Web/Tech Afloat Feed

Posting At Sea

Lately, I’ve had a few phone, on-line, and Facebook conversations about posting blogs while cruising. Since I am still organizing the new laptop and haven’t tackled photos yet, this is a good time to post one final essay that doesn’t require pretty photos of Caribbean harbors and sights.  And honestly, if you aren’t planning to cruise on a boat, you really don’t need to read this post. It’s all about boat stuff and isn’t funny.

While back in Maine, with help from our dear friend Lynnelle, I opted to move my cruising blog from Blogger to  the Typepad platform. I wanted more control over it and thought that I wanted the option to make money on the blog in the future. Typepad seemed easier than Wordpress, and I was very pleased with an on-line course they offered. At the time, we were living on the boat in a slip with Time Warner cable wired in, so I had excellent Internet access.

I would write a post and post it.

I would write a post on-line, send up photos one by one, and post it.

Those were the days.

Once we started cruising in 2010, I learned that all Internet access isn’t equal and that it’s difficult to get on-line when one wants to. Connectivity was a challenge as we sailed down the eastern seaboard. I rarely had Wi-Fi on the boat, but usually found bars, laundry mats, and other places where I could gain access to the Internet. Still, writing posts on-line in real time was no longer feasible.

Somewhere along the way I was introduced to Windows Live Writer. It is my favorite Windows program and it’s free. When we first met, Windows Live Writer was a stand-alone program. Now, it’s bundled with Windows Live Esssentials, but you an opt to download only this one portion of the bundle. Windows Live Writer allows me (and you) to write posts, complete with formatting and photos, while off line. In Grenada I would write three or four posts a week, usually on Sunday morning, and post them from the bar on Sunday afternoon during the music jam. Windows Live lets me post them to the blog as drafts, and then I open each draft, check for formatting, add keywords and categories, and post  it. Typepad lets me post immediately or schedule it for later. When I’m doing things right (writing three or four wildly inventive posts with photos, sending them up all at once as drafts, and scheduling them) I can have a week’s worth of posts up with less than an hour of actually time on-line. Windows Live Writer works with Wordpress, Typepad, and other blogging platforms. Seriously. Don’t leave home without it.

But none of that works when we are truly At Sea. For that, I use the SSB, a Pactor Modem, and Sailmail.

The SSB radio was one of the items that was “in the box” when we left Maine. As in, folks would ask, “Do you have a wind generator?” We would reply, “Yes, it’s in the box.” Same thing for the SSB, the Pactor Modem, and a myriad of other important boat items EW honestly didn’t have time to install before we left. The Wind Generator, AKA Gramps, became one with La Luna while we were in Hampton, Virginia. The SSB/Pactor Modem did not truly become a part of our life until EW got help with the final part of the installation in Georgetown, the Bahamas.

Prior to that, we were largely unconnected in the Bahamas, a problem that caused me to panic a bit while in Berry Islands in the Bahamas.

While we used the SSB/Pactor/SailMail combination for weather, emailing, and the occasional blog post prior to our Atlantic Crossing, the system truly became the heart of La Luna while we were really at sea and at anchor across the Atlantic.

The SSB and Pactor Modem are units one (such as EW) purchases, installs, and connects on the boat.

Sailmail is our chosen hub, because we don’t have HAM licenses and we sometimes must email for business.  Many folks who have their license and don’t need to email editors opt for Winlink.

In either case, post no photos, keep the emails short, and try to teach friends and family to forget that there is a “reply” button on their email page. Typepad provided my blog with an email address for posting, so I simply have that address in my contacts list on the installed Sailmail software and write posts while at sea. The subject line becomes the title of the post. Easy-peasy. Family and friends are given our Sailmail address so we can receive email – something that is very important to me – and we can order daily weather reports and Grib files.

If we had installed the SSB/Pactor combination prior to getting stuck in the Berry Islands, I might not have panicked.

I like being connected.

Next on my list here in St. Thomas: 1. Making photos happen on the new laptop.  2. Editing posts from the crossing. 3. Editing posts when I was without laptop.

Staying connected takes work.


This Blog Needs Work

While I consider myself a serious blogger – whatever that is – I haven’t seriously worked on the actual blog in some time. During my trip back to Maine, I had the great good fortune to enjoy a meeting of the Surge Sisters. Lynnelle, Rhoda, and I used to meet every other week back in Maine, go over our respective businesses and lives, ask for and receive advice, and report back to each other on progress or problems.

