Hi friends and family! We’ve been quiet here lately. It’s been hard to know what to say that would not just add to all the noise out there right now. But today I had an idea for a post that I hope will increase our general sense of connection with one another. So I present to you a Top Ten list of Pros and Cons for Boat Living in the Time of Coronavirus.
Some of what we’re finding enjoyable or challenging right now is unique to our situation. But some of it I’ll bet you’ll find very similar. Leave us some comments and let’s compare notes!
Why We’re Glad To Be Out Here
- If you’ve gotta be stuck somewhere for long stretches at a time, it might as well have a beautiful view. We are currently anchored in Christmas Cove off of Great St. James Island in the USVI, and it is lovely – both in scenery and in weather.
2. We are still able to enjoy the outdoors – snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming. It rains at some point every day, but that usually does not last long. I went snorkeling today after my workout and saw two squid! Did not meet the turtle who often surfaces to watch me exercise, but there’s always tomorrow.
3. We are remarkably self-sufficient here on the boat. We have a water maker that converts salt water to fresh and solar panels that deliver plenty of power for refrigeration, ice, and other comforts. Except for food and fuel for the engines, we could hang out at anchor for extended periods of time. And the grocery stores in St. Thomas are not (yet) sold out of the essentials. Well, except for hand sanitizer.
4. We were already used to being mainly in each other’s company – so there’s not really been an adjustment period for the social distancing. Maybe we had our adjustment period last year! 😂 (On a side note, it’s just the two of us here. My heart goes out to my friends who still have children at home right now. We homeschooled for years, but even then we had the option of extracurricular activities to save our sanity!)
5. Our risk of infection, at least right now, should be low. At the time we are writing this, there are only a handful of confirmed cases of the virus in all of the USVIs, and we’ve been very isolated for a while now.
6. Most of our friends and family are suddenly much more available for Zoom and FaceTime conversations! I don’t know why it took a pandemic for us to make this a part of our daily routine. Even my gym is using Zoom to help keep everyone connected!
7. We’re doing a lot more cooking and making steady progress on boat chores – fixing all of the little things, organizing and cleaning the areas that don’t usually merit a lot of attention. Trying new recipes has been a fun diversion.
8. Our fitness levels are ever-improving, since there’s more time for working out. (Andy’s note: think “prison exercises”). (Karen’s response: speak for yourself! My workout app is remarkably fun!)
9. Very thankful for Amazon Kindle right now – more books than I will ever have time to finish! (Andy’s note: I have learned the Python programming language, which has been a fun challenge). And I (Karen) have broken out the art supplies. Haven’t actually used them yet – but I think that will happen soon.
10. People down here seem to be distancing, but they’re not really panicking. When we talk to people at home, we’ve learned that the mood there can be pretty grim. Maybe it’ll get that way out here, but it hasn’t yet.
OTOH, Why There’s No Place Like Home
1. We really miss being with our kids and extended families. If someone we love were to need us at home, it would take a lot of time, money, and patience for us to get to them. If that were even possible. We try not to fret too much about the what-ifs, but of course that is a daily battle.
2. Like the rest of the U.S., we are “grounded”. We had planned to be in Puerto Rico by now, but about the time we went to book a slip in a marina, we found out that PR had closed its ports, and no marinas were accepting new arrivals. And the islands we came from have shut down incoming boats, too. So we can sail short distances, to the various anchorages of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix… but we can’t currently get further than that without exiting the USA, which we do not want to do. This could pose a problem eventually, when hurricane season arrives in July. (Andy’s note: Ha! We could sail to Miami in eight or nine days, and that is an option I evaluate constantly. I have zero intentions of staying right here for three more months! I’m actually enjoying it here, but I don’t see us being here when July rolls around; particularly when you look at what Hurricane Irma did here in 2017).
3. No Netflix. No new-show-binging. No live coverage of presidents or governors or mayors. No video streaming or big downloads of any kind, because the WiFi solution we have aboard just can’t handle it. TV is just not an option for us right now – except for the ten or so movies we downloaded the last time we were home. Let’s just say we’ve overdosed on various Avenger installments. (Andy’s note: I have enough bandwidth to read the newspapers and check the stock market each day. That has not served to buoy my mood.)
4. No visitors! We’d been in conversations with several friends and family members to coordinate visits, but the crisis has put all such plans on hold.
5. This boat can, at times, start to feel pretty small. Especially when it rains. We rely on our outdoor spaces to get time alone (“sanity time!”), and it can be dicey between us when those spaces are rained out and we’re competing for dry real estate.
6. Our freezer, fridges, and pantry are not large enough for us to be proper “preppers.” It’s simply not possible to buy that much, because we wouldn’t have a place to put it. Don’t worry, we’re fine – it’s just the two of us, and we’ve got enough food and supplies on hand to comfortably last us at least a month – longer if we are careful. (Andy’s note: Hopefully much longer, if we started fishing for sustenance).
7. We feel pretty helpless to make a significant difference to other people right now. I see friends on FB making cards for the elderly, putting teddy bears in their street-facing windows, and sewing face masks for hospitals. So far the best we can do is try to radiate a positive attitude for our circle of influence – which is valuable, I think, but I wish we could do more. I’m not sure if I would be doing more, at home, but I think at least I’d have the option.
8. Most of our sailing friends are dispersed through other parts of the Caribbean right now. It’s easy to feel lonely. But we wouldn’t be having close contact with those folks, anyway. We have virtually no direct interaction with anyone else these days unless you count occasionally waving to our neighbors, anchored a few football fields away.
9. If you were to get sick and need healthcare, this might not be the part of the world you would choose for that. It’s good incentive to keep distant and stay healthy.
10. Since pictures are worth a thousand words….
So – now that you’ve gotten a little taste of our experience – how’s yours been?