Lake Powell Houseboat Adventure

posted in: Travel | 0

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.

LAKE POWELL MAPMapOfLakePowell

As we drove down to the Marina we got our first look of the lake with the rock formations in the distance..

EnteringWahweap

 

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.

WahWeapMarinaMain

 

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.

WahWeapMarinaPierLoadingStuff

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.

Boat Bow

HouseBoat_Stern

 

Boat Port

HouseBoat_Side

 

Boat Mess
HouseBoat_InteriorKitchen

 

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.

HouseBoat_Orientation2

 

HouseBoat_Orientation1

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.

GasForSpeedBoat

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.

PuttingInSpeedBoatatRamp

 

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.

TowingSkiBoat

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.

FirstNightSunset

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.

ShortCutFullView

The walls of the channel…

ShortCutSideView

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.

You navigate by red and green bouys with numbers in the water. Going North in the lake the Red bouys are on the right and green are on the left – just the opposite on the way back.
GreenBouy

 

John, Sara and I took turns piloting the houseboat and other would stand on the bow and sight for bouys.


KariPilotingHouseboat
The bouys not only keep you out of shallow water but the numbers on them correspond to locations on the lake mae which let you know where you are on the lake.

John&Bill_SightingBouys

 

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…

PadreBay_CampingSpot

 

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

DiggingAnchors1

 

Before dinner Sara and I hiked the rocks around the houseboat and there were spectacular views available, check out this one of Sara

SaraClimbingRockPadreBay

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…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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!

JohnCookingDinner

 

FoodOnGrill

Our first night on the lake provided us with a spectacular sunset, we all went to bed knowing our adventure had just started…

Sunset

 

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…

DiggingAnchors2

As we moved up the lake the sandy spots to park the boat became more and more scarce, but  the scenery was beautiful

BeautifulRockFormations

After some time white lightening found us a beautiful spot however it was a bit rocky.

PadreBayCamping2-1

 

 

John had to get into the water and guide us in as we piloted the houseboat into the perfect spot..

PadreBayCamping2

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.

SleepingOnRoof

 

The next morning a group of crows woke us early with their squawking, I guess we were in their spot :), and they were not happy causing lots of racket.

CrowsInTheMorning

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..

RainbowBridgeSign_2

 

After maneuvering through several canyons…

EnteringRainbowBridgeCanyon

we came to a nice boat dock, where we waited for parking spot and start our hike to Rainbow Bridge.

RainbowBridgeMarinaPier

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.

RainbowBridgeHikeRiver

 

RainbowBridgeHikeTrail

As we moved through the canyon was started getting small glimpses of the arch off in the distance….

RainbowBridgeApproaching

Perfect spot for a group shot, a short distance from the arch…

RainbowBridgeGroupShot

 

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…

RainbowBridgeKari&Sara

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.

LastChanceCanyon_Camping

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

LauraInWaterwithSki

 John Water skiing in Lake Powell

JohnWaterSkiing

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..

LastChangeBayBeautifulWater

 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…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply