Shipping News

We have a dozen or more boat bits to somehow get to Woburn Bay, Grenada, plus planning a lightning trip to Florida for a post surgery checkup, all to be accomplished without anything approaching reasonable connectivity.

We do research when we have a little throughput on our “coconut wifi” which costs like real wifi but seldom works like real wifi. If we’re going to be located in one phone system for a while we buy a sim card for one of our unlocked iPhones for that particular system. We’re currently on Lime here in Grenada but the point I’m trying to make is that there are no short term contracts so every one-room shack that calls itself a business, and there are thousands, has a sign or two tacked to a wall that says top-up with Lime or Digicell. There are lines everywhere with people waiting to top-up.

We’ve never been able to do this electronically, probably due to our sketchy wifi but judging from the number of people queing at the topping up stations I’d hazard a guess that it’s seriously flawed. While trying unsuccessfully to reach my doctor’s office in Florida — how about an email address? — I discovered that we had a balance of $1.57EC on our iPhone and although I was supposedly using a toll-free out-of-country phone number, Lime was having none of it.

Okay, Escapees, new code time. LPB. = launch, pump, and bail, which is the drill for going anywhere in the dinghy these days. I covered the quarter mile distance to the quay at Lower Woburn quickly in the dink and started up the hill towards the Hang Over bar, which is an 8-foot by 8-foot shack stuck out high over Woburn Bay. I seemed to remember a Top-Up Lime sign on a wall up there. There’s a sign, yes, but they haven’t done top-up for years…But? Never mind, they never take down signs in this neck of the woods. She pointed me back down the hill to a white house that I hadn’t noticed on the way up. She thought they did Lime Top-Up. After shooing a chicken or two and stepping over a dog that I wasn’t sure was dead or alive I raised my fist to knock on a plain white door with no sign when a voice from behind a partially closed door rasped out, “he’s not home, he’s getting his hair cut for Carnival and picking up more Topping Up Cards, be back In a half hour.” I may look like a tourist but I know what that means in the Caribbean. No soup today!

Back down to the dink, LPB, back to Escape Velocity to keep Marce apprised that it’s going to be trickier than we thought, wheeled around and soon tied up to Lower Woburn’s quay again and headed resolutely down the hill this time, past the colorful hand painted “Rumors” sign, advertising a vegetarian eatery on Woburn’s waterfront that hasn’t been there for five years. I stopped in at Nimrods, an 8′ by 8′ bar shack that has a Top-Up Digicell sign out front. Yes, they still top-up Digicell, no they don’t know where to top-up Lime but you just go straight down de road and you find somebody. I’ve been down this road before but I will not go back to Marce empty handed. About two stifling hot miles later a “Snackette” came into view, no sign but maybe they’re as bad at putting up signs as they are at taking them down. I queued up in the top-up line and $20E later my phone instantly buzzed with a confirmation notice. Sometimes the magic works. If you can call this magic.

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  1. Brian

    Hi Jack & Marce!

    I have literally been around the globe a couple of time since our meeting in Florida last March. I’ve found Tellink out of Belgium has worked wonders for me in every country I’ve been in. The rates are good, and they have great connectivity to most of the carriers. It may be worth checking out.

    Have fun!

    Brian

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