Quarantine and cruising lifestyle


The 2 km zone we are permitted to wander
Just a very long month ago, the first cases of a novel Coronavirus began trickling into Ireland. China had experienced a severe outbreak beginning in January, and by February it had spread into several countries including Italy in the midst of ski season. Kids on holidays brought it back home while neighbours of China also had outbreaks. Having had several scares before, the Far Eastern nations reacted swiftly and decisively. The Europeans didn't, and Trump called it a Democratic hoax to divert attention from the US elections. Now the entire world -- 200 countries and several cruise ships -- is in the midst of a pandemic. Hitting a million confirmed cases and thousands of deaths today.

As borders closed around the world, I was working on behalf of members of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) to assist members getting stuck in places insurance wouldn't let them be during hurricane season, advising members on which countries' borders were still open, and what the various authorities were advising. It was, and still is, a harrowing time for many who chose this idyllic cruising lifestyle.

But it made me realize that distance cruisers who cross oceans are more prepared than most. From the first time we set out across an ocean, we've been dealing with the unknown. The more experience we get, the better we cope, but we know better than to become complacent.

As cruising sailors, we are used to provisioning for long passages, living at anchor for weeks without replenishing, and stocking up on things that we know we might not find in the next place. We are also pretty good at estimating how long a pack of toilet paper will last! We are used to living fairly frugally, we like cooking with local ingredients and reuse all of our leftovers. We get along with each other in close quarters. It’s not difficult to find things to do at home, and we are used to reading our news and books in digital form. We have learned that our routes and schedules are often dictated by factors beyond our control – weather first and foremost – and sometimes even our boat might schedule herself some little surprise of a maintenance project. Without really noticing, we have acquired many skills that are now, suddenly, in great demand.

Our alternative means for getting out on the water
Of course, there are difficulties, such as all of the hardware stores, chandleries and so on being closed just now, that we have all this time on our hands to work on boats and other projects. And the inevitable question, which no one seems to want to say out loud: what about the future? How long will this go on, how much worse will it get? And even if it doesn’t seem like much of an ordeal to spend the winter months in isolation, what if we can’t go anywhere all summer? What if it never returns to the way it was?

No one is launching boats and our Aleria is on the hard. I'm not complaining as there is always our trusty little Moytura to get out and about in, as long as we don't go out more than 2 km - the furthest we are allowed to go out from home. And we can always walk our land - 10 acres of isolation in stunning scenery. I feel blessed.

Now all our travel plans have been postponed into an unknown “after corona” era. And travel plans are the smallest of our problems these days when people are getting sick and dying. The most important thing now is to stay healthy, follow orders and do the best we can to improve the situation, and to hope that it will not last forever. We send our warm thoughts to every one of you reading this blog. We’ll make it through!

Our inlet by satellite view. We can walk the land. 

365 islands to explore, most uninhabited


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