The above photo shows a spot at the mouth of Trout Creek (which empties into Florida's St. Johns River) where I anchored Betty Jane recently. Getting into the creek produced just a little anxiety since the 22-year old Datamarine Model 3030 on Betty's flying bridge showed just about a foot of water beneath the keel at one point. After I'd gotten us safely over the bar at the creek's mouth, however, all was well and the creek proved pretty deep and truly beautiful...in fact, danged if I didn't see Tarzan swinigin' through the trees occasionally, at least in my mind's eye.
Lemme tellya, though. The paradisiacal period Betty and I spent in this spot--I didn't pull the hook until mid-morning the next day--would have never come to pass had it not been for an up-and-coming little electronics outfit based in Massachusetts.
Here's the deal. Three or four months ago, the Model 3030 began going south, as we say down here well below the Mason-Dixon. The digital readout got so faint and flustered that eventually I was hard pressed telling whether there was one foot of the wet stuff under Betty or perhaps 100. So I began preparing myself (and my wife, of course) for yet another boat-related financial onslaught.
Things did not look good. The 3030 was 22 years old...Datamarine (a high-end manufacturer with superb products) was out of business and had been for ages, so, in my fevered mind, I was envisioning the install of a whole new depth sounder system, complete with main unit at the lower helm, repeater at the upper helm, transducer replacement (Oh the horror...the horror!!!!!!), and all the pain-in-the-you-know-what wiring that goes along with such a challenging extravaganza.
Thank goodness for friends. "Ever heard of DMI up in Pocasset, Mass?" questioned my buddy Jack while I, as luck would have it, melted his particular ears with with my tale of woe. "DMI Marine...they repair, service and replace old Datamarine stuff...and they got a line of products that sorta replicate the old Datamarine products, too...think the products go by the name: Phoenix Systems."
So anyway, I tracked DMI down and sent 'em my 3030 repeater, gave 'em a credit card number over the phone (the whole thing wound up costing me $206, which included mailing and shipping costs), and in a couple of weeks (see above) I was reinstalling the unit with an assist from some varnishing tape and my favorite bedding compound...good ol'-fashioned Dolphinite. As you can see from the photo below, the ol' 3030's workin' like a champ!