Strange Times in a Wonderful Place

We have been in Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands for over a month now. It was not our plan to stay in a marina, and if we had been given a choice, we would not have. However, this turned out to be a good decision overall. The staff is wonderful, and the marina has everything.

It probably sounds great, having escaped the “Rona” by being on a remote island that has not at all been affected, and we feel lucky. During the self-quarantine, we have been getting tons of boat projects done, and read many books. The unfortunate truth is, we have been locked up more than we could have ever imagined, and our dream of cruising the Carribean has been stopped right here for now. The Bahamas did exactly what was needed at the right time, by not allowing inter-island travel when it all started. Yes, they have a few cases on the two main islands with the biggest populations, but the “family islands” aka out-islands (not New Providence / Nassau or Grand Bahama / Freeport) have been spared. The spread of Corona was hindered that way and so far has not reached the out-islands, sparing the locals as well as the cruisers here. The only (for us cruisers) unreasonable measure was the closing of all liquor stores, so no beer, wine or rum to be had…

We made wonderful new friends here, and have had good times with locals as well as other cruisers. Everybody sticks together and helps each other out, and somehow everybody always has mutual friends somewhere. We celebrated Rob’s 65th birthday here, and although we had run out of beer, some of the other cruisers emptied their fridges to make sure Rob had more than enough beer to celebrate! Anya baked the chocolate birthday cake in the instant pot (no propane refills for our stove here), and it turned out yummy! (Anya filled the cake with Nutella, which Rob hates, but he never noticed, and loved the cake.)

A birthday with chocolate cake and beer

Our other reality is sitting on the sailboat under lockdown with no opportunity to walk to the beach or move freely, with only occasional opportunities to take walks ot take the dinghy out on non-lockdown days. When we get the chance we escape on our dinghy to a remote beach, but this has only been possible 2x in the last few weeks, and it is really not allowed (all public beaches are closed, even if nobody lives anywhere near, and all Bahamian beaches are public). And we try to follow every rule to the “T”, being model guests in our refuge!

What a place to have a picnic!

It is stunningly beautiful here, the locals could not be more friendly and accommodating, and there is no shortage of food supplies, so we lack nothing other than freedom to enjoy our surroundings. If there was a chance this could get better soon, we would stick around forever, but given the uncertainty and the fact that we can’t make our sailing dreams come true this season, we have decided to head back home and devote our time to helping our best friends at Stream2Sea in their endeavor to make the world a better and safer place for humans as well as the oceans. So we will tackle the 3 to 4 day sail back west to the Keys next week and then head up to Wauchula in central Florida, where Stream2Sea is located.

There will be a few challenges on the way back, including weather and winds (we want to sail as much of the way as possible), the closure of the Keys (we can’t get back to our old dock as Port Largo Marina is closed), as well as the upcoming hurricane season (we really want Ronya to be in a safe place during that, she is our (only) home, so that needs to be figured out).

We’ll let you know how the sail goes. Stay safe and healthy!

Rob & Anya