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Old 08-31-2016, 08:22 AM   #1
RyanDe
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Default Any maps or way to tell boat traffic around the lake?

As we look at properties it would be nice to know what the boat traffic is like. With all this talk to large boats/wakes it might be better to get a place with more wind but less boat traffic.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:44 AM   #2
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Not sure that is a good trade off. Wind can occur anytime and with great frequency. I live on the end of Meredith Neck across from the south end of Bear Island. This area sees a great amount of boat traffic. The wake action is heavy on Saturday and Sunday from noon to five during July and August. Other than that it is not bad. We are protected from the wind so we do not have to deal with that. There are always means to deal with wind or wave action on your boats, such as lifts or whips.
I would not buy a property solely based on wind or wakes. You need to look at the big picture. Water depth and clarity, wind or wake, size of land and house, age and needed repairs to the structure, views, distance to stores and services, cost of the house,ect ect should all be considered.
Look at every house in your price range. If you dont find the right one then put it off for a few months and then return to the process. We looked at 60 homes before making a purchase three years ago. At some point you will know the right house when you see it.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:55 AM   #3
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If you told me to pick between boat traffic and wind I would pick boat traffic all day. For many of the reasons above but also wind can be a pain in the butt. If you are having a cookout and you put things on the table and they all blow off or it is a beautiful day out but that wind makes it just too chilly to sit down by the water etc...
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:10 AM   #4
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Good points. So I should look for protected places. With that in mind what areas on the islands should we be looking at and what areas should we stay away from?
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:39 AM   #5
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Default Shelter from the Storm

In general, the wind comes from the Northwest the hardest. Not all the time, mind you; there have been a number of good blows coming up from the South and East but if you can be sheltered from the Northwest you'll be better off more often than not.

Study a map of the lake. Coves over the most protection. There is a trade-off in your view with a cove, of course; tough to get long panoramic views.
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Old 08-31-2016, 10:39 AM   #6
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Look at a chart and make note of choke points between ports (marinas and public docks). Traffic will be heaviest on a straight line between these choke points. A classic example is the triangular section of lake between Governor's, Stonedam, Bear, Mark, and Timber Islands, and Meredith Neck. That spot sits between most of the popular ports and marinas and is loaded with choke points. At it's worst, it's not really that bad though, compared to other places I have been been.

That said, in many cases, the coves and such that are off the beaten path and protected will also have lots of wake action because people seek out calm water for water sports (and then make giant wakes in them...).

Your best bet is to simply have a plan for waves, either man-made or from wind and not worry about it. There are tons of products on the market to protect a docked boat from waves. A mooring is also a great way to make waves irrelevant to a boat.
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:21 PM   #7
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Ryan, the Barber's Pole side of Cow Island is going to be a lot calmer than the other side. The broadside of Rattlesnake is going to be a lot rougher than the west side. Between Treasure and Sleeper's is going to be calmer. If you can get in a smaller area without the wide expanse of water, it is going to be calmer. I agree with Pricestavern that the Northwest wind is the most common.
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:40 PM   #8
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Default Direction

I would take your boat out on the lake on different days of the week and in the peak season versus off season as it makes a huge difference, especially when you are spending a lot of your hard earned money. My wife and I spent 5 years looking at property before we bought on the south side of Sleepers Island last year. For us the biggest factor was southerly exposure due to a number of different reasons. The advantages for southern exposure include:
No need for a breakwater (these can run $25-30K or more)
The ice melts out the fastest in the spring with less chance for damage
Even on cooler spring/fall days the sun is there to keep you warm

We are directly across from the West Alton Sand Bar, so we visited on a very busy summer day before buying to see if it was going to be a circus. The area was busy, but you literally could not hear anyone talking or much boat noise to speak of. I would definitely go out to all areas of the lake to really see what areas that you and your family like best, and like others have said, you'll know when you find it.
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CaptT820 View Post
I would take your boat out on the lake on different days of the week and in the peak season versus off season as it makes a huge difference, especially when you are spending a lot of your hard earned money. My wife and I spent 5 years looking at property before we bought on the south side of Sleepers Island last year. For us the biggest factor was southerly exposure due to a number of different reasons. The advantages for southern exposure include:
No need for a breakwater (these can run $25-30K or more)
The ice melts out the fastest in the spring with less chance for damage
Even on cooler spring/fall days the sun is there to keep you warm

