So, I have my new Oregon loaded with the most up to date SE Caribbean BlueChart g2 HXUS030R (from Landfall). I will make my preliminary route on my home computer using HomePort and download that to the Oregon.
I have the new iPad, with GPS, and plan to download the BlueChart Mobile App and Active Captain.
I don't want to buy the Garmin Wi-Fi Adaptor kit (Don't think it would work with the Oregon anyhow). Therefore, it is my understanding that I will not be able to use my g2 HXUS030R micr SD chip in any way to get those maps into the iPad & that I will have to buy the Garmin North American BlueChart map (not U.S. Coastal because it doesn't include Caribbean) through the app "settings" once downloaded. Is this correct?...
That is correct, as I understand it, and based on my experience.
When you plug in your Oregon to your computer for the first time, the HomePort software will take a LONG time to read the charts. But in my experience, this delay will only be the first time. It seems to cache most of the charts onto your hard drive, in a very large folder called "Tiles." After that, you'll see the charts almost instantaneously as soon as you plug in the Oregon. But you will have to plug in the Oregon (or something else - see next paragraph) as validation. Note that I said "charts." If you have the SE Caribbean g2 chip in your Oregon, you should get a drop-down box in the upper left corner that allows you to select either the Oregon's embedded chart or the HXUS030R chart. If you draw a few shoreline-hugging routes in the BVI and switch between the two charts, you will see how inaccurate the embedded charts are for that area. What's even more shocking is the embedded charts are also very inaccurate for St. Thomas and St. John. I figured that since they are part of the US, that the NOAA surveys (upon which Garmin's charts are based, IMO) would be more recent and accurate. Not true. But the HXUS030R chip does appear to be much more accurate there.
Now for the "or something else" part: You can view the HXUS030R microSD chop by inserting the SD adapter into a card reader without the Oregon. If you would like to view the charts at home while the Oregon and HXUS030R are on your boat, you can actually copy the .img files onto another microSD card. If you copy both the embedded chart and the HXUS030R chart onto the microSD card and insert the card into your computer, you will once again get a dropdown menu in HomePort that will have both charts.
One interesting thing I noticed is that if you copy the Oregon's entire directory structure onto the microSD card, the program actually thinks that you have the Oregon plugged into the computer, even though you're just working with a microSD image of the Oregon. I suggest that you not do this, because the program will continuously nag you to update your "Oregon."
Note that Garmin uses a pretty sophisticated encryption scheme to make sure copied microSD cards do not work in the Oregon (or any other devices). Only the original chip will work in any Garmin devices. But HomePort does not appear to check the lock codes, so the copied microSD card (and embedded charts from the Oregon) will work with the software, even though it does not work in a device.
...I don't know if the North American iPad BlueChart is as detailed in the Caribbean as the HXUS030R chip (I assume not) but when I talked with Garmin reps they told me the HXUS030R was the only detailed coverage (more detailed then preloaded or other BlueChart sd cards that included the Caribbean) to include the Virgins, Leewards etc. At the time when I talked to Garmin we never talked iPad....
I think the iPad downloaded charts are pretty detailed. But I did not get a chance to really test it out thoroughly. And I've returned the borrowed HXUS030R chip, so I can't do a side-by-side comparison. Maybe you could, and report back here so we can all benefit.
...And, to be sure and turn off any roaming settings.
One way to make sure not to incur charges might be to remove the SIM card from the iPad. You might also consider buying a BVI-capable Lime card for while you are down there. Mr. Simcard
sells them online. I have no experience with them to indicate whether their service is good.