Covered Portage Cove, ON

Tuesday morning it was time to leave Killarney.  We dropped the girls by dinghy at Marshall and Judy’s boat to walk Mindy and play for a bit.  I took the dinghy to the General Store just to see what they had.  I have a bit of a food hoarding problem while boating…every time there is a store I feel like we must need some sort of food.  We have yet to go anchor for a month straight and run out of food, so I’m not sure what my problem is, but there I was again at the General Store.  I got some peaches!  Which I did not get in Gore Bay….so, you know, we needed them!  I zipped back over and picked the girls up and headed back to the boat.

I untied lines and Ben and the girls headed to Covered Portage Cove to anchor.  I followed in the dinghy.  Ben wanted me to be in the dinghy so I could scope out depth for all the various anchoring options.  We had already decided we weren’t going into the inner harbor.  We hoped to get into the outer harbor but it was pretty crowded when we arrived and we knew the Herbons (Mike and Kelly) on INNTW and the Zeeffs (George and Melissa) on Livin’ the Dream were waiting for us to anchor so they could raft up to us.  We gave it a try a couple of times and Ben decided we just didn’t have enough room to be comfortable so we went to another cove we’d found around the corner.  Back out on the bay the wind whipped up and as we were trying to anchor Ben got a call on the radio from a boat in the cove we’d just come from.  He asked if we were the boat trying to anchor.  Ben said yes and he went on to say they were leaving within an hour or so and asked if we’d like their spot.  Yes we would!  So, instead we pulled out to wait and have Zeeffs come up next to us.  Their anchor windlass wouldn’t go down so they were just floating around.  Ben was going to try to fix it while we waited.  Just as they pulled up the guy called on the radio again saying they were leaving so we aborted that plan and headed back in.

The Herbons decided to head into the inner cove and got all settled.  They kayaked out to meet us as we got anchored.  It’s always an adventure.  I was still in the dinghy.  Canada is such different anchoring.  The rocks are big.  The water is deep.  And then you put those two things together.  The water is deep until shore.  The rocks are big and deep and the shore drop offs are pretty sheer.  And yet it’s still hard to wrap your mind around putting the stern of the boat back against the rocks.  The way most people anchor here is to drop anchor and then tie the stern of the boat to a tree on land so the boat doesn’t swing around.  With all the issues we’ve had with props it’s scary to put them anywhere close to large rocks.  So, here we were.  Me in the dinghy reading depths to Ben over the headset while he is in the big boat trying to anchor.  It was still 8 feet deep almost all the way to shore.  Ben anchored and then I pulled up in the dinghy to have him take the line to shore.  He told me I had to do it so he could manage the big boat.  Hmmmm.  Ok.  What do I do?  He didn’t know either.  He handed me 110 feet of our thick boating lines.  But I didn’t do very well.  I was trying to drive the dinghy while feeding out all of the line from the boat and trying not to get it tangled in the dinghy prop.  Ugh.  The line was all in the water at that point and Molly was trying to feed it out to me.  I am a pretty good multi-tasker.  I was AWFUL at this multi-task.  Once the line was wet it was so heavy.  My biceps were burning.  And then it quickly became apparent we were nowhere close enough to shore.  So, abort.  We told the Zeeffs to come on in and get tied up to us and then maybe Ben and George could figure out tying to shore.

Once all that craziness was done it was time for some fun.  We never did tie to shore.  The kids immediately started playing.  Ben and George got their anchor issue fixed.  The Herbons all came over and we had a fun afternoon of kayaks, paddle boards, swimming, playing with dolls and visiting.  The girls from all three boats had quite the game of dolls going.  The Zeeff’s daughter is like Maddy’s long lost sister.  She collects things like Maddy and has the same amount of doll stuff on board!  The three littler girls played all afternoon.  They set up a full doll house in the dinghy of all places!


The Wilsons were on their way from Tobermory and couldn’t get a slip in Killarney so they were coming to raft up as well!  We had a huge buffet dinner we threw together between the three families and spread it all out on the Zeeff’s boat.  It was time for bed but the Wilsons were due to arrive by 8:15 pm.  Six of the seven kids (Molly stayed behind) kayaked and paddle boarded over to the rocks to go exploring at sunset.


Molly spotted the Wilsons first.  Pretty soon, over on the rocks, all the other kids spotted them as well and came running and screaming.  We got the Wilsons safely rafted up on our other side and everyone said hello.  The kids all swam again and then despite the excitement it really was time for bed!  But boy was it an accomplishment and pretty darn special to have FOUR looping families all together in one anchorage.  Special for the parents.  Special for the kids!

Wednesday started early with crafts on the Wilson’s boat, La Cigale, and then kids on the water toys and lily pad.  They didn’t care that it wasn’t warm out or that the water was cold.  Overnight we got a little rain and it was a damp morning.  Very overcast and hazy.  George and I were talking about how it smelled like someone’s campfire burned out.  After a bit we realized that it was the smoke from the terrible forest fires!  The wind direction changed and we were getting the smoke over here.  I can’t imagine the people living through them.  It was hazy and smoky all morning.  I took Mia, Wendy, Molly and AnnaMay for a dinghy ride while Ben was working on the boat and Maddy was playing dolls with the other girls.  We cruised past the Herbon’s boat and said hi and went back into the cove where the trail to the top started.  Then out onto the bay so the kids could take turns “driving” the dinghy.

Don’t worry, I held the wheel other than the one second I was snapping a picture!

Once the haze burned off a bit we headed to do the hike to the top!  Bobby and Mia stayed on the boat but we had the other 16 of us.  It was a pretty vertical hike to the top and got very warm but we made it and the views of Covered Portage Cove at the bottom were as pretty as promised.  Unfortunately, since our boat wasn’t inside, we couldn’t see it, but we got some good shots of the Herbon’s boat and I got a very faraway shot of where we tied the dinghy up.

After hiking, everyone went for a swim or a paddle to cool down.  Then we managed dinner with all four families!  Next up, evening haircuts on the swim platform.  We’d heard a rumor that Mike Herbon would give haircuts.  He cut Bobby’s hair (La Cigale) a week or so ago and Ben very much needed a haircut.  Mike had actually brought his hair cutting clippers over to the boat!  Bobby lounged in the dinghy watching while Mike went to work.  We were a bit skeptical at first and Kelly (Mike’s wife) kept apologizing and saying she was worried.  But Mike did a great job!  Next up was the Zeeff’s son.

Once all the haircuts were done we managed to get a great picture of all 10 kids together.


We loved Covered Portage Cove.  Additionally, it will always be special because we had all of us together.  Our schedules will come and go but I’m confident that we will all be together again.  All four families have obligations of some sort or another in Michigan in August so we’ll all end up crossing paths again soon we hope.


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