If you noticed the headline on the home page of this web site lately you will know that as of last Thursday morning my SPOT locator beacon has not been working. I discovered this fact when I tried to turn it on at the boat ramp Thursday and the on/off indicator light wouldn’t come on. It was already a late morning start and with over thirty miles to paddle before I could reach a campable spot I called the administrative wing of my support crew (A.K.A. my sister-in-law) Amy to see if she could contact SPOT to see what could be done.
- me - “Hi I’m having trouble with my SPOT, I can’t seem to get it to turn on. I push the on button and no lights come on.”
- them - “Did you do a re-boot?”
- me - “No, how do you do that?”
- them - “You need to start by turning the device off, then turn it back on.”
- me - “R..r.r.right, so how do I know when it’s turned off?”
- them - “When the green light goes off.”
- me - “R..r.r.right, I told you that no lights are coming on.”
- them - “Then you need to turn the device on.”
- me - (after banging head on wall) “That’s the problem…it won’t turn on.”
- them - “You need to do a re-boot.”
Excreta, excreta, excreta…
Yet I consider the SPOT to be a very important part of my equipment. Why? Because sharing this trip with others is very important to me, and the “OK” button and messages that the SPOT can send allow that to happen even when I can’t connect with anyone any other way. It’s my way to say “Hey check this spot out, isn’t it amazing.” Or “Don’t worry mom, I’m off the water and am doing fine.” With the device not functioning over the last two days on the water I was able to use my GPS and a cell phone to first let my loved ones know I was off the water at the end of the day, and secondly to call in my location so Neil “my statistician” could update my location on the website. This system isn’t as convenient as simply pushing a button on the SPOT, but it works. The problem (and reason I’m in such a hurry to get a new device) is that I am a day away from entering what will be a very remote section of coast where cell service will be hit and miss at best. No cell service means I will essentially fall off the radar for a few days. It doesn’t bother me in the least to paddle “un-covered” but it does bother me that I wouldn’t be able to share the adventure. Unfortunately, from here it will be at least eight days before I could get to another store that might carry a replacement SPOT, so I want to get it taken care of while I can.
IT DOESN’T WORK EITHER!
I could have screamed…
Without wheels to make a second eighty mile round trip drive to pick up a third SPOT device (which I asked the guys at West Marine to put batteries in to test by the way) I was stuck for the rest of the night. I did call Lamar and leave a message on his cell phone to let him know what was up. Moments later (after the wedding ceremony) he called me back and offered up the Jeep again so I could drive out to get the new SPOT. By then I’d already decided that it was a sign that perhaps I should stay a second day to get myself sorted out before I continue on. As it was with all the time I burned running around all day I didn’t have much of the blogging and map work done that I’d hoped to on a full day off.
Tomorrow (Sunday) I will once again borrow Lamar’s Jeep to drive out to pick up a third device for another $140 and hope to get it activated so I can finally get back on the water very early Monday morning. I wish I could talk to a customer service person from SPOT before I get back on the water but I have to take advantage of a break in the weather and keep moving. I may have cell coverage Monday night so I’m sure then I will be able to talk to someone at SPOT to get this all sorted out.