This was our first adventure renting a Houseboat on Lake Powell and little did I know going in how much we were going to learn along the way.
Our journey started with our drive from OC to Page Arizona to the WahWeap Marina.
As we drove down to the Marina we got our first look of the lake with the rock formations in the distance..
We parked in a terraced sand and dirt parking lot with wind blowing the dirt across the car and hitting us square as we walked down to the green blue water and the WahWeap Main Marina floating on the lake.
We checked in and they said we had a short wait for our HouseBoat to get setup and ready so Sara, John and I went for a run to kill some time. We ran up through the dust storm of a parking lot to a trail that led around the rim of the park at the edge of the lake. The views were unbelievable almost as much as we were sucking air because of the altitude J.
When we got back it was time to unload our car and load up the boat. A houseboat porter drove an ATV with three carts attached into the parking lot and we all brought our cars around to unload.
We then followed the cart down the HouseBoat Pier to a long covered pier with Houseboats parked on both sides of all different sizes and features. We walked up to our houseboat took a look around and started unloading.
House Boat Tour
This was Saturday and we paid a little extra to spend the night on the boat to get setup, however we couldn’t go out on the lake until Sunday after our orientation and putting Laura’s speedboat in the water. Sara and I opted for sleeping on the pullout couch in the cabin and John opted to sleep under the stars on the roof.
After a run in the morning (note to self less windy and hot) it was time to get our check-out with the “dock dude”. He showed us the engines, the generator (huge), the power panel and the captains bridge before giving us the all clear and unplugging us from shore power.
Next it was time to put Laura’s speed boat in the water. First stop was the gas station just outside the park to get “cheap” shore gas to fill up the boat gas cans.
The way it works is we put the speedboat in using the boat ramp, park the truck and then drive the speedboat to meet the houseboat in the middle of the lake.
We then connect a tow line to the speedboat and tow it the rest of the way to save on gas until it is time to scout out a camping spot or water ski.
Despite our planning the speedboat, furthermore to be called by its trip name “White Lightening” had engine trouble and had to be taken to Page for work to be done. This delayed our departure onto the lake until Monday. We docked the houseboat back in the marina, enjoyed a swim and this beautiful sunset light.
There are two ways to head north on Lake Powell – the narrows or the “short cut” We opted for the short cut because of wind and time. The short cut is a narrow, no wake dredged channel which put us on our way North into Lake Powell very quickly.
The walls of the channel…
Now it was down to business motoring to our first of three camping spots on the lake. Driving a houseboat is like driving a bus, it does not make quick turns it sort of lumbers in a direction so you have to make turns early.
John, Sara and I took turns piloting the houseboat and other would stand on the bow and sight for bouys.
This is especially important as you move further into the lake and rock formations start looking the same, you start questioning whether you are going the right way.
Our first camping spot was in PadreBay…the water was beautiful and the rock formations surrounding us breathtaking…
In order to dock a houseboat for the night you need a sandy beach, preferably with a slope. The Houseboat is piloted with good speed into the beach and the engines are left pushing into the beach while the two anchors are dug and secured..
Holes are dug for each of the two anchors at a 45 degree angle to the stern so the boat does not sway too much in the wind. Because of the surface area of the houseboat it becomes a big sail in the wind
Before dinner Sara and I hiked the rocks around the houseboat and there were spectacular views available, check out this one of Sara
Every dinner on the Houseboat was family style eating and we traded off cooking – so no one had to cook more than two nights. We sat in the table round with a beautiful view, good food and possibly a drink…
Most nights like this one, meals were cooked with the grill mounted on the bow. Here is a view of one of our nights of cooking with grilled chicken and apple sausages. Yum!
Our first night on the lake provided us with a spectacular sunset, we all went to bed knowing our adventure had just started…
We woke up and remembered that what we had been told that the water level was rising as much as a foot a day and sure enough one of our anchors was under water and the other one was getting there. Since we had to dig them out anyway we decided to move to a new spot up river.
Sara and Bill digging out the port anchor…
As we moved up the lake the sandy spots to park the boat became more and more scarce, but the scenery was beautiful
After some time white lightening found us a beautiful spot however it was a bit rocky.
John had to get into the water and guide us in as we piloted the houseboat into the perfect spot..
After getting set it was time to try out Laura’s new inflatable raft on the water. The water was flat the temperature beautiful…
This night was so beautiful that we oped to sleep on the roof of the houseboat.. and did for several nights after this for the cool breeze and amazing star and satellite gazing.
No matter we had to get an early start to ride White Lightening to Rainbow Bridge today. It is one of the largest natural arches on the planet and is only accessible by water.
We packed up supplies and started up river to the rocky entrance to the canyon leading to Rainbow Bridge..
After maneuvering through several canyons…
we came to a nice boat dock, where we waited for parking spot and start our hike to Rainbow Bridge.
The hike back to Rainbow bridge was not long but it was really hot out, and there was very little shade, just a river and rocks rising up around us.
As we moved through the canyon was started getting small glimpses of the arch off in the distance….
Perfect spot for a group shot, a short distance from the arch…
Nothing really prepares you for how grand and beautiful the Rainbow bridge is when you get right in front of it. The indian tribes in this area hold the Rainbow Bridge to be sacred so no one is allowed to walk or boat through the arch…
It was a great day and lots of time boating back to the Houseboat.
The next morning we dug up the anchors and decided to find a spot in Last Chance Bay back where Bill and Barbara had camped years ago. Along the way we took a pit spot in a deep water area, shut down the engines, and got ready…wait for it … to waterslide–Yea!!!
Water sliding on Lake Powell
In Last Chance Bay we found a great spot in a small cove, with a great swimming and skiing area.
The two best times of day to waterski are in the early morning and early evening where the water is glass, we went skiing early in this way and it was glorious….
Laura Water skiing in Lake Powell
John Water skiing in Lake Powell
Water skiing in Lake Powell Video
We swam every chance we had in this bay because it was hot and it was really fun exploring areas by simply swimming up to them and looking around… here is the area right across from our houseboat..
Exploring this area video…beautiful….
After a week on the lake we had just scratched the surface of what it has to offer, however it was our time to motor back to Wahweap marina and turn in our boat.
I think this picture of Bill and John sums up our awesome week on the water…