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

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

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

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

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


Chance Encounters
By Kismet, Monday, February 15, 2010

Lisa and I have recently spent two months exploring the towns and waterways along the eastern coast of the United States, with our friends Louis and Diane Wade, from Morehead City, North Carolina. We’ve had buckets of fun together visiting towns, meeting people, playing games and exploring museums, anchorages and marinas that were new to us. So it was only natural that we were a little sad when, because of different travel plans, Bella Luna and Kismet went our separate ways in early January. As we started to travel by ourselves again, I took some time to reflect on the many people we’ve met recently while boating and how most of these chance encounters would never have happened if we had not been traveling by boat on the water. I also marveled at how many “encounters” have turned into budding relationships and hopefully lifelong connections.

Tied together at anchor makes it convenient for social hour, dinner or games.

Our last day and night with Bella Luna began as we departed Ortega Landing in Jacksonville, Florida to head south on the ICW in search of warm weather. Bella Luna’s ultimate goal was a quick shot down to Marathon while we were heading south slower and then west by crossing the state through Lake Okeechobee. We wanted to tour the west coast of Florida and have our mothers visit us, for a week each, before heading to Key West for a two-month stay. Our anchorage for the night was off Pine Island and by this time in our travels we had our anchoring routine perfected. We would drop our anchor, get a good set then Bella Luna would come along side of us and use their lines to tie off onto Kismet’s portside. We’d been doing it this way for two months without any problems, worries or cares.

Dinner that night was on Bella Luna, we laughed, played cards, reminisced, made plans to meet in the Keys and finally said good night. Because we were going separate ways the next morning, and with Bella Luna’s lines tied to our boat, I told Louis I’d get up at 7 a.m. to help them set off. Much to my surprise I slept until 7:30 and when I went above to help them I was equally surprised to see that they had already departed. I saw them off in the distance on the other side of a marsh working their way south and thought of how much fun we had traveling together, all because of a chance encounter back in 2008 when we first met in Charlevoix, Michigan, our homeport.

Lisa and I sure had a great time with the Wades, who here are getting ready to explore in their dinghy.

With only 14 miles to reach St. Augustine, our next destination, we took advantage of the quiet surroundings of the anchorage and had a leisurely breakfast before pulling up the anchor and heading out. Once settled into the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, Lisa asked if one of the boats she noticed as we were docking was a Californian and if it could be our friends Ed and Linda, on Shore Thing. Upon close inspection of the boat in question we found it was not them so we proceeded into town for lunch and a walking tour of our country’s oldest city.

That’s me posing for Lisa at Habana Village, one of favorite restaurants in St. Augustine.

After lunch at our favorite Cuban restaurant, Habana Village, and a short walk around town, we returned to the marina to find a few more boats had arrived in our absence. Scanning the marina to see who had arrived I noticed another Californian had docked right across from us and to our amazement it was our friends Ed and Linda on Shore Thing. How does this happen? We got together for happy hour, shared boating stories and discussed our winter cruising schedules. This was another encounter with people we met while boating on the Illinois River when we were both stranded on the free wall, in Joliet, Illinois when it was flooded in 2008. We both departed the next day with different schedules and destinations but I’m confident we’ll meet up again.

Chance encounters always need to be recorded with a photo, I guess to remind us of all the good times. Here we are with Ed and Linda, Shore Thing, in St. Augustine.

Before our departure from St. Augustine we had Jack and Chris Carpenter, from Anastasia Island, over to our boat. We first met Jack while we were at dock in Palatka, Florida, during our tour of the St. Johns River in December. Jack was raised in Palatka and makes an annual trip back to his hometown and he happened to be walking the city dock the day we were there. He stopped by our boat and, during our initial discussion, we found we shared a passion for the water and that he and Chris had done a lot of cruising. That day in Palatka Jack invited us to give them a call whenever we were in the St. Augustine area.

