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Lovers Key

Lovers Key – Party Central During the Day, Quiet and Peaceful at Night

Lovers Key, at New Pass Inlet, South of Fort Myers Beach, is a Wonderful Anchorage Surrounded by Two State Parks – This is a place we “LOVE” to return to. After a brief stay at Salty Sams, in Fort Myers Beach, we followed Matanzas Pass south, past Ostego Bay. We then crossed Big Carlos Pass on our way to this anchorage between Lovers Key State Park and Pelican Landings Beach Park. We anchored in six feet of water, with the Dog Park (part of the Lovers Key State Park) to our north. The beach park was west of us and the opening to the Gulf, New Pass Inlet was between the two. It was Saturday, by the time we arrived the place was full of weekend activity. Dogs were running and playing in the dog park. Many boats beached on shore. Ferry boats hauled people back and forth to the parks all day long. Plenty of boating activity all around…

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Roosevelt Channel

Valentine’s Day in Roosevelt Channel with My Sweetie– Captiva Island, Florida

First Stop After the Flotilla to Cayo Costa is Roosevelt Channel – One of the fun parts of cruising, and anchoring, is discovering new places to throw the hook. Kismet is beginning the slow process of heading down to the Keys. On this morning, we left Cayo Costa State Park, after anchoring with the flotilla of tugs for two nights in Pelican Bay. Our destination is Roosevelt Channel, off Captiva Island, next to the Buck Key Preserve and Patterson Island Preserve. We were buddy boating on this day with the crew of Liberty, another Ranger Tugs R29S, heading to Roosevelt Channel off Captiva Island. We also had company (below) join us on the boat during lunchtime, think it was the tuna salad he was interested in, more than a boat ride.   Look who we bumped into at the head of the channel, Miss Norma, as in Driving Miss Norma fame, Norma's son, Tim and his wife, Ramie are taking a page…

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Cayo Costa State Park

Post Rendezvous Flotilla to Cayo Costa State Park

Cayo Costa State Park Flotilla Many of the Ranger Tugs / Cutwater Boats rendezvous held around the United States include a flotilla to a nearby anchorage after the event. About ten boats departed Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda the morning after the 2018 Southwest Florida Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Boats Rendezvous, in Punta Gorda, forming a Cayo Costa State Park Flotilla, approximately 14 miles miles from Punta Gorda. Flotillas are always fun! We just had several days to get to know some of the other attendees of the rendezvous and the party actually continued a few more days with the Cayo Costa State Park Flotilla. For us, it started with a dinghy ride around the anchorage with a few friends to visit the other Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats in attendance. Our dinghy excursion ended on the beach with other boats from the rendezvous to watch the sun set over the park.   Our friends on Tug O' My Heart and Snapshot anchored…

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2018 SWFL Rendezvous

2018 Southwest Florida Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Boats Rendezvous

Do You Own a Ranger Tug or Cutwater Boat? The 2018 Southwest Florida Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Boats Rendezvous was held at Burnt Store Marina this year for the first time. If you own a Ranger Tug or Cutwater Boat, you might be interested in attending one of these owner driven rendezvous. Always a fun time meeting other tug and Cutwater owners, we all have so much in common. Mike and Jess Rizzo, on Illusions (above) are the event hosts and coordinators of this rendezvous.   Can you spot Kismet, sitting pretty at Burnt Store Marina? That red hull sure stands out! Look who we found at the rendezvous! Ivan, one of our favorite Customer Service Reps from Ranger Tugs. Always a pleasure to meet up with him and a special surprise and treat to see him so far from his home in Seattle. Most of these rendezvous, held around the country on the water, feature a representative from Ranger Tugs who…

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Cayo Costa

Drone Practice at Cayo Costa State Park, Florida

All Serious Boaters in the Gulf Coast Area Know About Cayo Costa State Park – After a month in Fort Myers, Florida, we are finally pushing away from the dock. The next few days we will be headed to Punta Gorda for the 2018 Southwest Florida Ranger Tugs / Cutwater Boats Rendezvous. But first, we headed to Cayo Costa State Park, a beautiful barrier island featuring a nice anchorage with room for all. In addition, boaters can dinghy to to dock of the park to hike or take a short shuttle ride to the beach on the Gulf Coast. A gorgeous beach awaits those that visit, also providing boaters a chance to get off their boats to exercise and stretch their legs a little. If you go early in the morning, you may have a better chance of finding some nice shells on the beach. If you don't have your own boat, there are several ferry boats out of Punta Gorda,…

