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Beach, Lover's Key State Park, 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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Lunch and a Walk – Keegan Clair Docks – Indian Shores, Florida

Keegan Clair Docks – "Let's Stop for Lunch." Something new today, we found Keegan Clair Docks, a free day dock for boaters, just off the ICW, six miles south of Clearwater. We thought we'd take a break on our day's cruise to stop and have lunch on the boat followed by a short, two block walk into Indian Rocks with access to the beautiful beaches. The dock is free during the day, but has one of the longest list of rules we've ever seen, it's prominently posted near the dock. One of the main rules listed is that the docks are not meant for overnight usage. We think it is very forward thinking of a community to provide this kind of service to boaters, easy access to their town while cruising by on the ICW. We have never seen so many rules, especially for such a few docks. At least nothing is left to guess. If in doubt just consult the rules on the sign. Without…

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Catching a Mooring Ball at Hope Island

Positioning ourselves at the Hope Island anchorage to transit through Deception Pass in the Morning. 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 Island. We were positioning ourselves to transit through Deception Pass the next morning. The plan was to cruise down the open waters of Rosario Strait to Port Townsend – our first ever visit by boat.  Dinner on board Kismet came together without a hitch after we…

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Malibu Club, Malibu Rapids, Canada

Transiting Malibu Rapids to Gain Access to Princess Louisa Inlet and Chatterbox Falls

Malibu Rapids has Two Slack Tides a Day In order to gain access to the inner sanctum of Princess Louisa Inlet and subsequently Chatterbox Falls, you first have to negotiate the entrance to the inlet, Malibu Rapids. (This is also where the Malibu Club sits promptly on top of the big boulders at the entrance to the inlet.) Although it is unwise to transit the rapids any other time but slack tide. Slack tide is when the current changes direction and the condition in between when the tide stops going out and before it starts coming in, or vice versa. It’s at this point that the current is minimal and, in boater terminology, this condition is known as slack tide. We have evidence that not all boaters heed that golden rule (see video below). Transiting the rapids is no ordinary task when conditions are slack, let alone any other time? Before and after slack tide the current can run as fast as…

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Kismet Cruising Jervis Inlet, Canada

Jervis Inlet to Malibu Rapids

Jervis Inlet is a 45-mile long fjord that leads to Malibu Rapids Unfortunately we had a rather cloudy day for our cruise up Jervis Inlet but even with the gray skies and murky waters the mountains stood superbly majestic as they lined our route to Malibu Rapids. It was a little tense for the crew onboard Kismet because we were a little anxious about transiting the Malibu Rapids. Cruising up Jervis Inlet in this immense and awe-inspiring wilderness was a little overwhelming. For most of the day we cruised solo up Jervis Inlet while passing only a few trawlers or fishing vessels.

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Rock Formations, Hardy Island, Canada

Positioning Ourselves at Hardy Island for the Run Up to Chatterbox Falls

The Anchorage at Hardy Island is Located at the Base of Jervis Inlet We were somewhat protected by Texada Island as we cruised 21 miles southeast from Powell River to Hardy Island. The anchorage at Hardy Island is located at the base of Jervis Inlet. We are positioning ourselves for the cruise up to Princess Louisa Inlet, Malibu Rapids and finally Chatterbox Falls. Entering Blind Bay we found calm waters ideal for anchoring in a narrow, well protected, cove within Hardy Island Marine Park. As we were scouting for a spot to drop our hook we came across a small black bear strolling by the waters edge. The bear was just as startled as we were. He immediately hightailed it up the rock cliff and into the  woods never to be seen by us again. This would end up being our only bear sighting during our PNW cruise. The real reason for anchoring at Hardy Island was to position ourselves for…

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Kismet Cruising To Powell River, Canada

Wet and Bumpy Ride to Powell River

Conditions on the way to Powell River were not scary, just very bumpy and unpleasant. We had strong, guess you could almost say instinctual, reservations about leaving Lund, for Powell River, the next day. It was rainy and quite windy, so we waited a bit to see how the rain and wind conditions would develop. Our intent was to cruise to Hardy Island to anchor out for the night. From the protection of the marina in Lund, we noticed several boats heading south. So we decided to give it a try ourselves, thinking we could always turn back if it was undoable. At first, conditions were acceptable. But, as this scenario often seems to goes, it quickly deteriorated and within a short five miles we were starting to look for an exit strategy. Lisa hasn’t had to deal with seasickness in quite awhile, but on this day it really took her down. The conditions were not scary, just very bumpy and…

