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


Wishing Star Interlude
By Kismet, Friday, April 1, 2011

Lisa Targal Favors

Although we have recently been focusing on and researching boats for our future vessel, our trip to Florida also had a little respite from boat shopping. Our friend Rick Garton needed his Fathom 40 (yes just like our recently sold Fathom) moved, after the Trawler Fest, from Fort Lauderdale to Key West. When he asked if we’d be interested in the job we jumped at the chance to cruise this route through the Florida Keys; one of our all-time favorite cruising grounds.

We haven’t done much boating since we put Kismet on the hard in Key West almost a year ago. We had bought a house in northern Michigan (as you may already know, we’d been houseless for five years) and did not have the idea in our heads to sell it until several months after we were well settled in our new home. As we became adjusted to living in a house again, our priorities slowly seemed to change. After a lot of discussion and laying the groundwork for what type of boating would now fit our new situation, we put our Fathom 40 up for sale and lo and behold, it sold in just a few months. It was kind of a shock to our systems as we thought there would be a little more cruising time on our Fathom before we sold her. However the quick selling of the boat seemed to go along with our new plan as it has enabled us to move quickly toward making our plans, for new boating adventures on a trailerable trawler, a reality.

We think Rick kind of knew about our mixed feelings of selling our Fathom so quickly, especially since we never got to have a “good bye” cruise on her, so his offer to move his boat and spend 10 glorious days cruising through the Keys, was like music to our ears.

Sunday morning, the day after The Fort Lauderdale Trawler Fest, we arrived at Wishing Star with our bags and a few groceries. Rick had gone over all the particulars the night before so we were almost immediately ready to shove off. We stowed the provisions and settled in very quickly. It was hard to remember that we were not on our Kismet, but another boat identical to her. Rick’s Fathom is a model boat for HarborView Yacht Sales and he’s done a remarkable job appointing the boat with some very nice decorating items, so these helped to remind us what boat we were on.

This decorative lighthouse adds to the impressive entrance to Boca Chita Island.

On a picture perfect day, we shoved off from the dock and headed for our destination for the day, Boca Chita Island just south of Miami, midway on Biscayne Bay and the entrance to the Keys. We had tied up here only once before on our way north to Fort Lauderdale in 2009, just before we crossed over to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas. We met our friends Charlie and Linda, Freedoms Turn, there at that time and I remember how we all not only marveled at the island’s remote beauty, but enjoyed a beautiful sunset and celebrated Jim’s birthday. We said many times that day, “We HAVE to come back here!” Well, the island was just as we remembered and with the excellent weather, we were having during the beginning of our trip we decided to make our visit a two-night stay.

When we arrived there were only two other boats docked in the Boca Chita harbor, which made for a very quiet evening tied to the wall.

We met another boater, from New Bern, North Carolina, on a Choy Lee yacht at Boca Chita. He was heading slowly down the Keys to winter in Key West. We walked the trail and saw a few Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish washed up on shore and later heard these nasty stinging creatures were washed up all along the Florida coast. We enjoyed a couple very relaxing happy hours, we could just feel the stress of the cold weather in Michigan rolling off our backs. It was a nice way to start our trip, which would get busier and busier as we neared our destination, the lively Key West port and city.

We climbed up the lighthouse to get this shot of the harbor, which was catching the last warm rays of the sun before it set.

I could have stayed a few more days at Boca Chita, it was that nice but Jim was concerned about our weather window and making sure we made all the other stops we had planned, he worries a lot that way. So, Monday morning, just after sunrise and a leisurely breakfast, we untied the lines and took a long last look at the beautiful Boca Chita Island as we exited the harbor.

On our second day at Boca Chita, lunch was served on the beach, just a short walking distance from the harbor.

I really didn’t have to be concerned that our quiet interlude would come to a halt since Tuesday night we grabbed a mooring ball at Shell Key and experienced one of the most stunning sunsets EVER! It was absolutely still, calm and the sky burned like embers in a fire long after the sun hid behind the horizon. There weren’t even many bugs that night so we could keep the doors open and have fresh air while we absorbed the close of the day.

