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Day Three – North Channel Presentation, Boat Crawl And Pizza Party

Day Three – North Channel Presentation, Boat Crawl and Pizza Party

Day three began with another broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net at the Anchor Inn for those who missed it on Monday. Jim and several other Tugnuts went back and helped Roy log in names of vessels calling in. We were also very fortunate to have another North Channel Presentation, again this year by Roy Eaton. Thanks Roy! After the North Channel Presentation, we had another fabulous creation for lunch, by Kelly and the Anchor Inn. Lunch was followed by a boat crawl. We all opened up our boats so that we could take a look/see at what improvements, changes or additions we made to the interiors or exteriors of our boats. This is a very helpful event for all the Tugnuts in attendance. Storage has got to be one of the most burning issues on our Ranger Tugs and I have to say some people get very creative on finding extra storage space. We always take photos of things other Tugnuts do…

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Day Two – Featuring Roy Eaton’s Little Current Cruisers’ Net

Day Two – Featuring Roy Eaton’s Little Current Cruisers’ Net

Day Two Featured a Visit to Roy Eaton's Live Broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net! Breakfast on day two was proceeded by a short walk from the marina to the Anchor Inn downtown. Roy Eaton's live broadcast of the Little Current Cruisers' Net (LCCN) was about to take place. We filled the room with mostly Tugnuts, but other boaters visiting the town docks that day also joined us for the broadcast, the room was overflowing. Roy (below right) started his career as a marine radio broadcaster while boating in the Abaco Islands in 2001. At that time he provided Canadian news to the popular Cruisers' Net, located in Marsh Harbor. Back home, Roy later formed Manitoulin Island's first yacht club, Little Current Yacht Club. In 2004 after receiving a generous donation of broadcast space (in the Anchor Inn) and equipment, Roy started the now very popular Little Current Cruisers' Net. He used the Cruisers' Net in the Abacos as a model. The broadcast starts with world…

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DAY ONE – Thirty-Seven Tugnuts Arrive In Little Current For The 2015 North Channel Rendezvous

DAY ONE – Thirty-Seven Tugnuts Arrive in Little Current for the 2015 North Channel Rendezvous

2015 Ranger Tugs-Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. Fourteen Ranger Tugs and two Cutwaters arrive for the rendezvous in Little Current, Ontario. All boats were secure in their assigned slips by late afternoon, except for one who arrived during cocktail hour. Half of the boats are from U.S.A and half are from Canada. Half are repeats to the rendezvous, half are first timers. We are all here to share in the camaraderie of the friendly community of Ranger Tugs-Cutwater owners. We are also here to exchange stories, help one another with boat issues, trade boating knowledge, acquired skills and cruising interests. The term "Tugnuts" refers to the popular forum, TUGNUTS. The exchange on the Tugnut forum is an amazing tool for boaters, it covers a wide range of topics on trailerable boating and includes many different trailerable trawler owners as members (such as C-Dory and Rosborough). We launched Kismet in Little Current in the late afternoon, at Spider Bay Marina. The boat launch is located just around the corner from LC Town…

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Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Soo Locks Campground and RV Park is a Very Friendly Place to Stay Boaterhoming – Sault Ste. Marie Michigan – This border town is just south of the Soo Locks on the St. Mary's River. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada is to the north, over the International Bridge, and is about the half way mark to our destination. We will arrive in Little Current, Ontario, in the North Channel, one day early for the 2015 Ranger Tug/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. Some friends of ours gave us the idea to camp at this RV park several years ago when they sent us a photo of them sitting on the grassy shore, in front of their RV, watching the freighters go by. As luck would have it, the park had an opening for a much coveted site on the water, but only for one night – that's all we needed. We pulled right in and before we knew it our new camper neighbors were making us feel at…

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Roy Eaton – Little Current Cruisers Net

