While it’s fairly easy to get from Placida to the pass if you’ve done it before, going without charts exposes you to twists and turns and unforeseen shallows. Of course, I followed the channel markers, but from local knowledge I also knew that I wanted to run alongside the island of Boca Grande until I saw the old phosphate docks before making a left and heading south along the backside of Cayo Costa. Landmarks, like those phosphate docks, are vital for determining position on the water relative to land. Ideally, you’d have a pair of binoculars on board to scout out landmarks from far distances, but again, I wanted none of that. Still, on a clear day, keep an eye out for tall buildings, water towers, areas with tall trees, areas with no trees — any point that can serve as a beacon should you get disoriented.