Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to New Jersey!

I kid you not, this is our first view of New Jersey after exiting the C&D Canal: a nuclear power plant. Not exactly a welcome-wagon sight. It didn’t help that it was a cloudy, rather gloomy day. We pulled into Salem, New Jersey, just across the bay. It was still early, so we went scouting for a market to get fresh fruit. Alas, there were no nearby markets. A neighborly woman directed us to a deli that might sell fruit, but it turned out to be a convenience store with a few sad bananas. Luckily, they sold subs (or hoagies, as they’re called in New Jersey), and we contented ourselves with a thoroughly unhealthy lunch of a steak and cheese sub and fries. Both were hot, fresh and yummy. We ate them sitting on the curb outside the store, which just about summed up our first impressions of New Jersey on this trip.

The C&D Canal

Once you reach the northern end of Chesapeake Bay, it would be a long slog back if not for the C&D canal. The canal is only about 14 miles long, but there’s a world of difference between the western and eastern ends. The western end is part of the Elk River off of Chesapeake Bay, a pretty waterway that winds between forested shores, and the occasional high bluff. In some areas, farmland can be seen: planted fields, barns and silos. It was not uncommon to see large, beautifully landscaped houses, such as those pictured in the previous blog. It was in front of these that we anchored on the night prior to entering the canal. The canal itself is about 40-feet deep and relatively narrow, but wide enough for us to have plenty of room when passing a ship going in the opposite direction. This cute restaurant by a small marina was about the only place to stop within the canal. En route, the forest-and-cottage scenery gave way to more open marshlands as we neared the eastern end, Delaware Bay. After all the beautiful sites we’ve had recently, Delaware Bay was a bit of a shock, but I’ll deal with that in the next blog.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Chesapeake Bay is Big, B-I-G, BIG

After coming through Norfolk, Virginia, we emerged into Chesapeake Bay. And I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty overwhelming. Tampa Bay is large, but it’s a day trip from end-to-end. Chesapeake Bay ended up taking us nearly four days to traverse from south to north. We had intended to go offshore from the mouth of the Chesapeake to either Ocean City, Maryland or Cape May, New Jersey, but once again, adverse weather forecasts dictated that we stay inside. And we’re glad we did, because we got a taste of the great Chesapeake Bay cruising grounds.

After leaving Norfolk, Virginia, behind at about noon, we motorsailed north to Deltaville. As seems to be our wont, we raced a thunderstorm to the anchorage. It’s well-protected, snug, and pretty. However, something about the bottom sediments about half-way down the channel made our depth-sounder go wonky, not encouraging since the display is brand new, but once we were outside again, it was fine. The second day we passed by the mouth of the Potomac River, and boy, were those opposing currents strong! At one point we were down to 2.8 knots, which is barely strolling speed on land. But we managed to make Solomons Island that night. It wasn’t really an anchorage where we were—we just pulled out of the channel with some other boats—but we had a beautiful early morning sunrise. During the following day we heard a warning for a horrendous thunderstorm heading our way, and ducked into Eastern Bay. The storm never materialized, and we lost 2 ½ hours of travel time, so we didn’t get as far as we had planned (but we did find a nice anchorage for future use!). In the late afternoon, the winds increased as predicted, and we pulled into the Back River. We spent the next day here, too, to avoid the strong north winds, and continued on to the Elk River the following day. The Elk River leads to the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal, and we anchored by some really spectacular homes along the shore.

The North Carolina/Virginia ICW

Going through the ICW from Beaufort, North Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia, is day tripping; I would not want to be travelling through some of these passages at night. We had no problem finding nice anchorages along the way. We stopped the first night in Pungo Creek, near Belhaven. We were racing a thunderstorm to get in (we lost), but the rest of the night it was calm and protected, and the sunrise was beautiful, as you can see in the picture above. The second day we travelled up the Alligator River and canal (unnerving when there are branches and/or logs in the middle of the channel) and across Albemarle Sound, anchoring in the first inlet. Good holding and pretty, with nice houses and trees all around, but talk about an obstacle course to get in! Having blue- and stone-crabbed for years as part of her job, Anne is partial to crabbing. But the sheer density of traps seems unfair to any crab living nearby. On day three we reached Great Bridge, Virginia, and stayed on the town’s free dock. Since we’re on a budget, free is great! It also was useful because provisioning, banks, a library, and other services were only a few blocks away. The first night we (the crews of Mr Mac, Freedom, and Blue Blaze) went to a nearby Mexican restaurant, El Toro Loco, and had a terrific meal. The next day Anne, Roberta, and Laura hunted down a birding trail to hike on while the guys worked on boat projects, and we all did potluck on Freedom for dinner. Our final day took us through the Great Bridge Lock (see picture)—our first, and pretty uneventful, since the water level only changes a couple of inches—and up to through Norfolk, Virginia.

