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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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Boaterhoming At Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

We Call it Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie – Soo Locks Campground and RV Park –  Tonight we will be 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. We only stayed for one night – that's all we needed while boaterhoming. We pulled right in and before we knew it our new camper neighbors were…

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Group Shot, Ranger Tugs 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…

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Wilson Key Anchorage

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…

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Kismet Is Hooking Her 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…

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Beach, Lover's Key State Park, 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…

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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…

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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…

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Tugnuts, Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous

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…

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Tugnuts, Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous

Day Two – Activities and Good Food

Day Two of the Ranger Tugs Rendezvous Begins... 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, provided by Roy Eaton, 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 boat owners. Late afternoon, we had a North Channel chart review followed by a marine related app session. Boating rendezvous are extremely helpful to owners with a helpful exchange with both factory reps and/or service reps, dealers and other owners. We hope this year's North Channel Ranger Tugs Rendezvous…

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North Channel Ranger Tugs Rendezvous

North Channel Rendezvous In Full Swing

A North Channel Ranger Tugs Rendezvous It is often stated that the North Channel is some of the best inland cruising you’ll find anywhere. We could not agree more! It is, after all, in our boating backyard 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. By fall the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous was put into full planning mode. Jeff and I contacted several dealers in the area, Reed Yacht Sales and Lefroy Harbour Marine and Resorts. We got them on board as sponsors for the rendezvous. Dates for the three-day event were set at that point and we slowly worked out the details during the winter months. It didn’t take long to make the decision on the location…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Anchored, Bainbridge Island

Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island sits north and west of downtown Seattle – the Eagle Harbor anchorage was our choice for one night on the hook. On a clear day, you can plainly see Seattle’s skyline from the Eagle Harbor Anchorage, eight miles to the east across Puget Sound. City of Bainbridge Island is home to Eagle Harbor, which can be a little confusing. Kind of like New York, New York but in this case it’s Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island! Eagle Harbor juts in from the east shore of Bainbridge Island opposite Elliott Bay. It is two miles long and affords excellent anchorage in 30 to 39 feet, muddy bottom. 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 that just a few months before our arrival the brand new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art opened its doors. We were able to tour the museum’s, well put…

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Port Townsend Recommendation

Port Townsend – Washington’s Victorian Seaport & Arts Community 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, one of the coolest small town in America, 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. However, the rail system the founders counted on to make this happen, only made it to Tacoma. So Port Townsend never became the big city mecca they hoped for. The good news is that today Port Townsend, with it's rich maritime history, has…

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Transiting Deception Pass in a Pocket of Fog

Heading for Deception Pass 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. We ended up following a barge through Deception Pass while holding our breaths. The fog continued to lift as we made our way to the pass, however, we were surprised when we arrived to see a wall of fog completely covering the cut. We idled in a circular pattern, along with a couple of other boats, waiting as long as we could for the possibility of the fog lifting but it…

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Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Positioning ourselves at the Hope Island anchorage to transit through Deception Pass in the Morning. 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 Island. We were positioning ourselves to transit through Deception Pass the next morning. The plan was to cruise down the open waters of Rosario Strait to Port Townsend – our first ever visit by boat.  Dinner on board Kismet came together without a hitch after we…

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Spencer's Spit Anchorage

Spencer Spit – Last Stop in the San Juans

What’s nice about Spencer Spit is that one can choose which side of the spit to anchor or catch a mooring ball on. 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 night on the hook, we never got off of the boat. The next morning it was extremely foggy, but I figured with the aid of our radar, and only eight miles to travel that, it would not…

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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 Juan Islands. We arrived mid-day at different times to anchor in the well-protected bay just off Mosquito Pass. Garrison Bay is home to English Camp Historical Park, where British soldiers set up camp during the boundary dispute that was settled in 1872. Today, one can tour the restored buildings and grounds, visit the cemetery and hike to one of the…

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

Friday Harbor, the Hub of the San Juan Islands! 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 Sound Cruise. Because of meeting up with these boaters, we got to experience a couple of things while in Friday Harbor we wouldn't have, had it not been for Tim’s “Local Knowledge.” Perched on the bluff above the marina sits a Lions Club – with Tim’s membership all six of us…

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Toodle-oo Canada

Goodbye Canada... Hello Parks Bay! 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 get as full a day at a marina, and or town, as possible, so we returned first thing the next morning to secure dockage for a couple of days at Port of Friday Harbor, one of our favorite San Juan stops.  

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Bear Sighting in Downtown Chemainus, Vancouver Island, Canada

Multiple Bear Sightings in Chemainus! 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 history. Apparently the murals helped rejuvenate the town in the early 1980s when the larger sawmill was replaced by a smaller, more efficient version. We had to dodge a lot of logs along this stretch (above and below), probably because of the sawmill in Chemainus. After a beautiful cruise from Nanaimo, we tied up at…

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At Anchor in Departure Bay for One Night

Out Into the Strait of Georgia Again, Heading for Departure Bay! 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. 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 crossing we had protection from the leeward side of Vancouver Island, making the last 15 mile run down to Nanaimo very pleasant indeed. We ducked into Departure Bay and worked our way down Newcastle Island Passage. We found there a peaceful anchorage just off of Newcastle Island Marine Park, where we…

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Santana Docked At Pender Harbour, Canada

Pender Harbour – Calm Before the Storm

Pender Harbour – As nice as Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls were, it felt good to be back in civilization with hot showers – 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 time we idled into the harbor, although there was plenty of daylight left, it was getting late in the afternoon. We radioed the Madeira Park Public Wharf looking for dockage but got no answer. The closer…

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