In the 5000+ miles that Rebecca and I have traveled since leaving Canada, we have seldom been without internet access. Only a handful of places, typically far removed from civilization, have not netted us at least one Wi-Fi signal available from the boat, even if it was one that we would have to pay for (much more frequently we would find several freely-available unlocked ones). Yes, the $35.00 Alfa Wi-Fi amplifier that we set out with, and now the more-elaborate (and much more expensive) WirieAP setup that we currently carry, have served us well. It is because of our past success that Sint Maarten is all the more frustrating for us. The area’s lack of a decent Wi-Fi source accessible from the boats in the Lagoon is astounding considering how developed it is.
Five years ago cruisers would have considered themselves fortunate to be able to find a library or a cafe on shore where they could sit with their laptop computers and access the internet. Now, bringing the computer to shore seems like such a huge inconvenience, although that is precisely what most everyone has to do here to get online. Long-term Sint Maarten “residents” can apparently rent or purchase special modems to access internet services, payable by monthly subscriptions, but they are not cheap making them out of the question for us.
In addition to the inconvenience factor of taking the computer to shore for internet, it almost always ends up costing us money too. One can’t just stroll into a cafe and sit there for an hour or so, using their facilities, without purchasing something. A few dollars every day adds up. For this reason and more, I was extremely happy to make friends with a couple who were crewing on one of the mega yachts here who kindly shared with me the access password for one of the marina’s networks. I am now ecstatic to report that I can access the internet from ZTC, this being the first post since we’ve been in St. Maarten not uploaded from shore. In what I consider a serious source of irony though, on the day that I obtain Wi-Fi access from our boat, Rebecca travels to a location in California where she cannot get internet without taking her computer to a cafe. WTF is up with that?
What’s more ironic, the above-described internet situation or this?