Saturday, September 3, 2016
North Channel - Covered Portage Cove
A small and shallow cove lies within a mountain ridge along Killarney Bay. In ancient history, it was a place that canoes where portaged across the land to greatly shorten the distance traveled to reach Fraiser Bay and Baie Fine. It appears to be too small, and the nautical charts indicate too shallow, to have more than a couple boats at anchor.
This image is looking toward the opening of the cove and out into Killarney Bay. This is a well protected cove. Covered Portage Cove is larger than it appears on charts and the almost flat bottom allows anchoring all across the cove, right up to the rock walls. The extra 2' 9" of water level of North Channel helped create sufficient depth for vessels with a deeper draft. In 2016 the maximum depth was 8.5 feet. In a year when water levels are below datum, it would be difficult to enter the cove. How was the aerial shot made? The answer is one of the attractions of Covered Portage.
The ridge around the cove is 125' high, and more at some places. When high winds kick up, the waters stay smooth in the cove. What was planned to be a short stay for Last Dance turned into five days as a great place to hide from a multi-day storm. The crew returned to a second visit later in the season. This has to be one of the most beautiful, interesting, and protected anchorages anywhere in North America.
Storm clouds approach. Weather watching is critical to comfort and safety on the water. Accurate prediction of wind and sea state have to be determined to keep a boat from being in peril. It was nice to be in a secure anchorage as nasty weather approached.
One of the aspects that makes Covered Portage a nice place to spend some time is hiking trails that can be reached from the cove. At the base of the cove, along the white rock wall next to Last Dance in the photos above, there is a trail that leads up the ridge then along the top. Good exercise and interesting woods hiking.
The ridge runs the length of the cove, with the highest point being at the east end near the entry to the cove. Along this section, one is 125 feet above the water where the boats are anchored. It was from near this point where the aerial photo was captured.
A bit of rock climbing is required to reach the summit For altitude-challenged Floridians, hiking in the mountains, gaining view high above surrounding waters, is a rare experience.
There was another trail, with access along the water, that lead up the southern ridge or out to the west side of the peninsula. On a hike of this trail, a plateau was reached that had some scattered rocks. The rocks were crafted into an Inukshuk by the resident rockhound on Last Dance.
It is always interesting to see how things in nature struggle to survive. This tree has survived for many years without any soil for its roots and having to battle winds that come across the ridge. Its crooked trunk attests to the difficulties endured.
A view to the west with a corner of Fraiser Bay and the Blue Ridge Mountains above Baie Fine in the distance.
Another summit reached. With multiple hiking opportunities, Covered Portage offers days worth of new experiences for the cruiser.
Local knowledge creates greater options for boaters. Although the cove is shallow, the bottom is fairly flat. As demonstrated by this trawler, good depths continue at this spot right up to the shore. They were able to put the bow on shore, the beam next to a rock, and secure the boat with an aft anchor, while maintaining sufficient water depth under the boat.
Covered Portage Cove - just one of the many amazing beautiful and enjoyable anchorage in the North Channel.