Garmin InReach satellite tracker / messenger

I thought long and hard about getting a separate satellite tracker as a back up , and now you are probably asking ‘why extra / backup , don’t you have an AIS and Iridium Go! ?’ , well yes we do and great question !

The Iridium Go! requires a quite costly subscription of $140 a month and we plan to use this for long crossings / trips only , so probably from the Canaries to the Carib etc. The pro of the Iridium is that you then have (for $140)  unlimited data (for weather downloads & very slow email ) 150 minutes of voice calls and free sms sending and receiving and it provides tracking as well  , the downside of the Iridium is the $140 a month (= almost $1700 a year)

First I looked at spot trackers , affordable hardware and $200 a year subscription . But the downside for this one is that it only has ‘1 way messaging’ it can send positions to a website and preset messages out but that is pretty much it , a nice sat tracker and capable of sending out an S.O.S message but not much else. And coverage stops in the pacific

Then I started looking around for something a little more sophisticated and that could also act as a back up to other systems and I found the Garmin (previously Delorme) inReach , which is a much nicer (and more costly) 2 way messaging , sat tracker , navigation , weather reporting and S.O.S. device that could fulfill the role as backup for many of our current Iridium Go! capabilities to the same or somewhat lesser degree .

Today I received the InReach and ,as the gadget freak that I am , tore into the box , got it up and running and registered and got a subscription . Once I had it registered I of course had to play with it , send messages , trying to update the blog through email from the InReach etc etc .

One thing I noticed is that whenever I send a message (any message) with the InReach it sends out our position , which is great, but also a link to a website where you can see which location the message was sent from and (big and) you can reply to the message ! not so good on blog posts as I only get 40 messages per month and any sent/received messages over those 40 costs us 0.65 euro ea. 🙁 not so good , so we will probably not use this device to update the blog .

Another thing I dont like , and I didnt even realize this was still a ‘thing’ , is that I cannot embed the map and track on our own website ! how crazy is that ?

And lastly .. Garmin keeps tracks from the InReach as long as you have a subscription .. and that subscription will end one day and thus out tracks are gone !

So these 3 issues I found out while playing with it, and when I run into these on the 1st day of ownership others much more tech and web savvy than myself have also run into this and most likely already came up with a solution , and as always Google to the rescue and I stumble across this tutorial that even I could understand !    and he talks about all the issues that I ran into and has a solution to all issues as well , using ‘Spotwalla‘  great name btw   . After following the tutorial I got exactly what I wanted , on our own website and tracks and routes saved for .. well for forever if you can believe spotwalla

So, click on ‘Blue Pearl’ and ‘where is Blue Pearl’ and you will get a nice embedded map that will show our future tracks , no matter how far away we are from shore


p.s. if you are wondering about whether or not you should get one, and which one to get , here’s a little cost breakdown I did on the various options . you might be able to find something used/cheaper ? But as you can see the Spot and InReach subscription costs roughly the same, so I opted for a bit more initial expense but get a lot in return

Spot :
-155 euro purchase
180 euro a year subscription
-no coverage between roughly Galapagos and New-zeeland
-1 way messaging
– tracking every 2.5 to 60 minutes an update
– 335 euro purchase & 1st year subscription

-550 euro purchase
-140 euro a year subscription + cumbersome stuff with buying credits etc
-Global coverage
-2 way messaging
– tracking every 15 min. to 2x a day
– 690 euro (+ credits) purchase & 1st year subscription

Garmin InReach
-450 euro purchase
-180 euro a year subscription
-Global coverage
-2 way messaging
– tracking every 10 minutes an update
– 630 euro purchase & 1st year subscription

Delorme InReach (previous version from before Garmin bought it)

-250 euro purchase
-180 euro a year subscription
-Global coverage
-2 way messaging
– tracking every 10 minutes an update
– 430 euro purchase & 1st year subscription

ST-Tracking Kit
-990 euro purchase
-210 euro a year subscription + cumbersome stuff with buying ‘polls’
-Global coverage
-2 way messaging
– tracking , around once a day standard with the 210 euro subscription
– 1200 euro (+ polls) purchase & 1st year subscription

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