Day 24 - Reflections and Satellite Communication

Position: N 37° 26' W 040° 59' UTC 1200

Nautical miles left: 590

As the story of the girls on the Atlantic Ocean told you yesterday, my lunch consisted of a shrimp cocktail a la mustard and parmesan. An extraordinary combination if you ask me, almost deserving to be on the menu in a michelain restaurant, almost. The attempt of cooking pasta and rice with the slowest electric kettle on earth wasn't as successful though, and to be honest, living on cold cans isn't that exciting and definitely nothing we planned on doing when we took off from Cuba. When thinking back on whether we could have done something differently in order to avoid some of the problems we have had onboard, we haven't really come up with something particular. There are just some minor things we would consider changing. Like for instance not having the fishing line dragging behind the boat when the thunderstorm hit us. (The fishing line later got caught in the propeller of the water generator and destroyed it). Doing the crossing again we might would consider a stop at Bermuda to refuel etcetera since 3000 nautical miles isn't round the corner so to speak. However, when planning the route the power problem caused by the broken wind/water generator that left us with the engine as our only battery charger, wasn't really in mind. I just wanted to give you some reflections upon the problems we have had and let us face it, when crossing the Atlantic Ocean or during any other longer trip, you have to be aware of the fact that you most certainly will have to deal with a number of minor or major issues! And to conclude my reflections, we were damn lucky who had such a smooth crossing last time!

Now to what I intended to talk about in today's post: satellite communication, our link to the outer world while at sea. We have had some questions concerning our communication possibilities and whether we have internet or not and I will try to sort it out. Friends have asked us why we haven't replied to text messages they have sent to our cell phones. On the ocean there is no mobile network whatsoever, if we are lucky we sometimes have network coverage some miles from the coast but that is it. While sailing our only communication with you is through satellites. Onboard we have a satellite phone called Iridium Motorola 9555 (we have gotten some requests whether it is on sale and yes, most probably it is when we are coming home). The sat phone more or less look like an old cell phone with antenna one used to have 10-15 years ago, or what we in Sweden refer to a brick - tegelsten, an extremely expensive brick. Anyhow, before we left Sweden we signed a contract with a company called Mailasail and purchased 500 minutes to a total cost of around 600EUR. The 500 minutes are valid one year and have recently rapidly diminished mostly due to the large weather files we have downloaded. How do we use the sat phone? We use it simply to upload and download emails with a "secret" email which we operate though Outlook on my old computer (banned at sea while it is so power consuming and nowadays almost falling apart) and Windows Live Mail on Maria's computer. The computer connects to the sat phone through an USB cable and then we connect to the internet. To update our blog we send an email to the blog account which thereafter updates automatically. Theoretically we can surf the internet, but since the connection is so slow it would take forever and cost us a fortune. The minutes are ticking while loading mail and this being so we have chosen to not to go public with our sail mail and therefore only given it to family and friends. Our 500 minutes finished yesterday and we had to buy another 50 minutes. And to answer the question whether it is possible to sponsor our blogging: Absolutely! More minutes mean more pictures! lol!

So far the engine is running and we are not out of diesel yet! In today's calm Maria took a little refreshing bath and put back the wind vane rudder on which we have changed the breaking tube. So when it starts blowing we hopefully have self steering again! The wind generator is also temporally fixed and can with a bit of luck give us some amps and episodes of Sex and the City if (when) we will run out of fuel. The story of the girls on the Atlantic Ocean continues and until next time have a look on the blog of our insurance company Europeiska, I have posted a Swedish update about leaving Cuba and the crossing so far.

Have a very nice weekend everybody and to my dear friend Lotta who is getting married to her Magnus tomorrow; best wishes!

Love/First Mate Sofia

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  1. Anonymous Says:

    For email at sea, there is also sailmail (or winlink for amateur radio operators), which requires some additional equipment (HF radio and PACTOR modem), but is much cheaper to operate.

    Much more important than technology is prudence and caution at sea and fun while sailing ... you are doing a good job there, keep it going!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I think you have had less problems than others, I also think that the problems you got - you have solved in a very good way. well done. Eva

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The most has been done! Next saturday you'll probably be at Horta! Hei girls, you are really great! We are a group of italian people who are following you every day on the blog.
    So, finger crossed and keep going, Azores are approaching.