Ryan and Kelly,
We have several choices aboard Cream Puff:
· InReach – we love it and have the unlimited text plan. It works best when synced to a smart-phone or tablet. Texting becomes much easier then. Friends can track us in real time.
· SSB/Pactor/Sail Mail – Once the initial investment is made into the equipment, this is the least expensive way to get forecasts and email at sea.
· Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone – This is a stupid expensive communication device but much easier to use than the SSB. We use it mostly for data. We keep a plan that is called an emergency plan. We pay high cost per minute when we use it (which is rarely). This keeps the phone active withut having to buy pre-paid minutes. In the past we purchased minutes but they just expired and were wasted. We use it as a modem (no need for IridiumGo). They have a PC download you can use to set the phone up as a modem. It is not hard to do. It is mostly connected to the ship’s computer where we can download weather using our TimeZero navigations software. A complete 7 day forecast takes about 5 minutes and about $7.50. This setup eliminates the need for IridiumGo. The 9555 set-up is basically a back up to the SSB.
In addition to at sea communication devices look into a Google Project Fi phone while you are still in the USA. It works in 170+ countries. When you land in a port, turn on the cell phone and you will have instant internet and cell service without have to visit local cell providers. If you do not use the phone then you do not pay for the data. We have had this for about 6 months now and love it. Our lowest monthly bill is about $20. Our highest maximum bill allowed is $80 if we use a ton of data. They do not throttle you back if you use a lot of data.
Hope this helps
With best regards,
Sailing Vessel - Cream Puff
As Kelly and I prepare to go cruising, we're investigating all the possibilities for communication while at sea. Is there an alternative to WLO, which has recently gone out of business?
It seems the IridiumGo is the go-to solution for this, but we'd like to avoid buying more equipment if possible. For weather, we can probably get by with weatherfax and listening to the forecasts. It would be nice to have some way to contact folks back home. I'm aware of SailMail, but it requires a Pactor modem, so if that is the only option we'd go with the Iridium.
Ryan and Kelly
SM 233 Iteration
Boston, MA, USA