P5110593In Maine, we stopped by Hannaford to buy food and drink for our approved Surge Sisters menu: chocolate, red wine, black olives, humus, brie, and assorted veggies and things crunchy. We creatively used the coffee service tray and basket provided in our room at the Hampton Inn to display our repast, and then we settled back and got to it. It is not for me to reveal all of our chosen topics for discussion. I will say that during a discussion about the opposite sex, I settled matters by calling EW and asking a question that for him came out of left field. He responded just as I expected, proving my point. Afterward, he asked exactly why I had called. “To get your perspective. You’re our token guy.”  Poor EW.

As a result of our Surge Sisters meeting, I have four tasks during our year on the hook in St. Thomas:

  1. Write for at least 20 hours every week
  2. Submit articles and queries weekly
  3. Update this blog three times a week
  4. Get a real job

I’ve given myself a grace period of a couple of weeks while I seek a real job, and while we get settled into our new routine and get the new batteries installed. Still, I’ve been working on a few writing projects, writing lists, and taking stock.

This blog needs work. As I accrue a little extra cash through writing, I’m going to spend some of it getting help from a professional. I am so not a graphic artist. Visually, I know what I like, but have no idea how to achieve it, and I know that a lot of other sailing blogs look much better than mine does.

There are some things I can do myself, and I’ll get right on that. One of my challenges as a blogger and professional writer is that I cannot submit an article that had previous life as a blog. Consequently, there are good stories that won’t show up here as posts. I’m going to make sure that the blog has links to each and every one of them, especially two that will be published over the next couple of months in All at Sea. I’m proud of the articles that have been published in magazines, and hope you’ll take the time to click over and read them.

This blog needs work and this blog also needs regular posts – ones that are on-topic about our cruising life. Lynnelle and Rhoda pushed and poked along that subject, and had an excellent idea – one that will also provide you with more time to click over to my articles. I’m wordy. I’m sure that comes as a surprise to no-one. I do like to talk, I love to communicate, and I love to share. Some of my blog posts have been rather lengthy. Some of those I just needed to edit, slash, and burn; other posts should have been broken down into two or even three different posts. My ultimate goal would be to post more often with shorter, hopefully humorous and helpful messages, with photos.

I can do that. I can do almost anything with chocolate and red wine and help from my Surge Sisters.

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Ranting Here. If you Love Toshiba, Skip this Post

To paraphrase Steven Colbert, Toshiba is dead to me. Not simply because they manufacture and sell laptops with wonky mother board/USB port components. Not even because they won’t stand behind those components. Toshiba is dead to me because they put up a wall of implacable, polite, unempowered human automatons who will not escalate a complaint. They allow no email contact. Their on-line forum is a joke. They sell laptops at Radio Shack in the USVI, but treat the area as a foreign country if the laptop is still under warranty. They replace the badly functioning part with one that has not been improved, and begins to fail within six months, and when a normal person politely and insistently complains, they just say, “There is no escalation in this matter. The laptop is out of warranty.”

I finally resorted to filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. They got back to me with an email indicating I needed to provide a response to Toshiba’s response to my claim. Their response was, “This customer talked with our TAIS team on 11/16/12 and was told the laptop was out of warranty.” I had the opportunity to indicate whether or not I accepted this as the final answer, and immediately let the BBB know that I most assuredly did not accept this response, saying: “If you will re-read my original statement above, you will note that I told you that had been their response. I am aware the laptop is out of warranty. While under warranty, Toshiba replaced the offending part – having identified the issue after only one phone call – though I had to pay to send the laptop from the USVI and back again, as this isn’t really the US. The offending part began to fail within six months of being replaced and I have had the same problems with the laptop that I had prior to the warranty service. I do not accept that they may continue to sell and install a part that fails within six months.”

If something else had failed on the laptop, I would recognize that “it is out of warranty”. I still wouldn’t be happy, but I’d be resigned. That isn’t what has happened. I do not accept that a crucial component of this laptop will work well for only six months. That part is a lemon and they know it. That’s fraud.

Toshiba sells bad laptops. Their customer service is abysmal, their response to complaints is infuriating, and their on-line forum is a joke. After posting my concern on the forum and answering others who had problems with the USB ports. I had been thrilled to get an email from Toshiba Forums telling me I had a private message on their site. I eagerly opened the forum and signed in, to find that they had enhanced my membership because I was such an involved member. Really.

The medium IS the message, and the medium has its hands over its ears and is singing “La-La-La” in a loud voice so no one actually has to listen.

