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Lasqueti Island – Life Off the Grid

Lasqueti Island – Our fascination with this island had just begun – It was just a short 12-mile hop from our anchorage in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island to False Bay, located at the north end of Lasqueti Island. The roughly 42-sq-mile island is situated less than ten miles from Vancouver Island. We really didn’t know what to expect once we got to the island, but we had a feeling that we were in for a special treat. We had heard a little about the alternative lifestyle on Lasqueti Island during our last visit to the Pacific Northwest. We were intrigued but, due to circumstances at the time, the stop was bypassed. All we had heard was this… there was an island in the middle of the Strait of Georgia that, in more recent history, a bunch of hippies had made their home, living off the grid… in more ways than one. There are two docks, one at each end of the island.…

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Newcastle Island Marine Park Anchorage Across from Nanaimo, BC

Newcastle Island Marine Park is Within Easy Access to Nanaimo, BC – Our route from Pirates Cove to Nanaimo took us through Dodd Narrows and eventually to Newcastle Island. This passage through a narrow channel needs to be well-timed to transit at slack tide. If not at slack the currents run up to 9 knots in a very turbulent swirling narrow channel between rocky cliffs. We were up at 6 a.m. to hit Dodd Narrows at the 7:03 a.m. slack. Our end destination was Newcastle Island Marine Park located across from Nanaimo BC, the second largest city on Vancouver Island. We decided to first dock at the downtown marina visitors dock (visitors are allowed a three-hour stay), in Nanaimo before we headed for anchor. It was a busy stop in that we fueled the boat, made a grocery run, paid bills and found a post office. This is where we had our first day of substantial rain and stormy weather…

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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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Ladysmith – Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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

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Hike to Conover Cove – Wallace Island, BC

Conover Cove - The Dream of David and Jeanne Conover – The next morning we rowed to the dinghy dock located mid-point in Princess Cove. We wanted to hike the path at the perimeter of Wallace Island, which leads to Conover Cove. Once there, we stumbled upon a surprising find, the structural remains Conover Settlement. One of the buildings in particular knocked our socks off because of all the, mostly driftwood, carved, painted and decorated mementos left by boaters to mark their visit to the island over the years. It truly is a work of art in the making. Royal Cedar Cottages Were Built by the Conovers mid-nineteenth century. The island's origin was charted as Narrow Island, but named after Captain Wallace Houston, a surveyor in the 1850s. More recent history states that Wallace Island was owned by David Conover and his wife, Jeanne in 1946. Their desire was to build a resort on the island, Royal Cedar Cottages – there were once ten buildings built in the…

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Princess Cove Anchorage – Wallace Island

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

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Cowichan Bay – Vancouver Island, B.C.

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

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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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Madrona Bay Anchorage – Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

A Quiet Night on the Hook in Madrona Bay – We left Poets Cove and South Pender Island for a three-hour cruise to Madrona Bay, near Ganges on Salt Spring Island. There are two routes to get to our days destination. We could have transited Boundary Pass, a more exposed route, but we chose Pender Canal due to the high winds we had experienced the last few days. After three days of social activity at Poets Cove, we were looking forward to a night on the hook in a quiet cove. This is just what we found at Madrona Bay.      

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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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Change, Jim And Lisa Favors Kismet

“Change is the Only Constant in Life” – Heraclitus

Change is Good! The phrase, "Change is the only constant in life,” was written by a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus of Ephesos (around 500 BC). I’m sure when he wrote these now famous words he was not thinking about the cruising travel plans of Kismet (a Turkish word that stands for "fate" or "meant to be"). Lisa and I have have made a complete overhaul of our 2015/2016 fall and winter cruising plans, it must be "kismet." Our original plans, of cruising the Rideua Canal this fall, then heading to Florida for the winter, have changed dramatically. We’ve decided to trailer Kismet west, across country. We want to spend time with our grandson and family in Portland Oregon. Our tug will be moored in Portland, on the Columbia River. After the new year we’ll trailer Kismet further north to the Puget Sound area for some wintertime cruising in Washington State's San Juan Islands and British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, we've already reserved a slip in Victoria for one month. It…

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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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Into the Light… Jedediah Island

Thankful for the Shelter and Beauty of Jedediah Island! The closer we got to Jedediah Island the calmer the waters and our nerves became. As we sliced through the channel, with the powerful push of following seas behind us, we traveled between Jedediah and Bull Islands (both islands are protected by two larger islands, Texada and Lasqueti), making our way to the leeward side of all the turbulence in the straits. Almost magically the wave activity became a non-issue. We immediately found a pint sized, well-protected, cove suitable to drop anchor, a boat was just leaving so we hovered out a bit until they were off and the anchorage was clear. It took some time but we finally got the boat secure, still fighting residual wind (but in calm water), Jim was able to tie the port and starboard stern off to either side of the narrow cove by using the dinghy to take the line ashore, one to port…

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Kismet Cruising To Powell River, Canada

The Storm in Malaspina Straight

The waves we encountered in Malaspina Straight were steadily increasing in height and uncomfortableness. Leaving the calm of Pender Harbour behind us, we headed out toward the Malaspina Straight, pointed southwest towards the Gulf Islands. We were aware of the storm that was to arrive later in the day and, based on the weather reports, we thought if we left early enough in the morning we’d miss the high winds, as it’s only about 36 miles across to Nanaimo, on Vancouver island, our planned, end of the day, destination. No such luck! Not long after we left the calmness of the protected harbor, the waves we encountered were steadily increasing in height and uncomfortableness. You know things get rough when Lisa is not taking photos, but instead is holding on in anticipation of each roller coaster ride type wave. In turn, Lisa really knows we’re in trouble when the captain looks worried, it hasn’t happened often, this was really only…

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Ranger Tugs Captain's Meeting, Comox B.C.