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Boats Anchored Roscoe Bay, Desolation Sound

Wrapping Up Our Desolation Sound Cruise in Beautiful Roscoe Bay

We saved the last two days of our Desolation Sound cruise for Roscoe Bay. Once inside the narrow entrance to the inner cove (which guide books state is best navigated on a rising tide), we took our time to slowly cruise the perimeter of the anchorage (photo-below), we wanted to find the perfect spot before we dropped anchor and stern tied to shore. There was plenty of room available, so we could be choosy about our selection which was located all the way up into the bay. Surrounded by pine trees and high rock bluffs, the cove offered, not only a picture perfect setting but, a lot of protection from any potential foul weather. The anchorage was lined with boats of all kinds. We cruised almost all the way back into the bay where there were a few less boats. It was cloudy and overcast when we arrived, but it cleared up to give us a sunny day where the…

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Kismet Anchored, Laura Cove, Desolation Sound

Lots Of Rocks In Laura Cove

Laura Cove Reminded Us of Cruising Ground Closer to Home, the North Channel, Ontario, Canada. During our three days in Laura Cove, we swam next to the boat every day in the clear, warm water. We hiked a little, took dinghy rides around Prideaux Haven to explore and visit with other boaters we knew who were also staying in one of the coves for the Canadian holiday weekend. We liked our spot. There were three other boats rafted off the narrower tip of the rock and a few more on the other side but there wasn't any room for another boat to stern anchor in our vicinity. We took a dinghy ride over to Melanie Cove, still lots of boats anchored there, as we said earlier it was a lot busier over in that cove than it was at Laura Cove. On one dinghy excursion around Melanie Cove we came across fellow Ranger Tug owners, Tym and June, on Circle T (above-left), and…

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Kismet Anchored, Laura Cove, Desolation Sound

Anchorage in Laura Cove For Canada’s Civic Holiday – Another Hike To Unwin Lake

We found a nice anchorage in Laura Cove, so we set the anchor and tied lines to the big rock. Lisa prepared lunch to take out on a dinghy exploration of the surrounding area. We ventured out of the cove into Homfrey Channel turned the outboard off and floated around while having lunch with a spectacular mountain view surrounding us off in the distance. Afterwards I dropped Lisa off at the boat and continued on, by dinghy, to a hiking trail located off Melanie Cove. I'd read about this trail somewhere and how it leads up to Unwin Lake, the fresh water lake we'd hiked to and swam in the day before when staying in Tenedos Bay. As I neared shore, I looked for a well worn path leading into the brush and I fairly quickly found a homemade sign indicating the path to Unwin Lake. As low tide had already passed (tide swings are around 10 feet) I knew I had…

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Pancakes And Blackberries

“What Day Is It?” – Tenedos Bay Anchorage

After our swim at Unwin Lake we followed the river and small rapids back to the dinghy. Just outside the woods in the open sunlight by the park entrance, where our dinghy was tied up, we came across a slew of blackberry bushes loaded with precious ripe berries. Risking bee stings and thorn torn hands and legs, we harvested enough for blackberry pancakes the next morning. But first, when we arrived back to the boat, sitting in our Tenedos Bay anchorage, a batch of martini's were in order to wind down a very enjoyable day. Lisa then whipped up one of our favorite dishes, red beans and rice. By this time in our trip I'd have to say we've become very VERY relaxed. Over a stack of blackberry pancakes the next morning, I asked Lisa, "What day is it?" and she said, "I don't know!" After spending five travel days trailering our Kismet across country, followed by a few days of preparations,…

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Backpack Unwin Lake

Hiking to Unwin Lake For A Refreshing Swim

Soon after we got the boat stern tied to shore at the anchorage in Tenedos Bay, we grabbed our bathing suits and towels and hopped into the dinghy for a short ride over  to Unwin Lake for a refreshing swim in the 75˚ water. There are no real beaches up at Unwin Lake, its all natural with lots of logs and rocks. We found an outcropping of boulders that provided us a bit of privacy and a shallow pool of water on a rock ledge, before it dropped off for swimming. We lingered eating apples and enjoying the mountain view on the shore of Unwin Lake. Refreshed from our hour swim and with clean bodies we made our way back down to the bay following a rushing stream of water.

