started off with freshly baked sticky buns and coffee. It was a slow cruise on calm water as we made our way around the south side of West Redonda Island to get to our destination. Roscoe Bay is known for the thousands of moon jellies that congregate there annually. Roscoe Bay has a narrow, dry shoaling entrance that leads to a full, 360 degree, protected bay. Most boaters have to negotiate this channel on a rising tide. As we passed over the shoal, we saw a crystal clear sandy bottom which appeared to be within a hand’s reach. However, we knew…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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