Feeds

Beer trumps satellite comms on the Ionian Sea

Well, the Cook has a black belt

High performance access to file storage

Blog Make your choice! What's more important - a cold beer, or a satellite communications system?

Here we are, four of us on a Sunsail flotilla boat in the South Ionian Sea. Yes, yes, I know, it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it, and all that... but the thing is, the whole point of the trip is to gain some sailing expertise. And, to fund that, I'm testing this Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminal.

Well, the good news is I've tested it, and it works. I stuck the dish on the deck of the boat at our last stop, on the island of Meganisi, connected my Ethernet cable to it, and dealt with a few "error message" problems, and then: bingo - broadband for a mobile planet.

An hour later, the satellite system popped up a notice saying: "Battery low" and so I disconnected everything, closed down, and got on with the serious business of sailing. And at this point, a conversation began with The Cook.

Talk turned to the boat's power supplying abilities and we discovered a slight conflict of interest. Now, The Cook is actually a painter and teacher by trade and also, unfortunately, an Akido black belt. [His name wasn't Steven, was it? Ed] The conversation was, therefore, somewhat short because no one wants to pick a fight with the person who will be making dinner, doubly so if that person is artistically martial.

It turns out that the Oceanis 393 boat is really good at generating electricity - as long as the boat is running the engine. But we're here for the sailing. Who wants to listen to a big diesel engine chugging along in the peaceful seas around the islands of Kephalonia, Ithaca, Meganisi, and so on?

You can, of course, run your equipment from the ship's battery. To do that, you need a special device called a "cigar-lighter connector" - exactly the same thing as you'd find for connecting you PC to the battery on your car. Inmarsat staff gave me one, and I've left it in London. Well, what do you expect?

So the alternative is to turn on the mains power in the boat. And yes, of course you can do that! first, you turn on the big 50 bhp diesel engine, and second, you turn off the fridge.

"You turn off what?"

On a boat, morale is important. I judged it best for morale among the crew that dissent between the Skipper (me, apparently) and The Cook be avoided. Feeling that such a feud would also upset the Owner and the Irish Rugby Player, I decided to avoid one. So I let him keep the fridge running, and returned to my GPRS data card.

He paid for this. In the end, it turns out that the seas around here have a problem with normal ship to ship VHF wireless. You can chat over quite long distances, as long as there aren't mountains in between. It so happens that all these Greek islands are, in fact, mountains. So the only way of getting in touch with the fleet leader is a mobile phone.

Guess what else ran out of power?

Yup: the Cook's mobile. Serve him right. Mind you, the food was excellent. We arrived in Vathi to discover that the town charges roughly the same sort of prices for food as Greek restaurants in London do. We found a nearby restaurant which offered us Red Snapper - fresh caught that day - and a huge 1.2 kilo fish. It looked delicious. It costs 80 Euros per kilo. We told him it wasn't Gold Snapper, and made scrambled eggs and other delicacies on the boat.

And all that thanks to the Cook being in a good mood, because of the cold beer.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.