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New River View, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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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Nautical Store, Appalachicola, Florida

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 fresh 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 third time docking at Scipio Creek Marina. The restaurant, Papa Joe's, is no longer in business at this location, but being just a short walk from downtown, it's a great place to dock while visiting Apalachicola. The town is focused on providing a shopping experience for its visitors while maintaining that old Florida fishing village appeal. Just love Apalachicola!   We visited the…

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Ranger Tugs Ready To Launch, North Channel

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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Kismet Cruising To Powell River, Canada

The Storm in Malaspina Straight

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

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Fishing Boats, Lund, Canada

Leaving Desolation Sound for the Village of Lund, British Columbia

 Headed to Lund – Entering the Sunshine Coast... After two glorious weeks of picture perfect boating weather and sensory overload during our exploration of Canada’s Desolation Sound, the time had come to start working our way south/southeast. We had a calm but overcast day to exit Desolation sound from our anchorage in Roscoe Bay. Up next, was Jervis and Princess Louisa Inlets and the much talked about Chatterbox Falls, but first we had to explore a few of the little fishing villages along British Columbia's "Sunshine Coast." Our first stop was Lund (below), a busy, picturesque, seaside village, 120km north of Vancover, only eight miles south of Desolation Sound. The village has only about three-hundred year-round residents, but is host to a lot more during the warm weather season. Not only is it close to Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park but also the Copeland Islands, Okeover Inlet and tropical Savary Island. During our brief stay in Lund, we learned a lot…

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Squirrel Cove Town Dock, Desolation Sound

Fighting Rapids at Squirrel Cove – Desolation Sound, British Columbia

We left Pendrell Sound this morning to motor over to Squirrel Cove. Several boaters recommended this spot as a very well protected anchorage and since our weather turned a little sour we decided the cove might just be the ticket for a good night's sleep. The photo below not only shows a pretty typical type of cruising boat in Canada's Desolation Sound but some of the huge logs boaters have to contend with when cruising this area. Squirrel Cove is a popular anchorage for cruisers! The cove provides a very protected anchorage for a large number of boats and, as a bonus, there's a small village nearby, Squirrel Cove – we love an opportunity to get off the boat. That's just what we did shortly after we got settled at anchor; we jumped into the dinghy and headed toward town. The wind had really picked up outside the cove and it was a pretty rough, one-mile ride in our little…

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Kismet Stern Tied, Walsh Cove, Desolation Sound

Cruising Homfray Channel to Walsh Cove, British Columbia

Anchoring in Walsh Cove while waiting to get dock space at Toba Wildernest. One of the beauties of cruising in Desolation Sound is that when you leave one place you have plenty of spots to consider for your next days docking or anchorage. We left Laura Cove after the three-day holiday weekend and headed northeast up Homfray Channel. We passed Homfray Lodge, a stop recommended by some friends, but we decided to pass on it and continue cruising as we were hoping for a black bear sighting. We had heard bears were often sighted along the shoreline of the channel, however, after striking out on the bear sighting, we cruised up to Wildernest Lodge and radioed in to reserve a spot on their dock for the next day and night, we then proceeded on our way to Pryce Channel, down into Waddington Channel and finally into Walsh Cove where we decided to anchor for the night – all this within…

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Kismet Cruising To Melanie Cove, Desolation Sound

Cruising To Prideaux Haven

Prideaux Haven is the area made up of Melanie and Laura Coves. As you can see from the photos it was a spectacular day for cruising in Desolation Sound. This area is a very popular anchorage in Desolation Sound and since we knew ahead of time we were going during Canada's Civic Holiday, a three-day weekend, we knew it would be a busy place. As we neared Prideaux Haven, we followed a few boats into Melanie Cove and found it to be quite large and filled with boats of all shapes and sizes, many rafted together. This seemed a little too much company for our tastes, so we decided to keep moving to check out the adjacent, and smaller, Laura Cove. Float planes were busy all weekend bringing and taking people to an from boats. They landed out in the open water of Homfray Channel and if you had a ticket to fly you just dinghyied out to the plane at a predetermined…

