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Old 07-30-2021, 08:51 AM   #1
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Default New to the lake, seeking advice

Hi! I am a moderately experienced boater, but only on rivers and creeks in Maryland, who will be renting a 21' Bow Rider for a day trip on the lake in mid-august. I'm open to any and all advice for navigation, operation, and recreation. We are renting the boat on a Saturday out of Meredith. We added the tubing package to our rental so looking for advice on good or bad locations to safely tube as well. Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-30-2021, 08:58 AM   #2
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Get the navionics app for your phone and use it. This will tell you which side of the bouys you are supposed to be on. Others will tell you to get a map which will also be helpful. Problem is if you don't know where you are on the map it doesn't help much. It's a big lake and easy to get confused and turned around.

A Saturday in the middle of summer on the big lake may not be the best for tubing. If you want to tube do it early. Lake starts getting busy about 9:00 AM and gets really busy by 11:00 AM.
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:05 AM   #3
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Just remember, Witches are bad!
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:19 AM   #4
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The above advice is spot on!

The red and black buoys don't necessarily mean "go between us" (although in some instances, that is the case).

They instead indicate which side has safe passage based on the compass which your rental boat may not have. Study that.

In NH we also have the "150' rule" which though often ignored, must be followed.
Study that.

From Meredith you can easily reach Paugus Bay where you'll find more tranquil tubing at least before noon.

Most public docks will be occupied with several boats waiting so bring your lunch.

While in Paugus Bay you may notice an ice cream shop with docks.

It is great but you are better off going there by car because their docks are located in an area with huge boat wakes.

Saturdays bring out the best "captains" so keep a sharp look out, don't trust other boaters and be ready to take evasive action.

Welcome to the lake!
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:25 AM   #5
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Winnipesaukee is very Navigation friendly, however, buy a chart. Be familiar with nor-south, east-west navigation rules. Know where you are at all times. If lost, find a numbered buoy. Watch the weather especially if you are crossing the Broads. 150 foot rule is very important!
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:30 AM   #6
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Most public docks will be occupied with several boats waiting so bring your lunch.

While in Paugus Bay you may notice an ice cream shop with docks.
So my plan to dock up and get lunch at Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith is likely a no-go?
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:47 AM   #7
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So my plan to dock up and get lunch at Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith is likely a no-go?

You will probably be in a queue for a spot at the docks. Depends on how long you’re willing to wait.


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Old 07-30-2021, 09:50 AM   #8
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So my plan to dock up and get lunch at Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith is likely a no-go?

Not if you go during the week.

Weekends forget about it.


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Old 07-30-2021, 09:52 AM   #9
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Default New Boater on Winni

Regarding docking at the Meredith Town Docks; people are in and out all the time, so a little patience and you'll get a spot. If you're a little timid regarding docking (which most infrequent boaters are), you can always try for a docking spot in front of Church Landing (between Meredith Marina and the Town Docks restaurant) of at the Lago dock. These are both "public docks" that are situated left and right of the main Meredith town docks respectively. There are typically not many boats circling these two docks vs. the many boats in and out of the main Meredith docks. You can also walk there from Meredith Marina (where I'm assuming your'e renting from). It's only an 8 minute walk.
Heading out of MEredith Bay, keep the red markers on your left and the black ones on your right. The opposite when coming into Meredith Bay.
If you're heading towards the Weirs area / Paugust Bay, there are two black markers fairly far out from shore; stay on the bay side of those (on your right heading out and your left heading back into the bay).
There are two bays on your left just past the lighthouse on Spindle Point that would be suitable for tubing throughout the day vs. being in Meredith Bay.

All important to have a chart and compass with you. The folks where you are renting ( again, assuming Meredith Marina) will also give you tons of advice. Ask for Sidney, Glen, Tracy or Linda.
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:18 AM   #10
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All important to have a chart and compass with you. The folks where you are renting ( again, assuming Meredith Marina) will also give you tons of advice. Ask for Sidney, Glen, Tracy or Linda.
We're renting out of Goodhue Meredith, which looks to be around the peninsula from 'downtown' Meredith
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:25 AM   #11
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You have come to the right place for advice and it has all been excellent.

However, after my boating for 18 years on the Lake, doing what you are suggesting; a Saturday tubing outing from Meredith in mid-August is perhaps, doable; but more likely to be frustrating and you probably would choose not to repeat the experience if you had it to do over.

This may well be a minority opinion, but just trying to offer a different perspective.

I just read your last post. Goodhue Meredith, IS in some ways, a much easier location than Town Docks. But please be patient and careful.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:24 PM   #12
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So my plan to dock up and get lunch at Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith is likely a no-go?
You will wait in a line of six or more boats vying for a spot. Keeping track of the order of arrival can get interesting.

