St. Clements Bay at Canoe Neck Creek – October 13-14, 2012

The trip from Smith Creek to Canoe Neck Creek was a short one because there was no wind. It was a warm, sunny day and the river was smooth as glass. We sailed out of Smith Creek and out of the St. Mary’s River back into the Potomac. The GPS told us we were moving 0.0 knots, but we must have been moving or we wouldn’t have made it that far. This took roughly 1.5 hours; during which time we had several good telephone conversations, checked Facebook happenings, and wrote emails. Once I had run out of things to do and couldn’t sunbathe given I’m still wearing at least two layers of clothing daily, we fired up the engine.

We anchored in Canoe Neck Creek off St. Clements Bay and were shortly thereafter joined by another sailboat, Alba, who we recognized from having met in Annapolis at Weems Creek. We hunkered inside Rode Trip for another chilly night. Thank goodness we have a heater! My friends “up north” don’t believe it is cold “down there” in the Chesapeake. The nights have been in the 40’s and when you add wind and water that can be downright chilly!

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Our intentions for the following morning were to wake at sunrise and make a short stop at St. Clements Island on our way out of the bay for some exploration. We then hoped to track at least 30 miles as Sunday was forecasted to have south to southwest winds and it was going to be a warm day. Our plans didn’t exactly play out. Here’s why.

Brian’s version: “Brian did a much needed engine project. He rebuilt the raw water impeller. It no longer leaks.”

Stephanie’s version: Brian decided to finally change the impeller seal and bearing. He started this project on Saturday night thinking it would take a few hours at best and we’d still be on our way in the morning. The bearing certainly needed replacement, it rusted right off the shaft and crumbled into Brian’s hand. Now here is where things get very interesting…Brian didn’t have the appropriate tools to get the new bearing onto the shaft. Therefore we were without the use of our engine. Therefore we were stuck right there in Canoe Neck Creek. Into the wee hours of the morning Brian tediously developed “solutions” to the problem. And then he finally went to bed.
On Sunday morning we were counting our lucky stars that there was a nearby marina that was open and had an arbor press, the magic tool that would save the day! We took the dinghy (so thankful it is now equipped with an outboard engine) to Cather Marine about two miles away in the neighboring creek. While Brian attempted to get the dinghy onto a plane, I held on for dear life.

Cather Marine was a blessing! Within minutes they had the new bearing on the shaft and we were back on our way. Taking a scenic ride out of the creek we were relieved and smiles started creeping back onto our faces.

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Brian rebuilt the raw water impeller. Now it doesn’t leak. I took advantage of the warm day to clean up with a cockpit shower. I also repaired a hole in the main sail cover. We left Canoe Neck Creek around 2:30pm, thankful to be in working order. Now to get to DC!

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