Figures can mislead us. John showed me the high tide schedule on his iPad. It was different from the data I previously downloaded from the internet. Based on the data from the iPad, he decided to pass the shallow spot about 30 minutes before the high tide schedule. I wasn’t keen on leaving earlier but John already turned the boat engine and showed me his iPad data that the high tide remains almost same height for about 30 minutes before from the scheduled high tide. Sometimes, two opinions make us tired so I decided not to show him the data I downloaded from the internet.
Heading out the entrance and seeing the depth sounder reading 6’5”, I started to worry because we need a minimum of 6’5” depth to float. Slowly moving forward, I saw the depth sounder showing 6’3” and felt the boat slow down, maybe for about a long couple of minutes. This time, we hit the bottom but luckily, we were able to go forward without running hard aground. It must be just mud or soft silt. We actually followed our previous GPS track which was saved two months ago. At that time, we didn’t hit the bottom. The differences between now and two months ago were; (1) our water tanks and diesel tanks were almost empty two months ago, making the boat float lighter, (2) the high tide was 1.8 feet two months ago compared 1.3 feet this time, and (3) we waited until the scheduled high tide instead of leaving earlier than the scheduled high tide. There is not much room passing the shallow spot without hitting the bottom at the Rio Dulce River entrance. Lesson learned. After passing the shallow spot and arriving at a new anchorage, John snorkeled to see the bottom of the boat. He came up and told me that “The bottom of the keel looks very shiny and clean now. All the paint of the keel bottom is gone. It won’t hurt but barnacles will grow there quicker until we hull out the boat and paint it again.”