As we prepare for our trip south next fall, a key need is for our family to be able to follow us and our position along the way. In the past sharing such information required equipment that was expensive or, at the very least, complicated. However, with the advent of more sophisticated satellite technology, it appears that there are now systems available that enable us to set things up in a way so that our friends (and random blog readers) to follow us as we make our way south. To say that we are in Charleston is nice, but for me it would be totally choice for someone to be able to look at a map online and see exactly where we are any day or any time of day, for that matter. And as we move along the map will display a trail of bread crumbs to show where we have been.
Yesterday I called Henry Marx the owner at Landfall Navigation, a group that sells all sorts of boating safety equipment. Henry is very knowledgeable and I expected that he would have something to say about this topic. Yes, he’s never shy about saying what he thinks. Today he responded with a note suggesting that the DeLorme inReach unit might do what we are looking for. As a side note, Henry doesn’t stock the product as he specializes in safety products and does not want to take the chance that his customers will confuse this product with an EPIRB which is a critical safety device for the sort of sailing that we are planning. Yes Henry, Pandora has one of those units aboard and happily, we have never had to activate it. And yes, the batteries are up to date and it is properly registered.
The system works off of the Irdidium system of geosynchronous orbit satellites. (I’ll bet you didn’t think that I could spell geosynchronous. No, I can’t but that’s what spell check is for.) I have always thought of anything associated with Iridium as being terribly expensive but this one isn’t at all. The inReach unit itself retails for about $250 and the communication plans run anywhere from $9.95 to $49.95 a month with a year commitment. The variables in these plans are related to the number of position fixes and text messages allowed per month.
The plan for us will likely be the $24.95 one as it allows unlimited position fixes and a reasonable number of text messages. A text might say something like “headed to Andros on Friday”. I understand that it also ties in with Twitter and Facebook but I don’t know exactly how that works.
In any event, in a day when we want to tell the world what we are doing every waking moment, including our trips to the bathroom, this is a great option.
This is an interesting video, sale pitch though it is, about the product.
I NEED one of these. What’s great about this is that when someone asks my mother “It’s 10:00. Do you know where your children are?”. At the very least, she will know where Pandora is and I am never far away. However, I will be sure to never take this particuar piece of equipment into the bathroom. I guess I am just not in the right generation for that.
Oh, to be young…