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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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Ganges Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

One Night in Ganges Salt Spring Island –  After we pulled up anchor in Madrona Bay, we headed the short way into Ganges Salt Spring, to stay for one night before we head over to Wallace Island to anchor in Princess Cove. We love Ganges, it's a quaint waterfront town with lots of character. The only other time we were here was during our trip to the Pacific Northwest for the Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise. The town is just big enough that everything is within walking distance of the marina and docks on the waterfront. The marina was not very busy and there were lots of available dockage. There were two other Ranger Tugs with us at the dock this night.      

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Keys Disease in Full Swing for Crew of Kismet

Suffering from Incurable Keys Disease! When trailering our boat to the Keys, we had the added benefit of having our truck nearby, making it easier to stay a distance from downtown Key West. As we've mentioned many times before, our favorite spot is Key West Harbour Marina, on Stock Island. The best of both worlds when visiting Key West. Keys Disease is kind of like a virus that once caught stays in your system forever. It shows up like clockwork as soon as we hit the string of islands south of Florida.         Taking the Conch Tour Train was a new experience for us. Although we have extensively walked the streets of Key West, we learned a lot about the history and downtown area during the tour.        Happy hour in Key West is one of our favorite things and NO, we did not visit the upper floor of the Garden of Eden.     Key West is…

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Key West Harbour Marina – Stock Island

Staying at Key West Harbour Marina affords us the best of both worlds. We've stayed at Stock Island several times before. We keep going back to Key West Harbour Marina because it just makes sense. We usually stay a month in the Key West area and the downtown marinas are too expensive to stay long. Not sure we'd appreciate the crazy activity of downtown Key West for more than a few days. Staying at Key West Harbour Marina affords us the best of both worlds. Because we trailer our boat to Florida, we have transportation while in the lower Keys. So, we enjoy the laid-back island lifestyle on beautiful Stock Island knowing we can drive the short distance into Key West any time we want to experience the attractions of that busy little tourist town. But first, we have to leave Marathon. We'll anchor out a few nights on our way to Stock Island. So, we went from the Florida Bay side of the Keys,…

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Ranger Tug And C-Dory

Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs – Marathon, Florida

Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs are everywhere! The numbers of small trailerable boats on the east coast of the United States is growing. During the past ten years, while we've been extensively cruising the eastern waterways, we've seen this movement snowball. Ranger Tugs, C-Dorys and Rosboroughs and a few other, small live aboard type trailerable boats are everywhere. During our almost month-long stay in Marathon, we were surprised how many "pocket trawlers" there were scattered at the marinas on the island. There is a certain amount of excitement among the boaters we've met recently and that of course translated into an casually organized cocktail party at Marathon Marina, where a few Ranger Tug owners were staying. Watching the sunset on the other side of the dock before the party ended.

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Blackfin Resort Marina – A Diamond in the Rough

We left our anchorage in Curry Hammock to face a fairly windy day cruising to Blackfin Resort Marina in Marathon. This is our first stay at Blackfin Resort Marina. We've walked through the marina when we were visiting the Keys before, because we are always on the lookout for places to stay. It helps with future trip planning. Blackfin is a fairly rustic and laid back establishment, but it's big on delivering an authentic Keys experience. We had all the amenities we needed for our month-long stay. The marina is within walking distance of the local shopping area. We enjoyed a heated swimming pool, clean shower rooms, nice docks and a beautiful outdoor boater's lounge. We could relax there at the end of the day to watch the setting sun while mingling with the other boaters at the marina. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. We just felt like we were at home.       Jim  change the zincs today, so he had to go…

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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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Keys Eco-Tours? John Pennekamp State Park

Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling – John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Looking for Keys Eco-Tours? See Captain Sterling at Everglades Eco-Tours Our first stop in the Keys this year was John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, time for another Keys Eco-Tours. This was a new stop for us and we're glad we had the opportunity to check it out. We left Boca Chita while it was still quite windy, but manageable. When we got to where the waterway narrowed down a bit, we passed under the Jew Fish Creek Inlet and Bridge, in Key Largo, Florida, and passed the Anchorage Resort and Marina. We've stayed there in 2010 when we helped the new owner of our Fathom 40 take the boat north from Key West to Palm Coast. Shortly after we emerged from Jew Fish Creek into Blackwater Sound we headed toward the man-made cut, Marvin D Adams Waterway (mile-market, 103.6), it would take us into Largo Sound and shortly after our destination, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The "Cut," created in the late…

