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Lovers Key

Lovers Key – Party Central During the Day, Quiet and Peaceful at Night

Lovers Key, at New Pass Inlet, South of Fort Myers Beach, is a Wonderful Anchorage Surrounded by Two State Parks – This is a place we “LOVE” to return to. After a brief stay at Salty Sams, in Fort Myers Beach, we followed Matanzas Pass south, past Ostego Bay. We then crossed Big Carlos Pass on our way to this anchorage between Lovers Key State Park and Pelican Landings Beach Park. We anchored in six feet of water, with the Dog Park (part of the Lovers Key State Park) to our north. The beach park was west of us and the opening to the Gulf, New Pass Inlet was between the two. It was Saturday, by the time we arrived the place was full of weekend activity. Dogs were running and playing in the dog park. Many boats beached on shore. Ferry boats hauled people back and forth to the parks all day long. Plenty of boating activity all around…

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Roosevelt Channel

Valentine’s Day in Roosevelt Channel with My Sweetie– Captiva Island, Florida

First Stop After the Flotilla to Cayo Costa is Roosevelt Channel – One of the fun parts of cruising, and anchoring, is discovering new places to throw the hook. Kismet is beginning the slow process of heading down to the Keys. On this morning, we left Cayo Costa State Park, after anchoring with the flotilla of tugs for two nights in Pelican Bay. Our destination is Roosevelt Channel, off Captiva Island, next to the Buck Key Preserve and Patterson Island Preserve. We were buddy boating on this day with the crew of Liberty, another Ranger Tugs R29S, heading to Roosevelt Channel off Captiva Island. We also had company (below) join us on the boat during lunchtime, think it was the tuna salad he was interested in, more than a boat ride.   Look who we bumped into at the head of the channel, Miss Norma, as in Driving Miss Norma fame, Norma's son, Tim and his wife, Ramie are taking a page…

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Christening Kismet

Today We Come to Name this Lady… Kismet

Christening Kismet – Christening is a Ritual Started by Seafarers Thousands of Years Ago – We finally got the boat graphics installed on Kismet – time to christen her. Christening, or naming ceremonies, were meant to bring good luck to new vessels and those who sailed on them. The tradition of christening goes back to the early days of boating – thousands of years ago. Viking ships were marked by the spilling of blood in early rituals. In the Middle Ages, religious shrines were placed on ships and a libation of wine was offered as the vessel hit the water. Wine became a substitute for the earlier practice of a blood sacrifice, consequently, for good luck and a safe voyage, wine was poured on the deck to appease King Neptune. Ancient seafaring peoples, rimming the Mediterranean, launched their ships with rituals having religious overtones. These practices, varying in form as nations and cultures evolved through the centuries, have carried over to the present christening…

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Delving Into the Oversize Load Permit Process – DIY to Save Money!

We Decided to Secure the Oversize Load Permits Ourselves – There are many things in life I enjoy, two of those things are saving money and learning. In this spirit, I forged ahead with the Oversize Load permit process one has to go through when traveling on highways with an oversized load. I looked forward to learning how it works, as well as saving money doing it myself.  If you are trailering a load, that is wider then 8 1/2 feet, you have to get an oversize/wide load permit from every state and each Canadian Provence you’ll be traveling through. You can do this yourself or pay a company to obtain the permits. Each has advantages, obviously if you do-it-yourself you'll save money. In either case, you need to gather the same data to provide each State/Province government agency. Your planned route, dates of transit, trailered measurements and weights, insurance information, state registration information and more, depending on the government…

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Loading Kismet

A Little Apprehension Loading Kismet for Her First Cross-Country Trek

Heading Back to Des Moines Where We Will Be Loading Kismet Onto its Trailer for the First Time. Apprehension is defined in Websters Dictionary as "anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen.” As our time in the Pacific Northwest was coming to an end, I was beginning to feel a little uneasy about trailering our new boat cross-country. The new Ranger Tug R29S is two feet longer and one and one-half feet wider, a little taller and a couple thousand pounds heavier than our previous R27. I've been known to worry a lot when faced with something new to me. Trailering an "oversize load" through city traffic, construction zones and steep grades in the mountains was not something to take lightly. After loading Kismet onto the trailer in Des Moines, our plan was to tow her cross-country to Ohio, where my mother lives. We would visit with her a few days after Kismet was stowed in her berth, a…