Boy, what a change from the pastoral scenery we had been passing through! The southern section of the ICW in Norfolk is highly industrialized, loud, and smelly, with many, many large ships about, as seen here. Farther up the industry paled and it became more urban. The cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth look like interesting places to stop, perhaps on our way south.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Intracoastal Waterway

We had originally planned to go north from Beaufort on the outside, around the Outer Banks, and head straight up to Ocean City, Maryland. This is opposed to travelling on the inside, along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The ICW consists of natural and man-made waterways that stretch from the northeastern U.S. to Texas. In some areas, the ICW is exposed to outside waters, such as the stretch between Apalachicola and Clearwater, Florida, where you just travel offshore. Elsewhere, the ICW runs through natural waterways, such as behind barrier islands. And in other areas, the ICW is a narrow canal dug soley for the purpose of allowing boat traffic to move in protected waters. Thus far on our journey, we have not travelled much on the ICW, except in sections of Hawk Channel in the Florida Keys. Considerable shoaling has been reported along much of the ICW in northeast Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, so we avoided those areas by going offshore. Also, numerous bridges cross the ICW, and while some are 65 feet high and easy to go under, others are much lower and require that you wait while the bridge opens for you. This can require complex timing on the cruiser’s part.

Anyway, the weather gods ultimately decided that we really needed to see the ICW through North Carolina and Virginia, and they never produced a weather forecast conducive to traveling north on the outside. Our friends on Freedom and Blue Blaze were headed up the ICW, so we tagged along. The water depths along this section were pretty good, and there weren’t too many bridges to deal with. We had a good time, and got to sleep every night. The scenery was great, and included:

bucolic middle of nowhere,

lightly residential,


and highly industrialized.

Great Epitaph or Sad Ending: You Decide

The most highly decorated grave at the Old Burying Ground was the one pictured here. All it says on the grave stone is “Little Girl Buried in a Rum Keg.” Little toys and dolls and shells decorate the grave, so even though she doesn’t have a name here, she is not forgotten. Chris decided that being buried in a rum keg would be a pretty cool way to go out until I reminded him that he wouldn’t get to drink any of the rum himself.

Waiting for Weather in Beaufort, North Carolina

While waiting for a good weather forecast to continue, we spent nearly a week in Beaufort. What a great place to wait! Since the Taylor Creek anchorage is so close to town, we dinghyed back and forth between the boat and town with wild abandon (OK, perhaps not with wild abandon, but we did it often). Beaufort has enough to do for a month here, so we only sampled a bit. The downtown area is just a few blocks, with big old houses, and lots of restaurants and interesting shops such as Scuttlebutt, which has more nautical, cruising, and boating books than I’ve ever seen in one place. Great place to browse, and we bought a cruising guide for the mid-Atlantic waterway (more on that in the next blog). We also visited the Old Burying Grounds (Anne is particularly partial to old cemeteries), the laundromat for a couple of hours (woo hoo, clean clothes!), and the North Carolina Maritime Museum. The museum has terrific displays on all things water-related in North Carolina, such as the fishing and crabbing industries, boat building, life boat stations, and the ecology of the area, and an exhibit-in-progress with artifacts presumed to be from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship. They also have a beautiful little library where we sat for a bit and caught up on the latest boating and cruising magazines. I imagine if you’re a local you can check out the myriad books that line the walls.

