Cruising the waters of Big Blue

Kirsten Neff, Parker Blackman, Kristen Marchi and Sam Neff enjoy a toast on “Stellar One.” | Peter Spain

a glassy, calm Lake Tahoe. A few people are milling around on the shores of Carnelian Bay, taking pictures and looking out at the snow-capped mountain peaks that rest above South Shore. Suddenly, a glistening red and white, 35-foot Formula 300 ss comes into view, cutting through the glass and approaching the wooden dock.

Soon, the owners of the luxurious yacht welcome me aboard the “Stellar One.” The boat itself is in pristine condition, not a spot on the white leather seats, fiberglass swim decks or tabletops. Even though I’ve never met owners Matt and Bethany Lund, it feels like I’ve known them for years; maybe because we know the same people and have a decades-old mutual love of boating.

With the sun beating down, we slowly motor along the North Shore as the couple shares how they came to create the private boat charter aptly named Stellar Tahoe.

“When I started this, people could either rent a boat by themselves, but maybe they’re not ready to navigate the lake. So, this provides a way for people to safely and comfortably enjoy the lake without the worry,” Matt says.

Based out of Carnelian Bay, Stellar Tahoe is a family-run year-round operation that takes small groups out on Big Blue. Trips are customized to what type of day it is and what kind of group it is and how much time there is to swim, sunbathe or curl up and take a nap in the cabin, which also has a good-sized restroom. The couple goes above and beyond in terms of customer service, comfortability and safety; the coolers full of beer, flavored sparkling waters and high-end appetizers are served aboard. A day with Stellar Tahoe consists of whatever you want to do — stop and grab breakfast or lunch at one of the markets close to shore or check out the wildlife from the water’s perspective. Bears, coyotes, bald eagles and owls have been spotted.

Stellar Tahoe owners Bethany and Matt Lund. | Kayla Anderson

“It’s your boat for the day; I’m just the captain,” Matt says.

Matt grew up on the West Shore. His dad was a fishing captain and at a young age Matt became comfortable around boats. Then as an adult, Matt co-captained a yacht with a friend from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and it regenerated his love for the water.

“I realized then that I needed to be on the water and thought about how I could do that all the time. But I didn’t want to be a crusty old captain, I wanted something cool and hip,” Matt says. He found the “Stellar One” locally and the couple started their boat charter business in the summer of 2018. It truly is a family-friendly business with their teenage daughters Anja and Eva both helping with the boat when they can.

“It’s nice for me because I get to hang out with my daughters; it’s a good way to stay connected with them and teach them a valuable skill. It’s good to be competent in driving a boat and they can be my spotters, helping me watch out for other drivers and keeping an eye on other people on the boat,” Matt says.

Although Eva is graduating high school this year, Matt hopes that she’ll want to come back and work on the boat in the summers. Most people enjoy that it’s a family-run operation, where safety and comfortability are paramount.

“We want people to walk on and be impressed,” Bethany says.

It’s a big reason why Stellar Tahoe has gained a good amount of returning customers in its two years of operation who expect and appreciate a certain standard.

“They’ve become our friends; we know them really personally,” Bethany says.

Matt adds that meeting people is like going on vacation without having to leave home: “This is a true family hometown experience. When we go out of town, we look for the off-the-beaten-path type experiences and I believe we’re the only ones who offer an experience of this kind,” he says.

“A lot of people on the shore don’t realize how cool it is to be on the water. It’s a totally different world,” Bethany says.

Stellar Tahoe also encourages residents to get out on the boat, too, and regularly donates Stellar Tahoe trips to local schools and organizations such as North Tahoe School, The Shane McConkey Foundation and Arts For the Schools.

“We want people to come out and enjoy the lake they live at,” Matt says. | (530) 553-1303, stellartahoe.com