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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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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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Captain's Review On Kismet, Ganges, B.C.

Local Knowledge is Important When Cruising Desolation Sound

When setting out to explore new cruising grounds it’s important to have a plan, ours is created first by doing as much research as we can from charts and guide books followed up by input from other cruisers we know, ones with a great deal of experience in the area we are headed to. However, over the years we’ve learned the best way to make sure you hit the high spots of an area are to talk with a boater who lives and cruises there. We Sought Local Knowledge Before and During Our Cruise in Desolation Sound. With that in mind I made it a mission to gain as much local knowledge as I could before and during our Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation Sound trip so we could maximize our experience during our one-month in British Columbia. The first part of our plan was to poll as many Canadian Ranger Tug owners in Ganges during our two-day stay, ones that…

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Ranger Tugs Captain's Meeting, Comox B.C.

Fresh Shrimp Tonight in Comox, British Columbia

Leaving Nanaimo, we decided not to cruise with the pod on our way to Comox. It was an easy run with calm seas and sunny skies. Once settled in at the dock, there were more Ranger Tug owners to meet and hot showers to take. Happy hour consisted of another Captain's briefing on the outer dock. Jeff reviewed the events of the day and covered what would happen the next day. Cruising runs like we've done the last two days takes a lot out of you. Not much lingering on the dock in Comox after happy hour tonight. After reviewing our supplies, a trip to the grocery store seemed in order, so we asked Don and Brenda, on Kenji Maru to walk up with us. Comox has a full-sized grocery store not more than a few blocks from the marina. This being our first time in this area, we're not sure where the last big grocery store will be. When…

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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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Forty-Five Ranger Tugs Gather at Ganges, British Columbia

Ganges Harbor, on Saltspring Island, is a short 10-mile run from Montague Harbor and the gathering point for the boaters participating in the Ranger Tugs 2013 Desolation Sound Cruise. We left early for Ganges, with yet another blue skied day with just a light breeze and fairly calm waters. We looked forward to meeting up with about 45 Ranger Tugs and their owners for five days of socializing, pot lucks, and finally taking three days to cruise together up to Desolation Sound, and this was just the Ranger Tug boats, we would meet up with a group of Cutwater's (about another ten or fifteen) in Nanaimo for the cruise to Comox. We met folks from Illinois, Georgia, Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon with most being from Washington and Canada's British Columbia, even Ganges. We wanted to arrive early so we could get our boat washed up and looking pretty, but much to my surprise and dismay I found out the…

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Cap Sante Marina – The Anacortes Connection

There were several Ranger Tug owners we wanted to connect with while we were at Cap Sante Marina. We'd been to Anacortes, Washington, the gateway to the San Juans Islands, several times in the past 15 years so it felt a little like a home away from home for us. After launching the boat and stowing the trailer and truck it was time to get organized for some serious PNW cruising. We needed to stock up and collect our thoughts a little. Guess the week we spent on the road took it's toll. Lisa kept saying maybe we need another day to get organized so we'd not feel so rushed, plus there were several Ranger Tug owners we wanted to connect with while we were at Cap Sante Marina. We spent a couple of days provisioning at the local Safeway, setting the dinghy up, unloading the truck and correcting a hydro lock I created in my 4-stroke outboard. Apparently I did…

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Dinner With Friends

Tug Nuts Reunite in Marathon

Just a few days before our week-long visit at the Harbour Cay Club in Marathon came to an end, Mike and Jess (below-middle), on Illusions (shown above) and Rich and Cheryll (below-right), on Roam (both couples own Ranger Tugs) joined us and before we knew it, we were having a mini Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Marathon. We had all recently met in Fort Myers Beach during the First Annual Ranger Tug Southern Rendezvous. We communicated often as we were traveling different routes down to the Keys with the hope a get-together would be possible – at least for a few days. As luck would have it both boats arrived at the marina on Saturday – we quickly caught up on all of our travels over an impromptu dinner at the marina.