Roy Eaton – Little Current Cruisers Net

Little Current Cruisers Network is On the Air in Little Current! At 9 a.m., most of the Ranger Tugs attendees hiked up to the Anchor Inn building where Roy Eaton gives his live VHF broadcast of “The Net,” Little Current Cruisers Net, on channel 71 for boaters cruising Canada's beautiful North Channel. This is definitely a must do if you are visiting Little Current by boat. Roy Eaton founded the LCCN in 2004. Little Current Cruisers Net, in operation during the boating season between July 1st and August 31st, not only broadcasts weather, sports and news, (world and local – Roy sometimes injects a little bit of humor), but also helps boaters cruising the area to handle emergencies while also relaying news from one boat to another. Following the news Roy provides a check in for boaters anywhere in the North Channel, giving an overview of where boaters are and where they intend to head to. If you've boated in the Abaco Islands…

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Day Two – Activities And Good Food

Day Two – Activities and Good Food

Day Two of the Ranger Tugs Rendezvous Begins... Day two started off with a catered breakfast prepared by Kelly, owner of the Anchor Inn. We could have gotten by without eating the rest of the day, the meal was so plentiful and well prepared. Breakfast was followed by a visit to the Cruisers’ Net, provided by Roy Eaton, at the Anchor Inn (see next post for details). (Above Left) Mike and Jim were having some fun at the marina up the road. Later that morning Kenny Marrs conducted a “Ask the Factory” session in which a lot on questions were answered by Kenny with a good exchange of helpful information between Kenny and boat owners. Late afternoon, we had a North Channel chart review followed by a marine related app session. Boating rendezvous are extremely helpful to owners with a helpful exchange with both factory reps and/or service reps, dealers and other owners. We hope this year's North Channel Ranger Tugs Rendezvous…

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North Channel Rendezvous In Full Swing

North Channel Rendezvous In Full Swing

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

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Day One Of The Rendezvous Began With Introductions, A Pot Luck, And Lots Of Smiling Faces

Day One of the Rendezvous Began with Introductions, a Pot Luck, and Lots of Smiling Faces

Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous Welcomed 14 Tugs and One Cutwater! Ranger Tugs arrived all morning at the town docks in Little Current until all fifteen boats (35 people) were secure in their slips. Introductions continued all day as we met people from all over the United States (8 boats) and Canada (7 boats) – 14 Ranger Tugs and one Cutwater. The boat coming the farthest distance in the U.S. was from Texas and the farthest Canadian boat hailed from Alberta. Many different people, tastes and personalities all sharing one common passion, their Ranger Tugs/Cutwater boats. Carolyn, on Pour House (above), brought a big pan of ribs for consumption by the hungry boaters at the scheduled pot luck. Soon after arriving and getting settled at the town docks, everyone was busy getting a dish ready for the pot luck that night. Mind you this was no ordinary potluck! It is truly amazing what elaborate and delicious dishes can be made on our little tugs.   Lots of…

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Rendezvous Early Birds

Rendezvous Early Birds

First Ever  – 2014 Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous We arrived in Little Current one day early for the 2014 Ranger Tugs North Channel Rendezvous. Jim is the organizer of the event, the first ever for Ranger Tugs in the North Channel. First things first. We headed to the town dock for a pump out before going to our slip assignment. We thought it was important to arrive early since we had a few loose ends to tie up. We needed to visit the local grocery store, located just up the hill from the marina so that we had ingredients for our pot-luck dish. We also needed to find a good pizza restaurant, since pizza is the main event on the last night of the rendezvous. Little Current is a small town, so we could walk it quickly to get our chores done and hurry back to greet the tugs at the dock. We had a surprise guest to the docks…

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On The Rocks – South Benjamin Island

On the Rocks – South Benjamin Island

Rocking On the Rocks We left Eagle Island early so we would have the best chance to secure a place on the rocks at South Benjamin Island. We anticipated a lot of boating activity in the North Channel this weekend due to the Canadian Civic Holiday falls on Monday. We wanted to get in early in the day to snag a good spot. Kismet On the Rocks! We had previously anchored in a small cove near the southwest entrance to the channel. Although that spot was free when we arrived, we soon spotted another location further in where we had seen boats tied up before, it looked interesting and it was empty. Only one other boat, a sailboat, was tied up in the channel when we arrived so we made a quick decision to try the new spot – we were glad we did. At first we tied up side-to the rocks, but just didn't like the looks of that for our boat…

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First Anchorage – Eagle Island

