Monday, July 9, 2012

Lake Shelbyville, Southern Illinois

A few weeks ago we made plans with our friends Dennis and Christa to visit them on Lake Shelbyville in Southern Illinois. Dennis was even nice enough to mail us a large waterproof map in advance, so we are really excited to see them and explore their lake! We told them we just wanted to experience their usual boating weekend, since inland lake boating was completely foreign to us. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing boating weekends we have ever had!
I guess Dennis wasn't kidding when he told us the lake is way out in the country!
 Friday we loaded Seapickle up on the trailer around 12:30 and hit the road for a 4 hour tow to Findlay Marina where Dennis and Christa would be waiting to help us launch.
With no tie up dock having the extra help of Dennis and Christa made launching very easy
Once in the water we followed them to Eagle Creek Cove where their friends Gary and Brenda waited for us with their 60ft houseboat named Captain's Quarters!
Dennis and Christa in their Four Winns 278 named "Wet Ink"
We planned to have both boats raft up to the side of Captain's Quarters for the night and have dinner on the top deck under the stars. Neither Dana nor I had been on a houseboat before and we were blown away by how cool it was! After tying up our boats, Gary fired up the grill and starting cooking an amazing dinner of bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp, bratwurst, corn, Brenda (baked) beans, and the "love em or hate em" BBQ chicken livers. 
Dining al fresco Captain's Quarters style!!
Looking out of Eagle Creek Cove at sunset

After dinner we poured some cold drinks and took in a sunset from the top deck, but the real show was about to start. Once dark the stars shone with brightness and intensity like we had never seen! The stars were so bright that when you looked down at the water you could easily pick out your favorite constellation! Dana and I were awestruck with the peacefulness and beauty of the night and quickly agreed this would be a trip to remember!

Saturday morning we decided to do a little exploring with our inflatable kayak, lil Pickle. In our short trip we saw deer, cranes, and some really pretty coves. One of coves we liked so much that we decided to stay the night in it. All the paddling worked up an appetite and since everyone was getting hungry, we decided to take a boat ride to a restaurant on the lake called Skeeter's. We all piled on Wet Ink and headed toward the marina to pick up another couple, Forrest and Cathy, on the way. With 8 people on board, Dana and Christa were glad to volunteer to ride up on the bow of the boat, with drink in hand, it turned out to be the most scenic spot to enjoy the ride!
The ride up front reminded Dana why she sometimes misses our old bowrider.
 Skeeter's was a cool little restaurant with a menu full of good boating food. The menus were printed on mini wooden paddle's and everything was nautical themed.
Skeeter's
After taking a slow cruise back to the cove to let our food digest, we decided it was a good time to do some swimming. Dana's first order of business was to find the highest point on Captain's Quarter's and jump off!
Dana finding the best spot to jump from
Ben opted for an easier way to get into the water and used the water slide, swam over to the nearby kayak and passed out for an afternoon siesta!
Life doesn't get more relaxing than this!

Saturday evening we split off from the departing Gary and Brenda since Gary had to work. We greatly appreciated their hospitality and were sad to see them go. We decided to head over to the cove we saw earlier in the day, and Dennis and Christa moved into the cove next to us. Dana and I spent the rest of the night listening to the cicadas and enjoying the peacefulness on the night. This was a lot different from our normal anchorage back home where there is constant sounds of nearby industry.

Sunday morning Wet Ink came to our cove to raft up and have breakfast burritos. 
Seapickle II and Wet Ink rafted together
View from kayak
After breakfast Dennis and Christa decided to take Lil Pickle for a cruise. They were naturals at it and were soon cruising all over Eagle Creek cove!
The crew of Wet Ink trying out the kayak.
With time starting to run short in the weekend we headed back to the marina and said goodbye to the cove we had spent a great weekend in. The fun wasn't over yet, since once we got back to the marina we hopped on a pair of Dennis and Christa's jet skis and hit the lake for one last tour!

Enjoying Lake Shelbyville by jet ski
One last look at Lake Shelbyville
With the long tow home looming, we decided we had better load up and head home. We are so appreciative of the hospitality shown to us by Dennis, Christa, Gary, and Brenda!! These guy's know how to relax and have a good time! Hope to see you again soon!