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Where are all the boats??

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CanuckBob
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Where are all the boats?? Empty Where are all the boats??

Post by fwalman Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:38 pm

We just visited Lake Chapala for the first time from Vancouver BC. We loved it!!!! Will be returning for longer next year. With such a big lake we were quite surprised at how little boat activity there was?? Was it time of year [January] or??

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Post by halcon Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:01 am

over the years there has probably been EVERY type of boat you can imagine on this lake. my experience has been that when the lake recedes
so does the boating activity. allot of the snags are much closer to the surface. lake chapala IS beautiful isn't it.
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Post by cypress Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:24 am

There are two large boat storage facilities and several smaller ones here that are full of boats but they rarely are taken out. You can't just jump in your boat and go out as first you have to get a hold of the guy operating the tractor to take you boat out to the water. Once you get on the lake there are many boating obstacles like fishing nets, dead trees, old fence, etc and the water is rather murky looking-not very inviting.

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Post by CanuckBob Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:36 am

I tend to see more sport boats and jet skis up the lake towards Jocotepec. I seldom see any off shore from Ajijic, other than the fishermen.
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Post by windrider17 Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:30 am

I sail about once a week. Keep my boat in the water in Riberas. All of the issues mentioned are present. Have to be careful of nets all of the time, and as the water level drops other problems get close to the surface. Having said that, it is a beautiful lake to sail on. It is easy to get lost in the views and not focus on the winds. Winds are flukey and sometimes hard to find. I see very few boats other than fishing boats sharing the lake with me. As Bob says, the Joco/San Juan area is where one finds most of the power boats as the water level gets deeper more quickly in that area. Need a shallow draft boat to be able to enjoy.

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Post by Pedro Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:33 am

a bunch of us were at the san juan cosala restaurants one day and i notice a coupla large piers with speed boats moored to them.
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Post by otrocanuck Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:11 am

Fwalman, you come from Vancouver, one of the most active boating areas in Canada, I thought the same as you on arriving here from Vancouver Island and working in the recreational boating industry there. Here is what I figure: The lake is shallow and the water level varies greatly from year to year,(one year they ran a bus from the shore to get to the water) there does not seem to be any control of the lake level other then by nature and heavy demand for it's water, there are several man made hazards around the shore because of the fluctuating water level, the general perception is that the lake is not clean, the fish species in the lake are small which makes them unappealing to sports fishermen, there is a water ski facility built specifically for that sport near the lake which takes away that group of boaters. All these things results in only small boats using the lake, it is restricted to trailer able boats for the most part. It is only a five hour drive away from the Pacific Ocean and blue water sailing, what serious boaters look for. But most likely is the old saying "a boat is a hole in the water you pour money into" is to blame - boating is an expense hobby that most people here dont have the surplus income to afford, whether on a pension or working for Mexican wages, most of the boats you see on the lake are likely earning an income some how.
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Post by CanuckBob Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:16 am

And there isn't really any boat friendly facilities such as a public dock, marina or fuel stations far enough out to always have deep water. There are far better lakes for boating and fishing fairly close by. AguaMilpa near Tepic and Santa Maria del Oro are a couple of them.
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Post by cypress Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:37 pm

I went back to edit my reply but couldn't.
There are no places on the lake where you can keep your boat permanently in the water so you have to take the boat in and out each time you use it. With the lake level fluctuating so much this is a real problem as private and public use facilities do not have proper concrete ramps that go out far enough in the lake. So to get your boat in or out you need a substantial truck or preferably a tractor to hook up to you boat trailer. There are a number of homes along the lake that have their own private launching ramp. None that I have seen go out far enough into the lake to make access for a boat trailer easy. I have never seen one of them used. There are two large yacht clubs and several smaller ones that store will store your boat and get it in and out of the water for you. There are a lot of boats stored in them but they can be a pain to use as they close early, you can't find the guy to drive the tractor, they are expensive, etc.
When you get out on the lake it can be quite an obstacle course with the fishing nets and traps and submerged trees and fences. Also it doesn't look inviting to swim in.

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Post by Trailrunner Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:06 pm

Good posts, Cypress.
It wasn't until I saw Lago Atitlan that I realized how under used our lake is. I kept thinking why can't I hop a motor-panga for San Luis for the day? I think you have spelled it out well.
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Where are all the boats?? Empty Thank you one and all

Post by fwalman Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:59 pm

Thank you everyone for all the good explanations of the lack of boat traffic. Coming from a city surrounded by water and a province filled with lakes it did really strike us as unusual. Thank you Canuck Bob for the suggestion of a couple of places Will have to look them up and see where they are. Take care Anne and Ross

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