That is why Toshiba is dead to me.

And I’m not too happy with Radio Shack right now, either.


Facebook for Cruisers -- and Anyone Else Who Cares About Their Friends

HomepageI didn’t really “get” Facebook when we lived back in Maine. I Tweeted. Now, I much more rarely Tweet, but visit Facebook every time I’m on-line. What’s the appeal of Facebook to cruisers?

1. Immediacy is not as important, now. In fact, I may not be on-line for days at a time, or on for only short amounts of time. It’s difficult to catch up to prior Tweets because there are so many in my timeline – even when I use lists. My Facebook friends are smaller groups, made up of family, close friends and their kids, sailing friends, and cruising friends from the various harbors. It’s quite easy to check in once a week or even twice a month and still know (mostly) what’s going on. Back in Maine,  I tweeted a few times each day when I took a break from reviewing resumes; and I tweeted via my Blackberry whenever I found myself with time on my hands – waiting for an appointment, sailing at night, eating alone. It was fun to ask and answer questions, respond to comments and news, and have an immediate “conversation” with friends in Maine, California, Texas, Norway, England, Australia, and Greece.

ListsThat brings me to 2. While I have ‘friended’ folks I don’t know, they are people who cruise or sail or have read my book, or they’re friends of friends and family. I’m not using Facebook to reach out to the world, but to reach out to those we’ve left behind, and to those we’ve met along the way. Facebook helps me stay in touch with the most important people in my life. Thanks to groups, particularly cruisers’ groups, Facebook helps me to connect to folks in the major harbors we visit. Here in Grenada, we can find important numbers, cruisers’ blogs, activities, and local restaurant menus via the Grenada Cruisers’ Group on Facebook.

Granada Cruisers Group

LewyAnd that brings me to 3. I have friended and been friended by my young adult nieces and nephews and my young adult grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Since they live from Japan to Florida, from Maine to Baltimore, and from Buffalo to Hawaii – I’m actually more in touch with the younger members of my extended and chosen family than I was when we were in the states. Twitter didn’t do that. Facebook is perfect for that. I’ve been able to watch Hadley grow from the infant I diapered before we left, to a sweet three-year old who takes dance lessons. Emily has graduated from college and I saw photos of her special day. I keep in touch with Hannah and the fun she’s having in Japan; with Haley and the work she’s doing this summer in Jacksonville; and with Marc and Jenn as they await the birth of their Baby Girl. This is precious to me.

The inspiration for writing this post was a blog post I read a couple of weeks ago on MSNBC titled 11 Things to Never Ever Say on Facebook by Sam Biddle of Gizmodo.  Never ever? I read it and I thought about it, and kept thinking about and decided that he was just wrong in a number of ways. While, I agree that we don’t need to know how much you drank last night, and it’s just stupid to broadcast your phone number, Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without some of the announcements that Sam claims don’t belong.  I want to know if my friends and family got engaged and I love being reminded of anniversaries. That’s what I thought Facebook was for – a way for friends and family to communicate. Hello? Facebook works for me because my nieces and nephews and sister and dear friends and sailing buddies and cousins and their kids post notes about anniversaries, engagements, birthdays, college admissions, births, and even deaths. I want to know these things. We don’t all have each other’s email and it’s much more fun to read my “Family” timeline and see a photo of our nephew in his navy uniform and see the comments from his dad, his brothers, and others. That’s what makes Facebook .. Facebook.Boot Camp

That’s what I thought Facebook was for.

NOTE: The photo at left is of my niece-in-law’s nephew. It’s her post. She’s proud of him and I’m happy to know that. In fact since she and my nephew live in Hawaii, we've never met. But we've become friends thru Facebook because we share life's moments.

I’m not sure what Sam thinks Facebook is for but he lumps engagement announcements, the birthday thank-you, and college acceptances in with asking for money and giving out your new phone number, saying “When it doubt, use the golden rule. Stay away from things nobody but you cares to know about or celebrate. Then, Facebook will continue to be a firehose (sic) of semi-interesting life gristle, instead of a dump truck full of tripe.”

So – friends, family and cruisers – Sam’s right – I don’t care to know how drunk you got on Friday, and don’t ever ask me for money on Facebook. But he’s wrong in a really important way. I do want to celebrate your joys and I do want to know if something’s wrong. Share your news on Facebook. Share photos of your belly bumps, babies, and pets. Let me know if you’re nervous about an exam, or job interview, or flying across the country. I’ll think good thoughts for you. Keep posting your life on Facebook and let me stay in touch with the people I care about and who interest me.

