In recent years, it has become pretty easy to enjoy full fledged Internet access on boats. Much of the coastline is covered by mobile broadband and most of us have learnt to take advantage of that in coastal waters. Dedicated wireless broadband “dongles” are economical to use or we can take advantage of the data-plans which are included with modern smart phones.
Further offshore or on a cruise to the islands, the options narrow. While various companies offer dedicated internet access via Satellite Transceivers, their cost is a barrier to most of us, particularly for casual cruisers.
Thankfully, there have long been economical options for email at sea. Here, we’ll look at a two such solutions, using HF radio and Satellite telephones. And with the introduction of Skipr Plus, it is now possible to report a position on the Skipr system with just email access. [...]
Nick Jaffe just cleared customs in Coffs Harbour after a 2 year solo sail from Europe. Apart from being an accomplished sailor, Nick also worked out how to make the Internet work for him along the way.
And not just by getting regular weather reports via a Satellite…
I guess it had to be a 27 year old to show us how it’s done…
Regulars will know that I’m a fan of the iPhone at sea. Even without specific iPhone apps, the ability to adequately browse standard websites make so much sailing related information available at sea and with the built-in GPS (and now a compass), the iPhone is a great backup to other systems on a boat. And it makes phone calls as well…
by David McKay
[Feb 2009 -This is an updated version of of the item originally published in November 2008]
Andrea and I have just completed a six month cruise through the south west Pacific Ocean in “Diomedea”, our 48 foot steel Van de Stadt. We sailed from Sydney to New Zealand and then onto Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia as part of the Island Cruising Association Pacific Circuit rally. We returned to Australia. During that time we were able to use a variety of communication mediums to keep in touch with those nearby and those far away.
Radio and Satphone
We maintained a blog, which was created using either email or internet. About 99% of the time it was done by email as internet access was very infrequent.
Email entries can be done anywhere and anytime so long as you have either HF/SSB radio with Pactor modem and computer, or, as we did, Iridium satellite phone and computer. One can upload text easily via email but pictures are much slower and more expensive on the satphone. We found the Iridium to be excellent.
Every day the system sends an email which lists newly posted items on a number of relevant Australian cruising sites. It makes for a very convenient way of keeping up with local cruising news.
If you know of other sites which should be included, leave a comment with the site details.
Here are the sites currently “monitored”:
as well as the following weblogs of Cruising boats and their owners
It’s been a two years since I built the “Where is” skipr.net map service to allow others to follow along, when I was a crew member on Belage, sailing to Hobart. Since then, Google has made it much easier for mere mortals to mark up a map and sharing it with others. Also, the resolution of satellite imaging on Google has much improved over that time.
So here is a short tutorial showing how simple it is to build your own “Where is My Boat” page. The only thing you’ll need is a Google login (a Gmail account), which is easy to get and free.
Go to maps.google.com.au and click on My Maps