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Bell Harbor

Saving the Best for Last… Bell Harbor Marina – Seattle, Washington

PNW Operation Completed at Bell Harbor Marina – Seattle, Washington – Having concluded our mission to first… take possession of our new Ranger Tug R29S, spend a week cruising with our grandson onboard, attend a fabulous Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Roche Harbor and explore South Puget Sound. All this along with returning to a few favorites in the sound and the San Juan Islands, we are winding down our end of summer and early fall, cruising time in the Pacific Northwest, with a last stop at Bell Harbor Marina in downtown Seattle, Washington. Without a doubt, we would have to say the week with our grandson onboard was the best boating experience to date. To be more specific – the best in all of our thirty years of cruising. However, there is something quite special about docking in downtown Seattle, so we saved it for last. Not hard to savor this cruising destination for the city lights, cultural diversity, visit…

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Blake Island

Blake Island Overlooks Seattle, Washington

Blake Island is a Marine State Park in Puget Sound, Southwest from Seattle Before we leave the Pacific Northwest to put an end to our fall boating cruise in the new Ranger Tug, we had to fit in a stop in downtown Seattle. But first we wanted to linger and enjoy a few of our favorites in Puget Sound – Blake Island and Eagle Harbor. We also wanted to spend a few days in Lake Union and Lake Washington with a short stop at Fishermen's Terminal, on the way to Bell Harbor in Seattle, to visit with friends. Blake Island located north of Vashon Island, south of Bainbridge Island, and east of Manchester, is always on our to do list. Imagine being so close to Seattle you never loose sight of it from the laid-back mostly wooded island, except for a thick fog that is.   There are more ways to get to Blake Island other than your own boat.…

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Saying Goodbye is Hard to Do!

Reality of Life Does Not Stop When You Board a Boat and Take Off for Ports Unknown – The real world will eventually catch up and find us. Such is what happened during our 2017 Puget Sound cruise. My brother, Ken Targal passed away after a long battle with cancer – too soon. We took a time out and flew back to Michigan to be with family for a few days. Ken was a boater, he loved to be on the water as much as Jim and I do. We were raised on summer visits to a family cottage on Lake Huron where our family had at least five boats of varying sizes. Ken lived in the water during the summer and loved the sunfish and hydroplane in our menagerie of boats. He later moved on to speed boats. He was in his element when he was with his family out on the water, boating. He was an amazing, loving…

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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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Cruise To Margaritaville

How Do You Say Thank You?

If you are Fluid Motion, parent company of Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats, you hold the largest “Thank You Rendezvous” the boating community has ever seen! – We attended our first Ranger Tugs Rendezvous in August of 2011, just after taking delivery of our 2012 Ranger R27. At that time it was organized by the owners and supported by the Factory. It was held in Bremerton Washington that year and attended by approximately 68 boats and over a hundred owners. It was a fun event, “Parrotville Party” was the theme that year, very similar to this years theme, “Cruise to Margaritaville.” These tuggers sure like their margaritas. One has to ask why has this event gotten so big, five times the size of the one we attended in 2011? We finally decided it’s not just one thing. But it does revolve around one central fact. Fluid Motion takes care of their customers and the yearly rendezvous is a way of continuing…

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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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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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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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2017 Ranger Tugs Charlevoix Rendezvous

Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats 2017 Charlevoix Rendezvous

Coming Home to Charlevoix, Michigan for the Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats 2017 Charlevoix Rendezvous! Charlevoix Michigan was home to the Ranger Tugs Cutwater Boats 2017 Charlevoix Rendezvous. What a spectacular setting for this years event. Lisa and I have a fondness for Charlevoix as this was once our homeport. That was before we became enamoured of trailering our Ranger Tug all over the United States. So being in Charlevoix again was like coming home. Arriving on Monday morning, for our 3-day event, we had nothing but clear sunny skies while greeting attendees as they arrived. With 40 people in attendance, we had boaters from Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Washington, Ohio, Kentucky, Ontario, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Also in attendance were sponsors and representatives of Reed Yacht Sales, Manitowoc Marina and Volvo Penta. The event was also sponsored by Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats and Global Marine Insurance. By the very nature of being able to trailer these boats, Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats have…

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2017 Ranger Tugs Charlevoix Rendezvous

Own a Ranger Tug or Cutwater Boat? Add to Your Cruising Calendar!

