Getting online – new additions
Not surprisingly, because we do maintain such a consistent posting schedule here, people ask us all the time “how do you access the internet?” It is so common in fact that I wrote a post to answer the question and then later added a link to that post on our FAQ page. What I included in that post were the methods that we have used to get online all the way from Canada to Trinidad but now, being in St. Martin, the Wi-Fi black hole of the world, we’ve had to resort to some new tricks.
I mentioned yesterday that our friend David lent us his modem so that we can get online. Having now used it for the past couple of days, we can confirm that it works great! I only wish that I had known about this earlier. For those who will be visiting St. Martin who want (need!) to get online as much as we do, here are the details.
The modems connect to Caribserve’s network and you can read about the various products and data plans that they offer. You’ll note on that page that they only offer monthly plans though, and you need to purchase your own modem. Unless you plan on staying in St. Martin for an extended period of time, that may not be your best option.
The Caribserve modem to the left of our SSB radio. Some people, including a couple that we spoke to last evening, actually use their SSB radios to send text emails. We have not purchased the modem that is required to that though. In truth, we haven’t even turned on our SSB radio in about a year!
Perhaps we should check to see if it still works.
Alternatively, there is a place in the Simpson Bay Marina complex called Business Point which, among other things, rents these modems. The weekly rental is $30.00 US and I believe it includes unlimited data transfers. You should probably confirm that last part though before downloading a ton of movie files. Going directly to Caribserve may be cheaper if you’re going to be here long term but if you’re only going to be here for a week or two, the Business Point option would seem to be more frugal. Of course, you could just go to shore to access free Wi-Fi in one of the hundreds of bars and restaurants that offer it here but we’ve found that free in this case actually adds up to being fairly costly. I say that because if all we were to do is buy a coffee at McDonald’s everyday to access their Wi-Fi, it would add up and sadly, we almost always end up spending more than that! So, there you are, option one.
Option two is one that we don’t need right at this moment because we have one of those modems but down island, I think will be beneficial. When we were last in Grenada we had a couple of friends telling us how they had purchased a Digicel sim card for their iPads which allowed them to access the 3G cellular network for internet access. I have not confirmed the price because, to be honest, I can’t find anything on Digicel’s site about this service, but I’m pretty sure they told me it was only $50.00 EC per month, or about $18.50 US. The benefit to this I was told is that it could be accessed anywhere there is cell service, even between the islands. Of course, in order to be able to take advantage of that, one needs a cellular capable iPad (or equivalent?), and probably one that is unlocked.
While there have been dozens of reasons why we have wanted to purchase an iPad, this one, coinciding with Apple’s release of the iPad mini, finally put us over the edge. Yesterday, while shopping in Philipsburg, we visited one of the large electronic stores and picked up a brand new iPad mini with 4G. This one, unlike those sold in the US, is unlocked so it can be used on any cellular network down here, including Digicel. Have we used it yet? No, as you can see in the pic, we haven’t even opened the box yet. We do think that it will be good for helping us to maintain the connectivity that we have come to rely upon, especially in areas where Wi-Fi can not easily be accessed.
We took the 15 minute bus ride into Philipsburg yesterday. Bus fair: $2.00 US each one way.
In spite of there being two cruise ships at the dock, we found the streets and beach to be very quiet.
This sign made us think of some of our friends back in Canada.
We were happy to be able to meet up with Tom, one of our blog readers and internet friends. If you’re going to be somewhere close to where we are, please let us know. We’d love to share a drink with you.
I think the hat suits her.