Fair Winds and Following Seas

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Earth Nullschool. This is THE most fascinating visualisation of wind and weather conditions.

Even if you’re not a sailor or pilot or into weather charts, do take a look. Its simply amazing to see the earth from an entirely ‘other’ perspective. Wind and currents are displayed in motion beautifully and you get a real sense of direction and energy. It’s also totally pared down to give you the best visual without distracting text or annoying buttons. By clicking on “earth” you can adjust various selections to show wind at different altitudes . Addictive. Team SlowTourismo can idle away hours playing around with this!

At the moment “Quarterback” and crew are “slow travelling”, stuck in patch of no wind halfway across the Bay of Biscay (the green ring in shot above). For end of November that’s pretty unusual. No worries, looks like they’ll make up for it once they reach the tip of NW Spain to catch a 25 knot northerly for a speedy sail all the way down to Madeira!

 

earth nullschool

Earth Nullschool. Clear selection of settings to play around with.

Slow Communication – the new Iridium GO!

Slow Communication – the new Iridium GO!

With slow in this case referring to the hours we’ve invested getting the device, the accompanying apps and our communication needs set up and tested. And understanding the limitations. The two-way SMS isn’t as simple as it sounds. In Europe where we are, not all mobile phone service providers seem to support sending SMS to Iridium and in most cases we don’t receive the messages. Friends and family on land will be using the messaging center of course but thats actually email… Speaking of which: Email works excellently. Voice? Not always. In all cases, we tested with perfect satellite connection.

Slow is also the Iridium Support team. A much needed improvement update to the apps was announced for mid-October but a month later and no sign of it on the horizon yet. Emails to Iridium Support have gone unanswered.

Main issue for us is that many functions of the app don’t seem to work with iOS 8. (Took us ages and much %@!? ┬ábefore we realised that could be the reason). Luckily I’m lazy and didn’t update my iPad. With iOS7, receiving GRIB and opening in Weather4D PRO or iNavx works perfectly – on land. Lets see if we can keep a connection at sea.

So just a tip here: if you’re using iPad for weather and navigational maps, are in Europe and plan to purchase this new device (or are an early adopter and have already done so), don’t expect all your cruiser needs to be set up and function perfectly within a few days before you set off. You’ll likely be frustrated. And it will all take a lot longer than you thought.