OK, that is a dramatic headline, but certainly COVID-19 has affected nearly every part of the world, including those of us living on water.
Here on Ticket to Ride, we have kept our ear to the water, so to speak, while still preparing to sail across the Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia. We have spent many days preparing the boat, stocking up on information and supplies, buying food and preparing meals that can be reheated in case of rough seas, etc.
Yesterday, March 18th, I visited the Port Captain to prepare our departure paperwork and we scheduled our appointment with officials to sign us out of Mexico today at 11:00 am. We were excited and ready to depart.
However, this morning we were informed that this port of Mexico will not issue us a zarpé to French Polynesia. (Zarper: Spanish verb: to set sail.)
The information we have gathered from Polynesia concerning sailboats entering the country is contradictory.
Tuesday we learned:
- All arriving into FP have a 14 day quarantine for the Coronavirus.
- Boats would be restricted to the island where they enter the country.
- Inter-island travel for residents is restricted to work, family emergencies or returning home.
Wednesday evening we learned:
- Passage time will count toward the quarantine time for sailors.
- FP will not allow incoming air travelers.
- Non-residents will be repatriated.
Thursday (today) we learned from our entry agent:
- Cruisers can enter the Marquesas and Tahiti to fuel, provision and leave.
- We do not know any news about the Long Stay Visas yet. (We have preliminary LSVs but we also have to reapply when we arrive in French Polynesia and now that acceptance is questionable.)
In addition, there are other sources of information stating stronger restrictions and some stating fewer restrictions and still others saying the restrictions do not apply to sailboats.
The only constant is change, therefore our plans are fluid.
Are we still leaving for French Polynesia? Will we stay in Mexico and if so, where? If we leave but don’t go to French Polynesia, where will we go?
The answer is, we just don’t know. Here are the options currently on the table:
- Stay in Mexico.
- Sail to Hawaii then a: leave for FP when it opens or b: sail to Alaska after exploring Hawaii.
These are great options to have and we definitely consider ourselves blessed to be in this position.
However, juggling the information and determining our destination is a serious decision. We must consider the length of the trip, the sea and wind conditions, where we can land, if we will be welcomed and how the Conronavirus is affecting our destination.
One huge blessing on our side at the moment is having Clayton and Connor aboard TTR; their experience, intelligence, energy and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated.
So there you have our current non-plans. Look for a quick message on Facebook once we decide to depart. Until then, we will continue to consider our options.
Wishing all of you good health and calm surroundings.
As always, thank you for visiting our blog. Our prayers are with everyone affected by COVID-19. All the best from Ticket to Ride.
7 thoughts on “All Provisioned With Boarders Closing: COVID-19 And Sailing”
Nice post! Cruising is a fluid life! Be safe.
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Thanks, Bev. This one is changing a bit more rapidly than usual! Take care!!
If you got hit with the virus, The other thing to consider is the paucity of the medical services in French Polynesia, Many of the locals on Nuka Hiva would fly to Tahiti for all but minor stuff and would even get repatriated to France for serious care. It would be sad to be relegated to just one island in all of French Polynesia, and I can’t imagine missing the Tuamotus…. and so forth.
After having sailing this area durring the last two years, If you have the time; i would encourage you to wait it out in Americas and return when this blows over.
And whatever you decide, I would recommend against your landfall in Hiva Oa because the harbor there could be easily overcrowded and they will be severely limiting arrival ports putting pressure on the anchorage.
Thank you for excellent suggestions. We appreciate your thoughts.
So glad the boys are with you. My two cents is that the situation is going to continue to evolve rapidly and for now you should err on the side of being someplace with a reasonable expectation of welcome, access to provisions and modern medical care, whatever that means. Hawaii and Alaska sound like amazing adventures. Sue
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Making these decisions in the Caribbean where we are well situated on s/v Temerity at the moment is difficult enough with much shorter distances. You and Frank are such smart practical sailors that we know you will make the safest decision with the information you have, whatever that is. Wherever you go, it will be an adventure. Godspeed.