Hello again from S/V Liberty!
Well, we are still quarantined on the boat. We have been fully quarantined on our boat since March 26th when the BVIs started a full lockdown. So, besides going to the fuel dock twice to get more water and food deliveries, we have been isolated within our 44 foot "apartment" for a month now, with no going ashore, no paddle boarding, no dinghy rides. I don't know how we haven't gone berserk yet! To give you perspective, in a month we could have crossed the Atlantic ocean on our boat and could have already landed in Morocco, Spain, France, or the UK! Or, we could have headed south to Sao Paulo, Brazil. But instead, we are pretty much anchored in the same place, sitting out this pandemic and trying to determine when and where we will go next, to make our way back home (eventually) to Maine.
What does a typical day look like for us? The sun wakes us up around 6am. The boat doesn’t have shades, which means that we sleep with the sun setting and rising, to a certain degree, and I really like that. We have coffee and breakfast and read the news like most folks. Our news is a bit different from most though – besides reading news from the U.S., we also look at the local news sources from the BVIs, the Bahamas, and St. Martin. Every day, I hope for slightly eased restrictions for boaters coming into these territories, as it will impact our travel plans. I fully realize the importance of restriction and not allowing the virus to continue to grow, but for the most part, all boaters have been quarantined on their boats and don’t pose a real threat to communities. That said, each island has limited food resources, and does not want to introduce any island to island spread, so I understand the hesitancy to restrict boat movement. It is a difficult decision for island governments and not one to be taken lightly. Folks don’t realize just how many boats and people are affected by this pandemic – we are members of a lot of online boating communities and it is amazing how many people are stranded and dealing with very difficult times. There is literally now a Facebook group called “Stranded at Sea,” because, in many ways, many of us are to a certain degree.
Back to our typical day 😊 Read the news, breakfast, and then work on projects in the morning. Projects for me include marketing, financial tracking, taxes recently, business projections, cash flow analysis, and continuing to try to understand travel restrictions and projections. Nils constantly has projects on the boat, from engine work, to battery maintenance, to the multitude of issues and improvements on an ongoing basis, as well as determining the route (when and where) for our upcoming big sail home.
I’ve been doing A LOT of cooking and baking lately, which has been nice. So for all of you chartering with us this summer, we have a bunch of new dishes for you to try! I feel like I’m being productive, as our guests will benefit from this, and it is a fun way to break up some of the day. And, we need to stay healthy to make our trek home, so ensuring we have good food, and that it doesn’t go bad, is very important at this time.
We try to take an hour or two to go swimming in the afternoon. It is our only exercise of the day and a good activity to get us off of the boat. It’s great mentally to be submerged in a totally different world, where life is going on as normal. It is amazing to swim over each patch of coral and to witness these intricate, individual ecosystems. Each small area, with anemones, moray eels, different fish, lobster, and multitudes of coral … all within a three-foot diameter. And amazing that you can swim another fifteen feet and find a completely different ecosystem, with creatures in it that have no awareness of the other ecosystems so close. Right now, we are all confined not only to our little ecosystems, but to our tiny little nook within them. And that is limiting and frustrating. I hope that, when things open back up, we not only appreciate our neighborhoods and communities again, but start to search out and support other communities within our reach. Interestingly, we now realize just how “connected” our world is (by the spread of the virus), so let’s use that realization to our benefit going forward. How you can help people is not just isolated to your community, but can be open to many other communities and peoples.
Late afternoons I’ve been doing a lot of bread making. I’m trying to perfect my baguette recipe, which has been frustrating and fun at the same time. A side note, I bought bagels from the store a few weeks ago and they are still going strong in spite of 90 degree weather every day, yet my freshly made bread molds after a few days – gives you a sense of the preservatives in much of what we buy in the store every day.
The sun starts setting around 5:30/6:00 here, and we’ll play some music, drink a glass of wine, and make supper. It’s a time to ease down from our “hectic” day (lol), and relax together. Funny, we spend all of our days within 15 feet of each other, but often apart in separate rooms (because you’d kill each other otherwise!), so dinnertime is our time to spend together. Recently, as dusk sets in, flamingos have been flying by to roost in the salt marsh closeby. I am thrilled to see them when they fly by and am jealous of their freedom. It reminds me of watching birds migrating over the Gulf of Maine from our home - the freedom of flying, yet with such direction and purpose.
I think that, right now for us, such an uncertain future erodes the normal direction that we would have in our day to day lives. We are in limbo, so to say, and without the certainty of jobs, community, and health in our futures, it is hard to hold on to our conviction, dedication, and motivation. I think that many of us are paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. So, how do we convert this fear into courage? My recent strategy has been to think of the outcome that I want out of this situation. I cannot control the loss of our spring business. I cannot control being away from home right now. I cannot control being quarantined on the boat. But, I can take this time to pause to truly evaluate where I want to be later this year, and into the future. Planning a future that we can control is helpful to us, and can be empowering and cathartic. We have been trying to plan as much as possible recently, from trip-planning our way home (how many hours, days, ports, advance written government requests, etc.), to finding a rental for the summer, to planning out what the schedule for next winter looks like. And every time we take a step forward in our planning, I feel a bit more in control, and feel like we have more direction.
I look forward to the day (hopefully soon) when we will have the freedom to migrate back north and home to Maine. The freedom to set sail here into the deep blue ocean, with direction and purpose. What are you looking forward to?