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Old 11-12-2022, 06:11   #1
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Location: Southeastern Alaska and Guatemala, Rio Dulce
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Florida to Guatemala nav program

Where planning on a sail from Florida to the Rio Dulce and have an iPad, Raymarine Axiom and a older Garmin 3010C. My question what would be a good nav program card to buy for our trip? Latter we will be going to Panama and through the Canal.
Thanks all for your thoughts.
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Old 11-12-2022, 07:14   #2
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Re: Florida to Guatemala nav program

Quote:
Originally Posted by freshalaska View Post
Where planning on a sail from Florida to the Rio Dulce and have an iPad, Raymarine Axiom and a older Garmin 3010C. My question what would be a good nav program card to buy for our trip? Latter we will be going to Panama and through the Canal.
Thanks all for your thoughts.

FIRST: DO NOT blindly trust ANY electronic charts for this region (Central America). Different charts may be better in some areas, but they ALL have serious inaccuracies somewhere. People have lost boats in the region due to over confidence in their electronic charts. There are some limited areas where electronic charts are up to date and accurate (due to recent surveys for commercial traffic), but many more where they are not even close.

For the Axiom you can download charts. I don't know off the top of my head exactly which chart kits, but that should be obvious in the browser.

I'm not an iPad user, but iNavx seems popular. I think that Navionics and OpenCPN will also run on the iPad.

In all cases you can download charts, so no card involved.

The two best navigation references for the region are two cruising guides:

Freya Raucher's Belize Guide is still the most accurate navigation reference for all of Belize, the Mexican Yucatan, and the Rio Dulce.

https://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Mexi...s%2C156&sr=8-1

Bauhaus's guide to Panama is the most excellent cruising guide ever published (with Freya's guide a close second). Very comprehensive and accurate.


https://www.amazon.com/Bauhaus-Panam...0-4513d670b6bc

Both of the above are more comprehensive and accurate than ANY of the electronic chart options.

I have used both of the above guides extensively over almost 20 years cruising the region and I only know of a few inaccuracies. In contrast, many electronic charts are like navigating with a comic strip version of a real chart (at least in this region).

In some areas, like Belize and Panama's San Blas Islands, good eyeball navigation skills are just as important as accurate charts. There are places in both these areas where any chart is almost useless because the hazards you are weaving your way thru are just too small to be accurately charted. A bow watch with excellent eyeballing skills is required.
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Old 11-12-2022, 08:31   #3
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Re: Florida to Guatemala nav program

Quote:
Originally Posted by freshalaska View Post
Where planning on a sail from Florida to the Rio Dulce and have an iPad, Raymarine Axiom and a older Garmin 3010C. My question what would be a good nav program card to buy for our trip? Latter we will be going to Panama and through the Canal.
Thanks all for your thoughts.

when i cruised western caribe.. we had what we believed to the most up to date charts at the time (garmin) ..
but i believe many(all?) of the charts from belize south to livingston then east to old mosquito kingdom are based on surveys from the 1800s..


meaning.. not accurate enough. (and coral growns..landbanks shift after every storm..some cayes were kms off per garmin)


similar to bahamas..the best charts will be your eye balls, imo.

however, unlike bahamas(.. there are no explorer charts equivalent that i would trust.








i primarily consulted rauscher and baunhaus cruising guides.. previewed routes in google earth.. and saved waypoints on openCPN...

in coral went by color of coral..navigated with sun high (and ideally behind us)

en general area of corals/poorly charted areas.. used radar watching for waves (unknown rock/reefs that wished to introduce themselves)
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Old 11-12-2022, 08:32   #4
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Re: Florida to Guatemala nav program

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
FIRST: DO NOT blindly trust ANY electronic charts for this region (Central America). Different charts may be better in some areas, but they ALL have serious inaccuracies somewhere. People have lost boats in the region due to over confidence in their electronic charts. There are some limited areas where electronic charts are up to date and accurate (due to recent surveys for commercial traffic), but many more where they are not even close.

For the Axiom you can download charts. I don't know off the top of my head exactly which chart kits, but that should be obvious in the browser.

I'm not an iPad user, but iNavx seems popular. I think that Navionics and OpenCPN will also run on the iPad.

In all cases you can download charts, so no card involved.

The two best navigation references for the region are two cruising guides:

Freya Raucher's Belize Guide is still the most accurate navigation reference for all of Belize, the Mexican Yucatan, and the Rio Dulce.

https://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Mexi...s%2C156&sr=8-1

Bauhaus's guide to Panama is the most excellent cruising guide ever published (with Freya's guide a close second). Very comprehensive and accurate.


https://www.amazon.com/Bauhaus-Panam...0-4513d670b6bc

Both of the above are more comprehensive and accurate than ANY of the electronic chart options.

I have used both of the above guides extensively over almost 20 years cruising the region and I only know of a few inaccuracies. In contrast, many electronic charts are like navigating with a comic strip version of a real chart (at least in this region).

In some areas, like Belize and Panama's San Blas Islands, good eyeball navigation skills are just as important as accurate charts. There are places in both these areas where any chart is almost useless because the hazards you are weaving your way thru are just too small to be accurately charted. A bow watch with excellent eyeballing skills is required.

also, i remember looking up many of this guy's posts.. haha

(he speaks the truth)
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Old 11-12-2022, 12:33   #5
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Re: Florida to Guatemala nav program

Quote:
Originally Posted by chubby View Post
also, i remember looking up many of this guy's posts.. haha

(he speaks the truth)
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Old 11-12-2022, 12:45   #6
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Re: Florida to Guatemala nav program

Quote:
Originally Posted by chubby View Post
also, i remember looking up many of this guy's posts.. haha

(he speaks the truth)
If you don't want to spend a bunch of time searching thru old posts on CF then you can find much of the same information in my "Notes". These publications are NOT cruising guides, but are intended to be supplementary to the cruising guides. They also cover routing, weather, and currents for the region...subjects not covered in the cruising guides.

https://www.amazon.com/Curtis-Collin...0791300&sr=8-1
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Old 11-12-2022, 14:59   #7
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Florida to Guatemala nav program

So be aware of the Gulf Stream and try to minimize going against it around Playa del Carmen and south.
I am sure other can provide you a better route but my preference is to hug cayman brac and cross over.
After you are done with Rio Dulce and ready to go to Panama, check with the locals to plan a route to avoid the coast of Nicaragua.
Sounds like a great adventure, enjoy.
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