Idaho Cruise boat Home

Online Tour | Cruise Schedule | Private Charters
Gift Certificates | Reservations | News and Events
Captain of the Day | Lake Pend Oreille | Contact the Crew
Idaho cruises News and Events



I Please check out our Facebook Page for current news and events.
Meet Captain Dale Hopkins... Dale's roots grow deep in North Idaho. He grew up in the Sandpoint area as have several generations of his family before him. After high school, he went into the Air Force and became a helicopter mechanic. This gave him the background to get his Airframe and Powerplant license which led to working for a good number of years in the aviation field. Always wanting to learn different things and living in a small community spurned an interest in volunteer firefighting which then led to a volunteer ambulance company. That all eventually led to a career change as a professional firefighter/paramedic. With his children grown up and his love for the lake, his wife, Sue and he decided to sell their house and move onto their houseboat full time. Between the houseboats and fishing boats they have owned over the years, they began building their own boat covers and tops. This led to their home based business, Dockside Boat Canvas LLC.

Dale says, "Of course being on the water every day, I felt the need to expand my seamanship skills which has led to a US Coast Guard 100 Ton Masters License and the Shawnodese. It just gets better every day."

Willy eagle eagle


Ron Nova

6/5/10 Meet Captain Ron Nova, the newest addition to the Shawnodese crew. Ron worked in Alaska as a boat deck hand in the early 70's. He worked the Exxon Valdez oil spill and spent summers salmon season tending in 89-90. Ron also crabbed out of Westport, Washington in the early 90's. So, Captain Ron has the sea in his blood. But Ron has many other interests. He started flying planes in high school & later became a pilot.  He and his wife, Bernie, have owned 5 different aircraft over the years, so his love of the air is as great as his love of the water.

Ron has over 30 years of experience in the recreation resort industry including the role of General Manager at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. He is currently a sales associate for Evergreen Realty in Sandpoint.

Captain Ron enjoys spending time with his spouse, Bernie, and their daughters, Courtney (24) and Chelsea (21). Ron & Bernie enjoy skiing, flying, boating, biking and travel. Ron has served on a number of boards and been active in the community since he & Bernie originally relocated here in 2002.

We look forward to having Ron at the helm. Welcome aboard, Captain Ron.

sunset Jim Mitchell Jim - Millie
5/31/10 Memorial Day is upon us and I can't help but reflect about those who have passed on. Today, I am especially thinking of my Dad, Jim Mitchell, a career Navy man, and a kind & gentle soul. He died in September 2009, and I am grateful that I was able to share the last 10 days of his life with him and our family. Dad left high school at the tender age of 17 to enlist in the Navy and go to World War II. After the war, he returned to school to get his high school degree, then reenlisted and made a career of the Navy as a Chief Photographers Mate. He did so many amazing things-including photographing the Gemini Missions (remember those capsules bobbing in the sea like corks- Dad took photos of them as they landed and were retrieved), he was an on board photographer for new experimental aircraft (he always came back a little green from those flights), a Naval documentarian of a National Geographic adventure in Central America with Archie Carr to save the endangered green sea turtle, chief photographer of Navy League conventions, and so much more. Dad was proud of his time served in the military and had a distinguished career. He stayed in touch with his Navy cronies right to the time of his death. 3 days before he died, he was still sharing stories of some of his amazing adventures. But more importantly, Dad was a family man. He loved his dear wife of almost 60 years, Millie, and we three girls & our husbands, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, with all his heart and soul. He is missed every day, but today, as we remember our loved ones who have left us, he is at the forefront of every thought and care. May this day be one of reflection for you and yours, and may the memories keep them alive in our hearts always. And let us also remember and honor those who members of the military who have sacrificed their lives in both war and peace time so that we can remain free. Our lives are forever indebted to their selfless acts of courage.

5/24/10 Our 2010 Season is off to a great start! We have had seen old friends and made new friends already, and it is good to back on the water! We have had a mixed bag of weather—temperatures in the 70's one weekend and in the 50's the next. But all of our passengers have enjoyed themselves no matter what the weather. We have seen lots of bald eagles this Spring including a juvenile baldie and an adult quarreling over a fish on the shores of Memaloose Island. We will continue to cruise out of Kramer Marina in East Hope until June 13th, doing both our Island Tour and our Clark Fork Delta Cruises. June 15th will be the start of our Daily Cruise Season out of Sandpoint. Give us a call if you would like to reserve! We look forward to hearing from you!



Memorable Moments from the Past

Saturday, May 25th, brought a very special surprise to our guests aboard the Shawnodese. The folks of Inland Empire Tours had just enjoyed a lovely cruise up the Clark Fork Delta. We were returning to port when the Captain made an incredible discovery. Across the bow, he could see something that looked like a large floating log with big branches. It turned out to be a female moose swimming from Samowen Pensinsula in Hope across the lake to Mineral Point or beyond. What an incredible beginning to our chartering season. Thanks to Dick Jensen of Inland Empire Tours for bringing us such good luck. He seems to pull something out of his magic bag of tricks on every cruise he charters for his tour groups. Come on back, Dick....

