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San Juan Islands Sucia Island

Island in the Sun – Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington

Sucia Island Marina State Park – As long-distance cruisers we are routinely motivated by an appetite to explore the unknown. We push ourselves to seek out that which we have not yet seen, filling in with returns to some of our favorite finds. Sucia Island is one of those "return" places for us – this being our third visit to this horseshoe-shaped island refuge. We still remember the first time we set foot on this island paradise with its natural sandstone caves. The park includes 564 acres of parkland with over 77,000 feet of shoreline Spanish explorers, circa 1781, called the island “sucia” or “foul.” A nautical term describing navigational obstacles such as the rocks around the island. Previously we've moored in Shallow Bay and another time anchored in Fox Cove, but this time we opted to tie Kismet up at the southern dock in Fossil Bay. Sucia Island is roughly two-and-a-half miles long and one-half mile wide. The island…

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Port Madison

A Gem of an Anchorage – Port Madison, WA

Port Madison is One of Our Favorite Anchorages in the Puget Sound Area! – Still getting to know our new Kismet. Our first get-a-way after we dropped our grandson Silas off to his parents was to return to Port Madison, Washington. Located east of the Olympic Peninsula, at Bainbridge Island, We first visited this anchorage in 2012 soon after we took possession of our then Ranger Tugs R27. So we thought it would be appropriate to make a return visit with the new and improved R29. We are headed north of Puget Sound now, anchoring out as we make our way to Anacortes and then the San Juan Islands. We remembered how peaceful and beautiful it is there and after a week with our active grandson, Silas on board, we were ready for something quiet and restorative. There are a couple yacht clubs in this long narrow inlet, we passed them to go further back, seeking the quietest spot we could…

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Tacoma

Taking Silas Out of the Wild and Into City Life – Tacoma, WA

Lots to do with Silas in Tacoma! – By Thursday, knowing that Silas would be ready to burn up some pent up energy, we headed to Dock Street Marina in Tacoma. Just cruising into the busy port gave Silas some maritime visual stimulation. He asked lots of questions about his surroundings at the busy marina – all day long. After docking, we gathered up the accumulated garbage bags to dispose of, and walked a short distance into town. One nice thing about Dock Street Marina is its close proximity to a fairly vibrant harbor town. We wanted to take Silas to Tacoma Children’s Museum, where he could hang out with kids his own age.           Silas had fun at the museum, which was more of an inside play ground chock-full of activities.         We had all really worked up an appetite by that time, so next we headed over to The Spaghetti Factory for…

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Silas Onboard

Silas Onboard Kismet – Penrose Point State Park and Filucy Bay

We've Waited a Long Time to Have Silas Onboard for a Weeklong Adventure! – Monday afternoon, Lisa, Silas and I waved goodbye from shore to Ross and Hadley and headed back to the boat. To see the wonderment in Silas’ eyes, as we departed Gig Harbor, brought back memories of when I was a child spending time on the water in a boat. From Gig Harbor we cruised through the Narrows into Hale Passage en-route to Penrose Point State Park, off Carr Inlet. We have never cruised much in South Sound, except for one trip to Gig Harbor in 2011, when we took possession of our Ranger Tugs R27. The day was sunny warm and clear, the water very calm, so we decided to anchor out for our first night. What a delight to have Silas onboard with us. We wondered what Silas would think about sleeping on the boat, which he has done many times, but always at a…

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Silas First Boating Adventure

Silas First Boating Adventure – Gig Harbor

Our First Guests on Our New Ranger Tug, Kismet! – It is often said that people are a “product of their environment.” We had our grandson, Silas, on his first boat ride, in 2013, before he was a week old. Since that day, we’ve had a few boat rides with him, his parents and recently minted sister, Hadley. As he is now almost four years old, we thought it was time to immerse him into our boating lifestyle. So we invited him to join us for – Silas first boating adventure – a week-long cruise in South Puget Sound, Washington. There was no hesitation in his reply. "When do we go?" he said. We chose South Sound for its close proximity to Portland, where Silas, his sister, and parents live. After our Ranger Tugs orientation in Des Moines Marina, we spent several days commissioning the boat with many shopping expeditions to stock and equip the boat. We left there Saturday…

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Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation

Ranger Tugs Gives Orientation on Volvo Penta D4-300

Kenny Marrs met us at the boat in the morning of day two of our orientation. He would be covering the Volvo Penta D4-300 engine operations, Garmin electronics, dinghy deployment and retrieval and much more. We’ve known Kenny from the beginning of our Ranger Tugs association, a nicer young man you will never meet. We have seen Kenny in action, the dedication to his customers needs is intuitive and honest. Thanks again, Kenny!  