The morning of our departure from St. Augustine Lisa made a cinnamon coffee cake (I love it when we have guests) for us to share with the Carpenters when they came that morning for coffee. We had the best time sitting in the saloon of Kismet talking about our mutual cruising adventures. They’ve been to the Eleuthera, Exuma and Berry Islands and beyond a number of times and since this is somewhere Lisa and I want to eventually explore, we were glued to everything they had to say. Before they left Jack offered to take us for a road tour of Anastasia Island, which we’d only seen by water, so the perspective from land, of this area, was a new experience for us. The highlight of the short road trip was when we stopped at their home. Nestled just off the ICW and tucked up under the protection of some pine trees they have a beautiful home with a display of boating memorabilia from their many cruises and the local area. Another chance encounter but it’s about to get even better!

We wished we could have spent more time with the Carpenters who gave a tour of Anastasia Island and their beautiful home.

Our next stop, after a short cruise, was an anchorage just 14 miles south of St. Augustine and a few miles past Jack and Chris’ home. Our anchorage was in the Matanzas River just off Fort Matanzas where Jack volunteers once a week. We positioned ourselves and lowered our anchor, letting out plenty of scope before securing a good set. We noticed the current was running a strong three to four knots but with a 100-foot of chain rode and our fairly new Buegle anchor we had no real anchoring concerns. The only concern “we” (code for Lisa) had with the current was getting back to the boat, by dinghy, after our tour of the fort. You see, our outboard engine had stopped running and we’d been powering our dinghy recently the old-fashioned way… by rowing. The trip back to Kismet from the ferry dock was going to be against the current but I promised Lisa that I would get us back. These were famous last words that came back to bite me.

We cast the dinghy off and I confidently rowed us to shore, and secured the dinghy on the beach, so far so good. We made our way to the Visitor Center and caught the next ferry over to Fort Matanzas. On the way over one of the volunteers (sorry I don’t remember his name) was asking about our boat and the ferry captain, Thomas, asked how we knew the Carpenters. Unbeknownst to us, Jack had called the park to alert everyone of our arrival, so they knew all about us before we ever got on the ferry.

It appears Kevin is telling someone to shoot the cannon at that there yonder vessel anchored by the fort!

Once we arrived at the 270-year old fort, built by the Spanish to ward off the British from St. Augustine, we learned all about Fort Matanzas from Kevin McCarthy, an enthusiastic history buff, who was dressed in full period attire. An Irishman, dressed as a Spaniard, talking to his guests about American history. We enjoyed our tour and history lesson and left for our ferry ride back to the visitor center to retrieve our dinghy and row back to Kismet, or at least that’s what was supposed to happen.

Have you ever had your mind send you a message that your body’s ignored? Upon our return to the dinghy this happened to me when we were putting the dinghy back into the water. I saw a rock and my mind instantly told me that I’d better lift the dinghy pontoon over the rock instead of drag it across it. My body’s action paid no attention to my mind and that’s when I heard the unmistakable hissing sound of escaping air and looked helplessly at the deflating pontoon.

We cannot say enough good things about our rescue team, seen here delivering our limp tender back to Kismet.

With no way back to the boat and dusk fast approaching we returned to the Visitor Center to sheepishly ask what help we might be able to receive from all of our newfound friends. We were amazed at how quickly Thomas went into action by having the ferry dispatched from the fort to the beach where our sad deflated dinghy sat. With Linda at the controls of the ferryboat, Thomas, the volunteer, and I secured the dinghy to the side of the ferry so it could be towed back to our anchored boat. With the ferry departing for the last trip of the day back to the park dock and the dinghy once again secured to the deck of our boat, we felt relieved to be back on Kismet before dark and thankful for all the help we received. Without the help from Thomas, and the rest of the park’s staff during the waning hours of sunlight, shortly before they would have all left for the day, Lisa and I would have had a very cold night on the beach and I would have felt bad about not being able to keep my promise to her.

As Lisa stated “if this is the worst thing that ever happens to us on the water we should feel fortunate” and I agree, after all it was fixable.