Thanks to a cruising communications scout
I was talking to the anchorage in Key West again last night, only this time I was using the remarkable over-the-Internet phone service Skype. I just had to dig out an old computer headset/mic, download Skype’s easy software, and I was registered, tested, and ready to make calls in minutes. Now I feel like the last geek on earth to discover Skype (free PC to PC calls, modest charges to SkypeOut to actual phones)—there are 2.5 million users online as I type this!
What got my attention was learning from Jeffrey Siegel that cruisers are happily using Skype in places like the Bahamas where WiFi Internet connections are fairly common, but cell phone service expensive and/or complicated. Jeff is a terrific resource; for instance, he’s currently cruising the East Coast with high power WiFi gear and two cell phones with different services and data plans, and he’s sharing his findings with mutts like me, not to mention the denizens of the Trawlers & Trawlering E-Mail List. Jeff and Karen make their home port (below) near me in Maine and I profiled them for the first issue of Voyaging last fall. I’ve been researching marine WiFi recently and Jeff has been a big help, including my experience with real off-the-boat Skype last night. I thank him.