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Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation

Ranger Tugs R29S Kismet Orientation Day

Even Experienced Boaters Need Help Sometimes! – Because of our many years of boating experience (six of those years on a Ranger Tug) we didn’t feel we needed to have the “New Boat Delivery Experience” provided by Ranger Tugs when we took possession of our new Ranger Tug R29S – but, they insisted. Boy were we wrong! Way wrong! We have been avid boaters almost all of our adult lives. In all the new boat purchases we’ve made we’ve never, ever, EVER had such a thorough and rewarding new delivery experience like we recently had when taking delivery of our new R29S. The only other experience that was close to comparing was when we took possession of our R27, in 2011. In six years, Ranger Tugs has only improved the process, amazingly not cutting back on it in any way. We think they get how important this is to the new owner’s buying and satisfaction quota meter. Pretty smart in…

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Packing

Insights Into Jim’s Packing Science

Packing for a Cross Country Trip is Like Preparing for a Marathon Getting ready for a cross-country trip requires some mental gymnastics! We’ve only got one shot to pack up the truck before we head west. Better to be well organized from the start. We knew it was going to be tight, especially since we were taking a few containers of personal items to our son, Ross and his family, who live in Portland, OR. We actually started the packing process back in April when we unloaded the contents, of our sold Ranger Tugs R27, from our truck into the garage. I sorted through it all and weeded out things we never used. Then I put most of the boat paraphernalia into containers that would eventually fit neatly in the bed of the truck. Once we depart home there's no chance we’re turning around, unless it’s Lisa who’s not in the truck. We are fairly familiar with the drill and…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Ready and Waiting at the Factory – Kismet a Ranger Tug R29S

When does a boat become a boat? My thoughts are... “when it is ready to float and cruise!” Based on the final assembly production photos we just received from the factory, it appears Kismet, a Ranger Tug R29S, is ready to become a boat. The Ranger Tug R29S sports a larger head than our R27. There will also be more privacy with the head being positioned in the stateroom. The stateroom is a step up for us, having slept on a V-berth for the last six years on the R27. We are also loving the spacious under bed storage area. There will be plenty of natural lighting, more elbow room in the galley for better maneuverability. We had our new Kismet built in the same Hero Red as our recently sold R27, as this is our favorite boat color. You just can't beat the photo op of a bright red hull sitting on deep blue water. You might also notice the brows around the…

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Kismet Ranger Tugs R-29S

Construction of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S

Marrying the Hull of the New Kismet Ranger Tugs R29S Having something built from scratch, such as a house, car or in this case a boat is usually best left to the professionals. As you’ll see from the following photos there is evidence that a tremendous amount of thought and mindful design goes into building a boat, before and during manufacturing. There is a coordinated effort, before the actual production starts, to have on hand all of the hardware, wiring, hoses, batteries, glass, lighting, engine, generator, electronics, solar panel, seating cushions, tanks, etc. This ensures production occurs smoothly and on time. If not planned properly, I could see how delays and backlogs in production could very easily happen. In this case our new Kismet was complete almost before we knew it, that’s because of the efficiency of the professionals at Ranger Tugs… they know how to build boats and they build them well. In the past, when we've ordered a…

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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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Kismet Docked, Legacy Harbour Marina, Fort Myers

Fun Times, Good Friends – Fort Myers, Florida

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

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Kismet Docked In Sanibel, Florida

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

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

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Pristine Anchorage at Mullet Key – Fort DeSoto State Park, FL

Two Fortresses Were built to Guard Against Invasions that Never Came, Mullet Key is one of them As one leaves the Gulf of Mexico to enter Tampa Bay, Mother Nature provides two keys that stand sentinel to the entrance of Tampa Bay. In 1889, Mullet Key, to the north, and Egmont Key, to the south, had fortresses built to guard against invasions that never came, remnants of both forts remain today in the parks that were created in the late 1800s. Robert E Lee made the recommendation, in 1849, that both Mullet and Egmont keys become fortified. Fort DeSoto, on Mullet Key, was built in 1889 and later abandoned by the military in stages from 1910 to the mid 1940’s. In 1962 Mullet Key was turned over to Pinellas County and became the Fort DeSoto Park. In our quest to find new and unique anchorages during our winter cruises, we stumbled upon Mullet Key while doing some research of Florida West Coast cruising grounds. On the charts…