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Christening Kismet

Today We Come to Name this Lady… Kismet

Christening Kismet – Christening is a Ritual Started by Seafarers Thousands of Years Ago – We finally got the boat graphics installed on Kismet – time to christen her. Christening, or naming ceremonies, were meant to bring good luck to new vessels and those who sailed on them. The tradition of christening goes back to the early days of boating – thousands of years ago. Viking ships were marked by the spilling of blood in early rituals. In the Middle Ages, religious shrines were placed on ships and a libation of wine was offered as the vessel hit the water. Wine became a substitute for the earlier practice of a blood sacrifice, consequently, for good luck and a safe voyage, wine was poured on the deck to appease King Neptune. Ancient seafaring peoples, rimming the Mediterranean, launched their ships with rituals having religious overtones. These practices, varying in form as nations and cultures evolved through the centuries, have carried over to the present christening…

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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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Bell Harbor

Saving the Best for Last… Bell Harbor Marina – Seattle, Washington

PNW Operation Completed at Bell Harbor Marina – Seattle, Washington – Having concluded our mission to first… take possession of our new Ranger Tug R29S, spend a week cruising with our grandson onboard, attend a fabulous Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Roche Harbor and explore South Puget Sound. All this along with returning to a few favorites in the sound and the San Juan Islands, we are winding down our end of summer and early fall, cruising time in the Pacific Northwest, with a last stop at Bell Harbor Marina in downtown Seattle, Washington. Without a doubt, we would have to say the week with our grandson onboard was the best boating experience to date. To be more specific – the best in all of our thirty years of cruising. However, there is something quite special about docking in downtown Seattle, so we saved it for last. Not hard to savor this cruising destination for the city lights, cultural diversity, visit…

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Lunch With Huang Family

Fishermens Terminal – Food and Fun with the Huang Family

Fishermens Terminal – Not Our Usual Marina Experience! – We had a real treat today, shortly after we arrived and docked at Fishermen's Terminal. Our good friends, Hsu-Yu, his beautiful wife, Yu-Yen, their son, their daughter and husband and a few grandkids, picked us up to take us for a real Chinese lunch, family style, at Din Tai Fung – University District, Seattle, WA. We first met the Huang family at a B&B in Seattle when we spent a winter in there in 2006/2007 while waiting for our Fathom 40 to be built. Hsu-Yu and Yu-Yen's daughter, Chien was living there with her mom while Chien attended university. Hsu-Yu commuted from Taiwan. Although there was a little bit of a language barrier in the beginning, our friendship flourished by the joy we felt getting to know each other. We always try to get-together when we are in the Pacific Northwest. One day, in his retirement, Hsu-Yu and You-Yen will visit…

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Lake Washington

Going Inland – Lake Union & Lake Washington

Something Old – Lake Union, Something New – Lake Washington –  In our ongoing quest to explore new boating destinations, we scheduled a two-day stop at an anchorage in Lake Washington for our inland lakes diversion trip. We left Puget Sound for a few days before finally ending our Pacific Northwest cruising season with a stay in downtown Seattle. With this is mind we left Puget Sound and entered the Ballard Locks – time to brush up on our locking skills. Then we transited through Fremont Cut for a quick lunch break in Lake Union. Making our way to the center of the lake, we cut the power to our Volvo Penta engine and free floated for around an hour. With the backdrop of Seattle to the south of us, we enjoyed a colorful salad as we were entertained by float planes taking off and landing. Lake Union is a busy waterway, we were surrounded by many kayakers, wakeboarders and…

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Eagle Harbor

Romance in the Air on Kismet – Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island, WA

Eagle Harbor Was the Perfect Backdrop for Celebrating 25 Years of Marriage! – Kismet is still hanging out in Puget Sound, across from Seattle. On this day we specifically choose Eagle Harbor for a romantic anniversary dinner and night swinging on the hook. Ever since our 2016 trip to Desolation Sound and the Broughton Islands, Jim has been promising me a romantic slow dance on the back of our boat. One night, during that trip in 2016, while anchored in Laura Cove (Desolation Sound), we observed a very romantic evening unfolding on a small sailboat off our starboard side. Long, deep conversations and laughter took place on the bow of that boat all afternoon over wine and relaxing music. It was followed by a very romantic slow dance in the cockpit under the moon and twinkling stars. we were mesmerized and it became another thing to add to our ever growing bucket list. With the lights of Seattle looming in the…

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Blake Island

Blake Island Overlooks Seattle, Washington

Blake Island is a Marine State Park in Puget Sound, Southwest from Seattle Before we leave the Pacific Northwest to put an end to our fall boating cruise in the new Ranger Tug, we had to fit in a stop in downtown Seattle. But first we wanted to linger and enjoy a few of our favorites in Puget Sound – Blake Island and Eagle Harbor. We also wanted to spend a few days in Lake Union and Lake Washington with a short stop at Fishermen's Terminal, on the way to Bell Harbor in Seattle, to visit with friends. Blake Island located north of Vashon Island, south of Bainbridge Island, and east of Manchester, is always on our to do list. Imagine being so close to Seattle you never loose sight of it from the laid-back mostly wooded island, except for a thick fog that is.   There are more ways to get to Blake Island other than your own boat.…

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Saying Goodbye is Hard to Do!