Then you will wait in line at the Town Docks restaurant.

All this happens as you burn boat rental time.

Bring a cooler with lunch.

If you get lucky trying to dock and eat at the restaurant you can always eat your packed lunch for supper!
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:45 PM   #13
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Default Stay over in that area of the lake..

Given that you are renting the boat from Goodhue, that area is not quite as congested as Meredith Marina/Town Docks area. If you feel a little adventurous, (but you will need either a paper chart or a GPS), pack a lunch and snacks and head over to Blackey Cove. It is a reasonably easy trek from where you are renting the boat, as long as you have a chart to guide you on proper sides of the buoys. Go to the back end of Blackey and anchor and have lunch, swim, etc. You can also tube in Blackey Cove as well, but note that it is also a popular place for wake surfers, water skiiers, etc, so be alert.
Blackey has been one of our "go-to's" for years.

I would skip the eating at Town Docks restaurant while you are renting the boat. I agree with 8GV's opinion...you will waste a lot of time waiting for a spot to dock and then waiting for a table, (you can easily wait an hour or more for a table there on a busy Saturday/Sunday)

Try to get the actual chart or GPS app a week or so BEFORE you come here so you can study the area that you'll be in and already have an idea where the buoys are and on what side you should pass them.

Have a great time!
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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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Old 07-30-2021, 03:15 PM   #15
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Default Town Docks Restaurant

If you are looking to eat "from" the Town Docks Restaurant, you can order online from their website, and drop somebody off at the dock to retrieve your food, and eat on the boat. Their pick up window is quick, you pick the time you are coming to get it. No waiting for a dock, waitstaff, etc, and you can enjoy the water for the day!
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:37 PM   #16
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Cummings Cove is a reasonably good place to go tubing, but I would get there early (before 10). Cummings Cove is east of the Spindle Point lighthouse and north of Stonedam Island. From Goodhue, you have to head towards Meredith around the end of Meredith Neck, pass through the "s" turn at Eagle Island, then turn right (east) into Cummings Cove. And when you're done tubing, you can continue heading north into Meredith and get lunch.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:34 PM   #17
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Any chance you can rent during the week? The weekends can be a show for sure.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:53 PM   #18
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So my plan to dock up and get lunch at Town Docks Restaurant in Meredith is likely a no-go?
You can definitely go to Town Docks for lunch. You can get in on a 21' boat with a 15-20 minute wait at most. Even on the busiest days.

As for what to do -
For tubing out of Meredith, I recommend going around Meredith Neck towards Center Harbor. There are spots near Beaver Island and Pine Island that are good for tubing.

The Navionics boating app is great. Also have a Bizer map with you.

If you go from Meredith to Center Harbor, the section between Spindle point and Eagle Island can be tricky when the lake is busy. If not familiar with that area, it is easier to go through the no wake zone between Eagle and Governors Island. It will only take a couple of minutes more.

Study the map the night before. Recommend for the first time that you set your sights on the Meredith/Center Harbor/Weirs side of the lake. Heading over to Wolfeboro and Alton is a lot of fun, but can take an hour each way depending on the route and the wind/waves.

If you are able to rent for two days and have a dock where you are staying, you will find that the best time on the lake is before 10am and after 4pm.

Have fun!
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:12 PM   #19
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Default Some ideas

There are alot things to digest with all these posts. Hope I don't make it more confusing. I agree that Center Harbor is easier and more quiet to get a parking spot than Meredith Town docks. If you go to Center Harbor, I recommend eating at Red Hill Dari. You can walk and get take out or eat outside at their tables or at the picnic tables at Center Harbor Beach right at the docks. It's great take out with one of the best lobster rolls on the lake and reasonably priced. If you must go to Meredith Town Docks for lunch, with your size boat and go a little earlier you should be fine getting a spot, get there before11 am and walk around town if 11 is too early to eat. If you don't get a spot or do not want to wait in Meredith and you want to stay in the Meredith, Weirs, Paugus Bay area, a good backup is the NASWA for lunch. It's in the channel between Weirs Beach and Paugus Bay. They have employees who will help direct you to a spot, will help you tie up and there is alot of parking. This past Sunday when myself on my own boat and friends on their boat didn't want to wait in Meredith, we went to NASWA, 12:30 pm for lunch and there was plenty of parking for our 2 30 foot boats, no wait to sit down and its a great outdoor beach bar with great burgers, fries and great drinks, live music sometimes, great carribean feel/vibe. I highly recommend it.
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:58 PM   #20
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Default Naswa