We are directly across from the West Alton Sand Bar, so we visited on a very busy summer day before buying to see if it was going to be a circus. The area was busy, but you literally could not hear anyone talking or much boat noise to speak of. I would definitely go out to all areas of the lake to really see what areas that you and your family like best, and like others have said, you'll know when you find it.
Yeah, we love that area and sleeper in general. We like rattlesnake but it seems very steep and rocky, the west side seemed to be pretty calm. We're going again Friday to cruise around and it's supposed to be pretty windy (10-14) so that should give us a good idea of what the islands look like. Also, being the Friday of labor day hopefully we can see what a busy lake looks like too.
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:01 PM   #10
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Default Also consider which coves are popular rafting areas to avoid

If you are looking into a cove property. We considered property in Johnsons cove years ago. Of course we asked the selling realtor, her reply was oh they are applying for no rafting zone... So glad we didn't get that, it's packed with boats all the time. And just because an area is designated nrz doesn't mean you won't have lot of individual boats anchored out in front. Just ask here and someone can tell you how it is.
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:21 PM   #11
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Are there signs I should look for too while we're out on the lake? Like whips and lifts probably means that this area gets pretty choppy. Same with breakwaters, what are the others?
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Old 08-31-2016, 01:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanDe View Post
As we look at properties it would be nice to know what the boat traffic is like. With all this talk to large boats/wakes it might be better to get a place with more wind but less boat traffic.
You're not going to find a place to avoid boat traffic unless you are buried in a cove. Don't overthink boat induced chop, it's not that big a deal, is at it's worst during a short window on weekends during the summer and that's pretty much it. Furthermore, I've observed where I am because I face an area that sees quite a bit of traffic during the day, there is a big difference between being in a boat in the middle of it all versus being on shore where those wakes have a chance to settle as they travel and come in far less pronounced.

Being in an exposed area to wind however will commit you to having to deal with rough water at any time during the year when the wind is up. The wider and open the area is where the prevailing wind has a chance to build those waves it can get very rough. Is it a concern, sure but don't overthink it or better put let it scare you out of considering a property per say. The only places I down right said no to were anything that directly faced the broads for this very reason. Where I am now on the NE shore of Bear can get pretty choppy from the wind but never to the point where it is unmanageable.

I would be far more interested in getting a nice flat piece of property. You're right in your observation that there are quite a few cliff dwellings out there and what good is a piece of property where you're yard is a 45 degree rock slide... I mean if I need to climb 5 stories of stairs to get to my destination forget it. That will get old real quick, but keep you in great shape :-)
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:39 PM   #13
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Default Wind vs. Wakes

Look at the dock that is already there. The previous owner will have resolved most of the problems you're worried about. This is more about what you want to do: swim from your own dock and beach, water ski from your dock, or just go cruising and anchoring at a sandbar and you don't need a dock, just a mooring.

Most places that need a breakwater will have one already, perhaps with an adjacent portable dock for overflow and guest boats. The breakwater also protects from ice damage, and may provide a protected swimming area for floats, etc regardless of wind and/or wakes.

If you walk around an island and ask each resident, each with a different exposure, each will have reasons why his place is the best one on the island. They'll all be right. If this were not true, there would be a lot more turnover of island properties. And only properties on the south side (where I am) would be desirable.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RyanDe View Post
Are there signs I should look for too while we're out on the lake? Like whips and lifts probably means that this area gets pretty choppy. Same with breakwaters, what are the others?
Lifts I think are primarily used for those that don't want their boats sitting in the water. Whips don't necessarily mean the water is rough either, those are nice to have no matter where you are as it prevents the boat from dock contact. Sure both are also solutions for areas where it's choppy as well but that may not be the reasoning behind their use per say.
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