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Tenedos Bay Anchorage

Tenedos Bay Anchorage – Desolation Sound

From Refuge Cove it was a short 7 to 8-mile hop over to Tenedos Bay. Once in the midst of Desolation Sound every port, cove or bay is no more than a days cruise from your starting point. This close proximity between points of interest allowed us to take our time, linger longer, leave later, and cruise slowly while still arriving early to any spot on our scheduled route. Tenedos Bay provided a tree lined canyon and well-protected spot just a short dinghy ride to the trail that leads up to Unwin Lake. Our chosen anchorage provided a tree lined canyon where we stern tied to shore in calm water. Tenedos Bay is one of the recommended anchorages John and Tracy, on Sea Change, gave us during our chart review in Ganges. Not only does it provide a beautiful, natural setting to anchor, but with a short trip across the bay in our dinghy we were able to hike up…

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Refuge Cove, Desolation Sound

Fueling and Provisioning at Refuge Cove – Desolation Sound

Refuge Cove is a relic of a past time. We haven't been out cruising in Desolation Sound that long, this being our fifth day, but we missed getting fuel while we were at Gorge (it was busy when we left and we didn't want to wait). So when we left Teakerne Arm we thought we'd head over to Refuge Cove, a fully functioning marina and year-round community, centrally located on West Redona Island in the heart of Desolation Sound. We wanted to fuel up and top off our water supply. Refuge Cove is a relic of a past time. We marveled at how the store still stands in one piece on top of the ancient barnacle covered pilings below. The cove provides a seasonal home to 20 families, and home to half that many during the off-season. While there we had a quick trip through the little store and were pleased to find quite a selection, more than we thought…

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Ranger Tugs Cruise, Gorge Harbour, Desolation Sound

Gorge Harbour at Last – Desolation Sound

We could not have had a better weather day to cruise from Comox to Gorge Harbour, BC, the last stop for the Ranger Tugs group cruise, after a little down time and one last party at the marina, we'll all go our separate ways to explore Desolation Sound. As we all slowly trickled out of the marina, glassy water awaited us, the kind every boater dreams of for a first rate cruising day. We also got our first glimpse of some snow capped mountains off on the horizon. A short way out we crossed paths with the fishing boat we brought shrimp from last night (below). Gorge Harbour at Last! Upon our arrival to Gorge Harbour Marina Resort, on Cortes Island, we were officially considered to be in Desolation Sound. Desolation Sound is a group of islands that reside at about the 50th parallel north, between Canada's Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, Canada, at the north end of the…

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Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise, Naniamo, B.C.

Rafting Up in Nanaimo, BC

From Ganges to Nanaimo, we could choose to join one of the pods or cruise on our own. After two days of socializing with other Ranger Tug owners at Ganges, the time came to organize the three-day cruise to our mutual destination of Gorge, BC. After that point we will all be on our own to explore as we will, Desolation Sound and surrounding areas. But first we had to get our “gaggle” organized. This is the third year Ranger Tugs has organized this Desolation Sound Cruise for their owners, we think they have all their ducks all in a row. Our first Captain’s Meeting was held during the second night at Ganges, on the dock just before happy hour. Jeff, V.P of Sales and Marketing at Ranger Tugs and the ringleader, had organized, along with key experienced boaters, a system for leaving the dock to leave for Nanaimo (Na-ni-mo) in the morning, which comprised of  groups with a “lead boat” and a…

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2012 America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Fall Rendezvous

Arriving at Joe Wheeler for the 2012 America's Great Loop Cruisers' Fall Rendezvous, is the end point to our 2012 Tennessee River cruise. Our trip's mission was to spend some time on the Tennessee River, traveling it's length along with this years crop of Loopers and commence the cruise by attending AGLCA's (America's Great Loop Cruisiers' Association) 2012 Fall Rendezvous held at Joe Wheeler State Park and Marina. To get to Joe Wheeler we had to lock through the Wheeler Lock and Dam, the last lock for us on this trip. We always try to get this spot at the Joe Wheeler Marina because it's perfect for our tug and it's located in the middle of all the activities of the rendezvous. We meet some of our favorite Loopers here at the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous and right at the top of our list are Patsy and Tom Conrad, on True North, the Conrad's share the job of MC for the rendezvous at…

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Time To Disembark at Grand Harbor Resort Marina

End of the line, Grand Harbor Resort Marina. After being on the hook a lot lately, a visit to Grand Harbor Resort Marina, located where the Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama borders come together (we're officially down south at this point), hit the spot. It has all the amenities a long-distance boater appreciates including a well stocked ship's store, an elegant boater's lounge, laundry facilities located right on the dock where you can sit by the water as you wash and dry your clothes, they also have several loaner vehicles and they almost beg you to use one to explore the nearby towns. But first we had to go through the Pickwick Landing Lock and Dam to get to Grand Harbor. We left early in the morning due to weather reports of high winds, we wanted to get through the lock before they picked up much. Good call because we had an uneventful lock-through. The marina at Grand Harbor provided us…

