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Old 07-30-2021, 02:01 PM   #14
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MeredithMan’s advice is spot-on. You want to find a bay or a cove to get out of the heavier areas of boat traffic to swim, tube, etc., and Blackey’s Cove is ideal where you are coming from. One other option for lunch if you are intent on not bringing a picnic lunch would be Center Harbor, which is more convenient for where you are coming from than Meredith. Their docks are generally easier to get in and out of (finger docks you go straight in and out of, with no parallel docking like in Meredith) and are generally less busy. There’s a good BBQ place and a good Italian cafe/deli well within walking distance, and could call in orders if you wanted to picnic out on the water, or could eat in at both. No matter what town docks we go to, we try to get there early on weekends, by around 11, and the wait times are usually reasonable.

The main issues of navigation, maps, understanding the markers, etc., have all been covered already pretty well. I would also suggest making fairly definitive plans and studying the map / GPS navionics app ahead of time just as you would before taking a road trip so you have a sense of the route and markers/rocky areas.

With a 21’ bow rider, I would strongly encourage you not to venture out into the broads (the widest open part of the lake) on your first time here, and instead stay in the bays. With a bit of wind and boat chop churning, the waves can get overwhelming in the broads, particularly mid-day, if you’re not accustomed to your boat and how to handle it in big waves and rough chop. Keep an eye on the weather on your phone. Storms can come seemingly out of nowhere on the lake on even the nicest of days, and it usually happens when you’re furthest from your “home” dock. In a worst case scenario, you should always tie up at a private dock instead of risking it in the middle of a storm. Last, don’t trust any other boater by following them at markers without confirming the way yourself or thinking they will obey the right of way rules.

The lake can be a bit tricky with the markers, boat traffic, etc., but like with anything, having a plan and with proper preparation like you’re doing here, and some common sense out there, you will have a great time.
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