Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here Be Dragons

Here were are in the Rio Dulce.  We've had a nice time in El Golfete, but it is time to visit town and reprovision.  Let's sail on to Fronteras.

First, we turn on the GPS.
Don't fall off!


Oh.  Well.  Our boat appears to be on land, which is a little worrisome.  And the world sort of ends there, doesn't it.  I guess those special Caribbean charts we bought weren't all they were cracked up to be.

No matter.  We still have our fancy computer navigation software.  First, let's take a look at google maps to see where we are going.

I know where Guatemala is!
Excellent.  Top right arrow to bottom left arrow.  Got it.  Let's open Coastal Explorer.

I can haz map?
And... oh.  No.  So, hmm.  It looks like we have to cross the Universal Transverse Mercator Grid, cut the corner of the Caution: Inadequately Surveyed Areas box, then emerge back onto the overly-zoomed river near the "M" in Guatemala.  Brilliant.

It may seem that we could get from one place on the river to another just by, you know, pointing the boat the right way, but as in all things, it isn't that easy.  Shoals and submerged pilings are our deadly enemies.  Luckily, our guidebook gave two GPS coordinates to navigate by; without those, we might have been in trouble.

And, just for comparison's sake, here is the map of Key West we used back in the day (at higher magnification, I might add):
Look at me!  I'm well-defined!
See all those little numbers?  Those are depths.  Go back and note the total absence of depth numbers on the Guatemala chart.  And when we get closer?

Any closer and you could see individual houses.
Buoys, depths, even buildings.  Is this all a plot to remind us how easy everything is back in civilization?  A vast conspiracy to make us run for home?  Oh, what dark days are these?

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