Mel and I won't complain. We've always enjoyed our solitude, though we've never thought of it as something that could save our lives. Sadly... we do now.
Like most people, we wake up hoping this situation we're in was just a really weird dream, but within a few seconds we realize, no, it's not. There's still some bug, a virus, out there that's mercilessly killing some and making others gravely ill. We, especially me, are on the short list of folks more apt to contract this very infectious disease. Though it's now afflicting younger people it's us >60 folks that it's killing most often.
Then there's the damage this fucking plague is taking on the global economy. Yes, this contagion is killing many, but the toll it's taking on the healthy and those who survive is financially ruinous. Many businesses, both large and small, are being destroyed and millions of people are out of work. Honestly, I don't see how we'll crawl from the deepening debts that is this economic black hole anytime soon — but still, I have faith in capitalist ingenuity. We'll figure a way, it seems we always do.
Oft times, out of disaster opportunity is born, however one must wait till the flames burn out and the smoke clears. Unless you're Purell or Charmin.
Certainly not tragic, not death nor sickness, but not frivolous either, the lives and dreams of some of those we know who mess about on boats have been seriously altered.
No, these aren't the bourgeois yachtistas being catered to aboard crewed mega-yachts, they're regular folks who have worked hard for years and traded a well deserved comfortable retirement for one of self reliant adventure.
Our Kiwi friends are on a boat without a country. At this time, they're anchored somewhere around Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas. Per Ted, "We’re fine. Bahamas have total lockdown. Everything is closed. Can’t leave the boat.". At first they were allowed to go ashore for supplies, but now the Bahamian Government has stopped that. They can't move from island to island so they just sit on anchor waiting for something to change. To make their lives even more difficult, The U.S. will not allow them to come back either; seems they overstayed their welcome. Even though Ted is a U.S. citizen, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) says no, no, no - at least not for a undetermined period of time. Yes, I know, trapped in paradise. —right? — but after a while, trapped is trapped.
There are other folks we know who were making their way south, down the Caribbean chain of islands, then to Panama to cross the canal. Once on the Pacific side their dreams would carry them wherever they dared; knowing Roam... a circumnavigation plan was in the making.
Unexpectedly stopped by the authorities in Puerto Rico, they soon realized that plan was scuttled. After a bit, they turned north and due to travel restrictions the Bahamas were bypassed. It took 7 non-stop days at sea, but finally they arrived back in the USA. At this time they're quarantined on anchor somewhere around Vero Beach, Florida.
This is all so crazy, so surreal. Just weeks ago, the stock market was flying higher at every closing bell and these times were being hailed the "New Roaring 20s". Seems like one day we were dancing in the ether, then the next we were sequestered in fear, hiding from some unknown pathogen, scrambling for toilet paper.
At first we were told, "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear" then we heard, "opened up, and rarin’ to go by Easter", after that, "Always known this is a real—this is a pandemic", and now, “It’s called the invisible enemy, and that’s what it is: it’s an invisible enemy,”. What's it gonna be tomorrow, next week, or next month? "We'll see"?
Okay, I'll crawl out of the Rabbit Hole now.
Life goes on if we're happy about it our not. Still, it could be worse, though not by much.
So these mornings I wake very early. I feed the boys, walk outside with them, and in the pleasant predawn temps I look up at the stars and hear the ocean's waves crashing on the beach. These moments without complication don't last long, but during this speechless hour or so there are no talking heads rapid firing worst case scenarios and death counts, there are no worries yet, there's just peace and quiet as the stars fade and the sun rises.
Once back inside, I pick up my laptop and shuffle through the thousands of pictures of the many places we've been so fortunate to visit aboard Istaboa. Every morning I put a new picture on the large TV monitor and all day, every time we see that photograph, it makes life seem better. Good memories are good things. We need all the good things we can get right now.
Leaving Nassau, we stand by to let a couple of cruise ships enter the harbor before we leave to turn north and point toward The Abacos.
Later that day, just off the southern tip of Great Abaco Island, we're astounded by a close encounter with a pod of Killer Whales. This was a very good day.
Those were —Good Days— Indeed
For those of you who enjoy boats, boating, and the folks who live the life:
The story of the extraordinary lives of Nancy and Bob Griffith, who circumnavigated the globe not once but three times between 1960 and the late 1970’s, taking their 53-foot sailboat, and their kids, on 13 major voyages to places no small boat had gone before.
It's streaming on Amazon Prime Video and well worth the time - and right now, most of us have plenty of that.