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Boater Friends On Kismet

Cheers with Good Friends

CHEERS... Here's to Here & Here's to There. Whenever we meet up with boaters from our homeport of Charlevoix, Michigan, we have a special toast, and it's always the same. The HERE is always where we currently are and the THERE is always where we love to be and it's always the same... Charlevoix. We've been meeting up with Hal and Marianne (above) in Florida the last few years. (Hal is our harbormaster in Charlevoix, Michigan and they are both dear friends.)  This year they decided to try Cape Coral area so it worked perfectly with our schedule. Before we left home, we were in touch with friends Bill and Mary (below – also from Charlevoix), and we weren't surprised that they would be in the Naples area during the week we planned at Moss Marine for the Ranger Tugs Rendezvous. We thought it would be fun to get a group from Charlevoix together to catch up far from home. First drinks on the boat…

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Happy Hour On Dock, Fort Myers Beach

Shrimp Night Dockside, Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Two days after the Ranger Tug 2012 Southern Rendezvous planned festivities there are still five Ranger Tugs at dock, including: Roam, Kismet, Illusions, Gipetto and Caroline Ann, most staying for the week. This really give us an opportunity to spend some quality time, as a smaller group, with those still here. We figured since we are situated almost across from the shrimp boats in the harbor that we should track some down and have a party on the dock tonight. Jim and Mike, on Illusions, took a dinghy ride over to where the shrimp boats are tied up, found a seafood market and picked up some of the freshest and biggest jumbo shrimp we've seen in a long time, a bag for almost every boat. Jim came back to Kismet with our stash, cleaned and deveined them while I made cocktail sauce, cole slaw and a nacho dip. We all met on the dock at the appointed time with our…

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The Historic Village of Boca Grande

The Historic Village of Boca Grande, on the island of Gasparilla, is located at the southern tip of the Cape Haze Peninsula on Florida’s Southwest Coast midway between Sarasota and Ft. Myers. Nature has blessed this lush barrier island with seven miles of powdery white beaches stretching the entire Gulf side. Downtown is just a short walk from the marina and the beach, on the Gulf side, not much farther. We spent the afternoon of the day we arrived, and the morning of the day we departed, exploring the town and stopping in a few shops on our way to the beach. The residents on this island zip around on golf carts and seem to be very happy about spending their winters in paradise. A local resident recommended 3rd Street Cafe, so we had breakfast there in their "Secret Garden." The best homemade hash browns, with homemade blueberry jam, we can remember ever having in a restaurant.

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Time for Some Big City Action in Sarasota

When we've been anchoring out a lot we look forward to getting into a big city marina and we can't think of a better place along this beautiful Gulf Coast than Sarasota. It has everything here to satisfy a cruising boater. Nice marina facilities (Marina Jack), restaurants right on the dock, music to serenade you to sleep, a newer downtown area with shops and more restaurants and if you happen to be there on a weekend – an amazing farmer's market and art fair. We love Sarasota! The Satasota Farmer's Market is a visual treat. The quality of produce available is exceptional, we didn't need a lot since we recently provisioned but we had to buy some fresh corn and watermelon.

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De Soto Point and Longboat Key Anchorages

De Soto Point Anchorage on the Manatee River A quiet night and calm waters greeted us at DeSoto Point on the Manatee River (above and below). A few other boats were already anchored for the night when we arrived late afternoon. It was late so we stayed on the boat, made dinner and enjoyed the sunset. Longboat Key, a Favorite Anchorage We are loving the nice January weather, it makes anchoring out a real treat. We had company tonight when Captain Kathe and a group of women came by to say hi.

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Gulfport Marina, Florida

First Time in Gulfport, Florida

On our way to Gulfport today. Great cruising weather, calm as could be, not too many boat wakes to contend with and we were happy about that. We've heard lots of good reports from other boaters about this little community near St. Petersburg. We made arrangements to stay one-night at the Gulfport Marina, just about a mile from the downtown area. Here's an artsy idea for your car when it needs a new paint job. Tribal art! This is just a little representation of this little community. Many restaurants along the beach area but lots of art galleries and gift stores dot this small town. Charming. If you've been reading our blogs, you'll know that sometimes we pass the time playing Liverpool. A fun game and keeps us entertained when there's not much else to do. Here is a cute little restaurant, we liked the chalk board on the door. Instant, directional signage to display specials or to tell you to…

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Captain Greg And Monster

Captain Greg and Monster Help Us Fuel Up

Before leaving Tarpon Springs we needed to top off the fuel tank, we found the F & Y fuel dock close to the Sponge Docks and we were surprised at all the help we got. Captain Gregg and his little dog Monster greeted us along with the fuel guy and helped us secure the boat and fuel the boat. Captain Greg is pretty proud of his companion, Monster. The captain is a real Tarpon Springs fisherman, he and his crew, including Monster, go out in the Gulf several days at a time until his boat's fish, holding tank is full of catch, sometimes as long as 11 days. We sure do meet some colorful characters on the water.

