Summering along the shores of the Shuswap

August 2010 News ANDREW MCCREDIE, SPECIAL TO THE SUN - www.vancouve

Following rules and instructions might very well be the thing you and your family try to avoid on a summer vacation, but take it from me; in the case of a houseboat adventure in the Shuswap, rules are a tiny price to pay for what can be one of the most relaxing ways to spend a few days with your family.

And if you rent your pleasure craft from Twin Anchors Houseboats or other operators on Shuswap Lake, not only will you get a complete safety briefing on vessel operation and local conditions -- you will also get one of the most luxurious and comfortable ways to spend a vacation.

After spending a couple of days plying the H-shaped network of arms that comprise the Shuswap lakes, and a couple of nights tied up to deserted beaches for campfires and late-night hot tubs, my family came to regard our two-level houseboat named Inspiration as a luxury waterfront townhouse that can be relocated to another spectacular beach setting every night.

Up top was an outdoor kitchen -- complete with barbecue, satellite TV and wet bar -- a full-sized hot tub, a waterslide and tanning space for a dozen or so of your closest friends.

Below were a number of bedrooms -- many more than the four of us required -- and a main cabin area with a fully outfitted kitchen, a full-sized fireplace and a flat-screen TV. The television didn't get any use during our time aboard, but the large dining room table saw plenty of card and board-game action.

Though we were on the system of four main "arms" that comprise the Shuswap lakes for just two nights, the typical houseboat rented by Twin Anchors is out four days to a week. Likewise, most are also filled with more than two adults and two kids. My wife and I managed okay with anchoring the boat to the shore each night -- a job that requires a large sledgehammer and some good, old elbow grease; however, a couple of more adults and kids on board is probably a good idea. (Take the time because a sudden burst of wind came out of nowhere -- a not an uncommon occurrence on the lakes -- and yanked both spikes out of the beach sending the boat adrift. A couple more hands on deck would have been helpful during the brief panic to secure things.)

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