by Aaron Johnson
The Pirate’s Cove Marina sits below a steep hill on a small dock off the shore of the Salamonie Reservoir near the Lost Bridge. It is a small shop that boasts in boat rentals, dock rentals, and the Marina’s newest attraction: a boat tour of the reservoir. Randy Yarger, along with his wife and two sons, owns and runs Pirate’s Cove. Yarger decided to give pedestrians a new view of the reservoir by giving boat tours.
“We want to get the people up in the campground out on the lake,” Yarger said. “There’s not much up there to do, so I built the boat the winter before last.”
The tours are offered twice a day on Saturdays and Sundays, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Yarger’s son, Brock Yarger, is responsible for driving the boat on the tours and giving information to the passengers of the pontoon. The tour that is given leads out to the Eagle’s Nest, where two adult bald eagles and three of their children, can be found. On those tours lucky enough, the eagles can be seen swooping down to catch fish to take back to the nest.
Along the tour, the guide will give information about the 1,300-acre park to the passengers. The boat travels under the State Road 105 Bridge, showing off the graffiti written on the structure during the floods of 1993 and 2003, when the water level in the reservoir rose 32 feet. Since these floods, the reservoir has been drained every winter to send more water downstream.
There are many things that can be seen on this tour, including wildlife and special locations. Boaters speed by, eagles fly past, and great blue herons perch in trees on the shore. A special water ski slalom course is shown, as well as the locations of the lost towns of Dora and Monument City that are now submerged by the reservoir waters.
While there are many people that own boats on Lake Salamonie, Yarger wanted to open the opportunity to see the reservoir to even more people.
“A lot of people want to see the lake, but don’t want to pay to rent a boat, so five dollars for an hour and a half is fair.”
Anyone may reserve a spot on the tour boat by calling the Marina at 260-468-2162. The tour is approximately one hour and thirty minutes and costs five dollars per person. The Marina is located at 9214 Lost Bridge West in Andrews.