Several years ago we replaced our satellite phone and SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Tracker with a DeLorme inReach Explorer Two-Way Satellite Communicator with Built-in Navigation. The DeLorme inReach takes satellite tracking/messaging to the next level with two-way and full global coverage through the Iridium satellite system. I’ll spare you all the details and the many options available for this satellite-based device. The DeLorme website is full of helpful information and dramatic stories of how inReach has saved lives. But the following stories are more about the less dramatic and more common daily uses of DeLorme inReach.
- Weather Forecasts
- Expert Mechanic Assistance
- Marina Reservations
- Relay Sea Conditions
Stay in Reach with DeLorme inReach
While cruising the remote area of Haida Gwaii, the newly added weather feature of the DeLornme inReach allowed us to get weather forecasts in remote anchorages that have no VHF radio coverage. Last season, we used this feature while waiting out a southeasterly gale in Collison Bay on Moresby Island. With the DeLorme inReach weather updates, we were able to take advantage of a favorable weather window, allowing us to depart our anchorage and continue to Rose Harbour. This new weather feature returns either a basic 3-day or a 7-day marine weather forecast which includes wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and wave height for the area around a requested latitude/longitude location.
Expert Mechanic Assistance
While in the remote reaches of Haida Gwaii, we needed to contact MER Equipment in Seattle for assistance with a mechanical issue. Upon arriving in Sac Bay on Moresby Island, more than 50 miles from the nearest telephone or any cell phone reception, we discovered an alarmingly high oil pressure reading (over 90 psi) on the main engine. We suspected the problem was a bad pressure sensor; but when it comes to engine oil pressure, it’s best not to guess. After some basic diagnosis, we pulled out our list of email addresses. Using the DeLorme inReach two-way messaging feature, sent a message to the service manager’s email address at MER Equipment describing the problem. After exchanging several email messages with MER to diagnose the problem via the DeLorme inReach, we confirmed that the problem was a bad sensor. With this reassurance, we continued running on the engine with confidence.
In northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska where there is no cell phone or internet coverage, DeLorme inReach messaging is a great tool for sending moorage reservation requests to marina email addresses. The marina can send an email reply to our request, which is then received on our end through inReach messaging. Messages can be written and read directly on the inReach (a somewhat tedious process) or a smartphone via Bluetooth pairing, just like a text SMS message.
Relay Sea Conditions
About a year ago, we attempted a crossing of the Gulf of Alaska from Yakutat to Prince William Sound. We found ourselves 14 hours west of Yakutat, less than a third of the way to safe anchorage in Prince William Sound when winds and sea conditions deteriorated from the forecasted conditions. Faced with a decision to continue or turn back to Yakutat, we wanted a weather forecast update, and ocean buoy reports for the buoys along our planned route. With our DeLorme inReach, we messaged a fellow boater’s cell phone back home in Seattle; who text messaged the information to our inReach. The relayed, updated forecast and observations were less than favorable which prompted the decision to turn and run with the building northwesterly winds and seas, to beat a retreat to Yakutat.
This may sound like an ad for DeLorme inReach, but it’s not; simply put, we are boaters who have found a potentially life-saving device that is also very valuable for everyday use. We also use another feature as part of our daily routine. We turn on the inReach trail tracking feature while underway. This sends a Lat/Long position at intervals which is tracked on our personal web page on the DeLorme website. Our friends and family back home appreciate following our route as we travel through the Inside Passage and up in Alaska.