To see Arctic Tern’s daily progress through the Northwest Passage, go to
(NOTE: if linking from the above does not work, cut and paste the link into a new window.)
How am I doing this?
During Arctic Tern’s 2014 attempt at the Northwest Passage, she will be transiting one of the remotest areas on the planet. Nunavut Territory alone, where I just spent an impromptu weekend, is about one third the area of the continental US and has a total population of 31,000. By comparison, the typical big-city baseball park can accommodate 45,000 on any given Sunday.
One result of there being so few humans in the Arctic is that two technologies we’ve grown to think of as commonplace, even essential, are in short supply; those being cell towers and WIFI networks.
While on passage, I may be able to update this website occasionally over ham radio (much the way I did during Murre’s 2010 – 2012 cruise) but these transmissions will be sporadic, largely due to propagation issues usual in very high latitudes.
To supplement my communications and to ensure I can pilot myself if separated from the boat, I’ve added the Delorme inReach SE to my kit.
The inReach is about the size of a large cell phone (can fit in my back pocket) and is built for three main tasks: the relay of GPS coordinates, two-way texting, and the transmission of SOS messages via satellite. Text messages have a maximum length of 160 characters per send. The device cannot transmit pictures or attachments; nor is it a phone .
Unlike other, similar technologies, inReach uses the Iridium satellite network, which is reported to be the only network that is truly global. Others can have spotty coverage in the remote ocean or at the earth’s poles. Either is problematic for my purposes.
Another important feature is the inReach App (free download), which connects the unit with any IOS or Android mobile device. This is a big plus because while all the inReach functionality is available via the unit itself, the small screen and three-button interface makes some of the processes, e.g. texting, difficult. Mirroring these functions in the inReach App removes this difficulty and allows for the layering-on of other useful features, like the ability to see one’s location and track on a downloadable map or chart, also free via the inReach website.
What this means is that while on passage I will be able to send location and text updates to this site via the Twitter feed you see in the right-hand sidebar. These updates will only include that day’s location and may not be posted every day.
HOWEVER, those interested in daily updates on Arctic Tern’s progress and the ability to see how the journey progresses, please visit the site referenced at the top of this post.