It sounds terrible, but after a week without any connection we can sometime be found as a family, sitting in a restaurant all of us on our tablets completely oblivious to each other’s company. The epitome of American culture gone bad, and I want to wear a sign that says we just spent 7 days together without any electronics.........we friggin deserve this. What did we do before the days of wifi? Honestly it was a lot harder and some of it is a necessary evil. Mike has real-estate obligations that he has to address, 15 years ago he would not have been able to do this part of his job while cruising. Today with our radio email on board and access to wifi a couple of times a week he can keep up with his obligations whether it is communicating with a tenant or looking for a vender to complete some repair; paver, roofer, etc). We have tenants in our home and our cottage that we have to address the needs of. Quite frankly, both party’s have made this ridiculously easy for us and we count our lucky stars all the time that we have them, but there are things that eventually need to be dealt with. Besides banking and blogging, I often spend time looking up educational curriculum for the kids. And, while yes, we do glimpse our facebook accounts from time to time, I don’t think we spend a great deal of time on social media. The boys each have a list of things they need to look up when we get wifi (Mom has no clue how to describe magnetic radiation, google that), podcasts they download for crossings (mostly educational) and of course there is some music and gaming they also do. So, inevitable, about once a week we spend a few hours, in some cafe or bar, hunched over our tablets, looking very antisocial.
Finding wifi with sufficient bandwidth is often more difficult than it seems like it should be. Lot of places advertise wifi, not all is worth logging into. More often than not we have super slow wifi and all but checking our email quickly is more frustration than it is worth. The best wifi we’ve experienced has often been in the most obscure of places. In Scotland we found ridiculously fast wifi at an honesty store on remote Rum Island. In French Guiana we were able to stream netflix in the middle of the Maroni River outside of St. Laurent.
The access to wifi has definitely changed cruising from when we cruised 15 years ago. Some of it bad, it can be distracting and more than once we have found ourselves in a beautiful anchorage trying to boost wifi from some unsuspecting cafe ashore, but mostly it is a good thing and it enables us to keep in touch, post photos for friends and family to see and attend to business back home. If we were retired we may chose to completely fall off the grid and I can see the lure in that, but for now, with home front obligations this is the new cruising reality, at least for us.