Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘bahamas

Details From The Turbocation: All TurboTech, All The Time

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Greetings from Bonefish Cay in the south Atlantic.  Think Nassau, Bahamas, fly NNW on a prop plane for an hour, land in Marsh Harbour, then take about a 10-minute boat ride.

Turbo is currently on vacation on Bonefish Cay in the Abaco Island chain in the Bahamas. However, despite being on a near-deserted island, he's not without satellite Internet and TV technology, and in terms of NCAA football, the English Premiere League, and Facebook, he's hardly missed a beat.

I’m staying with old friends, and I won’t rub in how remote and islandy this place is.  I came down for a week to visit, do a little scuba diving, maybe play a little golf, and generally speaking, just chill out.

But the winds haven’t exactly been cooperating — it’s been averaging 14-20MPH gusts since I arrived, and the temp has been in the low-to-mid 70s, so despite one trip into the water to search for some conch for dinner, we’ve mostly stayed out of the water.

Speaking of water, the island has to produce its own fresh water, so I got my first ever gander at a desalination system. The primary device is an SK HC 5,000 desalinizer, which produces 5,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water per day.  That averages out to around 210 gallons per hour.

The primary power source here is a Northern Lights 125KW diesel generator, which sends current out to 4 different inverted battery banks, to several houses located here on the island.

The Internet access here is provided by HughesNet, so as not to be completely cut off from the world.  Hey, just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I completely gave up my ability to communicate with other humans!  And anyhow, how was I going to post all those cool pics on Facebook if I didn’t have some form of Interwebs!

So here’s how this Hughes thing works: You send a request from a Web page that the Hughes satellite dish devices sends to a satellite that’s situated about 22,000 miles up in space.

According to Hughes, at that altitude, the satellite’s period of rotation (24 hours) matches the earth’s, and the satellite always remains in the same spot over the earth. Because Internet via satellite is now so technologically advanced, this distance hardly makes a difference, even with rural Internet connections.

Next, the satellite contacts the Hughes Network Operations Center (NOC), which locates the specific Website you have requested.

Finally, the Website beams the information back along the same path to the NOC, then to the satellite, and then to your computer through the HughesNet dish and modem.

What I’ve discovered is that even though the signal travels a great distance — when’s the last time you travelled 22,000 miles in a millisecond or two — there’s only a fraction of a second delay during the transmission.

Not unlike the delay you may have experienced when you using a cell phone.

And anyhow, you’re on an island, you shouldn’t be surfing the Internet anyhow.  And if you are, you should at least have a glass of rum and coke next to your computer.

Me, I’ve never had to lean on a satellite dish for Internet access for so long, but so far I’m sold…and hey, it beats sitting around talking to a volleyball named Wilson.

If you want to have a quick Walter Mitty moment, check out my takeoff from Nassau airport. This was in a 9 passenger Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, which has a top speed of 170MPH and a range of 874 miles.

And it’s really, really loud.  Just how I like my prop planes while on vacation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make sure the Dish network is ready to deliver up the Dallas Cowboys/Arizona Cardinals game.  It’s now windy AND raining on the island — oh thank heaven for high technology.

Written by turbotodd

December 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Swimming With Sharks

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It’s Friday.

Which means tomorrow is Saturday, and the start of some holiday time.

I’m hopping a plane down to Nassau, Bahamas, in the morning to visit with an old college friend and his wife, and to do some scuba diving (my first dive trip since last year this time, whereupon I was down in Grand Cayman).

I was last in The Bahamas in December, 2001, stopping off for a day port there with the rest of my family while I was on a cruise.

This time around, I’ll be going a little more native, staying with my friends, and also spending much of the week on the island of Eleuthera.

Eleuthera is an island in The Bahamas that sits about 50 miles east of Nassau.  Here’s a picture:

image

The population of Eleuthera is around 8,000, and according to Wikipedia, the name of the island is derived from the Greek ελεύθερος , meaning “free.”

Big smile.

While in Nassau, my friends talked me into going on the Stuart Cove "Extreme Shark Adventure,” a series of two dives which will allow us to get up close and personal with some Caribbean Reef Sharks. 

I’m told the sharks will have had their breakfast.  On the second dive, they’ll be feeding them some brunch while the rest of we divers hang on the bottom of the ocean floor at around the 50 foot level. 

We’ll also be engaging in a “free swim” with the sharks along one of the gorgeous Bahamian walls.

I’m very much looking forward to swimming with all the creatures in The Bahamian waters, even as I pray for the great variety of sea creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and an imminent end to the flood of gushing oil.

It looks as though any of my own plans for the Texas Redneck Riviera for this summer will be dashed – I’m just hopeful that those who make their livelihoods off the Gulf (the shrimpers, fishermen, tourist firms, and yes, even the oil workers) are able to get back to work and soon, and that the impact is minimal to to the sea life in the Gulf.

But currently, the situation looks grim.

I’ll likely not be blogging much over the next week, although I may have to make a guest vacation appearance to relate my experience with the sharks. 

Otherwise, I’ll look forward to writing again soon when I’m back on May 24th. 

Until then, feel free to pray for all the Caribbean Reef Sharks near Nassau to have some very full bellies before I arrive on the scene on Sunday!

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm

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