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 Water Again
By Kismet, Tuesday, November 1, 2011

By Jim Favors

Even though it had only been a short hiatus of 1.5 years from boating it all came back very easily. The unique aroma of salt water, the feel of the water slapping up against the bow, the ebb and flow of the tidal waters all penetrated my inner most memories of why I like to be on the water. If you have a passion, whether it be golfing, biking, skiing, traveling or something else, you will most likely understand our joy of being back on the water.

Immediately after our three-day MTOA Rendezvous in Gig Harbor, Washington we struck out for destinations north on what I call our maiden voyage and shake down cruise. We try to plan our itinerary with new destinations in mind, but sometimes we just have to return to a favorite spot because we enjoyed it so much. We left the charming port of Gig Harbor, now on our “must return to list,” and headed out for a two-day cruise to Anacortes, where we’ll stop for only one night before we shove off to the nearby San Juan Islands and the beginning of our shake down cruise.

We met Herb and Willie on their new Ranger Tug R27, Willie’s Tug, shortly after we arrived in Anacortes. They are a long way from home, which is in Texas.

My idea of a shake down cruise is to become familiar with the boat’s inner workings as much as possible… our objective is to know intimately how things work and should perform. In a nutshell, because the boat is unfamiliar to us, a shake down cruise is meant to get a handle on the unknown variables, especially a boat’s mechanics, and become more comfortable with them. Sometimes this includes knowing what all the sounds are and if it is a normal sound or one signaling a problem.

We also wanted to put the boat through her paces. One of the first things Lisa and I wanted to do was see how our new Kismet handled at anchor. Some time ago I had made note of an anchorage on Bainbridge Island, tucked way back up in a cove by Port Madison, so we proceeded to this spot to see how easily the R27 performed at this task.

This is Friday Harbor – a busy, year-round boating community.

Bainbridge Island sits a little northwest of Seattle and is only accessible by personal boat, ferry or by a bridge that crosses Agate Passage over to the Great Peninsula. Obviously we were arriving by boat when we entered the channel to the cove at the north end of the island. As we meandered back into the protected waters we first tried to set a hook in what looked like a good location, but we had to abandon it because of a bad hold. Finally, just a short distance away, in 5 feet of water and closer to the end of the cove we found our spot. Our first night on the hook, although not like the excitement of my first date with Lisa, was spent in relative calm. However, this was only after we got past figuring out what controls deploy the anchor, where the anchor light toggle switch was, how to activate the electric panel once the genset is started and all the other things that we would soon discover on our R27. The only real problem we had was a minor one, I forgot to turn off the anchor light and didn’t remember that it was still on until mid-afternoon the next day!

From our anchorage in Port Madison, we headed back out into and across Puget Sound and tucked ourselves into the leeward side of Whidbey Island, shielding us from the often-unpredictable Strait of Juan de Fuca. On this particular day the skies were as clear and blue as the Bahamian Islands, which made our cruise that much more pleasurable. Off in the southeast direction (54 miles away), we could make out the snow-capped Mt. Rainier and soon we spotted Mt. Baker off to our starboard bow.

Garrison Bay, if you don’t mind the company of other boats, has plenty of elbowroom in a picture perfect setting.

After a short provisioning trip for hardware and groceries in Anacortes, we were off to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and the seemingly unlimited gunk holing possibilities in the islands. As the cruise to Friday Harbor was only 27 miles, we decided to poke around a few inlets around the islands once we cleared Rosario Strait. Passing through Thatcher Pass we turned to starboard to cruise slowly up the west side of Blakely Island on our way to check out the little village of Olga on Orcas Island. Olga has a city dock and since it was full, we’ll have to save this stop for another time. Leaving Olga behind our route took us between Shaw and Lopez Islands. It was here I decided to enter a shallow, narrow channel between Canoe Island and Shaw, in order to check out a potential anchorage called Indian Cove. I thought this might be a good spot to anchor in calm conditions and with no winds out of the south, so I made a mental note of it for the future usage.

When the marina is full at Roche Harbor there could be more people on boats than actually live on land in the very small town!

Friday Harbor, with a population of 2,162, is the major commercial hub of the islands; it’s also the county seat along with being a favorite cruising destination for area boaters. When talking about the San Juan Islands, keep in mind, the only way to get to them is by car ferry, your own boat or air plane. Because you have to work to get to them it becomes more of a challenge for boaters and therefore more desirable from a cruising perspective.

While walking through the charming little town, we spotted a West Marine store a few blocks away from the marina – I have to say, I’m a pretty fortunate guy, but it really hit home when, just after sighting the boat store, Lisa exclaimed, “Hey there’s a West Marine, lets go take a look.” After she said this I told her how lucky I was to have someone who loved boating as much, if not more, than me. So, off to West Marine we went.

This waterside restaurant sits just steps from the one of the marina docks and they were packed on this Labor Day weekend.

The next day our mission was to find an anchorage in Garrison Bay, just around corner from the historic village of Roche Harbor, for a couple of days of peaceful solitude. Garrison Bay is on the northwest part of San Juan Island and straddles the US/Canadian border, with Canada’s Vancouver Island visible on most days. With no dinghy purchased to act as our tender most people might find it puzzling we could spend 48 hours on our boat without getting off to go to shore, not us. The leisure time on Kismet gave us time to relax, read books, play games, become more familiar with the boat by studying the boat manuals, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

We were in Garrison Bay during part of the Labor Day weekend and what a gloriously perfect weather weekend it was for boating. We had clear skies, calm water and when you mix this with boating we were not very surprised to count over 60 boats anchored out with us. Garrison Bay is large enough to accommodate even more than this without feeling cramped and the good news is that the anchorage has 360º protection. Early Sunday we decided to pull anchor and go into Roche Harbor with hopes of getting a slip at the city marina. After being on the wait list for only an hour we were happy to get assigned a slip, we really wanted to explore this historic port town. Besides, we were almost out of water and it was time to stretch our legs.

Look at this spread; they sure know how to thank their boating patrons in Roche Harbor.

The first European to explore Roche Harbor and the surrounding area occurred in 1787 when Captain de Haro plied the waters of the PNW. In 1886 Roche Harbor became a full-fledged lime works processing town, because of its rich deposits of limestone. Seventy years later, with the lime works business past its prime Roche Harbor was transformed into a popular boating and resort destination, which it still is to this day.

After a full day exploring the quaint little town, old hotel and walking the docks of the 350-slip marina to look at boats, we were delighted to hear about the end of season party the marina held to thank the boating community for a good summer season. The party included a live band, complimentary wine and beer along with crab, clams and shrimp and beef sandwiches. If that wasn’t enough, shortly before sunset an announcement came over the marina speaker system that the evening color ceremony would start in 10 minutes. Unbeknownst to us the marina does this every night during the summer.

Staff and quests lined up (on the upper dock) for the nightly diving event, just after colors.

Prior to the color ceremony lots of dinghies gathered around the main marina dock, more dinghies and people lined the piers and docks all vying for the best vantage point to watch the ceremony. The master of ceremony stood on the top of the harbor store and began the proceedings with the playing of a few patriotic songs, followed by taps and the lowering of the flags. After the flags were lowered the MC made several announcements, said some thank yous and gave the next day’s weather report. For the conclusion of the ceremony the harbor staff took turns jumping into the water from the flag pavilion followed by anyone else that wanted to join them. This was about as American apple pie as it gets and – oh, and by the way, did I mention how great it is to be back on the water, with Lisa, smelling the salt water while exploring new harbors and anchorages?