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Looking for a post-carnival change of scenery, Rebecca and I raised anchor yesterday, and motored around the corner, back to Secret Harbor. For this season at least, Secret Harbor, or Mt. Hartman Bay as it is also known, has been one of our most common hangouts.

At the end of the day, securely anchored in our favorite spot, with nothing but the protective reefs to starboard, we sat in the cockpit, enjoying a couple of cocktails. As the sun set behind the hillside, Frost rocked back and forth gently as several dinghies passed by us, creating a bit of wake. One of these boats, a tiny, rigid dinghy, with what looked to be a mom, dad and young son on board, was heading back towards Hog Island. I took note of them in particular as I had observed them passing by, going in the other direction, earlier in the day.


One of our favorite anchoring spots.

As the family neared the end of the bay, they apparently dropped something in the water, because the helmsman did a quick 180, turning the boat around sharply. When the dinghy came alongside whatever it was that they dropped, my heart skipped a beat as I saw all three of them lean over the side simultaneously to retrieve it. In a relatively unstable tender like that, such a combined movement was not a good idea! I momentarily held my breath as the dinghy nearly capsized. Fortunately, it did not, but I was instantly glad that our tender was in the water, just in case I did have to make a mad dash to rescue them.

Don’t let your outboard engine go swimming!

We’ve never been so unlucky as to capsize our dinghy, or to drop our engine overboard. I do have friends who have done so though. Submerging an outboard in salt water is a very bad thing, and if the engine is not resuscitated properly, it may never be the same. Hopefully you or I never have to do this, but just in case, here’s a little instructional video that I found, detailing what we can do to limit the damage, in the event that such a catastrophe does occur.


  1. When I was 12 I was fishing with my grand father at his fishing camp at The Forks on the world famous Miramichi river (from Wiki: ” About one-half of the sport catch of Atlantic salmon in North America are landed on the Miramichi River and its tributaries currently.”)
    We would get up before dawn and drift down river in his Chestnut canoe. We would repeat the journey in the late afternoon and relax during the day. The river is so shallow that you stand and pole instead of paddle. The pole is a 12′ balsam about 2.5 ” in diameter. To return up river his canoe had a brand new 4 or 5 hp Johnson hanging off a side transom.
    Being a teen I pooh poohed the idea that one could not catch fish at high noon. I put on hip waders, attached to my belt, and dragged the canoe to the other side wear I beached it. I waded into the North Fork and started fishing whereupon I caught my first and only salmon about a 5 lbder. My grandfather’s buddies, seeing this from the veranda, immediately donned their gear and joined me. AS it was crowded I jump into the canoe and dropped anchor just where the two forks joined. Sitting in the middle seat I could raise and lower the anchor (an engine piston filled with cement) that hung off the side transom. At one point the rope tangled in the transom so I crawled back to fix the issue. As I did the canoe tipped up and I went over into the current still wearing the hip waders. I watched the Johnson go under as did the gas tank and the tackle box and my salmon. The waders filled with water and I was dragged under as I tried to hold onto the 2 feet of canoe that was still visible. The current took me about 30 yards downstream where I finally managed to get my footing on a sandbar and get air. The other guys helped me dragged it to the shore. Once I removed the waders (FOREVER) we floated over to where I could see the tackle box on the bottom. I dove down grabbed its handle but with 6 inches of the surface the safety latch popped open and I watched all of my grand father’s lures, that he had had for decades, float away. As I dropped an F bomb and dove to grab some of them my glasses flew off and disappeared.
    The rest of the day was spent removing the Johnson and taking it to the mechanic to have the points and whatnot dried out.
    Someone in my family still owns the 2 bedroom camp but I never returned to it or fished the Miramichi again.

    • Wow, what a story. Trying to grab a bunch of fishing lures as they float away sounds kinda sketchy!

      • He had most of them organized in small clear plastic cases….that floated perfectly away. If I had thought with more than a 12 year old brain I would have grabbed the net to scoop the boxes up before they got out of reach. Many he had had tied by the local guides, the Grants, who knew every inch of the river. The Grants reminded me of the guides in Deliverance….Freddie I remember for his 3 tooth smile.
        Fifty years later I still remember very clearly the 2 bedroom cedar shake camp with its wood stove, hand water pump at the sink and naptha laterns and of course the 2 seater outhouse. I wish that I had asked for one of my grandfather’s bamboo fly fishing rods as a keepsake. He had about 6.
        In my collection of pictures I have one of my dad @ 16 sitting in front of the camp with his older brother and sister, my grandmother and 5 huge salmon.

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