July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View
By Kismet, Sunday, February 1, 2009

When Jim and I first became boaters together we had to decide what we wanted in a starter boat for our family. My only requirement was that it have a small v-berth so that, occasionally, we could try camping on it overnight. Jim and our three sons were probably more interested in speed and water skiing, but Jim was open to this idea and we soon found a small 21-foot Four Winns Sundowner with a cuddy-cabin. The small v-berth met my requirement and at the same time provided the speed and opportunity for some water sports for the boys. Little did we know, as we discussed this purchase and felt the excitement of many family outings and memories soon to be made, how that little v-berth would enable us to experience the outdoors and Mother Nature in ways we never could’ve dreamed had we not started out with that small cuddy cabin.

Our current Kismet anchored at the beautiful Diamond Island in Tennessee

We started our overnights on the boat in some of the small inland lakes in northern Michigan — Torch Lake, Elk Lake, and Long Lake. We’re a blended family, so every other weekend we’d water ski, swim, or just zip around and cool off in a nearby lake with the boys, but then on the weekends they were at their other parents’ and it was just the two of us. We’d come home from work on a Friday and spontaneously decide to pack up a cooler of finger food, towels, and swimsuits and head out to the boat, which we kept moored in East Grand Traverse Bay at the end of our street in Traverse City, Michigan.

We’ve found that fog can enhance the visual effect when waking up at anchor.

We started anchoring out in these smaller lakes where the elements would be a little more manageable for our little boat and for us. At the time Jim was studying for tests at work and I started reading again, something I hadn’t had time to do since I’d become a mother. We were starting to appreciate the simplicity of making the water our home for the night and getting by on just what we’d grabbed up as we hurried to get to the boat. We ate what we’d packed in the cooler, and had a little port-a-potty for convenience. We were in heaven.

This Little Lizard creek anchorage was our last stop on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.

 

There were many nights where we laid on the back of that boat in a warm embrace under the twinkling stars while swinging on the anchor close to shore. When I think of the romantic times the two of us have shared in all the years we’ve known each other, this is right up there on top of the list.

This small anchorage near Sarasota, Florida, was as peaceful as it looks

Many years and three boats later we’re still reaping the benefits of spending time “on the hook.” Our boundaries have expanded but our interest in the simple things to experience has not. Our boats have grown in size but now we almost exclusively live on board, having sold our house three years ago. What we’ve come to realize is that one of the tradeoffs we made for giving up the land-based life is the ability to have a “million-dollar view” for free and not just the same old view day in and day out. Oh no, we can have a different, priceless, panoramic vista every night if we so desire.

When our boat was launched in Seattle our first anchorage was on Lake Washington in Cozy Cove.

We’ve anchored in the middle of neighborhoods in southern Florida; in Seattle, Washington; and on the Tennessee River, surrounded by palatial mansions and million-dollar summer homes. And while those times have been interesting, the incomparable experience of being anchored surrounded by nature is almost indescribable. And guess what? No one lives there except unspoiled nature — birds, fish, and wild animals. Add to that the ability to watch magnificent sunsets almost every night. Really, what could be better?

We anchor to experience the quietness, to escape distractions, to gaze at the sky on a starry night, to be entertained by nature’s rhythms, the sound of the tide coming in and going out, and the amusing antics of the local wildlife. We’ve had many highlights while enjoying this type of lifestyle. We’ve seen bear, moose, snakes, alligators, dolphins, manatee, turtles, sharks, an assortment of birds and fish. We’ve seen shooting stars and been able to view the brilliant skies above with no other visible light present. All this and it’s free to boot! I’m unabashed to tell you that this has great appeal for us as well; we love saving money.

On our way into Destin Harbor in Florida this group of dolphins decided to play by our boat.

Aside from communing with nature, anchoring out has also brought us new friendships as we’ve motored over in our dinghy to other boats to introduce ourselves and say hello, or other neighboring boaters have rowed or motored their tenders over to our boat to do the same. Sometimes we’ll be anchored out in an inlet that’s heavily populated with homes or cottages and we’ll have a resident call us on the radio to welcome us, or one might venture out to our boat by some small craft to welcome us and hear about what we’re doing, or express their curiosity about where we’re going and our boating lifestyle. We’ve been asked to extend our stay in their cove so that they could put together an impromptu barbeque or breakfast. These moments are right up there with the thrill of experiencing Mother Nature in all her glory, because sometimes there’s nothing that warms the heart more than a connection made between one human and another.

We met this fisherman on the Illinois River when he stopped by our boat to chat.

Sure, there can be some downsides to this lifestyle. We’ve experienced a few sleepless nights when bad weather threatened, or we when we were uncertain about our hook holding through the night. We’ve had a few times when it didn’t hold and those are the times that we thank God for the person who invented the anchor alarm. Sometimes even though we’ve held tight, the wind blowing the boat around is a little noisy and makes it impossible to ignore.

Once when anchored on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway, although we were in a small well-protected harbor, a windy rainstorm kicked up in the middle of the night. We could feel our anchor dragging and decided to pull it up, as there wasn’t enough room in this cove to be on a dragging anchor. As we raised it up we started to see that the problem was a small, four-foot tree attached to our anchor, roots and all, and wrapped around the tree was an anchor and small chain wrapped around the roots. No wonder we had a hard time getting a good hold!

We had to move over to a marina nearby to dock the boat so we could pull the whole mess off of our anchor. It was quite a production involving a lot of mud all over our boat — not to mention the interruption to our night’s sleep. We decided to just stay at the dock the rest of the night. It’s no fun to have to get up in the pitch dark in sometimes-nasty weather in the middle of the night to deal with an anchor problem. But the benefits of all the good experiences outweigh the few bad.

Another hazard of anchoring with Mother Nature is that it can be a breeding ground for insects. No-see-ums, mosquitoes, and flies are the most common culprits, each putting a damper on one’s desire to get close to nature. When you’re in an area with no-see-ums you must close all the windows as they’re so small that they can fly right through the screens. It’s kind of disappointing when you get to an anchorage at dusk and before you even get settled a swarm of bugs decides your boat is the place to be. You learn to keep a sense of humor in these situations, so these obstacles become insignificant in relation to the bigger picture.

Jim loves to relax at anchor after a long day captaining the boat. After getting settled at the end of the day we like to sit up on the flybridge for a fantastic view of our anchorage.

As our hunger for expanding our horizons seems to continue and increase, we press on in our explorations of the country, and we seek out more and more priceless panoramas and experiences to store in our memory banks. Jim and I are constantly thankful for the opportunities that we’ve had while boating, and for discovering some of the pristine anchorages in this beautiful country where we’ve dropped our hook