Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Covered Portage Cove

August 4-6, 2008

When we last left Meridian's Crew, they were revisiting the tidal wave tossed, dangerous and treacherous, shoal-strewn, narrow and winding Lansdowne Channel (cue the scary music -- again). What fate awaited our inept - er - intrepid duo?

Strange. The LAST time we went down the Lansdowne Channel it was MUCH narrower. Barely wider than Meridian. The shoals were all over the place and jagged rocks would suddenly shoot up out of nowhere right in front of our bow. At least they SEEMED to.

This time, it wasn't nearly so nerve-wracking. They must have tamed the weather, widened the channel, and excavated all the rocks in the last week. It was actually very enjoyable.

After experiencing the pleasant protection of Thomas Bay (probably the first fully protected anchorage we've experienced since Long Point Cove), Phil was bound and determined to maintain that streak. Again, using the Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) notes as guides, we cruised into the inner harbor of Covered Portage Cove. We did a surveillance cruise to check out the whole harbor before selecting a tucked-in little spot in the corner. Basically, the second most protected spot in the most protected section of one of the most protected harbors in the very well protected North Channel. We would have taken the MOST protected spot, but it was already taken. We dropped anchor and Phil took a line to shore. This time only switching trees
once. Well, OK, then he added a second line when he saw that rock 100 yards away that we'd run into IF the wind was from the wrong direction when the anchor dragged and the shore line got gnawed through by beavers.

Covered Portage Cove is surrounded by bluffs, the least of which can be described as spectacular. There is a very good hike that goes up to the top of the highest bluff in Covered Portage Cove. From there, you can see the whole harbor, as well as into Frazier Bay. Blueberry season is waning but you can still find a few to provide energy for the hike.

GDay, the sailboat, along with its crew of John, Joan, and Waylon the Mountain Climbing Wonder Dog arrived on the second day we were there. They invited us for dinner and we had a very tasty chili dinner. A rainstorm came through and we waited that out on their boat. The only
drawback to that was that it was almost 2200 when we headed back to Meridian. Since we didn't have the dinghy safety bag, we had to borrow their flashlight to navigate the little cove. Bernie was certain she could navigate by the stars, but Phil wanted a back-up plan just in case. Other than trying to tie up to the wrong boat ("Hey, what are you doing? Oh. Don't worry honey it's just the "power boaters" lost again. Your boat is over THERE! The one that doesn't have a big mast on it!"), everything went well.

The next morning we planned to head out to go back to the North Channel area west of Little Current. But Meridian had other plans. She seemed to be liking this spot so she refused to let her starboard engine start. We thought it was a battery problem, so we ran the generator and port engine to up the charge. That didn't work. Every now and then she'd start but the engine would die quickly, so Phil changed the agas filters. Still no luck. After trying various things throughout the day and getting no where, we decided to go on a hike and just set off for Little Current the next day (Thursday, August 7) to get a mechanic to look the situation over.

We picked up John from GDay and took a hike through the woods that lead to Frazier Bay. At this end of Frazier Bay is a little anchorage called Blueberry Island that we are putting on the list for our next visit. It seems to be one of those anchorages that can be restful or sleepless depending upon the wind direction.

The next morning, we weighed anchor (it is lighter now -- Bernie can lift it by herself) and limped off to Little Current.

P.S. Phil didn't want to include this but when we first anchored, he pulled the line too hard and Meridian ended up on shore. I think he was pretty happy with that location since we wouldn't be getting any waves. But then all the other boaters kept coming over to ask us if we needed help getting off the shore, so he let Meridian go floating in the water again.

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