Beaufort, North Carolina: Taylor Creek Anchorage

Taylor Creek runs along the Beaufort waterfront, and on the chart it looks small and narrow. In reality, it’s plenty broad for boats to anchor and swing, deep right up to the shore, and quite long, so you can anchor either right across from town or farther away where it’s quieter and more residential. We chose the latter. On the opposite side of the creek from Beaufort is the Rachel Carson Reserve (also known as Carrot Island), which is composed of several small islands with beaches, marshes, tidal flats, and forest. Wild ponies live there, and from Mr Mac we saw them feeding along the banks and running down the beach – very cool! Anne also satisfied her crustacean withdrawal by watching the hundreds of fiddler crabs that were feeding and waving their claws amongst the marsh grasses on the shore. You can pick them out in the picture below by the white color of their large claw (Crab trivia: only male fiddler crabs have the large claw, so you really don’t see all the females running around with their two small claws).

The World Is Getting Smaller and Smaller and Smaller

Before we moved Mr Mac from the Fort Macon anchorage, we dinghyed into Beaufort to check things out. At the town dinghy dock we struck up a conversation with another sailor, Jason on Blue Blaze, who had recently arrived from Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, and who was waiting for friends to also arrive. It turns out that his wife, Laura, is from St. Pete. Weirder still, the next day we received a phone call from our friends, John and Roberta on Freedom, who started cruising this past winter, and had been in the Bahamas. They were now in Beaufort, and had heard that we were there, too. And, you guessed it, they were the friends that Blue Blaze was waiting for! So the crews of Mr Mac and Blue Blaze dinghyed over to Freedom for dinner and a great time.

Beaufort, North Carolina: Fort Macon Anchorage

Beaufort, North Carolina is a terrific stop when you’re coming in from offshore. The jetty is broad and well-marked, and there are anchorages within easy reach for the weary. As I noted in my previous blog, we first anchored away from town, to the northwest of the inlet, inside of Bogue Banks, a barrier island. The shoreline directly along the anchorage is part of Fort Macon State Park. On the inside of the island (as opposed to the outside facing the Atlantic Ocean) is a small creek that you can enter at high tide, which winds through the salt marshes. It’s quite pretty; we saw herons, egrets, and ibis foraging through the mud and marsh grass, and swallows flying erratically (as they do) above.

We also dinghyed in to visit Fort Macon. It’s relatively small—several Fort Macons would fit inside the parade grounds of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas—but wonderfully restored. It overlooks and was built to defend Beaufort Inlet. A nice sandy beach surrounds the fort on three sides, extending from inside the island to the outside, and many people were fishing in the surf.

Word of Warning: Avoid Fishing Tournaments

So we enter the Beaufort Inlet at 7:30 PM after four days and three nights offshore, and anchor just inside beyond the Coast Guard station. It’s deep and quiet, and we’re the only ones there. Ahhh, a chance to relax…

6:00 AM: the boat starts rocking all over the place, as bad as it ever got offshore in a thunderstorm. Is it another force of nature? No, it’s the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament! We only found this out later, but what we saw that morning was a veritable parade of big sport fishing boats flying full speed down the channel and out of the inlet, pushing HUGE wakes into shore were we lay gently sleeping (but not for long). Talk about a rude aWAKEning (I know, that was really bad, but I couldn’t resist). The purse for the largest blue marlin was more than $1 million, so I can see why they were so enthusiastic.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lake Worth, Florida, to Beaufort, North Carolina

Cool note that has nothing to do with our sail per se: After we exited the channel from Lake Worth, we saw two sea turtles on the ocean surface. Usually a turtle will dive when you get within ~20 feet of it, but these two just remained on the surface, nose to nose, like they were having a little kaffee klatch or something (“Well, I laid my eggs on the beach last night.” “Oh, did you? I figured I’d wait until tonight, when the waves are a bit smaller…”).

Back to our blog subject: Currently (no pun intended; all right, maybe a little) the Gulf Stream flows about four nautical miles east of the Lake Worth Inlet, Florida, where we started our run to North Carolina (NOAA weather radio gives information on Gulf Stream location). So our first 24 hours out we made a terrific 185 nautical miles out of about 500 total miles for the trip. The water of the Gulf Stream is beautifully clear and blue, and very deep. Our depth sounder worked well until about 400 feet depth, then went wonky until we came back in to a couple of hundred feet. A pretty nice feeling after all the shallows in Florida. There was a low-pressure system in Florida during our run, and it produced lots of thunderstorms. We were successful in avoiding many, but not all of them. One of them, however, gave us a fantastic rainbow, as seen here over Chris’ shoulder. We could see the entire arc, and it even doubled for a short time.

