As I sat here today checking the progress of the Puddle Jumpers on their way across the pond this year, I realized how nuts it is to high speed internet access here on the boat. When I graduated high school, wifi was barely a blip on the radar. Now, twelve years later, I’m sitting at anchor in one of the most beautiful places in the world sending text messages to Margie in Georgia and updating my Twitter page. Many cruisers will argue I’m not really experiencing “the life” if I’m plugged into what’s going on at home but welcome to the future people. As we get closer to a “viable” satellite broadband solution for smaller yachts I think cruising will shift to a younger, still career-minded crowd. I put viable in quotes because they do have systems on the market but the data transfer amounts are still small for how much money they want. How many jobs these days require nothing more than a desk, a computer, and the internet. Hell, I was up at 3:30 this morning to monitor the opening of the stock market. With the right technology, those jobs can be done from any where in the world, even the middle of the ocean. No reason we shouldn’t have graphic designers, active traders, and other web based business people out here then. That’s why I check blogs like Panbo’s Marine Electronics continuously waiting for the next big announcement. It shan’t be long till I check the site one day to hear Ben Ellison raving about a $100/month all-you-can-eat satellite broadband provider. I’d be happy to shell out several thousand on equipment if someone could come up with that.
Speaking of communications. I looked over today and realized I haven’t once turned on my SSB radio since I’ve been in the Pacific Ocean. I spent all that money and time installing it and I only used it a few months in the Caribbean to pick up Chris Parker’s weather net. I only use the Iridium for email these days. It’s so easy. And maybe I’m a little anti-social when it comes to radio nets. So what. Doesn’t make me a bad cruiser. So I made a note and tomorrow I shall be up at 5am to monitor the nets and see how the Puddle Jumpers are doing. Let’s see if I can get some use out of the thing this year.