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Old 15-02-2015, 07:04   #1
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Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Hello,

I am a long time lurker and first time poster.

I use iNavX and Theyr data for weather and route planning on my Ipad and know these programs and all their nuances though first hand use. I have used it fortunately or unfortunately as our primary route and navigation software on over 2000 miles of water sailing">blue water sailing. Why is another story for a separate thread.

I will be sailing with my family in April around St. Maarten, Saba, St. Barts, Barbuda, Antigua, Montserrat, and possibly Anguilla. I would like to be able to download new Theyr updated weather data onto my ipad every couple of days while sailing/anchored without having to go onshore and search for free wifi at some restaurant or internet cafe etc.

I would like those of you who have had real experience with a method of getting internet on a temporary basis at a reasonably inexpensive method. I will have with me a Verizon Samsung Galaxy 4 3 band phone and an Ipad 2 with GSM but no data plan. My phone is able to accept sim cards (if your solution is buy x sim from y island company and you can use it on a, b and c island) And in this case, are you suggesting a tether solution?

Your help would be appreciated.
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Old 16-02-2015, 05:59   #2
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

20 knots from the east? What else do you need

But, as you asked, we are cruising all those place and use a wifi extender.

St. Maarten - crap
Saba - crap, but one commercial iWeb reaches the anchorage.
St. Barts, Barbuda - not visited
Antigua - hothothotspot available in most anchorages, $30 a week.
Montserrat - not visited
Anguilla - best in the islands, but large boat permit fees anyway!


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Old 16-02-2015, 06:10   #3
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Each island is its own country and internet services use different systems on every island.

You will be going to shore to get wifi in bars and cafes.

If you are staying for a few months in one location you can buy a unit for that particular country. Some have data via sim card service, but those sim cards will not necessarily be compatable with you ipad even if its unlocked.


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Old 16-02-2015, 07:10   #4
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Actually, several islands are all using the same service, hothothotspot. You can subscribe and use it in those very popular anchorages on different islands.


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Old 16-02-2015, 16:43   #5
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Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Barbuda. Beautiful but wifi limited. Check out the new anchoring restrictions.
Levi John does a nice tour package. The frigate birds, the caves and beach dinner. Google will help you.
Saba likewise terrible wifi in the water.
To be precise, these are all Leeward islands. The Windwards are to the south.
Also, look at digicelgroup.com. Get a sim card and you can roam in most countries in that part of the world. Coverage is good, speed is supposed to be 4LTE or something like that. Its ok. That is what I would do. Get a digicel prepaid in the first country you are in. You can top off online too.
I think all data on each island uses the same backbone or whatever its called, anyway. Because when one provider is down they all go down.



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Old 16-02-2015, 17:08   #6
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtsailguy View Post
Actually, several islands are all using the same service, hothothotspot. You can subscribe and use it in those very popular anchorages on different islands.


m
Except the op has asked about a group of countries where Hothothot works only in Antigua, not including Barbuda.

Dohemyboy is right that Digicell is in SOME of the countries mentioned but a seperate SIM card needsto be purchased in each country.

It doesnt work in Dutch St Martin, St Barts, Monserat and Anguilla. It does in Anigua but I dont think it did in Barbuda.

By the way, Barbuda does not have any wifi either. Even in Codrington the 'town'. But maybe thats what makes Barbuda good.


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Old 16-02-2015, 17:25   #7
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Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

MarkJ, Digicel changed their plans a couple months ago. They are supposed to roam all over their region. I got good data on Digicel in Barbuda. But not in the French/Dutch islands. I just looked at this site, interesting.
Mrsimcard.com
Probably a good guide to what works in each place and you can buy the SIM ahead of time.


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Old 19-02-2015, 09:34   #8
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Seems odd that nobody mentions the 'Ubiquiti Bullet' wi-fi aerial? I'm sure many use it (or similar). Apart from Saba and Barbuda we had internet aboard the boat just about everywhere....including St.Martin. One may have to go buy a drink at the ISP's bar or hotel in order to get the access code (but certainly not always) but we never used a cell phone once in 3 years cruising up and down the islands.
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Old 19-02-2015, 10:27   #9
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Thanks for your suggestions. The bullet I have looked at, and I sense that I will have to go onshore and find a bar and be forced to drink a beer or wine or three and get my weather fix. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:18   #10
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

That is the fun of it all.
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Old 04-03-2015, 18:00   #11
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

we spent 6 months there last year. One rule: new country = new SIM. We gave up wifi as we prefer wild anchorages. Deatailed info here (in French, but there is a link to the English translation of the internet article):
Un voyage en famille: Internet bord
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:10   #12
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Quote:
Originally Posted by leitgib View Post
we spent 6 months there last year. One rule: new country = new SIM. We gave up wifi as we prefer wild anchorages. Deatailed info here (in French, but there is a link to the English translation of the internet article):
Un voyage en famille: Internet bord
Pierre, This article was very useful. Because this trip will only be 14 days, I will have to stick with every couple of days mooring near a town and search for a beer and the internet. Your article was very interesting as it relates to your evaluation of purchasing internet including in the mainland US and your ease of use.
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Old 05-03-2015, 14:10   #13
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

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Originally Posted by Swammy View Post
Pierre, This article was very useful. Because this trip will only be 14 days, I will have to stick with every couple of days mooring near a town and search for a beer and the internet. Your article was very interesting as it relates to your evaluation of purchasing internet including in the mainland US and your ease of use.
Tahnks for your comment.
mainland US : there is more here (French only, this time)
Un voyage en famille: USA: Bilan


But dont worry, as stated above: 20 kts East.
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Old 07-06-2015, 18:57   #14
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Re: Your firsthand knowledge of Windward Islands practical internet access

Followup after the trip: After reading the responses, I assumed that I would have to find wifi at beach bars etc which I did find. Heck, I was on the islands easily every other day. However, for planning and availability when I anchored in remote areas I choose to use another piece of equipment. I have a Delorme Inreach which I have used on numerous long open ocean yacht deliveries. I used a new service using my delorme unit with the new service from Ocens which will send you a condensed text to the satellite unit to provide weather at lat and long that I prescribe and either 24, 48 or 72 hours in the future. We use this primarily for wind direction, speed and precipitation forecasts.

I could use this when the inevitable happens where the admirals on board, while in the midst of a crossing to another island, they would ask to change direction that would require and immediate response that we could or should not go in that direction.

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