Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - — Hi Tech! — - Story & Pho­tos by Perry Mack

An early morn­ing cof­fee warms your body as the sun bathes the west­ern hills in a golden glow. Your boat rocks al­most im­per­cep­ti­bly on a mir­ror-like lake, re­flect­ing the warm glow back at you through the cool air, beck­on­ing you for the first wa­ter­ski or wake­board of the day. Boat­ing and camp­ing go to­gether like peanut but­ter and choco­late. It can get a lit­tle messy but it is al­ways go­ing to be great. Many lakes have camp­sites with beaches where you can moor your boat in a shel­tered bay. If you RV with your boat, con­sider a lit­tle rus­tic boat camp­ing to add spice and ad­ven­ture to your RV va­ca­tion.

Wilder­ness boat camp­ing is a step be­tween hik­ing into the back­coun­try and car camp­ing. You can take more gear with you sim­i­lar to car camp­ing, in­clud­ing small chil­dren. But of­ten ameni­ties can be far­ther away than the camp store at the en­trance to the RV Park.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO EN­JOY­ING BOAT CAMP­ING; 1. Plan for an ex­tra day

at ei­ther end of your trip to al­low for poor weather. Weather can be a fickle mis­tress; the clouds and rain on Sun­day of­ten give way to blue skies and sun­shine on Mon­day. Give your­self an ex­tra day to en­joy what’s com­ing. Boat­ing in July and Au­gust is ex­cep­tion­ally pop­u­lar so it helps to get a good spot by get­ting there be­fore the crowds. That means Wed­nes­day be­fore a long week­end, not Fri­day night.

2. Be pre­pared for bad neigh­bours.

It hap­pens. It’s vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to pack up and find a new camp­site at night and there aren’t any park rangers or camp­ground man­agers to get the row­dies to set­tle down. Which could also be why you are there, to party likes it’s 1999. You can make enough noise to drown out a Me­tal­lica con­cert with­out get­ting busted. But if you’re out to un­plug and en­joy the seren­ity of pris­tine forests, you may be dis­heart­ened to dis­cover your newly ar­rived neigh­bours have come to party and un­leash months of job stress. Or vice versa. Mu­sic should get turned off at 10pm, and it’s smart to pack earplugs or ear­phones with some white noise loaded on to your phone – the sound of rain or waves on the beach. Talk to your neigh­bours be­fore some­one is ready to blow a gas­ket. If you are get­ting ready to party hard on the beach and fam­ily pulls up next to you – let them know be­fore they set up camp. And if you see a fam­ily on the beach, travel a lit­tle far­ther to find your per­fect party head­quar­ters.

3. Like a hike and camp trip,

tell some­one where you are go­ing. Let’s call it a float plan. Tell some­one re­spon­si­ble that is. Tell them where you are go­ing and when you ex­pect to re­turn. If some­thing goes sideways you can ex­pect a res­cue. We camped off Rat­tlesnake point in Lake Okana­gan one week­end and al­though the sun was shining, a wind in blew in from the south­west. We de­cided to leave and slogged through 1.5 me­tre swells with a boat­load of kids and camp­ing gear. Not the high­light of the trip. Many lakes can go from calm to dan­ger­ous inside of thirty min­utes. Make your­self aware of the weather and re­mem­ber what ever comes, typ­i­cally doesn’t last. We would have been bet­ter off to storm watch from the camp­site for a few hours than at­tempt the cruise home.

5. Which brings me to the next point that you should al­ways se­curely moor your boat - es­pe­cially if you’re go­ing to leave it alone for more than an hour to go for a hike, or boat­ing/sight­see­ing with some­one else. The wind can blow up and sink or beach a poorly moored boat in less than fif­teen min­utes. “It’ll be fine” are al­ways the last words be­fore “holy crap” and “I hope you have in­sur­ance”.

6. Fol­low the typ­i­cal wilder­ness rules

for camp­ing in­clud­ing food stor­age. Most of the Cana­dian wilder­ness is pop­u­lated with ev­ery­thing from timid deer and big horn sheep, to pesky rac­coons and hun­gry bears, and I’ve seen them all while RVing – th­ese an­i­mals are not just on road signs and in brochures.

Typ­i­cally we camp on the eastern shore, and at the end of the day, as the sun sets, it causes scat­tered clouds to glow from un­derneath with pinks and pur­ples. We’re all a lit­tle sun­burnt from hik­ing, wa­ter­ski­ing, and wake surf­ing, and there are more spec­tac­u­lar im­ages and video on our phones than any­one has a right to own. Laugh­ter from the camp­fire washes over us and then dances across the lake as the day’s gaffs are re­lived and em­bel­lished. The boat is cov­ered, and waits pa­tiently for the dawn and an­other day just like today.

Fol­low th­ese sug­ges­tions and prepa­ra­tions and you will en­joy your RV va­ca­tion more than ever with a lit­tle bonus of boat camp­ing.

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