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While on our recent passage from Marsh Harbour to Halifax, we went MIA for a bit. Here’s what happened:
As we were approaching Halifax on the 22nd, after 9 days at sea, we received a call from the Coast Guard on our VHF. They asked for our position, and our estimated time for arrival into Halifax. We really didn’t think anything of it, there was no traffic coming in or out of Halifax, so we thought it was just routine. Perhaps they saw us on the AIS and were checking in.
Next, David noticed we had two missed calls from his dad on our sat phone. David brushed it off, thinking it was a butt dial (Brian is a bit notorious for those). I told David he should call back, just in case it’s an emergency. Sure enough, David calls Brian to find that our spot tracker mysteriously has not been providing our location for at least 6 hours. We assure David’s parents that we are fine, and on track to come into Halifax. And of course, it would be incredibly hard (and expensive) to actually butt dial our sat phone.
When we arrive at RNSYS, we check in with the Dock Master, who says “oh yeah, your dad is Brian!” David’s parents had called the RNSYS to check in and ask them to keep an eye out for us.
Finally, when we talked to David’s parents on Skype the next night, they apologized for calling the Coast Guard! Well, no wonder the Coast Guard contacted us – according to them we were MIA!
Fortunately we didn’t have any issues on board, so this served as a good “test run” for if we do disappear. We’ve made sure our sat phone ringer is on – and it is loud, so that we won’t miss a call. We have contacted Delorme, to see why our spot tracker stopped working, and so far we haven’t really gotten an answer. It’s the first time that our track hasn’t been sent, so we are a bit stumped. We didn’t receive a text message, which would be another way to get a hold of us. We can receive texts with our inReach and our sat phone, and those are pushed through so we receive them fairly quickly. We have to actively check for emails, which we only do twice a day.
As we’ve been cruising more, I’ve been playing with our inReach. I downloaded the app for the iPhone, which makes sending messages so much easier! I also connected our Facebook page to our inReach, which allows us to post smaller updates out at sea, instead of writing a full blog post.
What went well? Before we leave for an overnight sail, we send a float plan to our families. When David’s parents called the Coast Guard, they had all the information available in front of them to answer all the Coast Guard’s questions, and that was very valuable.
Hopefully, we will never go MIA on our tracker again, and if it does happen, it should never escalate that far. Thanks to Jan and Brian for keeping such a vigilant eye on our location!