Houseboating on Lake Powell

Sep 8th, 2008, 06:33 AM
  #1  
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Houseboating on Lake Powell

We are leaving in 3 weeks for Page, AZ. DS earned one week use of a houseboat working at Wahweap Marina last summer. There will be six of us. DS is very familiar with the boats, but hasn't actually spent more than 1 night on one.

I am looking for suggestions from any Fodorites who have spent time on a houseboat, either at Lake Powell or another location. Menus have been planned (super easy breakfasts and lunches, lots of grilling and one pot suppers), a powerboat has been reserved for exploring, and we know to limit showers and bring lots of drinking water. Any other suggestions or helpful hints?

We will be on the lake for four days, then plan to come back to the marina. We will use the houseboat like a hotel at that point, so we can explore other sites in the area.

We visited DS last summer, and saw Zion, Horseshoe Bend, both rims of Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas. Leaning towards Monument Valley this time. Again, would love suggestions for any other sites.

Appreciate any comments, this forum has always been a great help!
rascat is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:08 AM
  #2  
 
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We houseboated on Lake Powell several times and enjoyed the experience immensely. Be sure to buy the detailed map of the lake on sale at Wahweap. This year the lake level had improved (risen) quite a bit and several passages have re-opened. For example, the route to Padre Bay from Wahweap is now open. In recent years, with water levels down, boats had to go all the way around Antelope Island, a long and tiresome and expensive detour.

We found the refrigerator/freezer on the boat was more than adequate for our group needs. We fixed breakfast, lunch was do-it-yourself sandwiches, and dinner was cooked. Your ideas for food are excellent.

September should bring more reliable weather. But if clouds begin to build, head for a sheltered anchorage. Right now, the Arizona monsoon comes and goes, bringing strong winds, torrents of rain, and dangerous boating if you are caught on the open lake.

Watch your gasoline supply carefully. Be extra careful with hand-washing for sanitary reasons. A sick crew is no fun, as you may know. Go extra easy on the alcohol because it can lead to dehydration.

Make sure you have plenty of flashlights and fresh batteries. In the water, stay away from any boat engine exhaust; it can be fatal.
USNR is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:39 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Two interesting side trips from Page are Antelope Canyon --- spectacularly beautiful-- and the short raft ride from the glen Canyon Dam to Lee's Ferry.(beautiful, but no rapids)

As I recall both of these can be done in a few hours.
gjkayak is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:39 AM
  #4  
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Thank you USNR, your suggestions are just what I'm looking for!

DS is very excited that the cut is open, and hopes it still will be the first week of October.

Both DSs, DH, and former MIL are all experienced boaters; my sister and I have some experience, but not nearly as much. And none of us have stayed on a houseboat before, so we really looking forward to it!
rascat is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #5  
lvk
 
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I'm running out the door, but just wanted to give you the 3 best suggestions that I received before going houseboating on Lake Powell last summer:

1) I'm not sure if it is available to you, but the pre-boarding option is the way to go. You load everything onto the boat the night before, so you can shove off first thing in the morning. Since your son worked there, he probably is familiar with the operations and safety instructions. Another advantage is that if you notice that you have forgotten something, you can run into Page and buy it and it won't delay your launch time.

2) Bring at least one good pair of binoculars -- for reading the buoy markers and scoping out coves.

3) You will want to sleep on the top deck, under the stars. I did not believe this when told by a seasoned houseboater. I like my privacy and was sure I would choose the stateroom. Much to our kids' dismay (the top deck was their assigned sleeping quarters), the adults chose to sleep on the top deck on several nights. It was August and the weather was perfect.

Gotta go now, but I'll be happy to answer any other questions you have.
lvk is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 12:31 PM
  #6  
 
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I was also going to suggest the side trips of Antelope Canyon and the raft ride from the Glen Cnyon Dam. I did both of thiese trips this past summer and enjoyed them both very much.
schmerl is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:50 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for the replies everyone!

gjkayak and schmerl: we missed Antelope Canyon last year, so I really hope we can fit it in this time. A friend did the float trip from the dam and loved it, but DH isn't so sure it's what he wants to do. Having seen the view from Horsebend last summer, I think it would be neat to see the area from a different angle!

Ivk: thanks for mentioning the binoculars, I would have forgotten to pack them. We keep a pair in each of our vehicles, so take it for granted about needing them in other places. I'm not sure about the preboarding, will have to ask DS #1 who worked there. We fly into Vegas aroung noon the day before and should get into Page that evening. DH and I will make the run to Wal-Mart in the morning, while DSs run up to Big Water to pick up powerboat.

If you all think of anything else, let me know!
rascat is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 07:26 PM
  #8  
 
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USNR mentions Very good tips - a Map, a must !

I flew over Powell just last week and water levels are certainly down; Be aware of MARKERS / anchored orange juice containers marking exposed rocks (yes!) in the water, go AROUND them - don't want prop damage! The trade off is look for ancient markings on the canyon walls, not often seen when levels are higher!

Never swim under the boat ! Beware of the winds - anchor well, or you will be up the middle of the night re-anchoring by flashlight.

The sun comes up early - and Shines into your cabin ! so your day begins early; by 8:30 pm the day winds down.

Be aware that sound travels . .no hooting and hollering.
tom_creans_daughter is offline  
Sep 9th, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #9  
lvk
 
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The pre-boarding option is an extra $250 (maybe your son could get a discount?) Are you paying for hotel rooms in Page the night before you board? If you pre-board, you sleep on the boat, eliminating the cost of the hotel for that night.

Just to be clear, the map they give you shows the numbered buoy locations. You can read the buoy #'s with the binoculars to get your bearings. Because of the lake levels, they are not always exactly where shown, but the lake is so vast, it is close enough and very helpful.

Not all boats come equipped with sleeping pads for the top deck, so if you think you may be interested in sleeping up top, you may need to rent some or bring air mattresses along with you.

The Marina sent us with a DVD when we booked our trip. Even though your son is familiar with the boat, it may be helpful for you and the others to watch the DVD. It gives you helpful hints like attaching foil pie pans to your anchor lines, so that little critters can't use them for access to your boat.

Rainbow Bridge is a great excursion by power boat, followed by an ice cream cone at the Dangling Rope Marina.

Bring board games and card games to play on the top deck in the evenings.

It looks like you have everything else pretty well covered. Have a great time!

lvk is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 08:36 PM
  #10  
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We are back from our houseboating adventure and had a wonderful time! Will try to post a trip report.

Thank you again to everyone for their great suggestions!
rascat is offline  
Dec 25th, 2008, 01:44 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I am looking into houseboating on Lake Powell this year - can go anytime of year and would like to go when least crowded. I don't want to go when it is really cold, but don't need it warm enough to swim either. How crowded does it get there?
NMariaO is offline  
Dec 25th, 2008, 03:08 PM
  #12  
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We did our houseboat trip in early October, which worked out nicely. The marinas and areas like Rainbow Bridge were fairly quiet. DS1, who worked there during the summer, said there were fewer houseboats on the lake in the fall. The weather was great, only one drizzly day. The rest of the time, it was warm and sunny during the day, and cool at night.

We got lots of great suggestions from this posting. Hopefully posters will add even more for you!
rascat is offline  
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