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Preparing for Cruising in the Everglades: Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Communicator

We’re making our way south after our extended stay in Fort Myers towards the Florida Keys.

Our Coverage? App shows we may only get some AT&T signal

The upcoming route will have us cruising through the Everglades, with some reported amazing anchorages along the way. The problem however is that cellular connectivity is likely to be a challenge.

Our app Coverage? shows Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint have almost no coverage for most of the coastal route, and that we might be able to pick up some AT&T.

We’ve learned long ago to not rely on just one carrier’s reported coverage maps, and we really want to feel like we can stop for a few days and enjoy the area. Taking a few days offline is always a good thing.

But we’re smack dab in the middle of hurricane season. Not having access to weather reports would be dangerous. And some communications with outside world would be preferred – at least to send out an SOS if we need it.

So we decided to purchase the Garmin inReach Explorer+ ($449.99 on Amazon), a consumer accessible option based on the Iridum satellite technology.

We’ve tracked it for a while in the satellite internet section of our Mobile Internet Resource Center, so a perfect opportunity to review it too.

It allows for basic two-way text communication, tracking, weather reports, maps and SOS. We can even post to Facebook and Twitter from it.

It seems like a perfect fit for this next leg of the adventure. The device does require a monthly subscription to access these services – ranging from $12 – 100 per month (we’ve started with the month-to-month Recreation option for $34.95/month).

Here’s a quick video of why we selected this device, and what it does:

We have the device setup to provide 10 minute tracking breadcrumbs to a shared map we’ve given to our family & assistants, and given them the ability to send us messages if needed.  Our loved ones also have our intended travel plans and sail plan information for emergencies.

Our tracking map as started – our MIA members of RVMobileInternet.com can follow along and help us test it.

We’ve also shared a link to the map with our MIA members (our premium membership to the Mobile Internet Resource Center). So they’ll be able to help us test it over the coming weeks.

(Are you a member? Check the newsletter we sent out this week for the link, or in the member section of above linked product overview.)

And we’ve set up free text location messages to go out to our Twitter and Facebook page to update our followers during our journey, which you can track if you like.

In a couple days, we should be venturing off grid a bit and exploring the Everglades!  We’re super excited, and we’re of course taking photos & video along the way to share later!

See you in the Keys!

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  1. I’m so pleased you are reviewing the InReach Explorer! I’ve been eyeing it but hesitating due to price. The tracking map is great. Have fun!

  2. Hi Cherie,
    You’re correct with phone coverage. I spent a season as volunteer in Everglades National Park, mostly in Long Pine Key Campground. AT&T is the strongest, and sometimes the only carrier that transmits. Many campers with other carriers found themselves traveling miles around the park to get an adequate signal. My AT&T service did fine; at worst, I had to just get out of the trailer.
    For you and Chris being on the water, the Garmin satellite communicator is a smart device to have.
    Have a great time in the Everglades and the Keys. If you can make it out to Dry Tortugas, don’t forget snorkel gear. It’s an amazing place!

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