First Anchorage – Eagle Island

After launching the boat in Spanish, we decided to anchor at Eagle Island. There we spent most of the late afternoon and early evening organizing and storing stuff on the boat. Since Jim organized the rendezvous, we have boxes and boxes of ditty bag items, printed agendas and books to stow on board. We finally found a home for everything and were able to relax on the back deck to enjoy the last remnants of the sun setting behind the island. Eagle Island, which is 2.25 miles in length, has a large open bay, but we found it to have good protection and anticipated our first night swinging on the hook in the North Channel. Our plan, as always it seems, is to cruise to a few familiar anchorages and investigate a few new ones and finally arrive in Little Current for the 2014 Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. A four-day event for Ranger Tug and Cutwater owners.

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Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada O Canada! Where pines and maples grow, Great prairies spread and Lordly rivers flow! How dear to us thy broad domain, From East to Western sea! The land of hope for all who toil, The true North strong and free! God keep our land, glorious and free. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee! more lyrics We arrived in Spanish, Ontario this afternoon to launch Kismet and begin our trek to Little Current for the 2014 Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous. After a slow start to our summer cruising activities, due to a family commitment, Jim and I are so excited to finally splash Kismet at Spanish. After passing each other on the highway several times this afternoon, we finally caught up with Gregg and Kathy on their Ranger Tug Santolina. They have trailered their tug all the way from Texas. We each took some time parked in the huge parking lot…

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Mackinac Island – The Path Less Taken

Mackinac Island – The Path Less Taken

Mackinac Island is our FAVORITE Michigan cruising destination! Mackinac Island is a very busy tourist destination during the day. So when visiting the island, Jim and I try to focus our daytime activities on walking in less congested areas. Our favorite route starts by walking up the steps leading to the steep bluff just across the road from the marina. Most day-time visitors to the island walk or ride bikes along the path at the bottom perimeter of the island. It's fairly busy there at the bottom, that's why we choose to climb to the top of the island. The view from the top is majestic and far reaching, on clear days you can see the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac. Not many daytime visitors to Mackinac Island venture up to the woods and bluffs. It probably takes a few trips to the island before you learn to wander beyond the high traffic areas. After we spent a few minutes…

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Launching In Mackinaw City – Post Wedding Trip To Mackinac Island

Launching in Mackinaw City – Post Wedding Trip to Mackinac Island

Mackinaw City seemed to be the logical choice to launch Kismet for our trip to Mackinac Island. Our son, Skyler, got married to the love of his life, Sarah, on Labor Day Weekend. Most of our summer was focused on this big event; except for a few boat trips, we stayed close to home preparing and enjoying all the activities. I have to confess it took quite a toll on our blogging ability. After it was over, we needed to decompress and Mackinac Island came first to mind. This island is unique in it's ability to transport a visitor back in time, one of our most favorite cruising destinations; the perfect place to relax and savor the sweet memories, still so fresh in our minds, of Skyler and Sarah's big day. We decided to try out the new Mackinaw City Straits Harbor to launch our boat, it seemed the logical choice; it's free, easily accessed, a strait shot across to…

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2012 Venetian Festival – Charlevoix, Michigan

2012 Venetian Festival – Charlevoix, Michigan

Charlevoix the Beautiful! In stark contrast to our time cruising the North Channel this summer was our five-day stop in Charlevoix, while on our way home, for the 2012 Venetian Festival. One of our all time favorite festivals. We called Charlevoix's harbormaster, Hal (below-right) to receive our slip assignment soon after we arrived in Round Lake. Before we knew it we were tied up snug on B dock ready to partake in the festivities. Thanks Hal! Our dockmates, Jan and Jean (above), spent considerable time and effort planning a weekend-long dock party on B dock complete with tiki hut and decorations. Nice job guys! We even had entertainment as Hal lead the way playing his guitar and singing some popular songs. We sang, we ate, we had a great time with our friends. Jim is talking about boats with "Iceman." The Friday night band was none other than Herman's Hermits. We enjoyed the old hits and Peter Noone's humorous side.…

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Heading Home From Spanish – North Channel, Canada

