The technology available to the cruiser these days is continuing to make it easier to keep in touch with family and friends, to keep abreast of information on what lies ahead, and to share information with those who plan or would like to be out here.
While we’ve not really used Skype much, we think that Voice Over Internet is an excellent concept and it makes it much easier and cheaper for yachties to keep in touch with those who are far away. We spend very little time on long distance phone calls, and are still happy to have more private conversations when we have cell phone coverage. We usually get a local SIM card when we’re going to be in a country for more than a few weeks, so the cost to call the States/New Zealand is relatively low.
We love WiFi!! We purchased two new laptop computers in Malaysia and both have mobile technology installed. Wherever there is WiFi, we can get connected to the Internet without any additional equipment. “Hot Spots” are becoming more common in the areas we’ve been cruising.
Many of the marinas in Singapore and Malaysia now have WiFi, which can be accessed from on board in the marina or a nearby anchorage. If it wasn’t free, the cost was just a few dollars a day.
Where the marinas didn’t have WiFi, we’ve usually managed to find a café that has access for as little as the price of a cup of coffee. Many major airports such as Changi in Singapore and KLIA in Kuala Lumpur have WiFi throughout, so while we are awaiting flights, we can check email or surf the web.
Occasionally, there are open networks in range, either from nearby homes, businesses or mega yachts that are not secured which have allowed us to gain access to the Internet when we are close by.
We don’t use any additional gear than is already in the computer, but if there was an antenna that allowed us to snatch the signal from miles out to sea, we would surely buy one!