Corona Virus. Covid-19. Social distancing. Quarantine. 24-7 lockdown. Essential workers. These are the terms most heard today. No matter where you are, you are dealing with it in some way.
Generation Xers, like me have been in training for this our whole lives! Mike who loves to have “spare” everything is in his element!
We are currently in Thompson Bay, Long Island, Bahamas. The weather is lovely; high 70’s low 80’s for the day time temps and the nights cool to the low 70’s. The wind has been blowing like crazy, but we aren’t in a hurry to go anywhere, for now. Too bad Mike did not have time to install a wind generator on the boat.
The current order from the Prime Minister says we will remain on our boats (or homes), only going to shore for groceries, the clinic, bank or drug store, fuel or for no more than 90 minutes of outdoor exercise. Because the local enforcers have the power to interpret the order as they deem necessary, we plan to stay put for awhile. Many would argue we can sail between islands or at least to different parts of the current Island. Several have headed home, wherever that may be.
Being on a sailboat is the ideal situation for this circumstance. Most sailors will have provisioned for weeks, if not months off the grid. We still have supplies from our last cruising season, ie: toilet paper. Mike is an uber provisioner (he prefers prepper) and right now, I’m grateful for that. Our current food supplies would most likely last more than 6 months without rationing. We have been shopping for fresh produce (and junk food) weekly, but are very well supplied with canned and dry goods. Mike began making yogurt and bakes our bread. We started out with 300 lbs of dog food, which would hopefully last until June. We make our own water. The sun supplies most of our electricity needs. We have learned to be very conservative when it comes to water and electricity usage, but that is just typical liveaboard behavior.
You may remember a few weeks ago, our big diesel Onan generator began making lower then the required Voltage. Friends on Sea Paws loaned us a portable generator until we got to Georgetown. There, with no easy solution for the Onan in sight, we bought a small gas generator. This was an unforeseen expense, but with our huge fridge/ freezer full of frozen meat, cheese, milk, etc it had to be done. The generator is necessary for the refrigerator, but also the water maker. Matthew would argue the most important electricity need is for his PS4.
Right- our time on shore has been drastically reduced at least until the 31st. That’s the current order as of last night. So, just what are we doing? We will still take dogs to shore, but maybe for shorter periods of times and we will be extra careful to isolate. Matthew is pounding through his school work and we are taking extra time for projects in science and English writing assignments. I try to take laundry to shore, when facilities are available. I don’t mind paying to have it done when that service is available, usually a local woman at the laundry. However, I’m doing bucket laundry presently. It works, but that’s all I’m going to say. We are reading together as a family, swimming off the boat and of course, boat projects. Never ending boat projects. Mike has shared movies with others in the anchorage and saved a few people clinic visits. Last night we rafted up with another dinghy for a few minutes to share the latest news. Two other men offered to help Mike trouble shoot the Onan. We stay in touch within the anchorage with the VHF radio and texting as well as Facebook. Ventolines is nearby and because we have been with them for over a month now and our numbers are less than 10, we continue to get together with them, sharing meals and letting the boys play.
The Bahamian people that we have encountered have all been kind, calm and appearing to take this in stride. When one considers that the country, as a whole, is very poor, it seems like being told to close their businesses would create havoc. These are sturdy people. The businesses are small, family owned, not franchised (except in Nassau and maybe Freeport). Bahamians are used to getting by with little. Every year they take the chance that a hurricane will destroy the little they do have. They will tell you the government is corrupt. For example the 12% Vat isn’t building new schools or paying teachers or building roads. They rely on international tourists to provide their income. They sell their goods or services. Artisans sit on their porches weaving baskets or carving wood to sell, baking bread, making conch salad or frozen drinks. These are the things we observe and learn from each island visit. The stores are well stocked. The liquor stores, bars and restaurants were the first to close- take out only from the restaurants. And you know what we haven’t seen? Panic buying, hostility, defiance of the PM’s order to stay home, defiance of being ordered to close up their shops and anger towards the tourists who will eventually bring the virus in.
These are strange and uncertain times and we are all trying to do our part to keep each other and ourselves safe. We worry about our families at home and if they will be able to remain healthy. The big kids are all still going to work. My parents, although mostly at home, still need to get groceries. Rather than being fearful, we are relying on our faith to keep us levelheaded. Here are a couple verses from today’s devotions:
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. 8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.