If You Rest… You Rust!

The crew of Kismet is On the Move Again! It may appear that we are eating our way back to the boat. We are! Not much to report on during our road trip south to Florida to pick up Kismet, however we found some exceptional food stops along the way. When trailering our boat, or driving back to where she is stored, gives us an opportunity to explore some little towns off the expressway. Shan Chinese Buffet was tops on our list, it was just a fluke that we happened upon it, as it was out of town, off the beaten track…

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Apalachicola, Land of the Friendly People

The little fishing village of Apalachicola is the end of the line for our fall cruise. Apalachicola is definitely "Old Florida." Famous for their oysters, Appalachicola employs a variety seafood workers, it's our favorite place to eat oysters. Apalachicola Bay is well protected by St. Vincent Island, Flag, Sand, St. George Island and Cape St. George Island. We'll leave Kismet tucked away in TCC Storage's building, just across the bay in Eastpoint, while we drive the truck home to spend the holidays with family. We'll return to pick up Kismet January 1st for a winter of cruising in southern Florida. This is our…

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Last Leg to Appalachicola Looks More Like a Rorschach Inkblot Test

Smooth sailing today as we cruised the last leg of our fall cruise through Florida's Panhandle. A little stormy and overcast but we still got some nice photos of some of the beauty available to see while cruising this area. Nature provided us with some interesting illusions while on the water today. Note the symmetry of the above water images on the mirrored glassy water we plowed through today.

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Cruising the “Grand Canyon” Cut to St. Andrews

Today we cruised Florida's "Grand Canyon," an 18-mile channel that leads to St. Andrews, aptly named due to the steep sandy banks lining this cut. One of our favorite areas to boat in the Panhandle.   Historic St. Andrews is a community of Panama City, Florida, along the beautiful St. Andrews Bay. We stayed one night at the town's marina.

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Remembering the Last Time We Were in Destin, Florida

Destin is a popular tourist destination located in the Panhandle of Florida. It rests on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Choctawhatchee Bay. It is well known for its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. It claims to have the largest fishing vessel fleet in the state of Florida.

The last time we stopped in Destin was in 2008, while on our second Great Loop boat trip. It was Thankgiving Day and we roasted a turkey (below) on the back deck of our Fathom 40 while anchored in the harbor. My favorite way to share a holiday feast is with family back home. Yet that Thanksgiving was particularly memorable for me. It was just the two of us, the weather was perfect, the small turkey just fit in the roaster, it was a crispy golden brown by dinnertime. While dinner was cooking, we dinghied all over the harbor and visited the beautiful beach for a walk. We had mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. I remember it like it was yesterday.

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Chilling a Few Days at McRee Cove at Perdido Key – Pensacola, Florida

We departed Orange Beach with only a 15 mile cruise to McRee Cove, a well protected cove next to Perdido Key, off of the Pensacola Bay inlet. We soon anchored in 8 feet of crystal clear water and surrounded by white sand embankments, it was the perfect setting for two days swing on the hook.

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I’m Going Back Someday… Come What May… To Blue Bayou

After a smooth cruise through Mobile Bay, from Eastern Shore Marina, we made a port-side turn into the protected Intra-Coastal Waterway where we soon passed our first tug and tow (above). First landmark we see on the ICW is Lulu's Cafe (below). Not stopping there this time though as we were both in a hurry to get settled into our night's anchorage. Returning to Ingram Bayou... One of our favorite anchorages, this will be our third time stopping here. The afternoon was spent by first hanging by some scarfs to block the heat of the sun while we settled in to lounge on the back deck of…

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Staying at Orange Beach Marina – Visiting the National Naval Aviation Museum

Staying at Orange Beach Marina so that we can take a day to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. We arrived late afternoon, got settled then borrowed the marina's loaner car to take a tour of the area and visit one of the beautiful beaches. Some folks stopped by (above) that knew us because they also own a Ranger Tug. It's a small world! The Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola Florida first came into our mind, as a must visit museum on our first Great Loop in 2005. Finally, on our third cruise through the Florida Panhandle – nine years later, we made plans…

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Cruising the Alabama, Florida Panhandle from Mobile Bay

