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Refugees in Paradise

What the heck happened??? We leave the Galapagos and the world is just ticking along, three weeks of glorious sailing and then after 20 days a couple of bombshell e-mails arrive over the satellite link. Within two days we went from thinking everything was normal to wondering what on earth was happening-

  1. Divert to Tahiti (another 7 days sailing on top of the 22 we had done)

Then the day after…

  1. World ARC cancelled due to most destinations en-route now having closed to sailing yachts

The night we got the message the World ARC was now cancelled; I was woken by Lesley – “the shroud has gone”.(the wires that hold the mast up). Turns out the metal fixings from the wire to the bottle screw had snapped! Fortunately the winds were light and some thin dynema enabled us to put a temporary fix in place, but I didn’t fancy another 7 days at sea with the starboard side rig suffering.

Within 48 hours we altered course from going to Hiva Oa (our original planned first stop), to Tahiti then lastly to Nuka Hiva. As the hours progressed and e-mails came over the satellite system we got permission from the local JRCC (Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) to put into Nuka Hiva (Marquesas). We arrived on the 24th March and we are still here.

When we arrived, we had no internet and as information began to filter through from the other boats via the radio, we started to digest the enormity of what was happening globally. We were authorized to anchor but not allowed to check in to the Marquesas. All the yachts already anchored and the locals were in lock-down, no visiting other yachts,no swimming, no parties! We are allowed ashore once each week for essential supplies and, the good news - twice a week for French bread.

Lockdown in Nuka Hiva….

I feel a bit guilty describing our plight as so many folk globally are going through a torrid time and we feel so lucky. We are safely anchored in a beautiful bay, we wake up to blue skies, fabulous views and warm breezes.

We go to sleep under the stars, have access to fresh fruit and veg- and we can even buy loo roles!. Yes, its rolly some days, its frustrating not being able to dive into the sea , go for a walk or visit other boats but the locals are under the same restrictions and our days seem to fly by. We have ordered spare parts for our rig from Miami but they are not coming anytime soon - apparently stuck in New Zealand! - Because of our broken rig we get to stay here for a while, which is fine by us as there is nowhere else we would rather be during a lock-down and every other country en-route to NZ is closed to sailing vessels.

The boat fixing list – seems to grow. Mornings are for pottering about on deck fixing things, after lunch we take a break and are whizzing through the Game of Thrones with the air con on. There is plenty of good cooking, a lot of overdue sewing, we are trying to improve our French and guitar playing. The local VHF radio net is exhausting, with a morning wake up call, daily information catch up, local women's hour and our own paradise radio, with regular and guest sessions and chit chat providing a great community spirit in the anchorage. Of course there is grooming and a new treat, - The dinghy spa!.

The odd alfresco shower when we get a good down pour is the girls favorite water treat. We do try and keep fit and Lesley leads our yoga efforts but it is very hot and generally our sundowner hour arrives and all of sudden there are priorities in life afloat!. There is a local quiz between the boats every night which has us rolling around the cockpit with laughter and generally fuels the next days banter on the radio.

Our Easter treat was internet, and ice creams. They both arrived on the supply vessel from Tahiti. We now have 10G each to last a month and speaking to the family was a huge highlight for us all. Now we are connected to the world we have become even more grateful to be where we are.

Nuka Hiva in lock-down – didn’t see this one coming….

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