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Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 29 Apr 2015 06:00

Noon Position: 59 01.8 N 142 16.5 W
Course: North East Speed: 4 knots
Wind: East, F3 gentle breeze
Sea slight, Swell South 1 metre
Weather: overcast, cool
Day's run: 128 nm.

Yesterday's westerly breeze allowed us to make a great start to our passage across the Gulf of Alaska, but now, as expected, the wind has shifted into the east, a headwind, though fortunately it is only light and the ride is smooth and comfortable if a little slow.

On the down side, yesterday I also realised that I have done something rather silly. In looking to save a few pennies on my communication expenses I had purchased 'Northern Lights' airtime for the Iridium satellite phone. The 'Northern Lights' airtime only covers Canada and Alaska. It is cheaper than the regular global coverage and consequently does not cover offshore waters, however, as I was expecting to be within the immediate vicinity of the two regions for about the next six months, and I thought that I would not be going far enough offshore for the system to place us outside the region, I thought it would be suitable. It would appear that I was wrong. Admittedly, my original intention was to stay fairly close inshore whereas we are now in fact about 50 miles off the coast. Even so, I do not know how the system can pinpoint us so accurately. There is no GPS facility in the phone, so presumable the Iridium satellites are able to triangulate the source of the transmission quite precisely. Damn!

Anyway, the bottom line is that for now I have no long range two way communications. I am outside VHF range of the coastal radio stations, but still have a SSB receiver, which is able to receive weather facsimiles, so at least have one source of weather information. But the fact that I have gone off the air without any explanation is, I suspect, going to cause a few people to worry about me, and now, of course, I am worrying about them worrying about me. Bother!. Still, there is nothing I can do about the problem for now, so will try not to worry too much. Hopefully we will get closer to the coast within the next few days and regain satellite coverage so that I can reassure friends and family that -

All is well.

PS  Just closed the coast and have gotten back into the Iridium ‘Northern Lights’ footprint for the time being.