Staying Connected

I once travelled around Europe and East Africa in the early 90s for about six months. Back then, I’d write long letters and postcards home to family and friends while I was sitting on trains or in hostels. I’d wait in long queues at post offices planned out months in advance to pick up care packages and letters from home that were weeks (sometimes months) out of date. There may still be a letter or two waiting for me in a remote post office on the island of Corfu in Greece. Sometimes plans change.

Calls home were few and far between. A real luxury. International phone calls were outrageously expensive and I was on a tight budget. When I could, I’d call collect. In some eastern European and African countries, calls were very hard to place.

Within just a few years things were starting to change and when I went to New Zealand and Australia in 1997, I added Internet and email to my list of ways to stay in touch.

Fast forward to today and we have even more options. On our first trip to the Philippines last fall to meet our new boat and conduct sea trials and a survey, we quickly discovered that WiFi was available at every hotel, restaurant and Starbucks.

On MOKEN, we’ll also have laptops, an iPad, a WiFi  booster, cell phones, instant messaging, magic jacks, Skype, sailmail, a blog, Facebook, YouTube and the old marine standby, a HAM radio. In the unhappy event of an emergency situation aboard MOKEN, we can request assistance or notify the authorities of our location using VHFs, an EPIRB and a satellite phone. We also have man overboard fobs that we can wear that will sound an alarm onboard if one of us falls overboard. Not sure how the cat will take to wearing one of those.

Time will tell how well we make use of all these options. After all, part of the appeal of heading off on an adventure is getting away from it all. Even though our lives are not as simple as they were 20 years ago, staying in touch with family and friends, being able to do some work remotely and keeping track of our affairs back home should be relatively simple.