Friday, February 20, 2015

Stalking Blossom

We've had more than a few people ask us, "Where are you?" While the blog does a great job of telling you where we've been, it doesn't help to show where we are. There are, however, a couple of ways you can find out.


AIS - Automatic Identification System - is the best way. If you don't want to follow the link, AIS takes certain information about Blossom - her position, speed, heading - and broadcasts over VHF radio. This information can be received by any other AIS system within VHF range.

Blossom is equipped with AIS. It's a Furuno FA-150 and it gives us a commercial grade footprint in the AIS world. You can read about AIS in great detail following the link above to Wikipedia, so suffice it to say that Blossom has a class A AIS system that we keep on all the time.

None of which helps you as you most likely don't have an AIS system and even if you did, it's unlikely to be within VHF range (which is line of sight). Fortunately for you there exists land based AIS receivers who then make that information available to web sites you can visit. Here are a few we like:

These links go directly to Blossom's location.

If you have a site you'd rather use, you can find Blossom easily using her MMSI - 367614140

There will be times when Blossom will not be within range of a ground station. On these occasions, you have two choices. You can pay for a premium service that uses satellite based stations - Marinetraffic has such a service - or you can use SPOT.


Spot - - is a satellite based service provided on a for-profit basis when tracking is desired and AIS is unfeasible. Blossom also has a SPOT. It's a GEN3 device and we have it in our pilot house, pinging away. We've upgraded our service to "tracking extreme" and set things up so that it reports our position every hour. You can follow along on Blossom's page:

A caveat: Despite all attempts to prevent it, the GEN3 will go into a "sleep" mode if it's not moving. So if we're at dock and/or anchored and there isn't enough vibration to keep the GEN3 awake, it won't send a location update. So that means the last pin may be from longer than an hour ago. I'll try to do a "message" pin after we dock/anchor so you'll know that is what we're doing.

I hope this helps all our stalkers out there in their stalking activities and look forward to surprise visits! Just don't forget the wine :-)

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