Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Sat 21 Mar 2020 13:43
You could be forgiven for thinking that we are well away from it all, sitting happily on our boat in the Caribbean. Unfortunately it's not that simple, though probably less stressful here than what a lot of people are going through.
Last weekend we were still in Deshaies when we heard news of border closures in places where we had planned to visit, coupled with Foreign Office advice not to travel to the US, including territories such as Puerto Rico, and Guatamala - which has the unfortunate side effect of voiding our travel insurance. Their advice is to get back to the UK asap. This is not an option for cruising boat owners as we couldn't just abandon Mystic and Guadeloupe is not safe in the hurricane season.
We hastily made plans to sail south to Trinidad but on Monday we heard they had closed their borders. The only other option was Grenada, who had published a strategy that is friendly to foreign yachts, allowing them to enter and if coming from a high risk country to do quarantine.
On Tuesday we went ashore to get our outward clearance but it was impossible because the local office was closed - the police told us to go to a different check out office. We sailed south to The Saints - the most southerly place to check out of Guadaloupe - and found the office there shut up too. On Wednesday morning we continued south to Grenada as fast as we could, increasingly worried about what our reception would be. We arrived in Carriacou at 8pm on Thursday evening, too late to go ashore and check-in.
On Friday morning we went straight to the authorities at 8am. Initially all went well as we were given forms to fill in. Then they announced a new policy: anyone who had been in a French island during the last 14 days would be refused entry and no formal quarantine allowed. The officials were very apologetic, knowing that we had nowhere else to go, but rules are rules. They suggested we "go sailing" for 12 days and try again.
We are at a loss what to do other than wait and follow the 12 day instruction. As elsewhere, the situation is changing by the day. We cannot now sail to anywhere else in the expectation of being admitted. We can but hope at some stage Grenada, or preferably Trinidad, will take pity on us and let us in. We are not stocked for long periods, so eventually we may have to contemplate an SOS distress call. In the meantime we're in the same boat as everyone, having to cope with the uncertainty of the situation and the prospect of isolation for some time to come.
We have stayed within WiFi reach of shore so as to be in touch with the world. Today's rule by Grenada (Saturday) is not to set foot on shore - even for those who have already checked in.
Happy isolation to you all!