Reality of Life Does Not Stop When You Board a Boat and Take Off for Ports Unknown – The real world will eventually catch up and find us. Such is what happened during our 2017 Puget Sound cruise. My brother, Ken Targal passed away after a long battle with cancer – too soon. We took a time out and flew back to Michigan to be with family for a few days. Ken was a boater, he loved to be on the water as much as Jim and I do. We were raised on summer visits to a family cottage on Lake Huron where our family had at least five boats of varying sizes. Ken lived in the water during the summer and loved the sunfish and hydroplane in our menagerie of boats. He later moved on to speed boats. He was in his element when he was with his family out on the water, boating. He was an amazing, loving…

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La Conner

Docking at La Conner, Washington

La Conner – Home to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (every April) – After leaving the San Juan Islands we made a quick trip back to Anacortes to visit an old friend. Judy met us at the marina for lunch on the boat and a "catch up on our lives" afternoon. We always make sure to connect with Judy when cruising in the Pacific Northwest. To maximize our quick stop, I caught up on several big loads of laundry during our visit. In all our time cruising in the Pacific Northwest we have never docked at La Conner. We've stayed at the marina north of downtown in our Fathom 40, many years ago, but it was a short stay and we never made it into the picturesque town. Located along the Swinomish Channel near the San Juan Islands, with Mount Baker in the distance, La Conner is a romantic waterfront community with a fishing village atmosphere and in my own words...…

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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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Stuart Island

Lover’s Leap with My Lover – Stuart Island, Washington

Stunning Views from Lover's Leap on Stuart Island!  – Just when we think we've seen most of the amazing spots in the San Juan Islands, along comes this stop at Stuart Island. Located in the northern sector of the San Juan Islands, Stuart Island sports two harbors, Prevost and Reid. Prevost Harbor has seven offshore buoys and 256 feet of dock space. Reid Harbor offers fifteen offshore buoys and 572 feet of dock space on three different docks, two of which are offshore. Stuart Island has 18 primitive campsites, potable water is available most of the year, as are composting and pit toilets. For boaters, a handy barge sits in Reid Harbor for manual pumpouts. A big plus in our world of boating. Otherwise, you must pack out what you bring onto the island. There are two communities on the island, but it is a very remote setting without access to stores or facilities of any kind etc. We anchored in…

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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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2017 Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats Factory Rendezvous

2017 Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats Factory Rendezvous

Taking delivery of our new Ranger Tug R29S a few weeks ago also meant we’d be in the Pacific Northwest to attend another noteworthy 2017 Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats Factory Rendezvous – THE WORLD'S LARGEST BOAT RENDEZVOUS! With 190 boats, and approximately 400 people, in attendance, this is quite an accomplishment. Seems like we were just in Roche Harbor for the 2016 rendezvous, while we had our boat in the PNW for 12 months. At the time, we didn’t have a clue that we’d be here again so soon. Just shows... a lot can happen in a year. We had so much fun in 2016, we couldn’t wait to cruise up to the San Juan Islands from Des Moines, where we took possession of our new boat mid-August. We made so many friendships last year, we couldn’t wait to catch up with them and their boating adventures. In addition we looked forward to creating many new connections within this friendly…

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Hope Island

Waiting for Slack Tide Event at Deception Pass? Try Hope Island!

Dropping the Hook at Hope Island – Need a good spot to anchor while waiting to catch slack tide at Deception Pass (Skagit Bay)? Hope Island is our favorite place to throw the hook to do just that. The anchorage, located between La Conner and Whidbey Island on Skagit Bay, is off Hope Island State Park which consists of 200-acre marine park with four primitive campsites within old-growth forests and saltwater marshes, meadows and a trail across the island. The island provides boaters with four or five mooring balls. We usually just drop the hook. The island was named by Commander Charles Wilkes, who's job it was to chart Puget Sound, in 1841, The usual park rules are in effect on the island. No open fires are permitted, and no water is available, but two vault toilets are provided. Although we did not venture off the boat that night, we could have dinghied ashore to take advantage of the trails and…

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Port Madison

A Gem of an Anchorage – Port Madison, WA

Port Madison is One of Our Favorite Anchorages in the Puget Sound Area! – Still getting to know our new Kismet. Our first get-a-way after we dropped our grandson Silas off to his parents was to return to Port Madison, Washington. Located east of the Olympic Peninsula, at Bainbridge Island, We first visited this anchorage in 2012 soon after we took possession of our then Ranger Tugs R27. So we thought it would be appropriate to make a return visit with the new and improved R29. We are headed north of Puget Sound now, anchoring out as we make our way to Anacortes and then the San Juan Islands. We remembered how peaceful and beautiful it is there and after a week with our active grandson, Silas on board, we were ready for something quiet and restorative. There are a couple yacht clubs in this long narrow inlet, we passed them to go further back, seeking the quietest spot we could…

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