March 25, 2020

An Update Amid Coronavirus

We’ve fallen a bit behind on blog posts as we’ve been island hopping so much recently while sailing north along the leeward Caribbean island chain. But all that ground to a halt last week as the global spread of the Coronavirus forced the shutdown of many island borders.

We had been enjoying ourselves in St Barts for several days when France issued the closing of all nonessential businesses in the French Caribbean islands, and we heard rumors that ports could soon follow.

With fears of being quarantined to an island, we rose before dawn the following day to sail north to St Martin and check in before the 12 noon closing because St Martin gave us access to more resources and anchorage options if we were “stuck” there longterm.

The island is currently under quarantine with all beaches, nonessential businesses, and restaurants closed; we are allowed to leave the boat for a few hours with a letter stating our intended destination, such as to the grocery or pharmacy, and as long as we ensure a safe social distance from others in public.

Since we arrived, nearly every island in the Eastern Caribbean, from the Bahamas to Trinidad, has closed its ports to vessels or implemented quarantines and other entry restrictions.

Like everyone else, we are feeling anxiety, fear for our health and that of our family and friends, and uncertainty about our future and cruising dreams.

Our worries and challenges are unique to our cruising lifestyle: despite being in a beautiful tropical paradise, we are tourists in a foreign country and our visa could be revoked or not renewed at any time. We are more than a 1,000 miles from the U.S., and island borders all around us are closed, limiting when and where we can sail next. If we were to get very sick, advanced medical care isn’t readily available in much of the Caribbean. And we cannot simply leave Borealis (our home) and fly back to the States, as we are smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean and our insurance won’t cover the boat here during hurricane season, which is only 60 days away.

Amidst all those worries and the unsettling news that bombards us each day, we are both healthy, we are in a safe place, we are well provisioned, and we can make our own water and power so we have most everything we need aboard Borealis. After 1.5 years of cruising we are pros at social distancing!

We don’t know what’s next or where we’ll end up at the end of this, but for now, we continue to watch events unfold and pass our days in quarantine in St Martin, and we hope and pray that current actions stop the spread of the infection.

We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and positive too.

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