If I didn’t want to know these things – I wouldn’t have friended you.

D’uh.

Don’t friend me Sam Biddle - -you don’t want to know what I’m saying. Trust me on that.

 

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Thugs Aren’t Pirates

Inevitably, when we talk with those who aren’t cruising under sail, someone will ask about pirates. One of our Buddy Boaters said that her mother will ask, “Have you seen any pirates, yet?” just as if we expect to see a schooner under sail, flying the Jolly Roger.

Well, actually, we have seen “pirate ships” but those usually have seating for fifty or more invited (paying) “crew”, songs, grog (with and without alcohol) and at least one Johnny Depp look-a-like. We do not see, nor do we expect to be attacked by, pirates in the Caribbean.

However, we were very distressed to learn that folks we'd met recently were attacked on their boat at anchor in the Tobago Cays. Kate and Allen have lived the cruising life for the past 20 years, and are outstanding people and excellent sailors. We had heard about the attack on them from a number of cruising radio nets and from other cruisers. Now, they've taken the time to write a detailed account of what happened, what they could have done differently, and what they (and others) did correctly. This has been posted on Noonsite, The Global Site of Cruising Sailors.

It’s a lengthy report, one that I think should be read by every cruising sailor or prospective cruising sailor. I admire Kate and Allen for what they've accomplished as sailors and because they are genuinely nice people, and EW and I agree with their conclusions. While we all know that there is truly a concern about piracy in some areas of the world, most cruising sailors need to focus more about taking precautions against bad guys breaking into their boat or robbing them on the street. I often remind our friends and family that there are bad guys everywhere – from my hometown of Newport, Maine, to Portland, to New York and San Francisco. Don’t romanticize the ones I could meet in the Caribbean by calling them pirates. They are thugs, just like the bad guys who are detailed in the crime pages back home.

If you don’t choose to read the entire article by Kate and Allen, let me duplicate their final thoughts here as their words describe how EW and I feel.

The people of this planet are extraordinarily kind and generous and they invite us into their lives and share their meals and their world. From a little Masai Village in the Serengeti to an Engineers Elegant home in Borneo we have been welcomed. This is the life we choose.

We have always liked the following prose:

“I see before me fathomless depths
And far flung distances; vastness beyond vast
I see names of places, transcendental spaces, strange faces
I see routes across the earth
Well-tracked routes of famous people
They say “Come, I have been here, the way is not safe,
But death stalks surely where you now reside
And boredom, deaths brother.”

…Unknown

 EW and I don’t know how much of the world we will see during the years we sail, but we have met wonderful people from Tony and his cousin Anna and her family in Luperon, to Debra and Vanessa and Elvis in Rodney Bay, to Cheryl and Winfield in Bequia. The islands are lovely, the sailing is fun and the people are wonderful. This is the life we choose as well.

Anniversary 5 St. Lucia 2011 7-6-2011 1-19-10 PM

Anniversary 2011

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St. Lucia 2011

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Underway in the North Atlantic, 2010

Christmas Morning at Sea II

Christmas Morning, 2010 heading toward Bimini

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Blue Hole, Bahamas 2011

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Church Parade Bahamas, 2011

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Brunch on Board, Bahamas 2011


Oh Hum. Traveling by Sailboat – Take Two

NOTE: I attempted to post this while at sea via our SSB. For some reason, though the process had apparently worked once for the “My Prayer” post, only the title appeared on TypePad for this post and a few others. Here’s what you should have been able to read on March 7:

 

 P3030081  Looking North at Conception Cay

Bored. Very bored. Bored, bored, bored.

We are traveling from Conception Cay (beautiful!) to Mayaguana  Cay, making our way to the Dominican Republic. We raised the anchor shortly after 5 PM on Sunday, with the intent to make 5 knots per hour and arrive at Mayaguana on Tuesday morning. At 6:00 PM, the MaxSea navigation software told us we had 1 day and 14 hours to go. For the first 4 hours we had a lovely sail, southeast along the eastern side of Long Cay.

About an hour after the start of my 9 to midnight watch, the auto pilot died. Shortly after that the wind died. We have been motoring with one of us manning the helm ever since. I usually read and write while on watch. Many of my posts during the trip down from Maine started in my notebook. During the storm off of Cape Fear I was too afraid and watchful to be bored. This trip is boring. From 10:00 to midnight and from 3:00 to 6:00 AM, I steered the boat. There were very few boats, no land or coral heads to avoid, no radio traffic, no weather issues. For much of that I’m thankful, but bored.

