Internet here at the Durban Marina is free in the clubhouse, but very inconvenient. In Australia, we were quite spoiled. We purchased an internet dongle from Australia Telecom when we first arrived and had internet aboard pretty much everywhere we went … from ports, to anchorages, and up to about 10 miles offshore. It wasn’t always easy to get a signal, but we managed quite well.
Purchasing a dongle here in South Africa proved to be a challenge budget-wise. Instead, we’ve been
walking to the marina clubhouse early each morning and lugging the laptops and/or tablets with us. The clubhouse lounge is comfortable enough, it’s just not quite as comfortable as sitting in our underwear at the saloon table or the nav station and certainly not as convenient for quick internet searches, especially when it’s pouring rain.
For several years, we had an Alfa antenna. It was an inexpensive little gizmo with several limitations, but it worked fairly well until we bought our new computers and the software was not compatible with Windows 8. We didn’t bother to replace the antenna since we were in Australia and we were using the dongle quite effectively.
One of the many items I brought back from the States was a new high-powered wifi antenna and a mini-router. It was fairly costly (~$400) and we were anxious to see if it worked as advertised. David checked it out immediately. He even read the directions and then hooked it up. As incredible as it might sound, it worked right out of the box! We have internet aboard, compliments of the yacht club. What a luxury. It’s amazing what land folks take for granted sometime.
The final install will require a trip up the mast, but in the meantime, we can tolerate some loose wires hanging about. Look for a Blue View post in the next few weeks with the more technical aspects of the system and its installation.