Sometimes life just doesn’t go as planned. You think you have it all worked out and then BAM! your world gets turned on its side. Blame Murphy and his stinking law, the fates, or the curse from that darn idol brought home from Hawaii. Truth is, none of those things are really the cause. Things just happen and as much as we may want life to be predictable a fair amount of it is not. (trust me I am a data guy). So, what do you do when say you are on an island and COVID-19 creates a pandemic and you are not sure where to go or how to get home? Sing! Maybe that needs some explanation…
When the News Sinks In
We were happily cruising in George Town Bahamas when we learned about the pandemic. We had spoken to our sailing friends in Italy and it sounded quite bad, but at the same time very distant. However soon we were hearing about beach closings in Florida and shortly thereafter the Bahamas Prime Minister implemented strict guidelines, including shutting down businesses and closing airports. Eventually this too would happen in the US and it was a striking moment as we listened to a White House press conference while at the laundry mat. The news was sinking in and we knew sooner rather than later we would have to leave this generous nation. It would be unfair to be a burden as we knew it was possible supplies and the healthcare system could be strained. Embassies were calling for all of their citizens to return home and arrangements were made for one-way flights to evacuate tourists. Sitting on anchor, we watched each day as the supply ship entered the harbor wondering how long it would continue. We made plans to leave.
Learn to Sing
We left George Town and sailed north to Staniel Cay. There we shared an anchorage with a smaller number of boats. All of us doing the same – trying to digest the news and figure out what to do next while keeping busy and maintaining our sanity. Limited mostly to our boats except for getting food, we managed to pass the time while also plotting a course for home. One day our friends had the great idea that since we were basically confined to the anchorage and could not go ashore for entertainment, maybe we could bring the entertainment to other boats by singing. Soon we were off on our dinghies often picking up other dinghies to follow. We sang, and we cheered until the sun went down. We didn’t know all the words and it did not really matter. We were (six feet) apart but together.
Plot a New Course
We knew our trip home was going to be different than we originally planned, not to mention much sooner. We could not spend time on plans lost and rather focused on the plan ahead. There was a lot of misinformation and inconsistency – some cruisers were being denied passage to neighboring islands and getting into Nassau was questionable. We decided rather to stop at a couple smaller islands where we could fuel up and make a long run through the night to Florida.
Wind is your friend on a sailboat, at least the right wind. We managed to arrive in Florida with extra fuel in the tank! We checked in with the US border patrol remotely, dropped anchor and rejoiced. Our journey to the Bahamas was an adventure of a lifetime. Maybe not the adventure we planned but isn’t that the point of an adventure? Learning to adapt to changing plans creates a whole different type of excitement, despite what Murphy and his law might say.