I love to keep in touch with people. What is going to be the best way to do this whilst at sea? Technology in this area has come so far in the last five years – think iPhones and iPads – so who knows what will become available over the next five years?
I think the best way of keeping in touch with people and reporting our adventures will be by Facebook and the Blog posts. People who aren’t on Facebook can sign up to get an email when a new blog post is made. I love the way that you can communicate en mass to everyone, and that they can live vicariously through your adventures so easily. With Facebook you can also keep in touch with what all your friends are doing back home, and you can comment on and ‘like’ their photos – so you maintain those relationships and keep in touch with birthdays etc.
You can also send messages/emails via Facebook, but in addition to this we will still need our personal email addresses – for getting and sending emails to the bank, ordering parts and other organisations who don’t use Facebook as a way of communicating.
For people we meet along the way – we can ‘like’ their Facebook pages, or ‘follow’ their blog to maintain a connection, or put their email addresses in to our contacts, or add them to our blog update emails.
A phone would be nice to have – but I think that internet will be more important. We can then also Skype on the internet instead of calling on a regular phone line.
The other thing we would need the internet and communications at sea for will be for weather forecasting – http://www.predictwind.com is an excellent resource. And also researching new destinations. http://www.noonsite.com has got a wealth of information about country entry requirements.
The other thing that would be cool to have on board would be to have wifi. That way Andrew and I could both be on the internet at the same time on our various devices. I have also read about a wifi antenna – so if you are in a marina – the extra antenna can enhance the signal and also give all your devices access. Check out http://www.metisair.co.uk.
So in terms of actual technology required. Here are some options so far:
- VHF Radio – it goes without saying that we will have one of these on board – a fixed one on the yacht and also a hand held VHF to keep in the grab bag, or for one of us to take in the dinghy if the other one is staying on the yacht etc. This will be used for ship to ship communications in the near vicinity.
- SSB Radio – See separate post on this
- Satellite Phone – see separate post on this topic
- Phone, iPad, Laptop
My friends Phil & Astrid have been cruising in the Pacific and Asia for 18 months. They have a Satellite phone for when they are at sea – to get their weather forecasts etc, and then when they are in a country they buy a local SIM card to use on their phones so thats how they do their internet when in port.
Some other cruisers I follow – Ellen & Seth (Gone Floatabout) are about to embark on a passage through the North West Passage, and they have just written a post about the communications systems that they have on board. You can check it out here.
They don’t have SSB and they think it is going out of fashion. However on other cruising blogs I read, they would’t be without it. I think this is a topic I am going to need to keep an eye on to figure out which is going to be the best option for us long term.