Friday, November 11, 2016

Yes, Still Alive

Dennis, Bryan, Lee... and the rest of you lurkers... this one's for you...

Whoa, has it really been 3 months since my last blog post??

Well, there's really no excuse for letting it go that long. However, I do have my excuses!

(1) In Palau, the internet is sketchy. Some days it works great and some days I spend 2 precious computer hours just trying to get connected. As a semi-expert in computers, it was a totally frustrating experience. Usually I can figure out the system after awhile. But in Palau I never did. Why on some days, I get an immediate connection, good login, and good internet speed, and the next day, I spend 2 hrs just trying to get logged in. Anyway, I spent a lot of potential "make a new blog post" hours spinning my wheels in Palau. And there's no such thing as free internet in Palau. The best deal is to buy $10 10-hour internet cards in bulk, 20 at a time, and get the $10 cards for $8. I'd go thru a 10 hr card every 2-3 days. Meaning I was spending about $80/mo for crappy internet. The alternative is cellular data from the one cell phone provider. This is new in Palau since we were last there in 2014. They claim 3G, but my phone never reported more than a 2G connection. The sim card would work in my cell data hotspot (but then my phone wouldn't work). But data costs $45 for 1GB. In Mala.ysia, Philippines, and Indonesia, the same 1Gb would cost only $10-15. In the Philippines, you can get 30-day "unlimited" for 30 days 3G/4G for about $25.

(2) My second excuse is that I manage a huge amount of financial stuff online... including 3 rental properties, 3 mortgages, 3-4 bank accounts, 3-4 credit cards, and several investment accounts. Plus I'm responsible for all the insurance (3 houses, boat, car, health, DAN, etc). It's nearly a full time job just keeping up with this kind of stuff. Especially in light of #1.

(3) My 3rd excuse is keeping our website and our Compendiums up to date. We have been dribbling compendia of cruising information behind us since Ecuador. I now have a Compendium for: Ecuador, Marquesas, Tuatmotus, Societies, Cooks & Samoas, Tonga, Fiji, Fiji-to-Marshalls, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Indian Ocean Crossing. These run from 100 to 300 pages long, and are packed full of timely cruising information. For the most part, there are no "guide books" out here. Fortunately, people crossing the Pacific this year have been emailing updates, so I've been updating and republishing the old Compendiums every few months. For areas we have NOT yet been, I've been spending countless hours researching for when we do go there. This is a labor of love, so I'm not complaining. But it IS time consuming. (If you don't know what a Compendium is, see )

(4) Another big time consumer in the last few months has been doing "boat projects". We are still whipping the new Soggy Paws into shape. Some of that has been various canvas projects. Some has been researching and learning the new systems on Soggy Paws, including finding manuals and troubleshooting guides, ordering spares and new gadgets, as well as making sure we understand how the existing systems work. In Palau, we can ship stuff in using US Priority mail, duty free. So a lot of time has been spent online buying stuff--everything from LED lights to plumbing parts. Again, online stuff that would take me 10 minutes with a good fast computer connection takes several hours on Palau's sketchy internet. (Right in the middle of a purchase... "Whaddya mean, NO INTERNET CONNECTION??!!!" ... did I actually buy it, or not??

(5) Finally, the best excuse is life itself. I've been too busy "doing stuff" to write about it. We spent 3 weeks diving nearly every day. We had a great setup with Palau Dive Adventures (offseason "space available" rates), and we took advantage of that. We made 35 dives in Palau with PDA, plus a few on our own. I also made a 10-day trip to India with my daughter, plus we are planning a dive trip in the Philippines in December and our jaunt through Indonesia, PNG, Solomons and Vanuatu next year.

(6) Then there's the Facebook factor...If you're sitting in your armchair waiting for me to post the next blog post, you should probably sign up for a Facebook account and "friend" me. Because it's so easy to do so, I post a lot of little "what we're doing" tidbits on Facebook. I spend a lot of internet time keeping up with friends and family on Facebook... high school friends, former work friends, racing friends, yacht club friends, cruising friends all over the world. In the last few months, friends have died, got married, had babies, got divorced, got a sex change, lost their boat, graduated, etc etc. All . on . Facebook. Dave rolls his eyes when he sees me on Facebook--he thinks it's a big time waste. But when I say "Oh no, so-and-so are getting a divorce!" and he says "How do you know that?" I say (smugly) "Facebook".

Anyway, those are my excuses...

I love my blog, and I'm glad you're anxious to see the next blog post. So stay tuned. I haven't given up blogging yet.
At 11/11/2016 5:00 AM (utc) our position was 07°38.43'N 130°58.01'E

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