Loading the boat (part 2)

Tue 9 Feb 2010 13:02
We put more supplies on the boat yesterday. Food, gear, clothes.
Here's a look at what is maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the total we'll
ultimately have on board:

I say we're loading the boat, but the truth is when we arrive in Miami, we will need to unpack and repack most of it. Right now all the stuff that shouldn't freeze is being held out, and I'll put that into the car for the drive down. And the stuff that's already on board is not really stowed in all available nooks and crannies. The inside of the boat cabin right now is crammed with things like the mast, rudder, boomkin, sail for the dinghy, rudder for the dinghy, oars, etc. that will all come out later. So we plan to spend all of Tuesday the 16th getting everything in its proper place. I will help . . . but really I will just marvel at Lilly's organizational genius.

There has been progress on the satellite phone problem. It's not solved yet, but I think it has been isolated: it's almost surely the serial-USB adapter. The phone has an antique 9-pin serial port. The computer doesn't, so to connect them you need a cable that has a serial plug on one end and a USB plug on the other. This would seem to be the simplest sort of technology, but apparently Iridium phones are very particular about just who they will talk with. I have now gone through two different generic adapters. The first wouldn't even consent to dial a data call. The second would dial the call, but then hung up at the "Verifying User Name and Password" part. I have one more adapter on order, arriving later today, a Tripp Lite USA-HS19, which has been rumored to work with Iridium phones.

(I need to give a big shout-out here to Ed Wildgoose and Drew Jackson of Mailasail, the company that provides us with email compression for the sat phone. They have exchanged about 20 emails with me troubleshooting this problem. And it's not really their problem at all. They are basically giving me tech support for someone else's product. Ed and Drew -- our gratitude is profound.)

The sat phone problem threw a big stumbling block in our otherwise smooth preparations. I was thinking how well we had planned and paced everything . . . until this. It completely overwhelmed my brain for all of three days, and now I'm coming out of the fog, looking at all my lists and trying to reorient myself. Lilly has her own lists to try to get through. As the reality of our departure gets closer, the list of urgent and impossible tasks seems to grow. We normally experience chaos and panic just preparing to go away for a week; preparing to leave home for two months seems to be exponentially worse. But in general . . .  somehow . . . I think we'll still get on the road first thing Sunday morning, as planned.