"Things go shrimpingly. Pls charter: Lituya-Pel noon 26th. 800lbs incl us. Bon has # of Chuck, another airline option. Use these coords. Thx." It's 50 cents per 160-character custom message sent or received via Garmin InReach over the Iridium satellite network, well worth it to have a contact option. This is Rick's message to Eileen to plan our way out of here.

The InReach takes anywhere from 10 seconds to two hours to send a message, so Rick and Eileen have prepped for the need to charter a seaplane in advance of the trip. Plan A (much cheaper) was to hang around in Lituya hoping we would be a convenient pickup between Charley's fishing ventures, but it quickly became apparent that the communication, weather, and fishing openings were too unpredictable for us to depend on. So on our third day in Lituya, we called in plan B, Eileen as our accomplice.

Ryan has been keeping track of the InReach, sending a preset daily check-in message that texts a map of our coordinates to all three of our partners back at home.

The InReach goes missing on the day we decide to send the "please charter a plane for our exit" message.

We've been hiking, so it's possible we won't find it.

Rick has the custom message typed out on his phone to Bluetooth for sending, but it won't do anything without the Garmin device.

We play out scenarios, verbally. The daily check-in is a kind of deadman's switch, but we haven't prepped a specific reponse with our partners. If they don't hear from us, what do we think they'll do, and when? Consensus is that they'll be worried by the end of the first day with no check-in, and might call Coast Guard by the end of the second. That would cut our trip short, but it's probably good to have someone keeping track of us.

We're fine, but they don't know that. And eventually, we will need a way to leave. We haven't seen any boats come into the bay so far. We could maybe signal a plane with a big fire, but maybe not; all of our fires have been really smoky, and nobody has paid any attention so far.

We're hoping not to have that problem. All other plans are dropped; tomorrow, we'll go hiking around to look for the InReach. Hopefully, we'll find it before anybody gets worried.

Ryan comes back from looking through his pack again. Good news: he's found it, dropped into an obscure pocket. Rick connects his phone and, after a while, the device plays the tone that means the message has sent.

Eileen's message back is more than 160 characters, so we get a garbled mess of out-of-order messages when we turn the InReach on at the top of the hill the next day. We like word puzzles, though, and the phrases seem positive. We're pretty sure it worked.

Previous: Strange Forest | Next: Hygiene

An adventurer, woodland creature, and engineer. Currently working on data ownership models, environmental accountability, and intentional community.

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