It was exciting getting up at 4am, heading to Walmart to buy some ice and breakfast things (even if you do buy the wrong things for those picky nieces and nephews of yours…lol. I admit, the chunks of protein in the “gogurts” were gross. Junk should never try to be healthy. Just stay junky.)
It was even more exciting trying to load all our stuff in the two trucks. Luckily Jamie and Judy had a cool back bag to put on their truck (not sure what it was called). We managed to get it all in and headed out to meet Jo and Andreas at the Wahweap marina, just outside of Page, Arizona.
It was about 30 minutes into our drive when I got a text from Judy saying she just realized we would be on Arizona time and not Utah time (they are an hour behind), so we could have slept in another hour…. ah well. Sleep is overrated.
We listened to our “Lake Powell CD”. I had asked everyone to send me their favourite song and I compiled a CD for everyone. It was fun listening to everyone’s choices (even though our boat didn’t have a sound system that worked:(, and we only were able to listen to an iPhone once. (Although the complete lack of electronics was amazing for everyone!!). Some people had more than one choice, so I also made an “overflow CD”.
The scenery was so different for us – the red rock and the desert! The heat was also different. Hot, but not humid (it’s the dry heat we always hear about. But it’s still hot).
After a quick stop for ice, we made it to the marina, hugged Jo and Andreas – and introduced all the kids. Let the adventures begin!!
It took at least an hour to get all the paperwork sorted, then some time for the “pilots” of the boat to get acquainted with the procedures. Rob was the designated houseboat driver, and Andreas was the speed boat driver. Jamie was on call guy.
Our houseboat, while not the most basic, was not the most luxurious either. But, it was good. We had 3 staterooms (1 for each family), only one bathroom (yikes….), but a nice little eating area, and a great deck up top (where the boys were all going to sleep). We loaded that thing up with the help of a great little porter system that helps you take all the stuff from your car to your boat. That was so needed as we had a TON of stuff!
Getting out of the marina was a bit of an adventure. The houseboat was a bit tricky to maneuver and we were in a tight spot. After looking a bit like novices, a very kind worker jumped on our boat and got us out of the slip (stopping for some gas for us) and led us to open waters where Rob took over.
Not going to lie. Those first few hours made me question if this was a good idea. The boat seemed hard to maneuver. The fridges seemed not very cold. The “staterooms” seemed like glorified coffins, and we couldn’t figure out where we should go.
On the other hand, Andreas had a bunch of the kids and they were all tubing, ahead of us, having the time of their lives.
After an unsuccessful attempt at finding our first location, I hopped in the speed boat with Andreas and some of the kids to go on ahead of the houseboat and scope out a nice beach for us to stay at for at least the night. We did just that, and while we waited for the houseboat to slowly make its way to us, we tubed with the kids (I tubed with crazy Ellen – the youngest in our bunch — tube hogger!!!)
Beaching the houseboat was a bit of an experience. We had found a neat little spot in a bay pretty close by (Warm Creek Bay) (we wanted to be relatively close to the marina by speed boat), but it was rocky and steep. It was not going to be easy to dig a 3 foot by 3 foot hole on either side of the boat required for the anchors. The boys quickly figured out they could use rocks to secure the anchors in place and after multiple attempts, Captain Rob beached the houseboat and we were set. He was awesome! His heart rate took a bit of time to come down though…:)
The spot we had was a bit rocky (only downfall), but was surrounded by gorgeous canyons and scenery, had a separate campfire area, was deep enough in the back of the boat for the kids (and adults) to go off the slide, and was in a bay so we figured would be protected from any bad weather and was the perfect location to do all the water sports. We figured we would stay for the night, if not two.
We stayed the whole time. It turned out to be the ideal spot. Of course, touring around would have been ideal too, but it takes so long to get the houseboat moved and secured, none of us seemed like we wanted to do any more work. Time to relax.
That first day, we simply unpacked, set up camp, got our bearings, got to know each other, hiked a bit (nice places to hike around us too), swam, walked along the boat, went off the slide, and the kids had a blast tubing. (Thanks to Andreas who spent most of his vacation pulling our kids around on tubes, water skis, or knee boards…)
We had a huge BBQ feast prepared by Jo and Andreas, went for a quick hike (to find the boys who had already left to explore) and then sat around the campfire for the evening.
Not so perfect.
The boys were upstairs sleeping under the stars, the girls in the main cabin, and the adults in their “staterooms”.
The girls were freaked out by the gazillion spiders. This is how they slept:
But I admit, by about 2 am I couldn’t take our coffin like stateroom either, and a had a full on panic attack. I swear, I was so close to waking everyone up to get us back to the mainland.
Deep breathing works wonders and I found a nice little cushion, a dry towel, and our resident mouse and myself enjoyed the back porch for the remainder of the night….
On to day 2….