Our last day out was beautifully clear, and Chris tossed a line over the side. We’re low-tech when it comes to fishing; a line with a lure and hook, attached to a cleat off of the stern of the boat. But it paid off, and he caught a beautiful mahi mahi! The fillets lasted us for three full days. Delicious!

Do We Love the Gulf Stream? Oh, Yeah…

For those of you not familiar with oceanography, the Gulf Stream is one of the world’s major currents, basically a river that flows through the ocean (see this link for more info). In our region, the Gulf Stream flows north through the Yucatan Straits between Mexico and Cuba, then east through the Florida Straits between Florida and Cuba, then north along the southeastern United States coast before turning east and heading out across the Atlantic Ocean. The water is very warm, so the current is quite visible by satellite, as you can see with the link above. (Note: The influence of the warm Gulf Stream waters is the reason that palm trees can grow in some areas of the British Isles, as is seen in this picture from southwest Scotland. A calendar we have (The Mariner’s Book of Days, with neat nautical information) says that “the movement of the water in the Gulf Stream is measured in Sverdrups (Sv), where one Sv equals one million cubic meters of water per second,” and that the flow by the Straits of Florida is 26 Sv. That’s a lotta water.

What does this mean in practical terms? It meant that we actually saw 10 knots speed while we travelled north in the Gulf Stream. Here’s a picture of our GPS showing our speed over the ground (SOG) as 8.8 knots. Woo hoo! We’re usually happy with 5 knots and ecstatic with 6. Along the Florida east coast, the Gulf Stream is estimated to provide ~3.5 knots current speed, which really helps to push you along when, of course, you’re going in the same direction as the current. We’ll let you know how we feel about it in the fall, when we’re headed back south!

Channel Etiquette

So, you’re in a small boat out fishing by the narrow channel in northern Lake Worth. There’s a 45-foot sailboat approaching from one direction, and a 50-foot barge from the opposite direction. They’ll pass at about your position. What do you do? Why, steer into the middle of the channel and toss out a fishing line, of course! This is exactly what happened as we were leaving Lake Worth to head offshore for our run to North Carolina. About a half dozen boats clustered by the edge of the channel, and as we (and the barge) neared, they moved in front of us. Now, neither the barge nor our sailboat could veer off, since it was shallow outside the channel, so we just chugged along. On one of the boats, a small flat craft, a guy standing on the bow fishing stumbled when his friend turned the boat (back into the channel, I must say), and we wondered what would have happened if he had fallen overboard because he was right in front of the barge, and there was no way that baby could stop on time. The barge pilot had similar thoughts to ours, because he smiled and waved to us in passing, then made “running-over” motions while gesturing to the smaller boats. This situation really emphasized the value and future utility of high school physics classes (which these guys obviously skipped). Physics word problem: “How squished will you be if your half-ton boat is caught between a 16-ton sailboat and a 30-ton barge, each moving toward you at four knots?”

Where the Money is: Palm Beach, Florida

From Key Biscayne we sailed up to Palm Beach, Florida, which is accessed via the Lake Worth Inlet. If you’re looking for money, this is the place. The homes on Key Biscayne looked nice (see previous blog), but they were eclipsed by some of the places in Palm Beach. Which certainly made it a pretty place to walk around. And the orgy of money wasn’t relegated to only onshore. This is a pictureof one of the many megayachts docked along the shores of Lake Worth.

The Lake Worth anchorage was quite large and adequately deep, but shore access was a bit sparce here. We had scheduled our mail to be forwarded to the Palm Beach post office, so we dinghyed to the Palm Beach Town Docks, which Anne mistakenly thought was recommended by one of the cruising guides as a dinghy-docking area. There was no dinghy dock, and Mr. Mac would almost have served as a dinghy to some of the yachts docked there. But it turns out that the dockmaster hailed from Scituate, Massachusetts, just south of Quincy where Anne grew up and where her brother, Frannie, runs the launch service in the harbor, so we had a nice chat and he let us keep the dinghy there while we ran our errands. Our walk included going by this great tree – beautiful, no?