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Kismet Docked At Boca Chita Key, Florida

Safe Harbor Before the Start of the Keys

Boca Chita Key, an Island Paradise! Kismet is on the wall at Boca Chita Key. Twelve miles south of Key Biscayne sits this beautiful bahamian type island. It is part of Biscayne National Park and consists of 32 acres of land, beach and harbor. It includes a beautiful 65-ft. ornamental lighthouse which sports an observation deck overlooking the beautiful harbor, nearby islands, Key Biscayne Bay, ocean, Miami and Key Biscayne Island. Down below the lighthouse sits an old canon salvaged off a nearby shipwreck. There is a nice hiking trail and picnic facilities with several grills. There is a little campground, an open-air pavilion and saltwater restroom facilities. This island always makes us think we are in the Bahamas. We left Key Biscayne Key and Miami in our wake as we headed south to one of our favorite Florida islands, just north of Elliot Key and the start of the Florida Keys. Over the years we have learned to time our arrival to Boca Chita Key to fall during a weekday. Since boaters from Miami…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Anchored, Hurricane Harbor, Florida

Sky On Fire – Hurricane Harbor – Key Biscayne, Florida

Hurricane Harbor Provided Us with an Idyllic Sunset! Leaving Miami in our wake, we pointed our bow toward Key Biscayne Island. Jim did some research and found this beautiful anchorage, a spot further enhanced by a flaming sunset. The sky was on fire, I must have taken a hundred photos as it morphed with varying shades of sky blues, oranges and hot red tones. Soon after we threw the hook into the harbor, we had a visit by local law enforcement. Hurricane Harbor is adjacent to a popular boater's weekend hang out, located just outside the entrance to he harbor, consequently there is quite a lot of law enforcement visible in the area hovering ready to maintain order. They must do double duty while overseeing the day spot by patrolling and retaining a presence in the small harbor. They work at establishing a casual and conversational dialog, checking boats for their anchoring plans and intentions, making sure people who anchor there are not inebriated and…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Cruising Miami, Florida

Miami – A Last Glimpse Back at the Skyline

Leaving Miami Behind! We departed Fort Lauderdale today to cruise through Miami to our end destination, Hurricane Harbor, an anchorage Jim found off Key Biscayne Island. So, we left a multitude of cruise ships in our wake in the wide expanse of Port Everglades before we entered the narrower part of the ICW heading to Miami. It's an exciting area to cruise through with the beautiful homes lining the waterway, yachts of every shape and size and finally the towering buildings of Miami and if you happen to be cruising by at sunset, even better. We left Miami behind us as we entered Biscayne Bay. Bridge after bridge lines the ICW in the Miami area. Luckily, Kismet fits under most of them. As you can imagine the waterways around Miami are full of boats all shapes, sizes and kinds. The water is constantly roughed up by all the boating activity. It's really exciting to cruise through this area and see the variety of…

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New River View, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Rendezvous with Ranger Tug “Pour House”

Fort Lauderdale has it all. On our way for a week's stay in Fort Lauderdale. This Florida boating destination has it all... lots of canals to explore, a beautiful beach to walk on the ocean, shopping on Las Olas Avenue, a beautiful River Walk for leisurely strolls along New River and  now we can add one more thing to our ongoing Fort Lauderdale list... the warm and welcoming home of Carolyn and Harry House, (homeport for their Ranger Tug, PourHouse). We left our anchorage at Lake Sylvia to secure our reserved dock space at Cooleys Landing, on the New River at the head of the River Walk. One of our favorite marinas in Florida. We took our time cruising there as it was a beautiful day and, as you can see, lots of nice scenery on our route. One of the main reasons we love to stay at Cooleys is we are easily entertained by the parade of mega yachts that slide by our cockpit all…

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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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Kismet At Dock, Palm City, Florida

New Friends, Laughter, and a Cozy Bed to Boot – Palm City, FL

One of the reasons we love to boat is that we are more prone to make new friends while we're cruising, Visiting friends in Palm City, Florida, was no exception. We had briefly met Alyn & Diane in our hometown, Traverse City, they also live there part of the year, we share a passion for boating. One day they stopped by to look at our Ranger Tug, which Jim often works on while it is parked in our driveway. It's as simple as that and before we knew it (well, actually a few months later) we were visiting them at their home in Palm City, Florida. They found us a dock nearby to tie up to for the night and insisted we join them for an overnight at their home. We had a nice tour of Palm City, shared happy hour and pizza with a them and another couple and slept in a very cozy king-size bed. It was fun, we shared boating…

