The sun peeks through the overhead hatch as the watch on my wrist vibrates signaling the beginning of another day as the music comes up… click here
I am sure many of you feel just as Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, does in The movie Groundhog Day that we are spinning in perpetual motion day after day as these days of the Covid-19 quarantine , self-isolation, “stay-at-home’ drone on.
Meanwhile, Lost Loon is sitting safe in the US Virgin Islands. We are surrounded by like cruisers who have either come here with plans to head back to the US or like us waiting to see if Grenada opens their doors.
We arrived in US waters on March 14 after an uneventful overnight motorsail from St Maarten. It was our plan to stage here before leaving for the ABC Islands. Shortly after our arrival we became well aware that a minuscule microscopic menace would effect a huge change to our plans. And little did we know that things would change nearly daily on a worldwide as well as local level. More about that in a few….
For a period of time, shortly after arrival here, we were literally between a rock and a hard place, with no where to go. Our insurance policy on the boat says we need to be north of the Florida GA state line or south of 12 degrees latitude … that’s Grenada. Explicitly out of the typical hurricane zone. It would have been our choice to head for Grenada ( only 350 mikes) but we see boats in quarantine, limited haul-outs and very random flights leaving the country for the US. So our second option was to head back to the US (1220miles!!). And… to our disappointment Bahamas waters are closed! ( meaning transit outside their territorial waters …no stopping for an overnight rest!) This would also mean a whole Fall season of trying to get East against the trades to just get right back here in the VIs.
Well we found out last week that just about anything is negotiable for $$$$$. We have tentatively arranged to haul the boat out here in St Thomas for a sizable additional fee on our policy and get one of the scheduled flights back to Miami. I know, it’s very obvious to us that this IS A HURRICANE ZONE, but so is most of the East coats of the US! At this point with options closing off for us we needed to make a decision.
Doing this we give up our option for Grenada. And if things don’t look good here or we have a change of mind, we will end up with our last plan and head to the continental US.
If we were making a return to the US doing the 1200 nm, and that’s 10-12 non-stop days. We have been told that there will be no anchoring in any islands; we would need to make a straight shot north – NW from here. AND they have invoked a $10,000 fine with possible imprisonment if caught anchoring or even in the waters!!
Presently we sit at anchor waiting for our haul-out at Independent Boatyard on St Thomas on May 1st. Week #4.
So what’s a day like in the Virgin Islands when you are not sailing and visiting anchorages?? It’s like having a floating condo… a very small condo. We are living in 250 square feet.
The day starts with the morning radio net on the VHF . We find out the latest local changes ( if we haven’t read Facebook), get weather, discuss options to get food, laundry done, and order pizza! Yep, there is a local pizza place that actually served 40 some boats some 50-60 pizzas today by boat!
We have a list of duties/ tasks to complete before we haul out and a list of jobs for after haul out. So everyday we get 1-2 things done …the stainless is polished, the heads are lubricated, the diesel fuel is treated, the food and medicine inventory has been completed. We have reorganized lockers, and started taking equipment off the rails.
The weather is good, sunny most days 80 degrees and light breezes at night. We can be dropped off at a closed beach just to cross to the road for a walk. ( Trails and beaches just opened yesterday again!!)
We spend time checking in on the HAM network of boats, email and messages, reading, and watching news clips from home in the morning.
Afternoons we may swim, SCUBA
do yoga aboard ( oh yeah that’s a challenge!), cut each other’s hair 🤣
and read. We have had excellent cellular service to make calls to the kids and grandkids, mothers, sisters, and brothers.
So here is a list of Lost Loon’s recent reads:
Cape Horn The Logical Route, Bernard Motissier
Dreamland, San Quinones
Land of Dreams, Vidal Sundstol
The Ravens, Vidal Sundstol
Only the Dead, Vidal Sundstol
Chasing My Cure, David Fajgenbaum
Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
We are making the best of the situation in our little floating home. We feel we are some of the lucky ones to be located in a US territory. Some of our sailing friends are in foreign islands and either cannot leave or are stuck on their boats until the government says they can haul their boats out…. and then hope for a flight back to the US!!
We pray for our friends and family they they stay safe and protect each other. We are doing the same. And wake up each morning hoping this crazy dream is just that!!!
Make it a great day!