I agree. Naswa Beach Bar is preferred over "Town Docks". I have friends who called to reserve a dock, but their boat is 43', so not as easy as yours. Nevertheless, Naswa owns the docks and can exercise control. All due respect to Alex Rey, the Naswa Beach Bar gets the nod from me for ease of access.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:42 AM   #21
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Default Good Advice

All good advice from everyone. Gives you an idea of how helpful people can be. I will just add my 2 cents worth. After boating on the lake for 8-9 years, the first three with a rental and no GPS, I'm still a "nervous nelly" in an area I'm not familiar with. The best advice I can give is to know where you are at all times. It was not uncommon for me to stop and figure out what island I'm looking at. For the inexperienced, they all look the same. Navionics is good except for their buoy locations and markings. Use the Bizer chart for that
As far as tubing, we have done that in Braun Bay and Center Harbor (where we stay). As mentioned before, weekdays are better than weekends. We never waited more than 15 minutes or so at town docks during the week. Didn't even bother on the weekends.
Oh, and one other piece of advice-don't assume the boat in front of you knows what they're doing. Follow only if you know where you're going.
Enjoy!
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:46 AM   #22
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Default A few other thoughts.

1). Parking at Sheps (Goodhue Meredith). The public parking fills up early during the peak season…. I came in last Thursday PM and there wasn’t an open spot anywhere. Not sure what advice Sheps provides boat renters. There is parking on the right side along the fence for Shep’s customers. Often you can find a spot there.

2). Where to tube/what to do…. As you exit Shep’s, you’re facing Bear Island. If you head east you can work your way over to Mark and Mink Island. There’s a channel between the two islands (no wake please) that is pretty popular to cruise through. If you keep heading east, go between Camp and Jolly Islands towards the Broads. The area to the east of Jolly (Steamboat Island to your north) is a pretty good place to tube on a busy Saturday provided it’s not really windy. That’s where I usually go. It’s tucked away from main boat thoroughfares so easier. Not that you won’t have other boats to deal with, but the islands help reduce the volume/direction they can approach from.

Or go over to the north side of Bear Island. The area in the middle there (near Camp Lawrence) is also out of the way of major traffic and big enough that you can have fun and stay far away from the shore.

3) Beware the Witches! Use a chart. Stay north of Timber Island.

4) The water is very high for this time of the year. If you’re tubing, stay well beyond 150 feet from shore (the legal minimum). Excessive boat wakes can cause dock and shore damage right now.

5). Know how to interpret the markers — it’s actually pretty important. Easy to remember: Stay south and west of Red tops (South and West = SouthWest = Hot/Red). Stay North and East of Black Tops. If you are unsure where you are but see a light buoy, find its number on the chart.

6) put the Navionics app on your phone and download the Winni map.

7). Bring a phone charger. Most newer boats have USB ports.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:26 AM   #23
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1).

2). Where to tube/what to do…. As you exit Shep’s, you’re facing Bear Island. If you head east you can work your way over to Mark and Mink Island. There’s a channel between the two islands (no wake please) that is pretty popular to cruise through. If you keep heading east, go between Camp and Jolly Islands towards the Broads. The area to the east of Jolly (Steamboat Island to your north) is a pretty good place to tube on a busy Saturday provided it’s not really windy. That’s where I usually go. It’s tucked away from main boat thoroughfares so easier. Not that you won’t have other boats to deal with, but the islands help reduce the volume/direction they can approach from.

Or go over to the north side of Bear Island. The area in the middle there (near Camp Lawrence) is also out of the way of major traffic and big enough that you can have fun and stay far away from the shore.

Enjoy!
One thing to mention in the East Bear/Camp Lawrence area is that camp is back in session this year, and its pretty active with swimmers. campers in canoes and sunfish. They tend to be all over this area. They often swim from the camp out to the markers near Dollar with only a kayak or two for chase boats. Lots of sailing recently. They also tend to waterski both between Mark and Bear, and Bear and Jolly.

There is also a shoal between Dollar and Bear that is pretty nasty, it is marked near the island but if approaching from the north its easy to end up on the wrong side. My daughter almost did it on a jetski last weekend, and we live there.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:06 AM   #24
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One thing to mention in the East Bear/Camp Lawrence area is that camp is back in session this year, and its pretty active with swimmers. campers in canoes and sunfish. They tend to be all over this area. They often swim from the camp out to the markers near Dollar with only a kayak or two for chase boats. Lots of sailing recently. They also tend to waterski both between Mark and Bear, and Bear and Jolly.

There is also a shoal between Dollar and Bear that is pretty nasty, it is marked near the island but if approaching from the north its easy to end up on the wrong side. My daughter almost did it on a jetski last weekend, and we live there.

