The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














A Few Days on Okanogan
by Tim Diebert

Part 1

On to Part 2

Camping and cruising Okanogan Lake British Columbia Canada. From the south end (Penticton) to as far North as we can go without motoring too far. We have 10 days.
Tim Diebert

Here is a description of the lake and area:

"This lake is the largest in the region, running 120km (75 miles)from Vernon to Penticton, and featuring a range of activities from parasailing to windsurfing, houseboating (no previous experience required) and fishing. Aboard a variety of rented rivercraft visitors can float 6 km on the channel that connects this lake with Skaha Lake. Also, while on Okanagan, be sure to keep an eye out for the legendary monster "Ogopogo".

The other major cities on Okanagan Lake are Kelowna at roughly the midpoint, and Westbank, Summerland and Peachland on the southwest shores.

The lake has a surface area of 86,000 acres, averaging 250 feet in depth and reaching a maximum depth of 800 feet. The water residence or renewal time is calculated to be 60 years."

Also, here is a small regional map.

Late start from Penticton and not such nice weather. Motoring to find a campsite before dark.

click thumbnails to enlarge

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Setting a hook for the evening.

First night. A deserted public beach. Lots of birds. Quiet. No wind.
We called this Ballast Beach, as we decided to leave a bunch of lead behind. We picked it up on our way back a few days later.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
The dagger board made a dandy cooker table.

Beached the boat to unload and get stuff, then hauled out to fender float/pulley for night.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Zach's artsy shot.....

click to enlargeLots of dry stowage in this goofy boat. I installed the quarter turn deck plates (Duckworks) on the bench seats recently. Four large seperate compartments. Worked great. One for all the rain gear (filled). One for all my day sailing clothes and personal gear. One for all the food. One for all the beer and water. I was very pleasantly surprised to find everything nice a cool, even on very hot days. I have a larger 10 inch deck plate for the lazzarette you can't see in this image. (the lid on the laz deck) All kinds of great junk went in there. In the end, two guys gear only took up about half the available space in the main part of the boat....if well packed. This left enough room for thunder jug and bucket use while sailing and room for the cooler, binos, and assorted gear needed on the water. Plenty of room. That is considering the ballast box and the dagger board case. We also had three gas containers in there. The big main one and two 1 gallon spares.

click to enlargeI learned that 10 knots of wind on little Christina Lake makes one size wave....10 knots on OK lake with the big fetch makes bigger and different waves. I sail in 15-20 knots all the time on my lake....this much wind here makes for waves big enough to prevent my little boat from beating into it very well. Downwind, as we eventually found out, was another story. ~:0)

Some of the wine estates near Naramata. The wine industry is huge in these parts.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Second night. North of Summerland. West side. Nazi Beach. (story to come)

Departing gift for the beach. Zach gets bored easily.....

click to enlarge

Nazi Beach

I don’t think this little cove has a name, but this is what we called it.

That day was getting way late and we needed to stop. We had been motoring along the shore north of Summerland looking for anything suitable to pull up for the night. First thing we came to at all a possibility was the north end of this beautiful cove. We pulled her up on the beach, had supper and slept. There was not a single sign to suggest that we could not do this. We knew it was a campground, though we could not see it, so figured it would be fine to 'camp' here.

In the morning about 7 am, I am just boiling up for some caffeine and this lady walks down the beach towards me with her dog. Standard greeting from me, from her it was, “You can’t camp here!”. My response to that was, “too late”. First thing she comes up with is she is going to fine us for 1. having our boat on the beach and 2. camping on the beach. She was so nasty I responded with a, “go for it girl… and leave me your name and badge number while you are at it”. See, this lass was all officious and wound like a top… and I had not even had my morning coffee yet! ~:0) I was born bucking the system and do not respond well to any level of person who thinks they have any authority over me. Can’t help it, I popped out that way. (might be why I am a self employed hermit) But having said that, I was calm, quiet voice and pretty reasonable in my replies. Thing is, she has this big ass accent… I could not understand everything she was saying. In the end, this was my downfall. She thought I was mocking her accent or pretending not to understand her. She just got madder and madder. At one point, I was thinking this is damn funny and wished I had brought the video camera. My smile may not have helped my case much. In the end after trying to explain what we were doing and why and getting nowhere I just said do whatever you like. She said be out of here in 30 minutes…or else! OK, see you in 30 minutes we said. Zach had been asleep when she got there and started mouthing off, but dragged his butt out of bed to participate in the friendly discussion, not one to miss out on a good discussion.