Heading Home from Spanish – North Channel, Canada

Loading Kismet at Spanish Municipal Marina. Heading back to Spanish, time to load our boat onto the trailer to drive back to the states. This was the first bad weather day of our trip. No sooner had we got the boat secured onto the trailer and into the parking lot when it started to rain hard. You can tell from the photos how dreary it was during our trip home. Heading over the bridge at Sault Saint Marie was a little stop and go as we neared customs. Not long after crossing the Mackinaw Bridge, we were looking for a place to camp for the night and we decided it was time to try an overnighter in Walmart's parking lot in Petoskey. Well, everything went pretty good, we had a quick dinner, thanks to the deli in Walmart, nobody bothered us all night, but it was a little noisy when we were trying to sleep. There is a Home Depot…

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Back To Marianne Cove Anchorage

Back to Marianne Cove Anchorage

Marianne Cove anchorage, a popular spot among boaters cruising the North Channel. We returned to Marianne Cove anchorage to spend another peaceful night in Canada's North Channel paradise. The view off the back deck of Kismet at sunset (above). Coffee in the morning on the back deck of Kismet while in the Marianne Cove anchorage. Don't I look relaxed. It's a guy thing (above). Early morning chores getting done. I love trying to capture the reflections of the trees on shore in the water (below). Okay, I think I have about a hundred of these photos, all different of course, I kept snapping them as the sun slowly made it's descent over the cove. The reflections continued to change as the sun set to the west. Flying all our burgees in Marianne Cove (above-left). This boater stopped by for a little chat, never a lack of social interactions while boating in the North Channel. There is a definite ongoing community action everywhere…

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Day Trip Up Baie Fine To The Pool

Day Trip Up Baie Fine to the Pool

Baie Fine, a Canadian fijord, runs east and west up to the Pool. We liked Marianne Cove so much, we decided to make it base camp for a few days. In the morning of our second day we pulled anchor to take a day trip up the majestic Baie Fine, a fjord which runs east and west. Baie Fine is a total of about 10 miles long, narrowing abruptly for the last two-mile stretch to the confines of its end, "The Pool." We had a clear, calm blue sky day for a slow poke of a cruise making it that much easier for Lisa to capture the beauty of rocky tree lined cliffs to both our port and starboard. Once we got to within two miles of The Pool, we had to negotiate a shallow, narrow entrance, but the sights are well worth the trip. We spotted this old tug as we left Marianne Cove for our day trip to the Pool.…

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First Time In Marianne Cove

First Time in Marianne Cove

Lots of Room in Marianne Cove Tonight! On our way up Baie Fine, we saw this marker on shore (above). It's a marking for the red buoy – the channel through this area is so narrow they had to mark it on the rock instead of a red buoy. On this day we chose to try a new anchorage (new to us) at Marianne Cove. We've anchored at the Pool (located at the furthest end of Baie Fine) before and enjoyed that area, but we've heard so much about how well protected and beautiful Marianne Cove is, we decided to stop short of the Pool and try something new. It's a favorite of cruisers in the North Channel. Jim is preparing the long line he'll soon tie to a tree on shore behind our boat. Stern tying takes some time, but well worth the effort in the end. By the time Jim is done on shore he will have taken the rope, that is looped…

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Meeting Captain & Crew Of The Thomas James

Meeting Captain & Crew of the Thomas James

Thomas James – Visit with an Exchange of Boat Tours! While cruising through the Killarney Channel, on our way to Collins Inlet, we received a call on our VHF. After switching to channel 68, Bill, the guy hailing us, told us that, as he was standing on the balcony of his channel-side home, he noticed our red Ranger Tug slowly cruising by. He said he was so excited to see the "cute tug" he'd love to have a tour and chat with us about it as he had never seen one in person before. As we're trying to figure out his location, we spotted him, with the binoculars, on his balcony taking photos of our boat as Lisa (unknowingly) was, at the very same time, taking photo's of his Thomas James schooner docked in front of his house. We made soft plans to meet the next day on our return from Georgian Bay as we'll need to pass by Killarney again to…

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Keyhole Island – A Little Peek Into The Northwest Side Of Georgian Bay

