Internet Routing

The title to this post is probably not what you think. We do use the Internet to plan our routes. I have been using Google Earth for years to view the places we want to go, and collect information about the unique sights available. And, we use information from other sailor’s blogs about their routes. But, I woke up yesterday with another form of Internet Routing on my mind.

When we first arrived to Hiva Oa, we confirmed that they now have WIFI internet access in the anchorage at Taahuku Bay. There are actually two Internet providers who have WIFI in several islands throughout French Polynesia. We aren’t entirely happy about this though because they are charging very high prices based on an hourly rate. Nearly $6 per hour unless you buy in bulk. If you buy 100 hours they “only” charge $2 per hour (i.e. $200). The real pain is that the connection, in Hiva Oa at least, was very slow – so it takes you 5-10 times longer to do anything. So, that really increases the rate (and wastes our valuable time). They should just charge a monthly rate instead – unless they get a faster connection going.

We had been planning our route to Tahiti and on Wednesday night we had decided we would just go to Ua Pou – a very secluded beautiful island west of Hiva Oa. Then we would make the several day passage to the Tuoamotu atolls. We intended to go to several of the more remote atolls for the next three weeks. The plan was to get up early to make the all day passage to Ua Pou.

On Thursday morning I got up very early to rush and get several Internet tasks done. I got to thinking about how difficult it is to catch up on blogging, uploading photos, and communicating with friends when we go long periods without Internet. We were facing possibly several weeks without Internet. Then I thought about the map of WIFI locations the providers cover in French Polynesia. Suddenly it occurred to me that although some of these islands have more population and are less secluded, they are still really beautiful destinations in their own right. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to visit Nuku Hiva (the main administrative island of the Marquesas), and at the same time be able to have access to (expensive) Internet! And, we could go to a couple of the really secluded atolls in the Tuamotus, but also visit one or two of the ones which have Internet there!

It’s kind of funny thinking about making your travel route in the remote Pacific islands based on the availability of Internet access. But, the Internet is a very important means of communication.

So, we decided to go to a remote anchorage on the other side of Hiva Oa – called Hanaiapa Bay – and then go to Nuku Hiva the next day. If we have time, we can still visit Ua Pou on our way south (it’s kind of on the way) towards the Tuamotus.

A funny thing happened because of our change in plans. We motored around Hiva Oa to Hanaiapa Bay on Thursday, and we arrived to find our friends on the boat “A Small Nest” in the anchorage! We had no idea they would be here. Unfortunatley, they were just getting ready to depart, and were only able to visit with us for a couple of hours. They’re going to Nuku Hiva next though, so we’ll see them there.

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