We had a great laugh and got some coffees going. We decided best not to piss her off any further and chose to skip breakfast and slowly get torn down and packed to go. We were nowhere near even getting ready to leave when she arrived promptly in 30 minutes as promised, but with backup. After I greeted this chap with a “Good Morning”, he said in a thicker accent than hers, “Looks like it’s payday for us today.” More smiles, “huh?” “We would like you to pay for a night as though you camped in the campground above here.” Fine with us, only fair…. in fact we said no problem to that to the nice lady earlier, but she seemed more interested in threats of fines etc. This chap actually became our ally once she was back up the hill…

Anyway, I paid them the $22 and gave them my name. “Diebert”, I said. This was like setting off a firecracker under chair! She was German, and my last name is German. She says, “he is German….and he is making fun of my accent!!” Now some of this became clear to me. I said I am of German decent, but speak zero German and don’t know more than a coupla German people… hell I actually though she was Norwegian, but then who really cares? I didn’t. But now I got her deal.

So in the end, here is how I see it. Why is a high strung super officious, rule spouting person running a BC Provincial campsite? (It’s a part time summer job for crying out loud) An ambassador to BC and Canada?
I told her right away we were from somewhere else, not from BC or even Canada. What if we were from another country or visitors to BC or Canada? How would you like to have her as your official greeter? That part kind of bothers me. Fact is, I have lived in BC most of my adult life, and this person was treating my son and I like we had stormed the beaches and were raping and pillaging the campers.

Oh well, in the end we had a great laugh over the whole thing and a funny story to tell. BTW, it is called Okanogan Lake Park the north end. Beware. Leave your boat at home.

Oh and by the way, I do realize this is how Zach and I saw the whole enjoyable morning unfold, perhaps the nice lady park person would have another way of seeing it.... but then this is my story and not hers..... ~:0)

Next day was another perfect day with plenty of wind...right on the nose again.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Rattlesnake Island. Squally Reach area. Headed over to Peachland and these were parked in front of our table at a little pub. Had a nice lunch. Beautiful little town. Never been there before, but had driven by the turn off many times.

Awesome little free municipal marina to tie up, have lunch and restock grocs, ice and beer.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Later that day we found a great camping site on the East side a few miles north of Peachland.

BTW, for any Weekender owners. We ended up pulling the boat up on the beach stern first every night. (It was way easier than the retrieval mooring system I was using).

Even when it blew up and waves came into where we were, they were well met by the bow of the boat. No worries there. We would take the motor and rudder stuff off and drag her as far as we could, then put fenders under the chines. We had some big winds at night and always seemed to come right at the boat. I worried every night about abrasion and such. I also tied the boat to a tree. One night I had a stern line and two bow lines all going to trees as the lake wanted to take the boat. ~:0)

As it turns out, the first thing both of us did once Annie was on the trailer at the end of the trip was look for damage....nothing...barely any paint removed. I might add that a stock Weekender with the stock rudder as drawn could not do this....I don't think. Being able to take the rudder off and beach stern first was a hidden bonus and nice surprise. We could get at all our storage compartments without getting onto the boat or getting wet. It worked out great.

click to enlarge
The cove just around the corner from where we chose to pull up.

There were three Eagles cruising this area and they were great fun to watch and listen to.


Peaceful evening, but ended up entertaining a nice strong Westerly once it was dark.

click to enlarge

On to Part 2