I first logged onto what is now the Internet with a 300 baud modem and a green CRT monitor. There was no World Wide Web, no graphics, certainly no “social media” (and its unrelenting commitment to invade your privacy for its economic gain.) I am now cruising in the land of 2G. Web pages take 30 seconds to load. Forget video. It is quite the reminder of how far we have come in speed and usability. Why leapfrogging? As the net got faster the content got more complex. This drove the need for an even faster net. Which facilitated even more complex content. Fair winds and following seas 🙂


AIS & Internet Position Reports

A relatively recent addition to maritime electronics are Automatic Identification Systems (AIS.) These are ship mounted transponders that both broadcast the ships location, COG and SOG and report the same data from ships in the vicinity. Since they operate on the marine VHF bands their reach is about 25 nautical miles for big ships, 10 to 15 nautical miles for pleasure craft.* They are a real plus for sailboats as we are almost invisible on radar. Under the COLREGS sailboats have almost unlimited privilege. The powered vessels have to stay out of our way. In the old days ships frequently had to be in visual range to see a sailboat. This resulted in lots of close calls. Now they know we are here way out. It is fun to watch them tweek their heading a degree or two to give us a one nautical mile closest point of approach. One nautical mile seems to be the courtesy distance. They are a real safety boost.But, as usual, I digress. An unanticipated benefit of AIS is that it can be a passive

Internet Arrogance

As I write this I am anchored in Margaret Bay on the east coast of Australia about 100 miles south of the Torres Straight. This is aboriginal country. There is no technology and thus no Internet. While sailing last night I picked up a stray WiFi signal. Just enough to download an email from my bank. I needed to call them. In an effort to further “protect” me the bank introduced “two factor authentication.” When you call they want to send a text or email to you with a one time code. Of course there is no cell or Wifi coverage here or for that matter in many of the places I visit. The agent did not know how to deal with someone who did not have text messaging and instant email. So she could not help me because I could not authenticate. Great. Nor was the recording to visit their website amusing.It may come as a great surprise to the “head sheds” in the developed world to discover that cell service and WiFi do not blanket the known universe.BTW cost of useless satellite telephone call –

Internet connectivity

When one makes multi-day or multi-week passages over time access to the Internet is one of those things that one craves Early on when making landfall the question arises: Where can I get on the Internet? After a couple of days -when one has dealt with the banks, ,equipment suppliers, family and close friends one (or at least I) start to wonder why I cared. In truth once the business is done of me the Internet just becomes another way to pass the time.Fair winds and following seas 🙂