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Before ever going boating in the San Juans, I thought about it a lot.
 What's the right boat? Where will we put in, and park the car? Where will we go, spend the night, get gas. What about the horrible currents, Scary Deception Pass and whirlpools. Was it foolish, reckless, or endangering my family. 
The list of questions was endless and it was frightening making that first big step.


Needless Expense to be Avoided

 I hope I can save someone else the expense that I just brought upon myself. Some of you will recognize yourselves, but others will think, "What an idiot, anyone knows that." So all of the latter can just run along. This tip is for newbies and those who simply forgot. (that's me)

This weekend I went exploring (gunkholing) in extremely thin murky water.  I was running slower than dead slow with the transmission in neutral except for little short one second shifts into gear to keep inching along.

The water was flat calm, which gave me confidence that I could simply back out, wrong thinking.

My thoughts were that if I bumped bottom it would not matter at such a slow speed.  I also figured that with the prop not spinning I couldn't possibly do any damage. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I know from past lapses in memory, and errors in judgment, that what happened,could, and probably would happen again.

I bumped at a speed much slower than I dock at, much, much slower, but with four and half tons of mass, we slid and scraped before grinding to a stop.  Then as near as I can tell the prop was on top of a rock, and even though it wasn't turning it still got a little bend in the brass right at the tip. It probably happenned when I leaned over the transom looking for rocks

After a close inspection, I found some fiberglass fibers exposed at several places along the bottom of the keel that need to be tucked in and repaired.

So what should I have done? easy, I should have anchored and jumped in the dinghy with oars. The problem was, in the murky water, I couldn't see rocks that were only two feet below the surface, but I didn't know that I couldn't see, until crunch.

The other solution would be to quit gunkholing, and those of that persuasion know that it isn't going to happen soon.

So the advice is, Don't let your toys touch bottom. Or, If you don't want to pay, don't play.
Elmo looking at Krakens four bladed propellor
If you look closely, you can see the leading edge of the prop is wrinkled a little.  Left over from my heating it and flattening the bend.   My big keel apparently wasn't big enough to protect it from sitting on a rock.