During the night I wrote absolutely wonderful posts for this blog – all in my head and I’m sure the reality of the written word will not compare to my thoughts under the stars. In the early morning hours I sang – softly so as not to awake (or scare) EW, who was asleep on the settee. It seems that the only songs I know all the words to are from Camp Natarswi, a two-week Girl Scout camp in Millinocket Maine. I only attended for two years, but spent the next 4 years teaching the songs to my younger nieces and nephews from Baltimore. I’m particularly familiar with “The Bear Song”, much loved by the three youngest boys, who are now a Police Detective, a Master Chief in the Coast Guard, and a Chef, respectively; and with “My Rose She Died” which was sung in an appalling hillbilly accent, much enjoyed by one of their older sisters who loved hamming up the accent. She’s a physician’s assistant, now, so none of them appeared to have been harmed by my singing.  Fortunately for EW, he slept through my whole repertoire last night.

P3070114 As the night progressed and the sky lightened prior to dawn, I amused myself by watching amazing cloud formations. They would form on the horizon and appear as towering shapes with a straight bottom line. Often, the looked like giant gates and I imagined sailing through them to new worlds. (I’m re-reading Tolkien’s trilogy – can you tell?) At other times I saw an elephant, a camel, Goofy, and a bear diving into water, cartoon fashion and wearing a big grin.

While there aren’t any major seas, we aren’t making 5 knots against the lovely large swells. This morning – 12 hours after our start, MaxSea informed me that we have 1 day and 5 hours remaining in this leg of the trip. At noon, 18 hours after the start, I learned that we have 1 day and 1 hour left to go. Did I tell you I was bored?

When EW came on deck at 6:00 I prepared tea and coffee and cereal and checked into Chris Parker’s weather net on the SSB. P3070122 Then, I slept. The seas are so calm that I perfected reading while driving during my last watch. The three hours between noon and three I’m preparing our big meal and writing and sending this and checking my SSB email.  Yes, this post and the one posted yesterday were delivered to Harts At Sea via email on through the SSB and Pactor modem. The system works beautifully and I promise to write a post detailing the final steps in this very long installation and trouble shooting process. (Well, the SSB and Pactor work great. Still have bugs regarding posting to the blog.)

I haven’t yet figured out how to tell Typepad to announce all my posts on Facebook and Twitter. If you find this, please feel free to spread the word. We are once again at sea, we are fine, and – except for being bored, all is well. (Hope you didn’t announce on Facebook and Twitter that I posted 3 or 4 blanks. So embarrassing. At least this way you get the photos with the posts.)


Connections

NOTE: This post was written on 1/4, but I wasn’t able to upload it as my laptop was down for a week. Here it is.

 

Have you seen the book, “Six Word Epitaphs”? I found it by turns humorous and poignant, and of course wrote my own: First word, “Hi!” Hasn’t stopped since.

Communication, connecting with others, energizes me. Connecting - talking, emailing, tweeting, blogging, listening, reading, learning, staying in touch, keeping informed, giving advice, telling stories, getting help – defines me.  I competed in oral interpretation (now that dates me!) in high school, earned a degree in Human Communications at the University of Maine, and all of my careers have focused on communications in some way. 

We left Bimini on December 27th to make our way east in the Bahamas. We’ll eventually end up in Nassau prior to heading for the Exumas and from there, I’ll post this blog, catch up on email, take care of business, and call friends and family. As I write this, it is January 4th – we’ve been unconnected for eight days. 

In the meantime, we’re anchored off of Devil’s Cay (pronounced key) in the Berry Islands. It’s beautiful. We’ve been on 3 of the beaches in the area – there are many many more. We’ve explored one of the islands; floated lazily over a sand bar where we observed a ray, starfish, a crab, and many mysterious “Hole Digging Fish” (more on that later) and at least one small shark; visited the only commercial establishment within miles (Flo’s Conch Bar – more on that later, too); harvested a coconut; and had a day of repairs and projects.

We’ve not called anyone, emailed, tweeted, checked the web, or otherwise communicated with family and friends. We can’t. We haven’t had wifi since Bimini and using our AT&T iPhone is just too expensive here. We haven’t listened to the news because I can’t find a radio station that carries the news. I expected to listen to the BBC in the Bahamas and miss “my” NPR and MPBN Radio.

