« Moving on from Larantuka | Main | April's first Day - hardest day yet! »

July 10, 2005

Away from Laranuka - but only just

DAY: 26
LOCATION: Flores Island
LATITUDE : 08 degs,15.02'S
LONGITUDE: 123 degs,01.13'E

We got blown out today - literally.

After the usual ordeal of getting going again after a few days off - stashing a new intake of food and water for the next 10-days so it all fits in the three boats - we took off around 10am northbound up the coast with the hope of rounding the northeast tip of Flores before the end of the day. We'd gone just 4 miles however before the wind whipped up to force 4-5 forcing us to make landfall and wait it out. By 5pm we were still waiting, so we decided to camp and make an early start tomorrow morning to beat the wind. If we can get up to the NE tip at least it'll then be in our favour going westwards.

I thought you might be interested to know how we're sending these reports back. I'm using a Dell PC laptop to write this update, which is then transmitted via satellite phone to our server in LA. Images are captured from one of the video camcorders and transferred to the computer via a PC card, then crunched down to an smaller size (12kb) using Macromedia Fireworks. I really like this program as it allows one to preview the quality of an image at a particular size before it is exported - crucial when dealing with such a slow speed on the satphone (2400 baud).

It's a little more complicated than this however. At least one of the Iridium satellites (now 68 I believe?) orbitting the earth needs to be able to 'see' our phone for a stable data connection. When one is camped beside a volcano this can get troublesome. Then there's the power needed to run both the video camcorders, the laptop and the satphone - this all comes from solar panels. We have one permanently attached to the double kayak so batteries are being charged even when we're paddling (which is always during daylight hours). Then there's the third-party software 'w.bloggar:4.00' (fabulous - thanks to the bloggar crew!) needed to post this update directly into the correct folder of our Moveable Type interface on our server. This allows the update to instantly become 'public' for you to read via the website - no middle person is needed to post the update like in the old days. So, in all quite complicated, but when it all works, as it seems to be at the moment (touching wood), it's certainly the cheapest and most efficient way we've found to update the site so far.

Posted on July 10, 2005 1:17 PM