We are gearing up to take off cruising next year. While the idea of truly "taking off forever" is great, the reality of having no income while also not being independently wealthy (and spending every penny getting the boat ready!) is slowly creeping in to my consciousness...
I am realizing that I can probably keep several of my clients and work virtually. I am a bookkeeper and Professional Organizer. I *know* I could do this, in theory. My main concern is internet access.
Can you guys talk about what the best way to have reliable internet service is? If I am not at a port, is it possible to still get online somehow and say, do payroll?? We originally are planning to get SSB, but I'm guessing if I'm to be in business, I will need much more than that.
Services, equipment- hardware, software, etc... what say you??
Here's what we have found through actual experience while cruising the Windwards and Leewards for the last 2 years. An external wifi antenna is a must and as we wanted the best reception available and are not very computer savvy, we chose the BadBoy X-treme and their Unleashed. The same equipment can be purchased as the Bullet, but it does take some serious computer savvy to initialize.
Without it, internet was just plain a matter of luck.
With it we have pulled usable, but slow, internet from 2.3 miles (by gps). Almost every anchorage in the Antilles has some form of internet. There are a few companies that are multi-island that charge about us$40.00 a month with speeds varying between 1 and 54 Mbps, but most often on the lower end. There are many open access points (free) also, with varying speeds and at times they can be faster than the paid access points.
There are a few anchorages with absolutely no internet (Chatham Bay, Union Island, for instance), but just next door at Frigate Island anchorage we had decent free wifi.
FdeF Martinique is by far the worst for internet (but great for many other things), but there is free wifi @ McD if you carry your computer ashore. Across the bay @ Pointe du Bout, there was free, excellent wifi, but a year earlier, the same access point wasn't free or even available if you weren't a hotel guest?
Wherever you are speed is usually best between 01:00 and 03:00 if needed.
I think you could very well do the book keeping thing if time wasn't a problem. Almost anywhere you go, you can always find a hotspot with reasonable speed ashore.
Of course these are all open access points and security may not be acceptable for your needs?
Internet through satellites is very, very slow and very, very costly from what I've found out from the bigger boats who have it. But really, you aren't going to be sailing nearly as much as you are anchored anyway, and you could stay in a place w/good internet when you needed to.
I'd suggest keeping an internet log so you remember where you had good internet for when you need it.
Hope this helps.