Keyhole Island – A Little Peek Into the Northwest Side of Georgian Bay

Keyhole Island on the Northwest Side of Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay is on our cruising bucket list, a trip like this deserves a dedicated stretch of time to explore properly. With that said, we decided to get our toes just a little wet. After we left Covered Portage Cove, we passed through the channel in Killarney for a short, one-day, cruise and anchor in the northwest side of Georgian Bay. Four miles or so east of Killarney is the western entrance to Collins Inlet and a 10-mile run to Mill Lake. It was Collins Inlet, a narrow channel, where we spent time cruising, enjoying the sights of the small summer cottages dotting the rocky wind swept, tree lined shores. Collins Inlet runs between Philip Edward Island, to the south and mainland Ontario, Canada to the north, making the narrow channel a favorite of boaters because of the well protected, safe passage from possible rough waters of Georgian Bay and all the good…

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Dinghy Ride To Killarney From Covered Portage Cove

Dinghy Ride to Killarney from Covered Portage Cove

Around lunch time, our second day, we joined Charlie and Linda in a dinghy ride over to Killarney to take advantage of the famous fish and chips at the Herbert Fisheries Red School Bus, located right on the channel in town. The fish and chips are very good, a little pricy but we enjoyed every last bite. SIDENOTE: A Visit to Killarney nowadays does not include a visit to the School Bus Fish And Chips stand. The bus is now gone a relic of the past. Shortly after lunch, we parted ways with Charlie and Linda. They wanted to dinghy back to their boat so they could get under way and slowly work their way home. We stayed a little longer in Killarny before returning to the anchorage. We spent one more night on the hook, we wanted to enjoy the balance of the day and night before departing Portage Covered Cove to head towards Georgian Bay the next day.…

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Doubling Our Pleasure In Covered Portage Cove

Doubling Our Pleasure in Covered Portage Cove

Rendezvous with Freedom's Turn in Covered Portage Cove! Doubling our pleasure comes to mind when we think of our visit to Covered Portage Cove in the North Channel. Not only was it our first time anchoring in this cove, we also had the pleasure of  rendezvousing with friends Charlie and Linda on Freedom's Turn (above). We met them in 2008 while doing our second Great Loop boat trip and cruised several times together, including a trip to Chattanooga and even the Bahamas. With a lot of shared cruising experiences in common, we were excited for the reunion in Covered Portage Cove. We got there one day earlier, so we were ready to enjoy their company once they got there. With the picturesque backdrop of our shared anchorage it felt like old times having happy hour together and eating dinner on the upper deck of Freedom's Turn. We got to laughing about all the good times we've shared during our Loops. The conversation was so…

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Covered Portage Cove – The Perfect Anchorage

Covered Portage Cove – The Perfect Anchorage

Covered Portage Cove anchorage – High rocky cliffs and near-perfect protection from the elements. From South Benjamin Island we made our way past Little Current, Strawberry and Heywood Islands as we skirted south of Frazier Bay to enter Lansdowne Channel on the way to Covered Portage Cove, just west of Killarney, the old provincial outpost that separates Ontario's North Channel from Georgian Bay. We had only dinghied to Covered Portage Cove anchorage in 2007 when we had docked our boat for a few days in Killarney. We vowed then to put it on our list as a future anchorage spot. When I think of the perfect anchorage I conjure up images of a cove with high bluffs, hills or rock formations on all sides, one that gives good protection from high winds. It would also have a dog-leg entrance to keep out unwanted wave action. If you were to toss in, as an added benefit, sunny skies, a slight breeze on a…

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South Benjamin Island – View From The Top

South Benjamin Island – View From The Top

South Benjamin Island, a Rocky Delight! Topping off our great anchorage find is the incredible view from the top of this South Benjamin Island. This is where Jim found all those yummy blueberries and where we went to stretch our legs and enjoy the view when we felt cramped on the boat. Great weather during our stay here, hot temps with unseasonably warm water for swimming. Life is good for the crew of Kismet tied up to this little South Benjamin Island. We took a long hike on the island that sits in front of the Benjamin's, it protects the whole rocky channel that separates the islands and protects our boat sitting just below in a little rocky cove.

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