October 22, 2006

I'm Back!

The marine climate is tough on computers, and electronics and Cartagena's climate is tougher than most. My laptop seems to be gradually succumbing, while I madly try to back up what I can during the 30 minutes or so of operation I get before it crashes. Then I wait a day before getting another 30 minutes of normal computing. Aargh!

The only slight consolation is that just about everyone else in the cruising fleet seems to be going through the same contortions with their computers. Today's cruisers' radio net brought a call for help with a balky Pactor modem connection (for SSB email). Yesterday someone was looking for a computer cable to replace a busted one. A friend has retired his monitor after the first one expired.

And, this stuff isn't easy to get here in Cartagena. I don't dare have something shipped in as it may not arrive, and if it does the cost to get it will be very high. I was quoted $80 to have a one-pound package sent via FedEx, which is the only reliable shipper.

My advice is to make sure you have at least two computers onboard and have reliable backups for critical things like charts or email. I carry paper charts and print paper backups for electronic charts. I also have Web access to my email. If my computers totally fail I can get email from an Internet cafe or someone else's computer. Back up! Back up!