We are not connected.

I hate that. Truly.

When we left Bimini we “buddy sailed” for two days with Linda and David who are aboard S/V Choctaw Brave, crossing  Mackie Shoal from Bimini to the Berry Islands. We chatted on the radio with them and maintained a connection until they decided to spend a few days at a marina on Great Harbor Cay. Since December 31st we’ve been on our own, though we’ve chatted with one other couple anchored nearby, four young men on a power boat, and Chester from Flo’s Conch Bar. I’m not the kind of person who can count on two hands the number of people I’ve spoken to in eight days --and have fingers left over!

We are not connected.

I hate  that.

There have been so many times I’ve wanted to Tweet out a quick observation or a (hopefully) humorous thought. Even more often, I wonder what’s going on and what I’m missing in Maine, on the news, and on Twitter.

I’m keeping a list of things that I want to look up on the Internet. Are starfish edible? What are those strange little hole digging fish we saw? Can I take a HAM test in the USVI? What kind of bird was that? What is  a Key/Cay, anyway and why do they spell it Cay in the Bahamas? While we’re at it, what’s an atoll? What is with Bimini? Does the Explorer Chartbook website offer a warning about the entrance to Devil’s Cay? (It should. It really should.) What kind of shampoo works in salt water? (Because what I’m using most certainly does not.)

We are not connected.

I have no way to connect with my family and friends. I miss the phone calls with my sister and with C. I miss having lunch with K, and having wine and cheese and black olives (never green olives) with L and R. I don’t know what is happening in their lives. How was the trip to Annapolis? Is the flooded office back to normal? Where is L now? Did my cousin and his wife make it back safely from Europe? Where is Mo? Did he make it to Key West Race Week? How was R’s Christmas Brunch? When will J and D head for the Bahamas? How was my sister-in-law’s trip to Buffalo? What is going on? What am I missing?

We. Are. Not. Connected.

I hate that.

In Florida at No Name Harbor I had a delightful discussion with a British couple who’ve been sailing and living aboard for 8 years. As we did, they also lived for a time on the dock year round, but they’ve spent more time cruising. She said that it took her two years to get used to the cruising life. She truly hated it for a time. Her challenges were related to learning to “make do” in new ports of call, provisioning and laundry. I find that fun and exciting. I love the living aboard and cruising tasks that seem like obstacles to others. Walking for propane? No problem. Using less water? OK. Making shelves for the lockers, sewing a sail, weathering a storm (just one, thank you) are all part of the adventure. (And when you think about it, that walk for propane allowed me to connect with more people in two hours than I have in the past 8 days.)

I’m a connections kind of person. I like to know what’s going on. I like to have my hand in running a few things (and EW does not  let me run him) I like to visit with my friends and share in their joys and challenges. I like to tell my stories to folks who love me. I love to hear from and about folks we love. I cherish my connections.

I am not connected. This is my struggle.

EW spent yesterday afternoon getting the SSB radio installed. He should finish the project today and we’ll then be able to talk more easily with cruisers in this region. Once he has the pactor modem also installed we can start using our Sailmail email address and connect with short messages to and from family and friends and post on the blog.   When we get to Nassau, we’ll purchase a Bahaman Phone Card and call some folks from the may pay phones in the islands.

And when we leave Nassau for the Exumas we’ll still have days where wifi antennas and phone cards will be useless as we explore remote, uninhabited islands.

We will not be always be connected.

I worry that I didn’t prepare friends and family for our silence this week. I know I wasn’t prepared.  Evidently, this, too is part of the adventure.

 

UPDATE: January 15, 2011

EW did not get the SSB installed while we were in the Berry Islands. Careful readers will note that we have lost important connections somewhere on the boat. After an exhaustive search and much help from Bahama John, the taxi driver, we found one of those connections in Nassau. Since the weather was cloudy and windy we elected to stay here and EW is now installing the SSB, Pactor Modem, and the new GPS. He is talking to himself, reading 3 different instruction books, sighing, cutting holes in the bulkheads, making a mess and working hard to connect us.

It took three days and two very good computer companies to get my Dell fixed here and I have just had use of her since Thursday evening. These are all part of the challenges of living aboard and cruising and we are actually coping really well with all of it. Have walked a lot – to stores for parts; and frequently remind each other that we have no deadline until April. It’s not snowing here, everyone is very friendly, and we have a safe and comfortable free anchorage. Life is great.