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Borrowing a bit of bandwidth from the unsecured Wi-Fi signal that we have been picking up, we were happy to be able to organize a Christmas day Skype video chat with our daughter Cass and Rebecca’s parents. Skype is something new for us but it worked like a charm, once we got the hang of it. Talking on the video chat takes a bit of coordination, much like speaking on the radio does. Because there is a bit of a delay*, one person needs to speak, then stop and wait for the other person to reply.

Speaking Skype to Skype, as we were, is free but I’ve read on their website that they also offer a number of paid plans and subscriptions which allow you to call from your computer to both land lines and mobile phones. This sounds like it could be a big help to us, now that we are phone-less (our TracFone is basically a paperweight now that we are out of the US). I would be interested in hearing from any readers who are currently using this service as well as what you think about its usefulness.

Unrelated Note: The strong weather front that was forecasted to arrive today is whipping through right now. The wind has kicked up and it has started to rain. We’re sure glad we’re in such a protected anchorage!


Rebecca video chatting with our daughter, Cass.

Decorating our dinghy with our solar lights.

You get the idea. 🙂

We were very happy to be invited to dinner on the catamaran Isla Bonita.
Lobster Lasagna… MMMMmmmm!

*I read the following on a Wi-Fi website that we were unsuccessful in connecting to. It’s pretty funny:

Note: If the ‘Net seems slow, please keep in mind that you’re on a boat, in a marina, in the Bahamas, on a Wireless signal, on a satellite link 22 thousand miles each way from the Internet. In short, even at it’s best, the service will be slower than it is from any of the hard-wired services on the continents. So, while you’re waiting for that web page to load, take a minute to look out the window and imagine how many people are sitting in their office staring at a picture of where you are! (grin..)

32 Comments

  1. Love that wifi note! where did you get solar christmas lights??

  2. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

    We use Skype all the time for our phone calls to around the world. We’ve been using it for this purpose since 2004. The call quality, on the whole, has gotten better over the years. Can’t beat the call rates!

    We pay as we go, so we simply top up our accounts when our balances are getting low.

    • Thanks Michele!

      Hope you had a great Christmas!

      • Just a point when topping up your Skype credit, Mike.

        During the payment process, look for the box that says something like: “automatically top-up your Skype credit when it falls below $x.xx.”

        By default, that box is “ticked” which means that your credit card will be charged with a Skype charge automatically whenever your Skype balance falls below a certain amount.

        If you want it to automatically top-up, that’s fine, but if you prefer to control your credit card charges and do a manual top-up, make sure the box is unchecked. You have to do this EVERY TIME you top-up your account.

        It’s a trap for young players!

        cheers
        Michele

  3. Bet wishes M&R. We use Skype to talk with our son and his wife in Finland regularly. Works quite well and with web cams it is all the better. He has set up a Skype land line number that allows him to maintain voice mail so that he can retrieve messages while away from net service or his computer. I believe he is quite happy with it.

  4. We have been using skype for years, only .02 cents a minute to call most countries so if you fund it with $10.00 you will be good for a while.

  5. Bangs look good mike……You are starting to look like our boy Tommy “the beautiful” Brady………Where is the new walker bay dinghy…..that is the first time i have seen your dinette cushions…..very nice stripped pattern and colors…..the picture in the dark, what group of stars is that

    • Re: bangs… my wife is multi-talented.
      Re: walker bay… this is the new dinghy. We left the walker bay back in the Florida, hoping that our friends could sell it for us.
      Re: star… that is the constellation Pato.

  6. Hi guys,

    Welcome to the Bahamas! We love the out islands there. We use Skype all the time when we are traveling. The only problem we encountered was when we were in the Bahamas last year, several places asked you not to use Skype since it took up so much capacity. I didn’t try it at those spots – but doesn’t mean it won’t still work :). Places might have upgraded bandwidth by now though.

    We usually went pay as you go – $10 at a time which lasts quite a while. I will probably do a monthly option ($2.99/mo) to the US this winter since we will have to call back more than usual this year (going to Roatan, Honduras). Quality of calls has improved and rarely lost a call. Can’t beat the price.

