Leaving a Breadcrumb Trail

When I last visited my father in Newfoundland, we went out for a drive. It was a lovely day, but his focus wasn’t on the views or the sunlight. He was mesmerized by the power of Google Maps. There’s only a few roads out his way and no traffic at all, so he’d never had occasion to use the app before. My father loves maps and adores nautical charts even more. Me too. So while it’s all well and good to stay in touch via phone and email, what he and I both want is to see is Spartan’s track through the water.

How fast were going as we came around that cape? What bearing were we on at 14:30 on June 23rd? For some, these are ridiculous examples of data saturation, but for my father and I, an actual chart track is a great way to start a story. Years from now, tracks may be the only way for me to trigger memories of our sails.

In the past, I’ve exported tracks from our plotter and imported them into Google’s My Maps (a great unsung online tool, btw). I’ve recorded tracks with Navionics too. But many times, I’ve flicked a switch or swiped a screen and inadvertently stopped recording tracks. Whole days of voyage can disappear, effortlessly. So, this time, I want something a bit more foolproof. I want the data beamed up to a satellite and smeared across a webpage before I have a chance to lose it. So, to maintain a near-real-time record of our course and speed through the water throughout our travels, I am considering two different options:

Some Kinda
AIS Transmitter
Cost~$600 CAD + $18/month~$1200 CAD
ComplexityEasy peasy. Turn it on.
Though, I hear configuration
is a bitch.
Requires installation.
Needs integration with our
instrument network.
Follow Us
Provides a pretty nice looking
page that can display the whole
There are a variety of websites
and apps that can display AIS data,
but haven’t seen one that would
display the full journey yet. Some sites will
notify you when a ship is leaving a port.
We could take it with us when
trekking about.
Makes Spartan show up on every
cruise ship’s plotter, which makes us harder
to ignore and easier to reach.
We already have an AIS receiver,
so we already see ships on our plotter.

Kath read all of the above and said “I don’t get the dilemma. We’ll get the InReach.” Some problems just have a way of solving themselves.

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