The devil is always lurking. That was not the day’s only surprise. The chart-plotter tried to wreck me on a reef! On two occasions in the area of Bahia Tenacatita (Mansanilla) the chart-plotter tried to send me into these shallow reef waters!
Just observing the waters carefully was enough to convince me to make a right turn and head further out and around the islands.
On the second occasion the magenta line on the chart-plotter tried to guide me right through the middle of an island (an island that was not charted).
The Garmin chart-plotter is a miracle piece of modern electronics. But it is beguiling; it would just as soon send you on a reef as tell you when you are in safe waters.
To be fair to the Garmin people, two highly visible islands don’t even exist on the underlying charts. So…
(1) Don’t ever blindly trust your chart-plotter — especially in non-U.S. waters where the charts may have omissions or errors. Learn to trust your chart-plotter when it’s right and then you learn to NOT trust it, when it’s wrong. Note: a year ago our chart-plotter put us between two islands in Alaska that we judged not to be a good idea.
(2) Take seriously the Garmin warning: “all information is presented for reference only. You assume total responsibility and risk associated with using this device.”
(3) Trust and double check your waypoint entries, and then double check again!
(4) The chart-plotter is not a video game that substitutes for a careful watch of the waters. When something in front of you doesn’t look right, it’s because it isn’t. When you first have a mental signal of conflict between chart-plotter and what you are seeing STOP your boat. Do not proceed while trying to resolve any confusion!
(5) Believe your eyes, and stay alive! If you are lulled to a nearby obstruction chances are your GPS position is accurate; but the underlying map is NOT. If it looks imprudent to proceed ahead, then take a fork in the road, and turn and run away.
…just talking to myself about a few reminders, and to any interested mariners.
That’s just about enough adventure for one day.