Foremost I do apologize for my last post, Island Cars, as it seems too off topic for some. But seriously, gimme a break. Do you really want to keep seeing more gratuitous selfies and sunsets from the same place? It’s tougher to write about new people, culture and places if we can’t get off the boat!
Nor was my intent of Island Cars to be politically charged – by any means! Please dear reader, a photograph of a car is to capture the nature of the islanders’ creed, condition and context, and not at all meant as an endorsement of its decor! Don’t shoot the messenger!
I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth, a nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.Bernard Moitessier
We’re thinking Bernard had a good point about the open ocean, where everyone is welcome. Regardless of political boundaries, we are appreciative guests here in Culebra. And while our common world crisis unfolds, we will attempt to avoid drawing any unwanted attention. We appreciate our ability to stay safely anchored outside of town, yet close-enough so that we can obtain supplies. Not all our cruising friends are lucky enough to say this. Almost daily we see new ships attempting to obtain refuge here, only to be “run out of town” by the local vigilante. While we think this action selfish, unjust and sad, for needy vessels to be turned away, we too are playing it safe for ourselves by not publicly expressing our disdain.
On the good side, we have heard the US Coast Guard providing truly needy vessels with assistance. We are being told by our US government that we are free to enter. But locals disagree.
Our friends have issued statements such as “You guys are the safest people we know!”, or “You should stay there; you’ll be safer”. Really? Well, that’s not how people here feel right now! We’re aliens, perceived as bringing pestilence, as though we’ve arrived in the 18th century intending to inoculate our bubonic plague into these innocent Friendly Islanders. Seriously!
Two hundred years ago fear of contagion was rational, when we didn’t know so much about disease, except it seemed to arrive by visiting vessels. Accordingly, a solid yellow “Q” flag was to warn of a new vessel being isolated until verified free of disease. And now we have flown this flag many times over the prior several months, upon arrival at each new foreign port. Ironically, it is (was) merely a formality. Will the Q-flag custom return to its origins? We think it’s too early to say now, but it wouldn’t surprise us.
What Will We Do Now?
So what’s in store for the future of worldwide cruisers in this replay of colonial disease fear mongers? Nobody can say. We (crew of Fayaway) are planning for the shorter term, and plotting our way back to familiar territory. We are joined in this quest by others sharing our plight. Today’s conversations with other boats revolve around the best course home. Best and home have different meanings, but we seem to be on the same page, or in the same proverbial boat. Here’s what we’re talking about…
Folks heading toward Florida, especially southern Florida, are poised for #1 (in BLUE). However, since I drew these lines, the Bahamas have imposed extremely strict rules against crossing their borders. “BORDERS ARE CLOSED TO FOREIGN VESSELS.” Furthermore, they’re asking cruisers currently anchored to leave as soon as possible. How’s that for a welcoming? Needless to explain further, choice #1 is out for Fayaway. Others are planning for departure later in a May, plotting for a direct course toward New England. (eg. #3 in RED above).
Fayaway is now considering additional factors, such as seasonal weather, and if arrival ports will be open. How long will they let us stay here? How much food to bring, since we may be quarantined for an additional two weeks upon arrival, even after being at sea for more than two weeks! We don’t even know if Newburyport will be open when we get there! Foremost, considering seasonal weather, we are planning to leave later in April. Not only should it be warmer up north, but wind becomes more steady, as frontal patterns emanating from the US coast diminish to some degree. Or at least in years past they have. But this too is less predictable with relatively recent global climate changes.
So back to the map… we’re probably going to sail relatively close to the eastern Bahamas (without entering their territory), for say the first 500 miles (roughly follows course #2 (YELLOW), and the modified passage map above.) Then we’ll likely sail a heading more northerly, for a waypoint offshore of the Chesapeake Bay, where we’ll cross the gulf stream, enter, anchor, rest, refuel, resupply, etc. it’s really too early to plan a course from this point… will we be allowed to enter? Don’t be so sure. We may end up going back out shortly thereafter, offshore again and make another passage straight for Cuttyhunk. And onward to Newburyport. And then what?
Stay tuned folks! Our adventure is far from over. And I mean this from a worldwide perspective. Please continue to help others in greater need. We’re all in this together.