    Have a great time and Happy New Year!

  7. Hi guys. Merry Christmas and great pictures (as always)!

    We are, of course, jealous. Ericka, after seeing your recent posts this morning, asked me to tell you that you guys suck and she doesn’t like you any more. 😛 Kidding, of course. Keep on having fun out there!

    🙂

  8. Mike, love watching your progress and reading your updates. I’m glad things are going so well after your first crossing a few days ago.

    I’ve been using Skype to video chat to Thailand, Peru and china for sometime. If the connection is good and fast it works great. With poor connections it locks and voice gets challenging. I’ve had good success calling cell and land lines with skype paying for the service with a credit card. I also use Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger to video chat. I’ve also talked to friends on skype using my Macbook pro and they are on their skype connected cell phone. I also use my Magic Jack to call the usa from anywhere on the web. Let me know if you want to video chat to practice. Terry.

    • Hi Terry

      Thanks for following along!

      I think we’ve got the skype thing figured out. Of course, it is internet dependent but I’m sure it’ll do the trick for most of what we need to do.

  9. Have never used Skype, but may once I get on board. I use IM to chat with kids, and took the computer to my Mom’s on Christmas Eve so we could chat with my son and grandson and she could share. Took the video cam so they could see her, as well. She loved it! We had a wonderful time. Glad you were able to talk to your daughter. It’s not as good as having them with you, but it will do when in person is impossible! Enjoy, stay safe! Great job on the bangs, Rebecca!

    • Yes, Skype to Skype is really not much different from any video IM application. Using it to call a real phone is where it sets itself apart. As I said, we have yet to try that out. As for the bangs, yes, I think she did an awesome job too. It would have been hard to make it look much worse than it did though.

  10. We’ve been using Skype for about 2 to 3 years now. Came in very handy when our daughter was on a boat in Melbourne Aust. She’s been known to ‘call’ us on our cell phones from her computer also. Your parents will love being able to SEE that you are as well as you say you are.

  11. Love the pics and all of that beautiful turquoise water. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to follow you as faithfully as I have been since I will be flying out to Cuba tomorrow morning. Internet there is expensive and slow. I’ll catch up in February. Take care, stay safe, have fun!! Marco

  12. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    Hi M&R gr8t to see you are having a good time. Like most others we also use Skype from New Zealand to UK & Australia & we have a “3 way conversation” but you are unable to run the video while doing this. Also if the weather has “static” or is bad in one of the countries then the video side does not work very well but the talking side is ok once you are use to the “time delay”
    We also had an account but after the first time of using it we had issues where Skype said they had not received the money from the c/card “pay-pal” company. & have never used it that way since as we have had no need for a “paid account” the money had gone from the c/card but got lost some where. “we were refunded” we also have a mobile phone that takes any sim card from any country. that way we just email or text the new number to every one who wants it to get in touch with us. & some times the calls are so much cheaper especially in Thailand.

    • Hey Andy and Sonya

      Kia Ora!

      On a couple of occasions, I’ve had a 3-way Skype video call from Spain with 2 friends – one in South Africa, and another in Toronto, Canada. It’s worked really well, except when our South African friend’s bandwidth is low and craps out, but that’s a regional thing beyond Skype’s control.

      cheers
      Michele

    • I could see that it must take much less bandwidth to do voice only as opposed to video.

      I was trying to see if the tracfone that we have could be unlocked so that we could add a local sim card.

  13. I have nothing helpful to add to the Skype discussion but I just noticed your disco ball, you guys really do cruise in style! The disco ball wouldn’t have anything to do with the red sign over Rebecca’s left shoulder would it? 😉

  14. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    Hi Mike, most phones that take a sim card can be unlocked even your ” tracfone” there are web sites you can go to but have to pay up to $50 but i had ours done in Thailand,”100bht” seems like they can do almost any thing there “especially with ping pong balls “shocking”!! don’t ask haha”lol, even before “bootcamp” came out for apple i had my apple mac running windows as well so that says something . & that was about 6 years ago.
    looks like a gr8t place “that pond” & what is the max depth inside ?

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