Unless you have been asleep for a week or so you will have noticed things have changed in this world of ours.
A Pandemic is upon us .
A virus unlike anything we have seen for literally a 100 (one hundred!) years is now steadily making its way across countries . Countries have shut down their borders all around us , we have heard toilet paper is the new gold and people are being told (with very good reason !) to practice ‘social distancing’ to prevent rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus and the healthcare system from being overloaded with people requiring emergency healthcare .
Since we returned to Blue Pearl on March 8th we have been hit with a cold ourselves , first Robin , then Lauren , then Joline and finally myself. Each of us was really sick and running a fever for 2 or 3 days each . One after the other !! I kinda hoped it would pass myself as I hardly ever get really sick but on March 10th (with the Ladies on board feeling a little better already) the fever hit me and at some point I woke up with running a 40.2 C fever . Nothing a little paracetamol won’t fix and indeed it helped . So finally Thursday March 12th I feel good enough to get up out of bed and getting around slowly again. No shortage of breath , running nose , headache but up and about . Were we just hit with this Corona virus as well ? I guess we will never know but I sincerely doubt it as the symptoms we had do not align with the Corona virus symptoms . Still we’ve been practicing our ‘social distancing’ as much as we can and have not really interacted with many other people.
However Saturday and Sunday it became apparent that we really (REALLY!) needed to get food on board Blue Pearl so after discussing we decided that Monday would be the day . I felt that if we waited much longer there might not be much left as COVID-19 infections here in Panama have started to increase as well and there’s no way of knowing what kind of restrictions the local authorities would put into place for us , so we went provisioning in Sabanitas / Colon / Panama and every store we passed had lines of people outside waiting to be allowed inside , even the ATM’s (bank machines) has lines with people waiting to get some cash . We joined the crowd waiting to be admitted inside and when we finally made it to the entrance of the store we we’re told in no uncertain terms that kids were not allowed inside ! This is when Joline said ‘you go , I’ll stay outside with the kids’
Oh Man ! we needed so much ! We’re shopping to cross the Pacific , be at sea for 4-5 weeks and then still have enough food left for when we arrive . How am I going to do this ? , Well, apparently you start going around filling one cart at the time ! So here I went , grabbing 2 empty shopping cart trolleys and literally just filling them . Luckily our friendly local driver joined me , taking care of full shopping carts and supplying empty ones. After 2 hours I had my fill. Anything we still need now we’ll have to get another time because I am done and the Nissan Pathfinder is filled to the brim with groceries and now so is Blue Pearl. I think I can safely say we have enough various food to last us 5 or 6 months .
So how are we going to take it from here ? I think its safe to say that each and every plan we had made 3-4 weeks ago is now out the window . Crossing the Panama Canal ? not right now , and probably not this season, as countries on the other side have put in please strict quarantine and movement restrictions. Even when we arrive in the Marquesas people and boats are not allowed to move from one island to the next , potentially leaving us exposed when the new cyclone season starts. Every country around us has closed its borders , so back to the San Blas ? not right now as the Kuna Congresso and Panamanian authorities have closed down the San Blas .
What options do we have ? not very many right now , so we’re going to sit tight here in Linton bay Marina for at least a few more weeks until we get some clarity as to where we can go , hopefully back to the San Blas for the remainder of the season , maybe Bocas del Toro at the end of the dry season and making our way back into the east Carib later still ? , we just don’t know !
In the mean time our time will be filled with ‘social distancing’ , keeping busy with chores , boat work , getting used to the ‘New Normal’ and new plans.
so . Wakker in een vreemde wereld , wat gebeurt hier allemaal ?