After leaving Joe Wheeler State Park after the AGLCA rendezvous we headed south with Fairhope as our intended launch site. However, after a late start and a long day's drive, we called it quits when we got to Greenville, Alabama and found this rustic RV park about a mile off I-65. Stopping here for the night gave us the opportunity to arrive at Fairhope early in the day. The park was quiet except for an evening symphony of cricket chirping in a swamp nearby. We have been by this way twice before and each time stayed at Eastern Shores Marina in…

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Loopers Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park – Rogersville, Alabama

We packed up our boat and truck and headed down the highway to Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama for AGLCA's 2014 Fall Rendezvous. Jim and I have been Loopers almost ten years (we have done the Loop almost twice). The excitement and camaraderie we feel when out on the water cruising new territory, meeting other Loopers in far off ports, and especially while connecting at one of the rendezvous, or Gold Looper Reunions, never gets old, in fact, it sustains us as cruisers. We laughed, we played, we shared boating stories, we sang and enjoyed music, we exchanged information…

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Returning to Fox Island

When we left South Benjamin Island we headed for Fox Island, located only about four miles from South Benjamin. We had anchored here once before with our Silverton and remembered how beautiful it was. The landscape is rocky all around the anchorage, offering good hiking and photo opportunities along the perimeter. When we anchored here previously, we were the only boat on the hook in the channel, this time there were several boats already at anchor, so this time we settled on a spot all the way in, up by the reeds. We were looking forward to our afternoon hike on the…

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Many Thanks to All…

We want to thank everyone who attended the first Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous and look forward to meeting up with many of the participants on the waterways in the future. Boats in attendance ranged from far away as Alberta, Fort Lauderdale, Rhode Island and Texas. This was the first time cruising the North Channel for 9 of the 15 boats. Although we could not have had a successful rendezvous without those that were in attendance there is lot that goes on behind the scenes well before the rendezvous starts and during the rendezvous that we are all very thankful…

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Two Presentations and a Pizza Party

On the last day Roy Eaton, from the LCCN, gave a wonderful powerpoint presentation at the Anchor Inn Bar, an overview of Georgian Bay and the North Channel highlighting some of the history and many popular anchorages. Later, back at the pavilion, we gathered for a presentation by Mark Coles (above), of Boating Georgian Bay, who gave a geological and historical overview of Georgian Bay. Mark also spent the afternoon photographing and video taping Ranger Tug owners for a piece he was doing on the Boating Georgian Bay’s website. Later in the afternoon we had a boat crawl. It’s always…

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Roy Eaton – Little Current Cruisers Network

At 9 a.m., most of us hiked up to the Anchor Inn building where Roy Eaton gives his live VHF broadcast of “The Net” on channel 71 for boaters cruising Canada's beautiful North Channel. Roy Eaton founded the LCCN in 2004. The 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…

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Day Two – Activities and Good Food

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 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…

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Rendezvous In Full Swing

It is often stated that the North Channel is some of the best inland cruising you’ll find anywhere and we could not agree more – it is, after all, our backyard boating 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 and by fall the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous was put into full planning mode. Jeff and I contacted…

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

All morning tugs arrived at the town docks in Little Current until all fifteen boats (35 people) were secure at the dock. 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…

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Rendezvous Early Birds

We arrived in Little Current one day early for the 2014 Ranger Tugs/Cutwater 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 had a surprise guest to the docks tonight around dusk. Roy Eaton, the Net Controller and  originator of the Little Current Cruisers' Net. Roy came down to the docks to welcome all the Ranger Tugs coming in for the rendezvous in Little Current. He had welcome bags…

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And Then There Were Two…

Coffee tasted extra good high up on the granite rocks this morning. Jim and I discussed how long we should stay in this spot at South Benjamin Island before we headed to the Ranger Tugs Rendezvous in Little Current – we both agreed, it might be one of those long three-day stays. We only have five days before we need to be in Little Current for the rendezvous and sometimes it's just not as relaxing to move every day or two to cram several spots in. We figured it doesn't get much better than this and we should stay put. We are anticipating…

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On the Rocks – South Benjamin Island

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. 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…

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First Anchorage – Eagle Island

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.  

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Oh Canada!