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Captain Jim On Phone

Launch Day – Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs is a Favorite Stop for Kismet! Kismet was launched at the usual place, Anaclote River Park, just northwest of Tarpon Springs across the river. Turtle Cove Marina was our choice for dockage during our week-long stay while we did all of our usual activities which included, food shopping, visiting our favorite Greek bakery and restaurant for Greek salads. We walked all over town and the sponge docks soaking up the distinctive aromas and unique sounds of the Greek culture. In between all that we did our final provisioning of the boat for our trip south down the ICW. We got the boat organized and cleaned up, a few things needed fixing, so we got parts that were readily available in town. It's nice to start out on the water with a clean, organized boat. One of the highlights of our stay was when my brother, Mart rode his bike all the way from Dunedin to visit. Turtle Cove Marina is located just off the…

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Oysters For Dinner

“Oysters Rock Yo Fella”

In Search of Apalachicola Oysters! First we stored Kismet at TTC Storage in Eastpoint, then we went in search of a well-deserved oyster feast. We found TTC to be a great place to store the boat. We feel confident she will be in safe hands during our return home for the holidays. After Kismet was stored in her spot in the building and with the recommendation of Mike, owner of TTC Storage, we headed out of town to Lynn's Quality Oysters. Nothing short of delicious is how we found their specialty, Captain Jack's oyster platter. This meal of Apalachicola oysters was going to have to last us awhile – until we return to pick up our boat in January. The shallow waters of Apalachicola Bay produces most of Florida’s oysters. Big Bayou, a remote and pristine area on the western part of the bay, near Saint Vincent Island, a National Wildlife Refuge may produce the most. Oysters from Apalachicola Bay are considered Apalachicola oysters. Apalachicola…

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Eastpoint, Florida – A Heart as Big as the Bay!

Retrieving Kismet from Storage – Eastpoint Florida Seems like it was just yesterday when we left Kismet at TTC Storage in Eastpoint Florida, in fact it has been several months. We like to cruise in the fall, somewhere south of Michigan and then leave our boat in storage somewhere near where we plan to cruise after the holidays. This time, after our trip to the AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association's 2014 Rendezvous and cruise through Florida's Panhandle, we ended up in Eastpoint to store the boat. We arrived at TTC Storage and met the owner, Mike, at the building. Within half an hour we had Kismet out of storage and ready to go. With a little help from Mike, we located a great oyster restaurant within walking distance of the storage building, had to get our oyster fix before heading out on the road toward Carrabelle.     Eastpoint is an authentic fishing town with a heart as big as the bay. Here you…

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If You Rest… You Rust!

The crew of Kismet is On the Road Again! If it appears that we are eating our way back to the boat, you are right, we are! Seems like we are always on the move, north, south, east or west. 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 and very unassuming. However, one step inside and we knew we were in for a treat. It looked like a well-known trucker stop with a huge parking lot for big rigs, plenty of room to park Kismet. One thing we have to consider when stopping for food…

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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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Sunset, Ingram Bayou

Ingram Bayou – “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... Ingram Bayou is 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 Kismet. We watched a few dolphins herding their day's catch up along the shore. After playing a few games and soaking in the beauty of the bayou we retired for a peaceful sleep on the hook. Morning brought a whole new perspective to Ingram Bayou (below).

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Two Ranger Tugs

And Then There Were Two… Kismet and Illusions

Two Ranger Tugs on the Rocks – North Channel, Canada 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 the arrival of another Ranger Tug, Illusions. We have been corresponding with friends Mike and Jess for several months planning where we'd meet while we were both in the North Channel for the rendezvous. It's a good thing we agreed on South Benjamin on August 2nd ahead of time by email because…

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Ranger Tug Kismet, South Benjamin Island, Canada

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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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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Favors, View, Covered Portage Cove

Have a Ranger Tug or Cutwater?

Join Us in the North Channel for the 2014 Ranger Tug 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 corner. With that in mind it’s time to start the official registration process for the 2014 Ranger Tug North Channel Rendezvous. The Rendezvous takes place at the Little Current Downtown Docks on Manitoulin Island in Little Current, Ontario; the marina is centrally located in the heart of the North Channel. The dates for the Rendezvous are August 7, 8…

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Downtown Seattle

Seattle – Miss You Already!

Downtown Seattle is within close proximity to everything we could possibly need during our stay. 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. We stayed for two nights there waiting for an available slip at Bell Harbor Marina, 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 everything we could possible need is with 10 blocks or so of the marina. This proximity provides us with an endless amount of activities. Our favorite is the Pike Place Market.. of course. While waiting for our slip to open up at the marina, we cruised around the harbor and happened upon two-year old Serene,…

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