I wasn’t really meaning over near Dollar. Should have said in the area nearer Camp Nokomis — North of Bear but more in the middle of the island. If you draw a line between Dollar Island and the point of Camp Nokomis, there is a significant triangle of open water that is somewhat off the main track for folks heading to/from Center Harbor/Moultonboro.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:42 PM   #25
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I wasn’t really meaning over near Dollar. Should have said in the area nearer Camp Nokomis — North of Bear but more in the middle of the island. If you draw a line between Dollar Island and the point of Camp Nokomis, there is a significant triangle of open water that is somewhat off the main track for folks heading to/from Center Harbor/Moultonboro.
We typically tube and surf in that area north of Dollar if its not rough out. Occasionally between Mark and Bear in my old stomping ground but often it gets too hectic in there on the weekends.
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Old 08-16-2021, 12:12 PM   #26
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Default Thank you!

Thanks everyone for all your advice! We had a great day out on the lake. The rental place was out of tubes by the time we checked in so we didn't do that, rather just ran around the northern part of the lake, anchored for a bit at the Braun Bay sandbar at the recommendation of the girl who did our check-in, and then got lunch at Gusto in Center Harbor. Gusto was fantastic and very friendly, I cannot recommend it enough for anyone yet to try it.

Only downside of the day was dinging our prop trying to anchor in a spot where we saw other boats anchored. I guess we just came in from the wrong side, got real shallow and rocky real quick, luckily I was only going like 2 knots. $250 for a new prop isnt the end of the world. So to anyone who sees this in the future, even if there are other boats anchored at Minister Island (also noted as blueberry island depending on the map/chart you're looking at?), don't try to join them!

I was a little surprised that, even though some older folks on two boats were watching me come in from that direction nobody said anything, and once it was clear I had struck a rock and killed the engine to jump in and walk us out of there, neither of them offered assistance or advice, like I wasnt even there! Oh well I guess.
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Old 08-16-2021, 02:31 PM   #27
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Thanks everyone for all your advice! We had a great day out on the lake. The rental place was out of tubes by the time we checked in so we didn't do that, rather just ran around the northern part of the lake, anchored for a bit at the Braun Bay sandbar at the recommendation of the girl who did our check-in, and then got lunch at Gusto in Center Harbor. Gusto was fantastic and very friendly, I cannot recommend it enough for anyone yet to try it.

Only downside of the day was dinging our prop trying to anchor in a spot where we saw other boats anchored. I guess we just came in from the wrong side, got real shallow and rocky real quick...
I got this far reading and based on your description and the "northern part of the lake" bit I thought, "hmmm... I wonder if he was at Blueberry?" My suspicion was confirmed a few sentences later. Given the conspicuous Private Property/No Trespassing signs, I hope that nobody from any of the visiting boats went feet dry or beached their boat. The waters of the lake belong to everyone, but private property should be respected.
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Old 08-16-2021, 02:40 PM   #28
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I got this far reading and based on your description and the "northern part of the lake" bit I thought, "hmmm... I wonder if he was at Blueberry?" My suspicion was confirmed a few sentences later. Given the conspicuous Private Property/No Trespassing signs, I hope that nobody from any of the visiting boats went feet dry or beached their boat. The waters of the lake belong to everyone, but private property should be respected.
Ah I hadn't seen any signs from where we were, just looked to be an uninhabited small land mass. But the folks who were already anchored were just treading water and walking in the shallows between their boats.
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Old 08-16-2021, 02:46 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by TheNewGuy View Post
Ah I hadn't seen any signs from where we were, just looked to be an uninhabited small land mass. But the folks who were already anchored were just treading water and walking in the shallows between their boats.
It's nice to hear that nobody was trespassing, at least from what you could see when you were there. As of three weeks ago clearly visible signs were in place, but given how disrespectful some people can be it wouldn't surprise me if signs were vandalized (never mind being simply ignored).
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Old 08-16-2021, 03:13 PM   #30
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Glad it turned out to be successful day. It's always appreciated when folks who ask for input come back and tell us how things went. Now is the time to make reservations for 2022.
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Old 08-16-2021, 10:26 PM   #31
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Awesome to hear you had a great day! We just racked up another 20 or so hours on the boat over the last week that we were up. It was a great weather week to be out on the lake!
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Old 08-17-2021, 06:55 PM   #32
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I don't know what your situation was but you can get into a lot of shallow places with the outboard or drive trimmed way up.

People on the lake are generally very helpful so maybe the people watching you assumed you knew where you were going or were trimmed up to avoid rocks.

But, there are very few boaters who have never hit anything, me included! It is a learning experience.
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