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Kismet In Fog, Cypress Creek, Tennessee River

Cypress Creek Anchorage – Tennessee River

We left Duncan Bay knowing we'd travel south on the Tennessee River for only 4 hours, so it wasn't going to be a long day. Twenty-nine miles later, at mile marker 62.6, we made a starboard turn into Cypress Creek, then another right into the first cove. What we found was a anchorage that provided us calm waters in a very protective, natural surrounding. Because of our short cruise day I took advantage of the calm water by continuing my work on the dinghy davit bracket installation (see next post). I like to maximize my down-time by having a few projects in the works, like waxing the fiberglass or stainless, changing the oil or cleaning sea strainers. There is never a lack of things to do when spending a lot of time on a boat. Cypress Creek greeted us the next morning with bank of fog! The next morning we woke up to find ourselves completely immersed in a thick bank…

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Ranger Tug Kismet Boaterhoming RV Park

The Little Red Tug Is On the Move Again – Cloverdale RV Park

Cloverdale RV Park made us think we should do more RVing! The little red tug, Kismet, is on the move again, we're headed south this fall to cruise the Tennessee River; a 220-mile trip (approx.) from Grand Rivers, Kentucky to Rogersville, Alabama. First stop was Cloverdale RV Park in Cloverdale, Indiana. Not a lot going on here but it was a very friendly stop for the night and very quiet with a tranquil setting. It had wide open grassy sites that were mostly empty and the park was surrounded by trees dressed in their fall colors. There is a pond on site that added greatly to the park's appeal. I think Jim thought this sign was speaking to him personally, being such a kid at heart himself.

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Ranger Tugs Kismet, Croker Island, North Channel

Croker Island – A Rocky Paradise

Croker Island – Rocks, Bears and Blueberries! As cruising trips go this one ranked up towards the top of our list, but like all good things they must come to an end. We left Little Current to make way for one of our favorite anchorages in a popular cove at Croker Island; this will be the last real stop of our North Channel trip.             The cove at Croker Island has a high rocky bluff that protects anchored boats from high winds and/or foul weather from the big waters of the more exposed North Channel. While we were there, for our last two days, there were indeed high winds from the south, but we were almost unaware of these conditions until we took an afternoon hike up to the top of the rocky bluff. Once there, we saw nothing but big white caps. It felt good knowing how cozy we felt anchored inside the protective confines…

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Kismet Anchored In Colins Inlet, 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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Crew On Kismet, Power Island, Michigan

West Arm Grand Traverse Bay – Kismet’s First Cruise in the Bay

New Tug's First Time Cruising the West Arm Grand Traverse Bay!  The crew on board Kismet  today were excited for the tugs inaugaril cruise on West Arm Grand Traverse Bay. Skyler, Sarah and friend David joined us for an afternoon trip to Power Island (also referred to as Marion Island). We put the boat in at Elmwood Township Marina, their facilities are exceptional. It was the perfect day for a cruise and lunch at the island. Power Island is a 202 acre property located in the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay. It's approximately nine miles west from Downtown Traverse City and is a favorite spot for boaters to congregate on a hot summer's day. With the beautiful turquoise color and the clean, crystal clear water of the Great Lakes, one might easily confuse this island as being located in the bahamas, sans palm trees and exotic sealife. West Arm Grand Traverse Bay – A View of the Bay! Game time and…

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Kismet At Anchor, Florida Keys

The Route Less Taken – Key West to Marathon

When leaving Key West by water, heading east to Marathon, there are two Intracoastal Waterways (ICW) route choices. There is the un-obstructed, direct route of Hawk Channel which runs parallel to the Keys and cuts into Florida Bay at Marathon. Hawk Channel is somewhat protected from the coral reefs that separate it from the Atlantic Ocean; this is the most popular route because you don't need to worry about dodging shallow water. We've taken Hawk Channel several times but have never taken the route less traveled, the Florida Bay ICW. One of the reasons the route north of the Keys to Marathon is not preferred is because of the shallower water depths. With a 2.5-foot draft on our Ranger Tug, we felt we'd have plenty of water below us. Besides we were up for a new adventure, we wanted to take a route we'd never done before. Our objective was to slowly cruise the 30 miles to Marathon by anchoring…

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