We were greatly honored to have the Governor of the Great State of Idaho, Dirk Kempthorne, and his lovely wife, Patricia, charter our boat for their 25th wedding anniversary. The evening was perfect~a spectacular sunset, a Clark Fork Delta cruise with coyotes giving us a symphony, and calm seas after a stormy day. Dinner under the stars and a slow cruise back to Hope gave the Governor and First Lady just the relaxation they needed during the fast paced and stressful time of campaigning. Congratulations on your successful win of a second term! This picture features Captain Curtis with the Governor and First Lady, and Willy, the Second Mate, is being held by Governor Kempthorne.


Compass Rose
Geese Chicks
CF Delta


The following are just a few of the very wonderful quotes from passengers who have signed our Shawnodese Guest Book over the years. We thought we would share some of the lovely things they have written

At the very beginning in September 1995, when we first started chartering, the Fall Foliage Group of Spokane wrote " This has been an unforgettable day for us all ~ expect a flood of visitors in the coming years!"

"Curtis, Linda, & Willy, We were honoured to have been guests aboard your beautiful boat! It is a work of art " DN

"Dear First Mate Linda & Captain Curtis, This is the best cruise trip we've taken on a lake in the world! Your cruise ship is the best built, maintained, and navigated, accompanied by fascinating commentary by the First Mate. Thank you for a wonderful Sunday morning trip to beautiful areas." FM & TS

"We thank you for the wonderful 25th Anniversary Cruise (wedding). It was all that we had hoped for and more. Thank you for sharing the evening with us." Patricia & Dirk Kempthorne (Governor of our beautiful state of Idaho)

A little girl named Jessica wrote a very cute little note in our Guest Book: "I really enjoyed the hospitality that I was welcomed with. The view is wonderful and I finally found out if Arnold Swartsinerger (her spelling) has a castle up her. There was a rumor! He doesn't!" (First Mate Linda likes to clear up all false rumors floating around the area). "Thank you for everything!"

"Thanks for sharing your dream boat and making our day special. The scenery was spectacular and the accommodations were excellent. We will definitely recommend this experience with others! Thanks so much! Nora Horn, Fairwinds Retirement Community Activity Director

"We came back for our second cruise and it was absolutely fabulous! Dinner and the sunset over the mountains ~ how spectacular! The water was like silk and the sun was as velvet. Our entire group felt we'd entered heaven. Thank you so much for the beauty and the hospitality ~ loved it. We'll certainly be back next year!" Renee Tierney, Minnesota

A guest of Montana Rockies Rail Tours wrote: "Classiest vessel on the lake. Service comparable to P&O Cunard. Wonderful crew " J

BF wrote this poem during our "Full Moon Power & Paddle" cruise "Night. Full moon shines over vast rolling waters of Lake Pend Oreille. Full moon, began swollen yellow. Now clear shear white glittering along rippling water. Full Moon."

"Linda & Curtis and the awesome crew, We had a fabulous day! I am so grateful that my family could be on the most pristine lake in the world. Thank you for the awesome, creative boat that we have been so lucky to see being created " CM

Dorothy Nelson, whose ancestors homesteaded on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, wrote "You helped us, most pleasantly, trace the route that our ancestors 104 years ago, from Bayview to Granite Creek. We will hold this trip dear in our hearts all our lives."

Our first wedding charter guests wrote "There's nothing as wonderful as good friends, food, or a wedding except whey they all come together as they did today for Connie & Gene. Thanks for making it a day to remember for all of us." L&C

The Best Man of another wedding wrote "I am jealous sun, trees, water, and fresh air The best wedding I have been to. Thanks for the great ride." SH

A gift from the Captain's close friend when the boat was launched hangs on the wall and reads "If you build it, they will come." MV wrote "You built it and we're glad we came! Thank you!"

Kevin White of Australia wrote "A great two hours with a thorough interpretation of the location."

Roger Armstrong, also of Australia, wrote "It is very hard to think of a better way to spend a couple of hours."

Youngster Kerie Ashton signed off with little hearts and wrote "It was awesome! The dessert was great and the hosts were SO nice@ It was fun to steer the boat! Thanks a bunch."

"Sunshine, eagles, beautiful blue water and brownies ~ What more could anyone ask for?! Thanks for a fantastic trip! B,S, &M

"Thank you for an exquisite evening. It truly made the vacation to Idaho WELL worth it! The Davis Family








      Home | Online Tour | Cruise Schedule | Private Charters | Gift Certificates
Reservations | News and Events | Captain of the Day | Lake Pend Oreille | Contact the Crew