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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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Simply Gorgeous – Flaming Gorge Reservoir

"If you liked Lake Powell, you should consider cruising the Flaming Gorge Reservoir." Shortly after we cruised Lake Powell in 2011, we started to hear about a place called the Flaming Gorge Reservoir from other boaters. They said, "If you liked Lake Powell, you should consider cruising the Flaming Gorge." With a little research we found out that the the reservoir was formed upon completion of the Flaming Gorge Dam, in 1964. That was the year the Beatles first toured the U.S. Flaming Gorge Reservoir is located in southern Wyoming and northeast Utah on 91 miles of the 730-mile long Green River. The dam was built to create hydroelectricity. Today the Reservoir is a fishing and water recreation paradise. Our cruise concentrated on the 26-mile stretch from Lucerne Valley Marina, in Utah, through the canyon area all the way down to the dam. With only 26 miles between the marina and the dam, and a bright and clear sunny day…

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Launching Kismet, Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Arriving at Lucerne Valley Marine – Flaming Gorge Reservoir

We couldn't help notice the desert like environment we found ourselves in as we approached Lucerne Valley Marina on the edge of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. After three full days of driving across country and camping at RV parks along the way, we arrived at Lucerne Valley Marina early afternoon on the fourth day. We were more than ready to test out the waters of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. As we drove from Green River, in Wyoming, south along the western side of the Gorge we couldn't help but notice the desert like environment. After making the turn and driving the 4-miles to the marina we crossed the state line into Utah, we could see the change in the landscape off into the south, the area we'd eventually be cruising in. Kismet had to clear Utah inspection which was situated right at the boat ramp. The inspection process was made easier for us by having the boat inspected when we…

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Kismet's Captain Jim Chart Review

Preparing, Packing and Planning for Our Trip West

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

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Produce On Kismet

Landing in Duncan Bay – Tennessee River

Duncan Bay was our choice for a peaceful night on the hook! Our three-week goal was to travel 250 miles on the Tennessee River meeting Loopers on their southern migration and concluding our trip after attending an AGLCA Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park Marina in Rogersville, Alabama. With three weeks to enjoy this famous heartland river, it felt good knowing we could really take our time leaving a spot late in the morning or deciding to stop early in the day to relax and familiarize ourselves with a new anchorage. With that said ,we left Green Turtle Marina, on Lake Barkley late morning. We eagerly worked our way the short distance to the Barkley Canal and transited the one-mile stretch to the Tennesse River, coming out at mile marker 25.4. It was a perfect fall day, we had the entire river to ourselves as we turned south in search of our first anchorage. Prior to leaving Green Turtle, I…

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Kismet, Green Turtle Marina, Tennessee River

Third Time’s a Charm – Tennessee River Cruise

Kismet will be cruising the Tennessee River for four weeks! For die-hard boaters, like us, there's no better feeling than heading out on the road (for trailerable boaters) on the cusp of an adventure, we were just itching to do a little river cruising. We took our Kismet on a 680-mile road trip, from Traverse City, Michigan, before we floated her off of the trailer today into Lake Barkley at Green Turtle Marina, in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Our intention is to cruise the Tennessee River for the next four weeks. We had spent a couple of days at home, prior to departure, rigging the boat up and provisioning for our month-long excursion. We also made storage arrangements, ahead of time, for our truck and trailer in Grand Rivers, Kentucky for the duration of our cruise. The reason for choosing Green Turtle Marina as a starting point is because this marina, nestled in the calming waters of the Kentucky Lakes, is a natural gathering…

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Ranger Tugs Kismet At Mackinaw Island Dock

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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Ranger Tugs Kismet, Mary Ann Cove, North Channel

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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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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Kismet Anchored, South Benjamin Island, North Channel

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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Victor With Bag Of Wild Blueberries On Dinghy

South Benjamin – Where’s the Beauty?