A Study in Contrasts: Miami, Florida

Key Biscayne, where we spent one night (see previous blog), is a short distance and a world away from downtown Miami. The tip of Key Biscayne is a state park, covered in mangroves and palms, open areas and nature. Never out of site, however, is the urban uproar of downtown Miami, as you can see in the picture above. Even just outside the park it is heavily developed with high rises and shopping areas. Another contrast is seen in the architecture, as seen in the pictures below. On the left is a mansion on Key Biscayne, and on the right is a decidedly more rustic structure in Stiltsville, a collection of houses built right in Biscayne Bay, in close proximity to Key Biscayne.

Key Biscayne

A beautiful sail up the last segment of Hawk Channel to Key Biscayne. According to the cruising guides, there are two well-protected anchorages at Key Biscayne that cruisers use when waiting for a good weather window to head for the Bahamas. We decided to use one of them, No Name Harbor at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (see the picture of the Cape Florida lighthouse), for the night. WARNING: Do not attempt to find space in popular anchorages near large urban areas on weekends! The place was packed when we got there, but we managed to find a spot, albeit perilously close to the seawall when we swung that way. And swing we did, constantly. The seawall was lined with mostly powerboats out for the day, and many were also anchored. Finally, in the late afternoon, the day boaters left and we were able to find a more reasonable spot and spend a quiet evening. We had a rather long rain storm, which allowed us to continue working on our rain-collecting techniques: 7.5 gallons collected this time! All in all, this was a pretty good anchorage: well protected on nearly all sides, quiet (after dark), and within walking distance of a Winn Dixie supermarket and restaurants with wi-fi access.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Hot weather + lots of rain + light breeze = MOSQUITOES!!

Florida has been getting a lot of rain lately in the form of thunderstorms. On the weather radio they say that the rain is abating the drought that we’ve had for the past few years, so I expect to see blue crab landings increase this year. Blue crabs spend much of their live cycle in lower salinity waters of estuaries. Population abundance (and, subsequently, numbers of crabs harvested) varies with water inflow/salinity, and is highest in wet years when the estuaries have plenty of freshwater inflow, which lowers the salinity.

But the populations of some less-loved invertebrates also increase with rainfall, and we’ve been plagued by mosquitoes for several days. Unlike our first couple of weeks out, winds have been relatively low this past week as we travelled up the Keys. Combine these two factors and you get lots of bugs coming in the hatches at night. We overnighted about ½ mile off of the beach just north of Ceasar Creek at Elliot Key, with little to no breeze. There were storm clouds all around, which provided for a beautiful sunset, as you can see in the panoramic picture above. When we came up from below after dark to look at the sky, we heard an odd buzzing, kind of like electronics, in the cockpit, but not outside of it. Ahhhh! Mosquitoes!! We don’t know how many it takes to make that loud a sound, but they were everywhere. We closed up the boat and only left open hatches and ports with screens. The next morning, an early squall was coming through, so we had to go up on deck and leave the hatch open, which allowed them free access to the cabin. Consequently, all day we were being attacked by mosquitoes—in the cockpit, in the salon, in the aft cabin, everywhere! So we went on a killing rampage, arming ourselves with small towels for swatting the suckers. Every time you went below, you killed four or five. The boat was littered with their vile little corpses, and I’m sure we were each down a pint or two of blood.

Indian and Rodriguez Keys

After Boot Key Harbor, we continued working our way northeastward up the Florida Keys. Our first stop was Indian Key. NOTE: If you’re using the Skipper Bob cruising guide for choosing anchorages, please note that there is NOT eight feet of water at the mooring buoys here. At the westernmost buoy (farthest from the island), there is about seven feet max at high tide, and about six feet at low tide (at least, the tides that we saw); the water is shallower than that at the other two buoys. However, the night sky was gorgeous here, and the Milky Way was clearly visible.

