"Arctracer" Letters

Iridium Phone, Nov 2001

We got our new Documentation in the mail today. Yippee!! Now we'll go to the customs officials at Cairns airport to get the cruising permit required of foreign boats, get some groceries, send email one more time, and sell the car.

We could be away from email for 2-4 weeks, but we'll see what happens. We also got the number for our new Iridium phone today. To call us you will also need to use some long-distance prefix which depends on your phone company, but may be something like 0011. You can go to www.iridium.com on the Internet to find out more about the system. From that site you can send short 120 character messages to our phone for free. Select the "send a message to a subscriber" option, put in our phone number, and type your message. You can send us several short messages in a row if you want. It is only too bad we can't do the same from the phone, but we can call and send email for $1.50 U.S. per minute. So hopefully it won't take too long to get a line to our email site. We won't be collecting email as it generally takes us over 1/2 hour to do that at an email cafe.

Perhaps the website will explain more. We haven't looked at it yet. Anyway, we'll let you know more about the whole system as we learn about it ourselves. We won't use it much in Australia because email cafes and phone cards are cheaper, but this should make us reachable in mid-ocean and in places which have no phone service.

We sent ourselves a couple of messages yesterday from an email cafe and today got additional messages from two of our family. We made our first call today, just to make sure that worked. It is REALLY neat to know that we can make a call in midocean from now on (given that our power supply keeps the phone charged - and it should) and that you can call or send the free 120 character or less messages.

We've just been grocery shopping, will pick up a few more things while the wind is 20-30 knots today, and then will take the Holden wagon to a Used Car Dealer. Then we're ready to head south after the wind subsides.