I took a lot of things for granted before we embarked on this adventure last July, before we bashed across oceans together, before we travelled to little known backwaters, before we went on total unapologetic lockdowns. Of all the things I didn’t realise I should be thankful for? Number 1, WATER. Yep, that good ‘ole, should just flow out of a tap, wash all you want, can be hot can be cold, drink it down, kinda water.
Having spent the best part of 5 weeks in a permanent ‘scared of our own shadow – don’t go out – definitely not to the empty beach’ state in the BVIs, we decided that we could take no more salt water rinses. The BVIs have been kind to us in many, many ways, but it’s hard to get things done when you are in total lockdown – we could not leave the boat for any reason other than a medical emergency! Food deliveries were troublesome, marinas, cooking gas and laundry outlets were shut and then there was that little problem of water.
Time to move… those 3 little words, once upon a time so easy to implement, now – not so much. We procrastinated about that decision for the best part of a week, finally we concluded that we were all out of alternatives. So, with a spring in his step, Ryan donned his best clean shorts, put wax in his hair for the first time in 6 weeks and drove the dinghy across to customs for a prearranged meeting to clear out of the territory, next port St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The excitement is building on the boat… I am running round like a mad woman stowing gear like we are about to embark on an ocean crossing, the kids are squealing with pent up anticipation/nerves/general madness. We wait, and wait, and wait, and wait some more. Finally Ryan comes back, joy! The customs official signed him out, very pleasantly, albeit 50 minutes late.
So… engines on, anchor up, tally ho, get the jib out old boy!! I feel like I’m an intrepid explorer, navigating the unforgiving high seas, through turmultuous Caribbean waters, foresail filled, rising on the ocean waves. We are moving!!! We are actually moving! It took all of 3 1/2 hours to sail the uneventful passage to St Thomas but it felt soooo good to be moving again after stagnating for 5 weeks!
Our arrival into the United States could not have been better. We followed protocol to the letter and were welcomed into the territory by three of the most polite and respectful border control officers I have ever met. We proceeded to a very welcoming OPEN marina and on arrival slumped down with a sigh of relief and a cold beer, oh and a take-out from the ‘partially open/socially distancing takeout only’ restaurant at the OPEN marina. Oh the joy.
Today we have:
1- Got off the boat. We have all, at one point or another, got off the boat. I’ve never seen Ryan so proactive, I think he may have been missing some ‘alone time’!
2 – Done all our stinky 6 week old laundry.
3 – Had our first ‘facility’ showers in 2 1/2 months.
4 – Gone to the supermarket for some supplies.
5 – Filled the boat with that all essential commodity – water.
6 – Got the aircon running.
In all the above we were very careful to keep our distance and sanitise. We are only going out for essential reasons, just to be clear!
So, kids are in bed, clean, fed, still slightly unhinged but now also very very cold (they have duvets and dressing gowns, we’re not completely heartlesss!). I love aircon.
It feels as though we’re in the land of the living again – the land of the free! We’ve got some time to focus on our next steps now… not sure what they’ll be but… we’ve got water!!!