Jack and I are complete Internet addicts. We’re used to constant connectivity via our smartphones and we knew that leaving the US and our unlimited data plans would cause a little adjustment to our communications. Today we’ve been hit with the reality of the situation. We canceled our cell phones. Now we’re completely dependent on available wifi and our SSB/Ham radio.
As you know, the radio is on the blink. Dave in Annapolis and Ron in St. Thomas have spent some time over email making troubleshooting suggestions. Yesterday Jack and I made one last attempt to bypass the antenna and tuner to determine if the problem is radio or antenna related. I reported our findings (no change) to Dave in Annapolis via email, since we have a good, if uneven, wifi connection here in the mooring field. He wrote back this morning and said he would share our dilemma with two of the more popular radio nets and give out our boat name and location in case there’s anyone nearby who can take a look.
A few hours later a couple dinghied over from the next mooring and asked if we were the ones who had the radio problem. They are Dick and Moira from Equinox and we invited them aboard. They had a few suggestions to try for the SSB but more important, they’ve cruised the Caribbean a lot and have so much experience that we’d love to tap into. I took out a pad and started asking questions. We learned they had spent time at St. Katharine’s Docks in London and our eyes lit up and we asked if they knew Ed and Sue Kelly. “Of course!” they said.
Ed and Sue are our heroes. They are a couple like us who took to the sea and are living a fantastic life aboard their catamaran Angel Louise. Unfortunately they don’t have a public blog (get with it, Ed!) but they’ve been good friends to us even though we’ve never even met in person. They are cruising matchmakers. When they see via Spot locators or blog posts that people they know are in the same anchorage they encourage meet-ups from wherever they are, which currently is Turkey.
They sailed through the Caribbean, across the Atlantic Ocean to London, then across the European Continental Divide via the Rhein & Danube Rivers to Constanta on the Black Sea, and south via the Bosporus and through the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea and Marmaris. What a journey! And they’re not done yet. This season will find them sailing west through the Mediterranean to Portugal, Spain, France and back for another winter at St. Katharine’s docks in London. They are an inspiration to Jack and me and a reminder that life is short and we need to get moving!
What really strikes me is that even without cell phones and text messaging this far-flung and varied community of cruisers manages to make contact one way or another.
Now if we could just get this radio working!