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Kismet Docked, Tarpon Springs, Florida

Turtle Cove Marina – Tarpon Springs, FL

The last three times we were in Tarpon Springs by boat, we stayed at the Municipal Marina by the sponge docks. We always enjoyed the stay for it's proximity to the great restaurants and it's also a good spot to hear the Greek music and smell the great aromas wafting from all the little restaurants, but the facility is slowly deteriorating and we just felt it was time to try something different. After hearing several recommendations for Turtle Cove Marina from other boaters we decided to give it a try and we were not disappointed. It's also only a couple of blocks from the Sponge Docks. We were well looked after by the team at Turtle Cove. Can't tell you how often we were asked if we needed anything. The facilities are first class and more like a resort with a clubhouse, within a short walk from the marina, and some unexpected amenities that surprised us. Peter (below-right) took good…

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RV Park Palace Storage

Picking Up Kismet and Heading South

RV Park Palace more than met our expectations for a safe and reliable place to store our Ranger Tug, Kismet, for a few months. Tim took care of everything we needed to have done to the boat – it was freshly washed, tires checked for us and after a few minutes, spent mostly talking with Tim and his crew, we were on our way, heading south for a winter adventure in Florida.

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Shaking Hands

Kismet Goes Into Storage Until After the Holidays

It was a fun trip but sometimes good things must come to a... temporary halt (I was about to say END but heaven forbid that our boating lifestyle would end when it just seems to have started). Before we headed out west we had made arrangements with the RV Park Palace, in Chattanooga, to store our boat there while we went home to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. We had a good feeling about this place just from talking with Tim Aslinger. We drove into the RV Park Palace's compound and prepared to store Kismet. Then we watched as they drove her inside a very clean and organized storage facility. Tim and staff all assured us that what we had learned during our research of the facility about the security and any maintenance issues would be up to our expectations. During our inspection of the trailer and boat outside, this nail was discovered in one of the trailer…

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Boat At Joe Wheeler, Rogersville, Alabama

AGLCA Fall Rendezvous – Rogersville, AL

As "Loopers," we were excited to be able to tow our boat from Lake Powell to Rogersville, Alabama for the AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association) 2011 Fall Rendezvous. Little did we know that, not only would we make new friends, we'd run into a few Loopers that we did the Loop with back in 2005/06. Tom Conrad (above-center), here with his wife Patsy and Janice Kromer, was the MC for the rendezvous. He did a great job. Jim did a presentation on the St. Johns River. Fellow AGLCA Advisory Board members, Audrey Stehle and Patsy Conrad (above-left). Susann and Alan Syme (above-right). Tom and Patsy Conrad (above – Tom's not only the MC for this event, but he's also the famous weather guy Loopers rely on when anticipating the Gulf crossing). Fellow AGLCA Advisory Board members, Rick and Betsy Johnson (above-left). Patsy and Ron Stob sang an original Looper song while Ted Stehle, Steve and Janice Kromer manned the…

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Kismet Beach Anchored, Padre Bay Canyon, Lake Powell

Back to Padre Bay Canyon – Last Night at Anchor in Lake Powell

We spent our last night in Lake Powell anchored in Padre Bay, the same area we anchored our first night out. This time we found a little cove that was quite a bit more protected just over the hill from our first anchorage site. With a very clean, sandy beach off our bow the site was closely protected on three sides. Jim is an old pro at burying the anchor now. It seems like it only takes a few minutes now to get settled versus the 45 min. we started out with. Here (above) you can see how our back was protected from wind and wakes off our aft deck. Our bow headed into this hill, it had the most sand we've seen in one spot on the trip at an anchorage. Morning light on Kismet (above). Time to leave. We stalled as long as we could pulling up and stowing the anchors. Time to return to Wahweap Marina and…

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Boat Beach Anchored, Dungeon Canyon. Lake Powell

Dungeon Canyon Took Our Breaths Away

We found Dungeon Canyon to be quite impressive. It's another wide open area with lots of sites to beach anchor, plenty of space between boats for added privacy. As the day progressed, we enjoyed watching the way the light changed on the different rock faces surrounding us as the sun set and the warm, gold glow in the canyon turned more to a pinkish yellow before it cooled off and finally set just before the canyon turned dark. The view at dusk off the stern of Kismet. (Above)     Jim is giving a demonstration on how we embark and disembark the boat when beach anchored in Lake Powell.     The view at dusk off the starboard side of Kismet. (Above) You can barely see Kismet here (above and to the left), just a tiny speck in this vast canyon. Lots of opportunities for beach anchoring in this canyon.         Jim is checking to see if he could get an…

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