Come One, Come All! Own a Ranger Tug or Cutwater Boat? 2018 Great Lakes Area Ranger Tugs and Cutwater Boats Summer Rendezvous Orillia, Ontario – Canada on the Trent Severn Waterway Tentative Dates:  August 17 – 19th – Since 2014, the Great Lakes Area Rendezvous has moved to different areas on, or near, the Great Lakes. This way, we can explore different ports. Last year's event was held on Round Lake in Charlevoix, Michigan. This years planned rendezvous will be held in the beautiful Trent Severn Waterway. A must see boating destination for any serious cruiser. Check Out Last Year's Event... We know it’s not just around the corner, but what better time than now to start planning a 2018 cruising itinerary. For Tugnuts and Tugettes, who are shoveling or snowplowing driveways, summer can’t come soon enough. Winter seems the best time to organize trip details and dream of parts unknown. Please take a moment to think about 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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Kismet On Sea Magazine

Nice Article on Crew of Kismet – Sea Magazine – August 2017

TRAILER BLAZING! Sea Magazine just did a fantastic article about the crew of Kismet in their August 2017 issue. Find out more about this amazing lifestyle choice. Go where you want to boat with less restrictions, less weather restraints and more affordability. Use your boat as an RV when traveling to distant cruising grounds. For the best fun of all, get out on the water and meet up with other Ranger Tug owners, from all corners of the country, at Factory or owner held rendezvous. Become part of the community! That new VolvoPenta Engine will be taking Kismet on some big adventures, by land and by sea! Hope we see you there. #RangerTugs, #VolvoPentaNA #VPtakesme #VolvoPenta Kismet Sea Magazine

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Ranger Tug Kismet

Construction of the NEW KISMET!

UPDATE on the NEW KISMET! Having sold our Ranger Tug R27 a few months ago, we ordered a Ranger Tug R29S, we'll take delivery of our new Kismet in August 2017. So, we are spending the summer boatless! Lots to do at home while we prepare to travel west to Seattle, next month, to take possession. This tug, with a sportier look and a Volvo Penta diesel engine, will take us to some exciting cruising destinations with a quieter, more stable ride. Our new tug will be just a little bit bigger, but still trailerable. Yes, Kismet will look good again in that Hero Red hull. Looking forward to a little more room to accommodate our growing grandchildren. One of our new goals is to share our love of boating with them for many years to come. Construction photos to come soon!

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Echo Bay

Pierre’s Echo Bay – A Distinct Nordic Jewel in the Broughton Islands

Pierre's Echo Bay Lodge and Marina is Famous for Their Nordic Themed Feasts – Less than 2 miles away from the previous nights anchorage in Shoal Bay sits Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge and Marina. We arrived early morning for a 2-day stay. Before making our way to our assigned slip, we stopped at the fuel dock to top off our tank. This is a chore we prefer to do on the way into a marina. That way, when we leave early morning, we don't have to wait in line at the fuel dock. After coming out of the wild, with several days spent watching for bears, whales and eagles, we found ourselves, once again, immersed in a busy and unique, floating community. Pierre's Echo Bay is well-known, by boaters in the Pacific Northwest, for their central location in the Broughton Islands and the owner's flamboyant nordic roots. Owners Pierre and Tove Landry have created a haven for boaters in the Broughton Islands with a decidedly nordic flare, a reflection of their…

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Shoal Harbour

Shoal Harbour, A Great Hidey-Hole for Bad Weather

  Shoal Harbour is Located Close to Pierre's Echo Bay at the North side of Gilford Island – After lunch, we stayed a couple of hours relaxing in the Burwood Group, it was that spectacular. Our plan was to anchor for the night in Shoal Harbour. En-route there, we explored while cruising in and out of Scott Cove and eventually Pierre's Echo Bay, taking a quick spin around the famous floating marina (we had reservations secured for the next day). After our exploration cruise, we arrived into the north arm of Shoal Harbour as planned – late afternoon. The harbour is a well-protected, shallow watered, anchorage. Navigating into Shoal Harbour can be a little nerve wracking, as one needs to negotiate a narrow channel before entering the harbour. Its called Shoal Harbour for a reason, I would guess, many parts of the bay are “shoaled.” With that said, we found a spot in five feet of water at low tide. Shoal Harbour has a logging operation located in the…

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