Turn left by the swans

I’ve had directions like this on dry land and the navigation ‘book’ for the tidal part of the River Trent in Nottinghamshire at one point instructs boaters to ‘take the side of the channel by the three willows.’
In a boat, a miss can be as good (or as bad) as a mile , meaning you have to accurately place yourself in the right spot on the water, or else!

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We have paper charts for The Netherlands and this is how sailors in the recent past (pre-GPS) found their way. We also succumbed to a Chart Plotter. This shows the chart and an arrow helpfully tells us where we are and which way we’re going. We’d be lost – literally- without it. Sailing across the Lauwersmeer today, the swans were in the right place to be a navigation mark. They were probably more helpful than the disagreement between between our two versions of the chart and ‘real life’. We could see two ‘red and green’ buoys, which signify that the route bifurcates. Both were shown on the screen, but only one on the paper chart. It’s not the first time we’ve been glad of the GPS gizmo. another problem is that the names of land masses, harbours and bridges can be different on the two charts! And they can both disagree with what the harbours,  land masses etc. are called locally. And all this in a foreign language too.

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The UK Trent Chart also instructs boaters to ‘take the arch of the bridge under the England graffiti.’ Unfortunately, time and weather have almost cleaned the graffiti off. Spraycan anyone?

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