Sooner or later you're probably going to pedal into something. Don't worry - we all do it eventually. Chances are high that if and when this happens little to no damage will be done and everything will keep on working as if nothing ever happened. But if you're pedaling hard and moving quickly and slam into a rock, reef or stump, there's a good chance the mast that the fin slides onto will bend. Fear not - this is normal - it's meant to bend so that nothing else breaks. The drive will still function OK if the bend is not too severe. If it is, fortunately it's really not all that difficult to bend back into place. You could even do it without getting out of your kayak if you had to.
In the event that you have pedaled into something and the fin mast is bent, it's likely to look a little like this:
Notice the gap between the fin and sprocket on the front fin compared to the rear. That's usually a good sign that the mast is a little bent out of shape. To rectify this we're going to remove the fin from the mast and simply bend the mast back into shape. To do this, first we must remove the split ring that secures the retaining pin in place. A pair of needle-nose pliers is perfect for the task. In the example below we are using a Leatherman multitool, which is a handy accessory to have while kayaking.
Once the ring is removed, push the retaining pin out and slide the fin off the mast. This will expose the mast so you can bend it back into shape.
Now all you have to do is bend it back so that it is relatively straight. If you're not strong enough to do it by hand, you could use a vice, or a metal tube to lever it.
Now just slide the fin back onto the mast, replace the retaining pin and split ring to secure it in place. Thats it - you're done!
Bonus tip: Dealing with a squeaky Miragedrive
Providing you have a fairly regular regime of maintenance you should never experience a squeaky Miragedrive. Read up on Miragedrive maintenance for further info on that topic. But if you have been a little negligent and the drive has become a little gritty your drive might develop an annoying squeaking sound. A little tender loving care will fix this proper but if you pedal out into the water and discover that it is squeaking and you can't live with it, remove the drive from the well and hold it under water for a few seconds. That should rectify the problem for the day. Just remember that your Miragedrive probably needs attention when you get back home.