We spent two nights at Rodriguez Key, near Key Largo. We intended to dinghy over to John Pennekamp park, but it would have been about a four-miles ride and squalls kept rolling through, so it was an inside/outside kind of day instead. The island provides good protection from the south and southwest, though, and holding was pretty good, although in grass (NOT on the hardpan). Rodriguez Key is pretty neat—all mangroves—and it looks like nothing else on the island. In fact, you can’t even see the island land for all the mangroves along the shore. Chris mentioned that this is probably what all the keys looked like before development came along. If we looked west from our place in the anchorage, development was all we saw, so we tended to look east. The weather was squally, so we were up and down all night (see previous blog on sleep).

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream…

One aspect of cruising that differs from short-term anchoring out is sleep. Pre-cruise, when we would decide to get off the dock and go anchor out for a weekend, we started with two basic criteria—good weather and a protected anchorage—and we slept like babies. Cruising is different in that you can’t always avoid inclement weather, and a perfect anchorage isn’t always available. Instead, you adapt your sleep patterns to the circumstances.

Rather quickly, you become attuned to your boat’s noises and movement, and when it changes, you wake up. This is good when you can deal with a problem as it arises, if necessary. This is bad when the weather conditions are variable but benevolent, and you still wake whenever the boat shifts a different way. But you get used to it, and the benefit of full-time cruising is that you can nap off the deficit the next day (Note: This is an old picture of Chris and Spooky napping. Spooky is no longer with us, and we have new upholstery, but Chris still looks pretty much the same.)

The ultimate example in adapting sleep patterns is making an overnight or multiple-day passage. Someone has to be on watch all the time. This doesn’t necessarily mean on the wheel steering; we use our autopilot (nicknamed Sinbad, because it’s made by Simrad, and one of Anne’s favorite movies is The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad [not the Golden Voyage of Sinbad, that one was pretty bad]). During the day it’s relatively easy to keep watch, since visibility is usually many miles, and both of us are up and about. But after dinner, Chris heads to grab some shut-eye while Anne keeps watch. By 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM, Anne wakes Chris and she goes to bed. When Chris tires, usually between 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM, he racks Anne out of the sack to take the dawn watch (which she loves to have, being a morning person). Both of us catch naps during the day. This is our personal schedule, and other cruisers have their own schedules. We have no idea how single-handing sailors keep a sleep schedule, and we have no desire to try it.

Sombrero Key Light, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida

Only about four miles from Boot Key Harbor is Sombrero Key Light. This is a sanctuary preservation area and, as a designated snorkel/dive site, it has a small mooring field. What a terrific stopover! We easily picked up a mooring ball (we’re experienced now, since this was our second mooring, ha ha) and jumped in the water with our snorkeling gear. The water was warm and clear, and the moorings are situated near or over coral reefs, so you don’t have to swim far to see great coral, sea fans, and lots and lots of fish. Right under and beside the boat were hundreds of sergeant majors and yellow-tail snappers that just swam there with you, not even moving away in fear. About twenty feet down were four huge snook, very tasty looking. We had a terrific time, and the weather was perfect for the location, with little breeze and calm waters. We highly recommend visiting one or more of these sanctuary sites, which can be found all along the reef.

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Vaca Key, Florida

Several friends recommended Boot Key Harbor in Marathon (see picture) as a great place to rest up and re-provision. We arrived on Memorial Day and stayed for two nights on a mooring. It was our first time picking up a mooring buoy (picture to right-that's the mooring buoy in front of our bow pulpit), and it went great. It helped that it’s the cruising off-season, and the mooring field was pretty sparsely populated with boats. NOTE: For all you cruisers checking out your cruising guides, the bridge to Boot Key Harbor is permanently raised for the time being, so you don’t have to call for an opening. A mooring is $20/night (daily rate), and includes dinghy dockage, bathrooms, laundry access, free wi-fi, and one free pump-out per week. Not expensive, but it seems extravagant coming off of over two weeks anchoring for free. It was worth it, though, for the easy access to stock up. Coming out of the marina to Route 1, you turn right for Home Depot, Publix, and the post office, left for West Marine. An alternate way to get to West Marine is to dinghy into the Marathon Boat Yard; a dinghy dock is available for West Marine customers, and the store is just a walk across the boat yard. While here we picked up our new depth sounder display, which we had delivered to the post office. It works! This is good, because we’ve been gingerly picking our way through the shallow Florida waters and trusting in the charts and navigational aids.