2015 Hudson Bay Expedition – Technology is my Friend


I’m not ashamed to say that technology is my friend. Some days, it feels like the only one I have out here.
The wilderness here is vast and seemingly empty, but I as I motor along, I’m safely nestled in my glowing informational cocoon. My Garmin GPS chart plotter silently communes with the satellites overhead, my radar display piercing the fog as if by magic, and my depth sounder pinging sonar pulses off the rocks below. I may not know what I’m doing, but at least I know precisely where I’m doing it, however ineptly.
I brought along an extortionately expensive Iridium satellite phone so I can call home everyday to make sure I’m still married. I even carry an ePirb rescue beacon that will, at the panicked touch of a button supply my location and credit card information to the nearest helicopter rescue service.
It’s good to be prepared.
I’ve met any number of Inuit up here who sniff at all this, sagely tap the side of their heads and say, “My GPS is right in here.” Certainly not everyone can find their way along this flat, seemingly featureless coastline. On the other hand, growing up in rural Pennsylvania between a chicken farm and a trailer park, I could find my way home from anywhere in a 20-mile radius just by following the smell of bird shit and a trail of broken beer bottles.
Every night, before I close my eyes and curl up in my sleeping bag, I say a prayer of thanks to the technology gods. Please let my batteries remain fully charged and the satellites continue to whir like little stars overhead. For without them, I’m Tom Hanks in Castaway, only without the coconuts or the volleyball. Just an underfed and aging white guy on the beach. Except there’s no beach here, either.
So if you find yourself out on a warm summer’s evening somewhere far to the south and see a satellite passing overhead through the night sky, glowing as it orbits past the other stars, blow it a kiss for me.

Leave a Reply