This sunset was our entertainment for the night; the color and glow seemed to last forever.

Next morning we were on our way to a boat club in Marathon. Our friends Wade and Susie, Shady Lady, arranged a slip for us there and we were anxious to see our old “Looper” friends. We met Wade and Susie on our first Loop trip; we were both picking up mail in Grafton, Illinois and have been friends since. We arrived mid-morning to Harbour Cay Club and with docking out of the way Wade gave us a tour of the facilities, which we immediately fell in love with. (Mental note: Good place to dock when in Marathon.) Two days worth of catching up, happy hours and dinners followed along with an excellent walk on the seven mile bridge our first morning there (a 4.5 mile walk, there and back). Later in the afternoon, we borrowed their car to visit the grocery store and take a little side trip over to Sombrero Marina where more boating friends were wintering.

Wade and Susie suggested we take a mid-morning walk on Pigeon Key Bridge. We’ve driven by this old bridge many times and always thought it would be fun to take a walk on it. Four and a half miles later we decided we all got our exercise in for the day. Scott and Cyndi, from Houghton, Michigan are really living the life in the Keys. They sailed down to Marathon from Mobile, Alabama, where they keep their boat during the summer, in the fall and have spent most of the winter in Marathon.

We enjoyed a warm and welcoming visit with Robert and Kay on C-Life, and Margie and Larry on Wanderin’ L&M (we met them all during our second Loop trip in 2008) and later in the day, along with Wade and Susie, we met up with Scott and Cyndi, Chip Ahoy, for happy hour. Cyndi is one of the contributors in our book, Women On Board Cruising (favorsventures.com). She brought her signature copy to our get-together for me to sign for her.

Robert and Kay on C-Life and Larry and Margie onboard Wanderin’ L&M were a sight for sore eyes. We haven’t seen since we all reunited in Marathon over a year ago.

After two nights enjoying Wade and Susie’s company, we had one more leg of the trip to make before we reached our destination of Key West Harbor. It was a fairly good day to cruise Hawks Channel, not real calm but not bad. On our way down, we were looking forward to the few days we had left to enjoy the ambience of the jewel of the Keys – Key West.

We were happy that we enjoyed a pleasant happy hour our first night settled into the marina on the bow of the boat absorbing all the sights and sounds (people and music) emanating from town. It was still quite warm but the ideal weather window would slowly close down every day after that. We were happy we hadn’t dawdled and got to port before the wind picked up. By the time we left Key West, it had turned a little cold and rainy but in comparison to the frigid north this time of year, we didn’t complain at all. The town reflected the change in weather with a little less activity but we really didn’t mind that at all.

El Caney Café is one of our new favorite Cuban restaurants in the Keys. Located on Stock Island (next island up from Key West) we always get our money’s worth on good, home cooked, Cuban fare.

One of our favorite things to do in this tropical paradise is to visit our favorite restaurants. Not the touristy ones downtown but the little, out of the way ones where there isn’t much English spoken. El Caney Cafe on Stock Island and a Mediterranean restaurant, Kennedy’s Café, out of town by the shopping area, are currently two of our favorites.

The day we arrived in Key West it was practically vibrating with music and people sounds. We decided to take some snacks out on the bow and just listen.

After four days on board Wishing Star at the downtown Key West Bights A&B Marina, we were ready to head back north. Rick had left his car at the marina, so we drove it to Fort Lauderdale to meet him at the airport. We still had a few days left in Fort Lauderdale before we flew home to Michigan and a few of those days were spent looking at more trailerable trawlers. One day we were able to connect for lunch with our good friends, Hal and Maryanne (Hal is the Harbormaster at the Charlevoix City Marina, MI). Our little southern interlude was just what we needed; a few great reunions with friends, lots of good food, mostly good weather and a welcome and relaxing cruise through the Keys and special time away to spend with my favorite boating companion – that would be Jim, of course.