Barry's Blog #90 - The quest for Internet data

A B Sea

Back in July 2016, when we were still living in Queensland, Australia and I came up with this crazy idea of buying a yacht and sailing the world, if you had asked me to name the one thing that I thought would be our highest priority when living on board, I might have said accessing diesel or fresh water or maybe coping with wild weather. But the simple truth is that the thing which challenges us the most is being able to access the Internet.

Since beginning our journey it has undoubtedly been the most time consuming and sometimes frustrating challenge to overcome. It was even challenging when we were land based in Javea in Spain, from December 2017 to April 2018.

The more exasperating thing is that even now, in July 2019 as I write this blog, while we are still in the modern and civilised Mediterranean area, getting access to a reasonably priced data-only sim sometimes proves quite difficult.

Of course there are the language barriers in the various countries we visit which can lead to some confused looks as we try to convey the idea that phone calls and text messages are not required, it's just the data we're after. We can only imagine how difficult it will be getting Internet data access once we sail away from Europe.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again, I'll talk more about Internet data later in this blog.

The wind - Our friend and our nemesis

Obviously living on a sail boat means that we can use the wind to travel from place to place. That of course assumes the wind is blowing in the right direction and is blowing enough, but not too much.

It has been said of the Mediterranean wind, that it either blows too little, too much or is right on the nose. In our short time as liveaboards we have found this to be true and we also recently discovered exactly what is meant when our chart says 'strong gusts' on any particular coastline we may be considering anchoring off.

The anchor is finally set

The big bay on the Greek island of Lipsi is where we dropped anchor hoping to be able to buy a sim card for Internet access from somewhere in the main town that's situated there. It took a couple of goes to get our anchor set but once it was in and we swam over it to check it was secure, we were happy that A B Sea wasn't going to be budging as long as the wind didn't shift.

As the sun set the winds gods decided to get playful and the aforementioned 'strong gusts' became apparent. The main problem with gusts off the land is that they generally don't always come from one direction which means that A B Sea was swinging in quite a large arc around her anchor.

At one point during the night the wind swung around 180 degrees and we heard and felt our anchor unhook from her sandy hold. Fortunately the Mantus anchor is designed in such a way that it will generally reset and dig in within a few metres, which it thankfully did. But that few metres and few moments seems to last a lifetime when you're laying in bed, suddenly awake and waiting for the anchor dragging alarm to go off if we move past a preset distance. Luckily that night the alarm didn't go off, but from that point on there was no chance of any real sleep.