Newsletter #288

Newsletter #288 - October 14, 2015


>>> Skype >>>

This is the last segment in the 4 part series about cellular issues when traveling out of your home country. The previous newsletters in the series were:

Mr SIM Card:

Cell Phone Unlocking:

Cell Phone Frequency Issues:

Skype is a free software app for nearly every type of computer, phone, and tablet. It provides communications across the internet and can easily create a bridge between WiFi at a marina and voice calling. It solves many issues while cruising when you have the desire to talk to friends, family, and business contacts.

Skype is completely free when communicating with another person who is also running Skype. In this mode, you're using your computer as a type of phone. The connectivity happens over the internet.

We make use of Skype for international calling even when we're still in the US. Many of our contacts in Europe use Skype. Arranging a time to talk or even "ringing" them provides a convenient and free way to talk no matter where they are.

Skype also allows text messaging, screen exchange, file exchange, and video sharing. We've used them all.

But here's where it gets interesting...

You can pay small monthly fees to use Skype to call a normal phone instead of calling a computer. It actually rings their land or cell phone. This Skype Out capability is quite inexpensive - $2.99 per month for dialing anywhere in the US & Canada with unlimited minutes. The most expensive plan is $13.99/month for unlimited worldwide calling out. You can also call out without a plan at a rate of about 2 cents per minute for most countries.

Another not-so-well known capability is the "Skype Number" option which used to be called Skype In. This option costs $6.50/month with multi- month discounts available, and assigns you a real phone number in one of hundreds of cities that you get to pick. When someone calls that phone number, it makes a Skype call to your computer.

So when we're in the Bahamas, we select a Miami Skype Number. We forward both of our US cell phones to that Skype Number. When someone calls one of our cell phones, it "rings" our laptops. And when we need to return a call, we used Skype Out to directly call their phone number. All of this works for about $10/month.

Voice quality with Skype is much better than normal cell phones especially when making a Skype-to-Skype call. And you don't have to use a laptop. All of this works on your existing smartphone - it'll just use the internet instead of the expensive cellular systems in other countries.

Of course, all of this requires good internet connectivity. You could use your cellular data plan but that won't end up saving money. The whole cost payback changes a lot when you have reliable WiFi at a marina, pub, or restaurant.

Using Skype isn't just a business type of thing. Calling friends and family as well as receiving normal calls is all simple and inexpensive.

>>> More ICW Notices >>>

It's a crazy time on the US Intracoastal Waterway. We need to give some additional warnings about the current conditions after the unusual rains that took place recently.

Water levels are still high. There have been some reports of debris and there have been some props damaged. Continuous concentration is required.

It is too early to know how much shoaling has occurred with all of the water runoff. But the high water levels are causing major issues with sailboats needing the full 64+ feet of air space. Many bridges are showing 60-63 feet of air draft. If your mast needs the full space, you will need to go outside or wait for water levels to recede.

If you're heading south in the next week through Norfolk, take special notice of the hazard at the Belt Line RR Lift Bridge - around MM 2. There is a major, unusual closing from October 16th - 23rd, perfectly in time to nail a lot of snow birds. There are only openings every 3 hours during those dates (daytime).

We don't often put in temporary hazards but this one seems like it'll hit a lot of people so it's live now and will be taken out on the 24th. Please pass the word on so no one is stuck hovering for 3 hours there. Note too the difficulty in timing the locks further down the ICW given this restricted opening. Even worse, it'll surely bunch up more boats than can fit through a single locking, especially at Great Bridge. That could easily cause another hour delay there.

This link will view the hazard on laptops using the ActiveCaptain website:

>>> Defender 1st >>>

Watch this spot every week in the emailed newsletter for the Defender 1st special promotion. To sign up for the newsletter, create a new ActiveCaptain account at:

...or log into the ActiveCaptain website and select My Account at the top right of the page and make sure the Newsletter checkbox is checked.

Remember - Defender 1st: one product, one week, one incredible price.

When you're thinking about purchasing boating supplies, think of Defender first.

Dylan and Dee Dee attended the annual Krogen rendezvous in Solomons Maryland last week. The whole crew had a great time and the kids made lots of new dock friends - both two and four-legged ones. We are now happy to be underway again moving south. Dylan and Dee Dee wish you all safe travels and remind you to check out what they're up to on their blog, or better yet, you can stop by the boat with a treat. Just say'n:

Karen and Jeffrey Siegel
Castine, Maine
sharing the experience
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Newsletter Archive
We are currently merging the different ActiveCaptain websites into a single website.

Because of this, all later newsletters are being only put onto the ActiveCaptain Help Center found here:
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Older newsletters will be duplicated here until these pages are removed.

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2016-02-17 #306 - Chartplotter Support Questions
2016-02-10 #305 - One Giant Leap
2016-02-03 #304 - Bahamas Internet
2016-01-27 #303 - Community Anchoring
2016-01-20 #302 - Sharing Your Identity
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2015-12-30 #299 - The Power of Sharing
2015-12-23 #298 - Joyful times
2015-12-16 #297 - Thoughts of Cuba
2015-12-09 #296 - The Power of Love
2015-12-02 #295 - Windyty
2015-11-25 #294 - Mary Had a Little Lamb
2015-11-18 #293 - DeLorme inReach
2015-11-11 #292 - Celebrating Furuno
2015-11-04 #291 - Your ActiveCaptain Identity
2015-10-28 #290 - iPad/Android Tablet Owners
2015-10-21 #289 - The Top 5 Things...
2015-10-14 #288 - Skype
2015-10-07 #287 - Locations 1.2
2015-09-30 #286 - Cell Phone Frequency Issues
2015-09-23 #285 - Cell Phone Unlocking
2015-09-16 #284 - Mr SIM Card
2015-09-09 #283 - Route Storage & Sharing Continued
2015-09-02 #282 - Route Storage & Sharing
2015-08-26 #281 - Here's What You Told Us
2015-08-19 #280 - Bahamas 2016
2015-08-12 #279 - What is Services Missing?
2015-08-05 #278 - Aqua Map for Android
2015-07-29 #277 - Obtaining Critical Mass
2015-07-22 #276 - Our Backup Anchor
2015-07-15 #275 - Which Anchor is Best
2015-07-08 #274 - Pocket Mariner's SeaNav
2015-07-01 #273 - Services Galore
2015-06-24 #272 - Canvas and Upholstery Services
2015-06-17 #271 - Locations, Locations, Locations
2015-06-10 #270 - Keeping Track of Everything - 4

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