Fresh Shrimp Tonight in Comox, British Columbia

Leaving Nanaimo, we decided not to cruise with the pod on our way to Comox. It was an easy run with calm seas and sunny skies. Once settled in at the dock, there were more Ranger Tug owners to meet and hot showers to take. Happy hour consisted of another Captain's briefing on the outer dock. Jeff reviewed the events of the day and covered what would happen the next day. Cruising runs like we've done the last two days takes a lot out of you. Not much lingering on the dock in Comox after happy hour tonight. After reviewing our supplies, a trip to the grocery store seemed in order, so we asked Don and Brenda, on Kenji Maru to walk up with us. Comox has a full-sized grocery store not more than a few blocks from the marina. This being our first time in this area, we're not sure where the last big grocery store will be. When…

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Forty-Five Ranger Tugs Gather at Ganges, British Columbia

Ganges Harbor, on Saltspring Island, is a short 10-mile run from Montague Harbor and the gathering point for the boaters participating in the Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation Sound Cruise. We left early for Ganges, with yet another blue skied day with just a light breeze and fairly calm waters. We looked forward to meeting up with about 45 Ranger Tugs and their owners for five days of socializing, pot lucks, and finally taking three days to cruise together up to Desolation Sound, and this was just the Ranger Tug boats, we would meet up with a group of Cutwater's (about another ten or fifteen) in Nanaimo for the cruise to Comox. We met folks from Illinois, Georgia, Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon with most being from Washington and Canada's British Columbia, even Ganges. We wanted to arrive early so we could get our boat washed up and looking pretty, but much to my surprise and dismay I found out the…

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Swinging and Singing in Montague Harbour, Canada

Montague Harbour, on Galliano Island, is part of the Gulf Islands. When we left Sidney, we had one more day to explore before we met up with the Ranger Tug group (sixty some Ranger Tugs and Cutwater boats) to begin our cruise to Desolation Sound. So we left Sidney for Montague Harbour on Galliano Island part of the Gulf Islands. There is a Provencial Park in Montague Harbour which offers camp sites, a dinghy dock, hiking trials, a bakery on the shore and mooring balls – we picked up one of the thirty odd mooring balls available in the harbor. We'd heard from a friend of ours that the thing to do when mooring in  Montague Harbor is to take the bus up to the Hummingbird Pub on Galliano Island. Because the pub is up a ways from the harbor they have a bus that will pick up boaters from the harbor to get to the pub. What they hadn't told…

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Checking In with Customs at Poet’s Cove Marina – Bedwell Harbour, BC

Bedwell Harbour – Physical checkin with Canadian Customs at Poet's Cove Marina When entering Canada by water, boaters have to check into Canadian Customs at the first available Customs Station. After anchoring in Prevost Harbor off Stuart Island in the San Juan Islands, we headed into Canadian waters early the next morning.. The San Juan Islands are located off mainland Washington (at the northwestern furthest point in the 48 contiguous United States). Our destination was only six miles or so north, across the Canadian border to South Pender Island where we docked for a physical checkin with Canadian Customs at Poet's Cove Marina in Bedwell Harbour. With passports and boat papers in hand I headed up to the office. Sometimes they have a physical boat inspection to make sure you're not bringing anything illegal into the country. Illegal items might include items such as chicken, fresh produce, plants, too much alcohol, guns or drugs. However on this trip I simply…

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Positioning Ourselves In Prevost Harbor Off Stuart Island in the San Juans

Peaceful Night On the Hook in Prevost Harbor From Anacortes we headed straight to the northern end of the San Juan Islands to spend one night on the hook in Prevost Harbor before we checked in at customs in Bedwell Harbour, British Columbia. Stuart Island was just south of  Boundary Pass and Bedwell Harbor and just short of a heavy fog bank that just seemed to hang around the western edge of Stuart Island. As we arrived in the harbor, we immediately spotted this Fathom 40 trawler (below - just like our previous boat, same color too), we cruised by to say hi to the owners, thought maybe we'd know them, but we didn't. Fathom yachts are beautiful boats and easy to handle. We loved ours, but find we can do even more cruising with our trailerable Ranger Tug. We can cruise as we did before on a bigger boat, but also trailer and launch her in many desirable inland lakes, such as…

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Kismet's Captain Jim Chart Review

Preparing, Packing and Planning for Our Trip West

Planning for the trip west! After spending this past winter holed up at home in northern Michigan remodeling our kitchen, we feel we're more than ready for some new cruising adventure. We are preparing, planning and packing to head west soon to begin another fun boating season. First we'll visit the Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River in Northeast Utah/Southern Wyoming. Then we'll continue on to Puget Sound in Washington State, there we'll put in at Anacortes and cruise north into Canada's Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and more. Check back often, the fun is soon to start.

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