Monday/Tuesday, Aug 18 – 19, 2014 –
Since we have decided to hold up due to weather (no storms, just winds from the wrong direction) Bob has spent hours into days figuring out means of getting text weather and weather charts on a daily basis when we do not have access to the internet. Previously we received our weather from weather services, but this is expensive and less available now that we are in the Med.
In the United States channels 1-10 on the VHF radio are for weather only. Computerized voices announce the weather continuously 24/7. You can always move between the stations to get the clearest, and generally closest, report to your location. This is convenient and easy for a quick weather warning. In Europe there is a system called Navtex that serves the same purpose but it uses text rather than voice, presumably in part because there are so many languages spoken. We have come to find out that most boats in Europe, of all sizes, have a small Navtex receiver installed on the boat. The hardware is fairly inexpensive and listens to weather warnings all day long. When you want to know what the weather is you simply scroll back through the messages. Supposedly we can receive the same messages with our SSB radio and pactor modem. This remains to be seen.
The project has meant downloading various software packages and trying each one. We also want to be able to use the same setup to receive weather fax. While Bob is at it, he is also downloading software to receive graphic weather files called GRIBS over the satellite phone. We will get back to you on the success of these efforts.
Last night the cafes were in full party, again all night, with the music stopping at 7 am just two minutes before the Sunday church bells rang. It is no wonder that the streets here are deserted until 11 am and the coffee shops open late in the morning.
The next morning, Chuck, an American, from Washington, DC, stopped by on his bike and introduced himself. He and his wife, Allison are at the next marina over, having just brought their boat in for the winter season. They have been sailing the Mediterranean since 2006 and are a wealth of information on the area. He shared their experiences of winter locations for the boat, marinas, politics, and their Schengen experiences. We were armed with pen and paper to soak it all up. The books are all good for information, but hearing from other cruisers is even better.
While out on a walk we came across a nice little plant store and I was able to buy basil, mint, and rosemary for my planter. The last set of plants was great in the Bahamas but took some sea spray on our way to Turks and Caicos and was unable to survive the assault. Suspecting that they were going to be challenged by Customs in Bermuda, we gave them up and stored the planter for future use. It looks fabulous and bountiful with all the local herbs.