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 getting our boats ready to launch.…

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Have a Ranger Tug?

Join Us in the North Channel for the 2014 Ranger Tugs/Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous! The More the Merrier!   We’ve been given a one week extension, until June 27th, to guarantee dock space for the rendezvous, so if you’re thinking of attending make sure you get your registration form and payment to me by then. We look forward to seeing everyone soon. Click on the link below to access the registration form and please email me with any questions that you may have. With spring in the air the much anticipated boating season in Canada’s North Channel is just around the…

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Seattle – Miss You Already!

As we approached the final weeks of our PNW cruising adventure, I asked Lisa if there was one place she wanted to visit before our trip came to a close. Unsurprisingly she said, “Downtown Seattle of course.” That's why we positioned ourselves at the Bainbridge Island anchorage for two nights before we made the short 8-mile trip across Puget Sound into Elliott Bay and finally to the Port of Seattle's Bell Harbor Marina. The reason we like docking in downtown Seattle is that, as visiting boaters, everything we could possible need is with 10 blocks or so of the marina,…

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Eagle Harbor Anchorage – Bainbridge Island, WA

Bainbridge Island sits north and west of downtown Seattle – Eagle Harbor was our choice for one night on the hook. On a clear day, you can plainly see Seattle’s skyline eight miles to the east across Puget Sound. Eagle Harbor is home to the City of Bainbridge Island, which can be a little confusing. Kind of like New York, New York but in this case it’s Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island! After finding a suitable spot to anchor, we dinghied to the city dock so we could explore town, this being our first visit by boat. We were fortunate in…

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Torpedo Town USA – Keyport, WA

After doing some research of the Liberty Bay area, for our planned stop in Poulsbo, I stumbled across information on the little town of Keyport, WA., nicknamed "Torpedo Town USA. Its major tourist facility, the Naval Undersea Museum is located at the a small U.S. Navy depot, Torpedo Research and Testing Facility, tasked with ranging and repairing torpedoes for the U.S. Navy and allies. The museum features exhibits and displays on undersea technology, including the Trieste II, which descended to 20,000 ft (6,100 m). After pulling anchor in Poulsbo, we arrived at Keyport's free town dock, in a matter of…

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A Taste of Scandinavia in Poulsbo, WA

Poulsbo, sitting at the edge of Liberty Bay, is a delightful, highly Scandinavian influenced, community. This quaint, picturesque, little town has a strong Norwegian heritage. Its founders came from Norway via Michigan and Minnesota to settle in a landscape that was similar to their own snow peaked mountains and fjords. Other Scandinavian immigrants soon followed. On a prior visit to Poulsbo, we had docked at the city marina, so this time we decided to anchor out in the protective confines of the bay and dinghy into town for a our on shore leave. We arrived late afternoon, so we hung out…

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Port Townsend Recommendation

Over the years people have highly recommended a visit to Port Townsend, WA, but, for whatever reason, we have never made the stop. During our trip out west this year, we put Port Townsend on our planned route as we headed south from the San Juans toward Puget Sound. Port Townsend sits at the northeast point of the Olympic peninsula where Strait of Juan De Fuca and Admiralty Inlet meet. In the late 1800s Port Townsend was intended to become the main city in the Puget Sound area, so a great deal of new buildings and Victorian houses were built.…

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Transiting Desolation Pass in a Pocket of Fog

After spending a pleasant night on the hook at Hope Island, we woke to a blanket of fog so thick, we could hardly see more then 150 feet in any direction. We waited and waited until finally, close to our planned departure time, the fog began to lift a little. We pulled anchor, turned on our radar and headed towards Deception Pass. A safe trip through Deception Pass needs to done at slack tide. We needed to be positioned at the pass for the optimal tidal event. The fog continued to lift as we made our way to the pass,…

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Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Leaving the dock at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, I saw our fuel gage flashing a bright red “low fuel” light, setting my mind into a bit of a panic. Idling to the fuel dock, I was hoping we’d make it before running completely out. how embarrassing would that have been, I haven't run out of fuel since I was in High School. The good news is we made it to the fuel dock without conking out in the harbor. Confidently fueled up, we headed through LaConner and up into Skagit Bay, where we caught a mooring ball off Hope…

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