Currently, we have the perfect isolation bubble. The self-sufficient, prepper’s dream, Genevieve is a long swim from shore, her lockers well-stocked, and no febrile indication that she has taken on a Corona stowaway.
But let’s rewind. While Genevieve slept in Peakes Yard, Trinidad & Tobago, John and I had an autumn of land-based exploration including a leisurely trip to Florence, Tuscany’s pastoral places, France’s Loire Valley and Paris…joined along the way with old friends to celebrate John’s decade turn. With a stop back in NY long enough to change our luggage, we headed for familiar home-away-from-home Fort Lauderdale with a New Year’s side trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Then we checked-out Phoenix, Sedona, The Grand Canyon, and Palm Springs for some mid century antiquing and a taste of the West, including great family time and a little luxury resort-living thrown in.
Eventually we made our way back to Genevieve by late January. We thought we’d be able to get her splashed and ready to sail in a week, but we did not account for Trinidad customs who held our new mainsail hostage. This drove us mad, but we did get to complete a lot of non-essential Genevieve chores and become familiar with Trinidad’s local sights and flavors!
As soon as the new sail was released form customs clink we high-tailed it north to Grenada via Venezuelan pirates’ waters– without incident. Picking up friends in Prickly Bay we sailed on to Union Island, lovely Bequia, and to the sublime Tobago Cays, all among some of our favorite Caribbean destinations.
One windy night, in the perfectly blue but very windy Tobago Cays, we had some nail-biting anchoring drama. Two yachts tangled together after a mooring bouy broke free; the tangled boats—with panicked crews—bearing down on us in the dark. We made the rapid and timely decision to motor up towards the morass to haul up our anchor and move out of their path before it was too late. We narrowly missed becoming a dangerous and expensive part of a boat threesome headed for a reefy lee shore. That night renewed our skepticism of the robustness of theoretically well-maintained national park mooring bouys! We’ll stick to relying on Pam the Anchor thanks!
The next night in tony Petite St. Vincent, a hefty Lagoon 62 charter catamaran decided to anchor on our bow, settling a boat’s length up-wind of us in a wide-open, very windy anchorage. With the previous night’s debacle fresh in mind, we politely asked the charter captain to move. He (inexplicably) refused! So after some “debate” we moved, trying hard to maintain our cool and restrain our nautical hand signals.
After our guests departed, we headed north exploring places we skipped over on the journey south last year. We were surprised by the quality and depth of yacht services in Le Marin, Martinique, and the friendliness and geographical beauty of the Pitons in St Lucia.
We meandered towards Guadeloupe to rendez vous with more friends just as COVID 19 really started to make its mark. We were all actually expelled from Les Saintes as Corona reached the islands’ shores and we had to return our crew early to Guadeloupe airport to get them on the last flight back to the USA before the border closed.
Now we found ourselves at a bit of a loss. We were ideally isolated on our floating home, but many more of the Caribbean islands were closing by the day. So, in the nick of time, we decided to forsake the croissants, rosé and baguettes of Guadeloupe and sail to still-open Antigua ASAP where we could hang low at anchor until the future untangled itself.
After a boisterous, wet day’s beat in some big waves and another long, frustrating day of bureaucracy checking into Antigua, we are now at anchor in lovely Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. Could be worse places to isolate!
The plan is to stay in place. Or at least stay in the waters of Antigua & Barbuda for a month or so until we can peer through the mists of uncertainty. Antigua & Barbuda have plenty of bays and coves to explore, there is lobster, and we have Games of Thrones to finish, so we are in a much better place than most. It’s quite easy to isolate on a boat. No one need come near us and we are careful to clean everything that comes on board. We glove-up for grocery shopping and keep our distance.
Hopefully, our plan to sail Genevieve to NY in May will still work out. But we don’t think it’s worth trying to make any specific plans until the future unfolds a bit more.
Stay safe everyone. Don’t worry about us: we are probably better off than most everyone else in our quarantined, sun-drenched, floating capsule.
Enjoy the pictures…