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Keys Disease In Full Swing For Crew Of Kismet

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

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 Tugs, C-Dorys And Rosboroughs – Marathon, Florida

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

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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Doing Research On Two Anchorages Between Key Largo And Marathon

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?  See Captain Sterling – John Pennekamp Coral Reef 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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Safe Harbor Before The Start Of The Keys

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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Sky On Fire – Hurricane Harbor – Key Biscayne, 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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Miami – A Last Glimpse Back At The Skyline

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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Rendezvous With Ranger Tug “Pour House”

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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Hooking Our 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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New Friends, Laughter, And A Cozy Bed To Boot – Palm City, FL

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

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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Rim Route To South Bay Cove On Lake Okeechobee, Florida

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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A Simple Sailor Man

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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The Belle Of The Caloosahatchee – LaBelle, Florida

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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Friends Helping Friends – 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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Fun Times, Good Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

Fun Times, Good Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

Kismet Secure at Legacy Harbor Marina, Fort Myers We planned our winter trip to include a month-long stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers. Many of our Looper friends stay in this area during the winter months, some of them at this marina. We find that boating is like that, we bump into Loopers or boaters we know everywhere we go– planned or not. We did parts of our second Loop with buddy boats, Bella Luna and C-Life. We know other Loopers docked here from being involved with AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association). In the past, when in Fort Myers, we've always stayed at Fort Myers Yacht Basin, but this year we wanted to be where our friends were even though the Yacht Basin is only a few blocks away. When we arrived at Legacy, we were given a couple of choices for dockage. We chose the dock in front of Joe's Crab Shack. It was the perfect spot for Kismet for the month…

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Kismet Shares See Life Too’s Dock – Sanibel Island, Florida

Kismet Shares See Life Too’s Dock – Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida – An Invitation We Couldn't Refuse While at the rendezvous, we had an invitation to stay at a fellow tugnut's dock in Sanibel Island. How could we pass that up? Steve and Laurie, on See Life Too, were so gracious to share the dock behind their house with us for a few days. Sanibel is a beautiful island with excellent shelling beaches. We borrowed our host's bikes to go grocery shopping and visit an art fair, we also got some good walking exercise in on the beautiful trail near their house. Our hosts, Laurie and Steve, on the back deck of Kismet for coffee and coffee cake. We were joined for breakfast by two other tugnuts, Dominic and Carolyn who just happened to be at a marina two blocks away.

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New Pass Interlude Near Bonita Springs, 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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Hooking Up With Friends – Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Hooking Up with Friends – Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Fort Myers Beach – Gulf Star Marina Not a lot going on this time around for the crew of Kismet in Fort Myers Beach. We usually take a mooring ball, but this time we docked at Gulf Star Marina. It was Sunday when we arrived and we were treated to live music at the nearby restaurant, Doc Ford's. Our main objective while here was to hook up with some friends in the area. We scheduled breakfast at this Greek restaurant on the beach with friends, Hal and Marianne, from Charlevoix, Michigan (Kismet's one time homeport), they were renting a house on the beach and rode their bikes to meet us at the restaurant. Next, Looper buddies Linda and Charlie, on Freedom's Turn, met us on the boat, we had done parts of our second Loop with this couple. We later went out to dinner and while waiting to order saw this pitcher of beer. This method of keeping beer cold in the Florida heat…

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Old Florida Fishing Village On Pine Island – Matlacha, Florida

Old Florida Fishing Village on Pine Island – Matlacha, Florida

Pine Island's Colorful Matlacha, Florida Although we have been on Pine Island and Matlacha, Florida by car before, we had never visited by boat. Jim did some research and found Olde Fish House Marina, a local marina in Matlacha Pass, situated smack dab in the middle of one of the most colorful little "Old Florida" towns in Florida. Matlacha is just a small part of Pine Island, when you cross the bridge going toward the bigger (18-mile long) Pine Island, Matlacha proceeds it. You will know you've arrived by all the colorful gifts shops lining the way. We stocked up on seafood and enjoyed touring the gift shops, all within a very short walking distance of the marina. Pine Island is surrounded by mangroves, three aquatic preserves, acres of fruit groves and is home to may creative folks... artist, authors, song writers and poets. It is often referred to as "Florida's Creative Coast." The restroom facilities were some of the most basic we've seen, but…

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Cayo Costa State Park – Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Cayo Costa State Park – Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Flotilla Cruise, Shark's Teeth and Happy Hour on Heart Tug – Cayo Costa State Park Mike Rizzo had organized a post rendezvous flotilla to Cayo Costa State Park for a one-night group anchor event, about a dozen boats participated. First, after anchoring, most of us dinghied to shore and the entrance of the park where we caught a buggy ride to the beach – we all seemed to be on a hunt for shark's teeth. Later that evening everyone was invited to Heart Tug for happy hour. Now, this seemed to concern a few of us because, although Heart Tug is one of the bigger tugs, a 31, we were just wondering how everyone was going to fit on the boat at one time and not sink it. To our best recollection, there were 22 or 23 people at the happy hour. We had to be careful of how we moved around and certainly we couldn't all go to one side of the boat to get a better look at something…

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2014 Ranger Tug Winter Rendezvous – Palm Island, Florida

2014 Ranger Tug Winter Rendezvous – Palm Island, Florida

Kismet is hustling to get to Palm Island Marina, in Cape Haze We are attending the 2014 Ranger Tug Winter Rendezvous. Over the four years we've own our Ranger Tug, we've met lots of other owners, some we'll see again at this rendezvous and we looked forward to making new friends during the rendezvous. The event was hosted by fellow tug owners, Ted and Carol Whittier and Mike and Jess Rizzo. Many thanks to all of them for a well-organized and fun Ranger Tug Rendezvous! A Ranger Tug rendezvous is a good place to ask information of other tug owners. Everyone wants to help if there is a problem. One owner had a hard to diagnose situation in his engine room and look how many boaters stopped to give their two cents or to lend a helping hand. We had already briefly met Frank and Salma (above), on Tortuguilla, during our night on the hook in Pass-A-Grille, Florida, in fact, we had told…

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Two Options For Our Stay – Sarasota, Florida

Two Options for Our Stay – Sarasota, Florida

We always enjoy stopping in Sarasota for a few nights. Sarasota is vibrant and provides a nice break for two salty tugnuts. For our first two nights, we choose the mooring ball option, just outside the harbor, instead of docking at Marina Jacks like we usually do. It was calm enough and just a short dinghy ride to the marina offers us access to town and the ability to get our daily exercise while visiting the Farmer's Market or stocking up at the grocery store. Sarasota is a very walkable city, there is always something interesting going on, we never tire of making this stop. The third night however, Jim had heard of a Hyatt Hotel nearby that also had a little marina, we decided to check it out and glad we did, it seemed like a little vacation from our winter cruising activities with its resort atmosphere, large pool, laundry facilities (right next to the pool, so I could do laundry and swim at the…

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