South Benjamin – It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I reference this because we recently spent time at the Benjamins, South Benjamin specifically, and it is our contention that the rocks on this island are gorgeous, Not to mention the blue beauties Jim found on those rocks. We recently cruised Lake Powell, in Utah/Arizona, the landscape there is ALL rock and water. Both are beautiful, however, the difference between the two locations is dramatic. Lake Powell has very large, rock buttes, plateaus and mountains, and not much greenery except for Navaho Mountain, whereas the rock formations on these North Channel islands are more intimate and, dare I say sensual. We love the beauty of them both. Have you been to one or both places? If not, take a look at both locations on our blog and let us know what you think. This trip to South Benjamin we like to talk about the beautiful…

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Kismet Anchored, South Benjamin Island, North Channel

South Benjamin Island Cove – Three Days of Peace and Quiet

South Benjamin Island Cove – Time to Relax! It's amazing how we can spend a few days on the hook and not get bored. At South Benjamin Island cove, we both had chores to do, organizing our belongings on the boat, we swam in the unseasonably warm water, played games, read books, cooked, ate and just plain relaxed. This is our big trip of the summer, we're taking it well ahead of our son's wedding in September. Things will be crazy when we get home, so we are enjoying the restful calm right now. Can you think of a better place than South Benjamin Island anchor ? Going to shore to walk around on the smooth rock formations then hike up the hill for photographs and the amazing view. It was hot during the day so we used our towels to make some shade over the cockpit area.

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Marina Sign, Spanish, North Channel, Canada

Road Trip… Canada Here We Come – Spanish Marina

In light of some of our road trips recently, the one we took today was relatively short. We started by heading north along the scenic route of northwest Michigan. We drove Kismet across the Mackinaw Bridge, through the Upper Penninsula, across the border into Canada and finally, 260 miles later, we launched her in Spanish, Ontario – right in the heart of the North Channel. We stayed one night at Spanish Marina getting things organized and prepped for our two week North Channel boating fix, it had been five years since our last visit to this magical Canadian wonderland, way too long for Lisa and I. Spanish Marina is a good central location to launch a trailered boat into the North Channel. Spanish is a great spot to launch a trailerable boat. Great facilities and everyone is friendly and helpful. The boat ramp is one of the steepest we've encountered (see below) but it all worked out once we got…

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Kismet Anchored South Benjamin, North Channel, Canada

The Crew of Kismet is North Channel Bound

The North Channel is one of our favorite cruising destinations. There I said it! For those that have been, it is most likely one of your favored destinations as well. If you haven't been, the following posts and photos, although very nice, can't possibly do justice to what Mother Nature provides the boating community. The North Channel is located in Ontario, Canada and resides in a stretch of water 160 nautical miles long at the most northern point of Lake Huron. This body of water is bordered by Georgian Bay to the east, mainland Canada to the north, the St Marys River/ Sault St Marie to the northwest. Manitoulin Island separates the North Channel from Lake Huron to the southwest. An interesting side note is that Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island… in the world. Inside the confines of the North Channel are thousands of islands, interesting rock formations, small waterside villages, well protected coves for anchoring, including a variety of…

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Kismet Cruising Torch River, Michigan

Winding Down Our Torch Lake Weekend

Kismet is heading back to the Torch Lake Bridge after a nice time at anchor during our Torch Lake weekend, we just barely squeaked under the bridge with only inches to spare (below). As we made our way through Torch River we were reminded once again how beautiful this stretch of water is. The river is fairly shallow with lots of dead headed logs, so paying full attention while cruising through this area is well worth the effort. By the time we ended our Torch Lake weekend and reached Skegemog Lake the wind had picked up. We were fighting whitecaps as we approached the boat ramp at Whitewater Township Park where we left our truck and trailer a few days ago. We got the boat out of the water before the wind really kicked up, thankful for good timing.

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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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