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Talk to us about staying in touch - do you mainly use e-mail, fax, airmail, surface mail, cellular telephone, land-line telephone - is it expensive to use the telephone in your area? Are there public telephones on your marina, or nearby? Where should one go to get a 'phone card or are your local public telephones still coin-operated? Is there somewhere within easy access from a visiting vessel where mail can be sent to be kept for the arrival of yachts on passage? Tell us all about the facilities round your way - you'll be helping others who plan on visiting your locality. Knowing where to have surface mail sent is often a problem - let's see if we can help each other out!

If you need to have mail sent to Bequia in the Grenadines to await your arrival here is an address you can use:

Your Name and Boat Name
C/O  R.M.S.
P.O.Box 162
Port Elizabeth
Bequia
St. Vincent & The Grenadines

This is the address of a good Internet Café,  Ros Multi-Services, just next to Mauvin's Model Boat shop, a little way beyond the fruit and vegetable marketplace on the waterfront, just west of the new Revenue building (where you check in with Customs and Immigration). They will gladly hold mail for collection.

To the gentleman who wrote asking for mail forwarding and holding services:

Most Internet Cafes provide a mail collection and forwarding service for surface mail. If you care to log onto the Internet and use a search engine - www.mamma.com for example - and type 'Internet cafe' into the search slot, it will bring up addresses all over the world - you can be more specific as to location and get better information. 

Most marinas will hold mail for you if you contact them and arrange to use them as an address but very few have forwarding facilities.
By and large, we have found that the best way to approach it is to ask a friend or a mail service back at ones' home base to collect mail from your usual address (or have it re-directed to the service) and then open the mail and scan it to your inbox so that you pick it up as e-mail. 

You can specify what type of mail to open (non-private) and which to leave sealed and, can organise your mail-forwarding addresses with marinas on your intended route. You can usually do this by e-mail, finding the marinas via search engines on the Internet. Let your service know when is the last date for sending mail to each address, and what the next address is .

If you take the time, you can, in this way provide your mail service with an itinerary of send-by dates (do allow up to three extra weeks for mail to reach more remote places) and addresses to which to forward mail. Then it is up to you to go to the locations you have listed when you arrive in the area. 

When arranging the holding of your mail, do remember to request that they keep the mail for an agreed period of time and tell them what you wish them to do with your mail if you fail to collect it within that time: 

  • Hand it back to the local postal service for returning to sender
  • Hand it over to a named individual - if you think you may ask someone else to collect your mail for you, let the Internet cafe or marina know that you might do so and that it will be fine for them to give your mail to that person once they have produced proof of their identity. 
  • Throw it away.


We met a Swiss gentleman who told us that he uses a Post Office Box number, and has done so for decades. He simply informs his home post office as to where he is heading next and they forward all his mail to the post office there, as Poste Restante, Lista de Espera or whatever the local name is for mail being held. 

He arrives to find his mail waiting for him, wherever he goes. He was clutching a handful of letters which he had just collected from the post office in Horta, Faial, one of the islands in the Azores, out in the middle of the Atlantic, so it does seem to work! 

Perhaps readers have found more convenient ways to get their surface mail? Perhaps you can let us know if you find good ways of organising communications...

 


 

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