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We Found a Boating Haven in Indiantown, Florida

Short Cruise Today – Transiting from South Bay Cover to Indiantown, Florida. Leaving South Bay Cove in the morning put us with an early arrival to our day's destination of Indiantown, Florida, located on the St. Lucie River, just off the big lake. Indiantown was established by the Seminole people as a trading Post. On the way to our destination, we were intrigued by Slim's riverside sign (below), too bad we didn't have time to stop, it looked like it might be an interesting place to investigate off the river. Finishing up the last leg of the "Rim Route" today to go through the lock and enter the St. Lucie River. The St. Lucie Lock and Dam awaited us this morning. We were the only boat locking through and, as usual, it was an easy process. By the time we made it to Indiantown, the sun made a spectacular reappearance. Indiantown Marina looked like a peaceful haven for boaters looking to get off…

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Sunset, South Bay Cove,, Lake Okechobee

Rim Route to South Bay Cove on Lake Okeechobee, Florida

"Big Water" – Lake Okeechobee and the Rim Route From our one-night stop in LaBelle, we proceeded toward Lake Okeechobee (or in Seminole Indian language, Big Water), we'll be taking the rim route around the lake instead of going straight across this time. The Okeechobee Waterway, which includes the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River, boasts a 134.3 nautical miles from west to east and is the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the United States. You can transit the lake by going straight across or by the more protected, though shallower, rim route that follows the southern edge of the lake. We've never done this path before and are looking forward to seeing something new. We'll stop one night to anchor at South Bay Cove, a spot Jim found on Active Captain and heard other boaters talk about. It is located at the southern end of the lake. It was a very thickly overcast day so we did not get very good…

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Friends, Jim Favors And Tom Conrad

A Simple Sailor Man

Tribute to a Friend – Tom Conrad We lost a good friend. Tom Conrad passed away recently and the boating community lost one of its best. We met Tom and Patsy Conrad many years ago through AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association). If the Great Loop boating adventure did not exist, we probably would never have met – with the Conrads living in Florida's Panhandle and us living in northern Michigan. What a loss that would have been for us. Because we shared a passion for boating and this adventure they call a "Loop," our paths crossed and our wakes overlapped. Loopers, ourselves included, often say that one of best parts about doing the Great Loop boat trip is all the wonderful people we meet during our tours around the eastern United States waterways. Many of those relationships go on to become life-long friendships. Tom Conrad was a sailer, a captain, a boater's boater, a true friend to any human being, a person that would help you out without ever expecting anything in…

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Lisa On Ranger Tug Kismet

The Belle of the Caloosahatchee – LaBelle, Florida

Free Dock in LaBelle, on the Caloosahatchee River! On our way east on the Caloosahatchee River today with our eye on making it to the free town dock in LaBelle for a one-night stay, we had to go through two locks to get there. The Caloosahatchee River always provides us with a scenic cruise and the easily accessible free dock was a welcome stop, one we had not taken advantage of before. LaBelle, Florida, was settled along the Caloosahatchee River, in the late 1800s. At the turn of the 19th century, rivers were the highways of Florida. The region was populated by cattle and citrus farmers in 1895. There were several boats already docked when we arrived, but still plenty of room for a few more boats. The newly reconstructed docks have stern-to berths for six vessels between fifteen foot wide concrete pilings. We spent happy hour talking with the crew on the trawler next to us (above). The next morning before we shoved off…

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Crew On True North, Fort Myers, Florida

Friends Helping Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

First Stop Legacy Harbor Marina, Fort Myers, Florida After spending the holidays at home in Traverse City, MI, we returned to Legacy Harbor Marina in Fort Myers, Florida for the start of our 2015 winter cruising season. Our plan this winter is to cruise to Key West from Fort Myers, spending most of our time in the Keys. Legacy Harbor Marina is a fun spot to spend a week, a month or a whole season. Last year we spent a month enjoying the amenities of the marina while exploring all the events in the Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral and Naples area. One of the Friends of Tom and Patsy Conrad helped get True North, to Fort Myers. Eddy and Jeff co-captained the boat to Legacy Harbour and its owners, the Conrad's who were anxiously waiting to see, and move back onboard their boat again. Linda, Skip and Lolly were the support team back at the marina, helping the captains into the…

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