Sailing around the world and exploring different countries and cultures sounds like the ultimate bucket list achievement.
But let’s face it – it’s not for the faint of heart. Yet still, nearly 10,000 small boats per year sail the ocean blue looking for their next big adventure.
Many even go “off the grid” with no access to the internet – which is why when COVID-19 hit the world like a thief in the night – many lovebirds and families out at sea had no idea what was happening until they found themselves unable to port… anywhere.
Imagine the shock – plans that took years to implement were suddenly thwarted.
Prepared sailors found themselves trapped at sea and running out of options.
It’s not that those at sea don’t plan for things to go wrong…
.. and while sailors plan ahead and prepare for things such as bad weather and storms – no one ever conceived a worldwide pandemic would essentially shut down the world.
Gone were the days focused on soaking in the sunset and having morning coffee amongst the open sea…
… for those trapped at sea their main goal now was simply to stay alive.
“You’re Not Welcome”
As they travel from country to country, many families at sea are used to a warm welcome by the locals who are eager to show them the best their town has to offer.
After all – there is a certain amount of respect for people willing to literally sail around the world and thrust themselves into unfamiliar cultures and customs.
But with COVID-19 causing fear around the world, many local officials were more focused on protecting their own people (understandably) and not letting random boats dock and enter their borders.
As a result, closed ports left many boats trapped at sea with nowhere to go. https://proudamericantraveler.com/nightmare-on-the-high-seas-passengers-trapped-on-contaminated-cruise-ship/
But it’s not as if the boats could simply “turn around” and go home, as a journey home could take months…
… not to mention the lack of food or boat maintenance needed to sustain the journey.
Those who made the decision to embark on a long-distance sailing adventure around the world were in it for the long haul.
From water filtration systems to drink clean water to reinforced boats with fiberglass – folks have dropped some serious cash into creating their floating “home away from home.”
But with closed borders and looming storms – some families even contemplated abandoning their precious boat and trying to catch a flight back to the States.
What else can they do?
The Nerve family embarked on a journey from the States with their 43ft boat to visit the French Polynesia, but when the lockdown happened, they were forced to quarantine on their boat.
The rules were so strict, they were even forbidden from taking a quick swim in the water around their own boat.
“The Neve family is trying to sort through limited options. That includes leaving their boat in Tahiti and flying home on expensive repatriation flights (if they can find one going to their country), attempting to sail to Hawaii and then back to North America or pushing on across the Pacific and hoping a country will let them in.”
Making The Best Of It
Let’s be honest – it takes some serious guts to make the decision to sail around the world.
This is not a journey for the weak.
In true resilience, some families are looking for the silver lining in the current crisis, and using it as a chance to test their limitations.
One family who has spent a whopping 80 days sheltered in an isolated port told CNN they’re ready for whatever comes.
“I feel like we’ve been preparing for this our entire sailing career,” Brian told CNN Travel over Zoom. There’s no nearby medical care, and groceries take three days to be delivered by local freighter from Nassau.
But Brian explains they’ve learned to be self-sufficient, “We have months of food and fuel and can make our own water and alcohol.”
COVID-19 may temporarily cause a worldwide panic, but it can’t break the human spirit of perseverance and resilience.
Sail on, sailors!
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