Covid Lockdown on a boat

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March 24, 2020 New Zealand prepares to go into a month long lockdown to reduce the spread of Covid-19

Alert Level 4:

  • People instructed to stay at home
  • Travel is severely limited
  • All gatherings cancelled and all public venues closed
  • Businesses closed except for essential services
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities possible
  • Reprioritisation of healthcare services

I dusted off my day planner and took notes on our daily progress as we prepared to hunker down on a 51ft / 15m boat. A small space to self-isolate with 2 people so I thought I would try to chronicle the time spent so we can share our bit of history.
Day 1: “In shock, trying to get my head around staying on board for 4 weeks as we are only allowed limited trips to the grocery store and walks…everything else is closed”
Living on a boat we always have a list of things to do so I got busy then soon found out that I really wasn’t that motivated to do much of anything so some days just got lost; reading or on social media. I immediately lowered my expectations of being super productive but, managed to try some new things too.

 Variety of ideas to kill time some more successful than others

Organized all the spices, experimented with jams and pickling. Apple pear jam (yes) Pickling in salt (no) 

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Made fruit Beer that fermented too long and turned into wine

Martin and I took long hikes daily and ended up logging 68.2 miles/ 109 kilometers

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I love yoga but since we have been on the dock just below a very popular café (always packed with people on the patio) I am too self conscious to practice on the deck.

During lock down I was able to get some sweet outdoor yoga in… much needed stretching and healthy breathing to reduce stress

Got crafty with this bowl I found in the marina’s treasure box; epoxied the rim with paua shell inlay

More crafting 🙂 decorated wineglass base and more unique jewlery creations

As I was making yet another piece of jewelry with nowhere to sell it; I decided to finally set-up an on-line store. Easier said than done. A tedious week creating the website only to struggle with how to take a professional photo of the products. A great learning experience. Still under construction but, making daily progress. Actually could have used another week of lockdown.

Martin spent hours sewing: a sail bag, winch covers and repaired the dingy cover

I spent a lot of time researching places we want to go when the islands open back up. I was able to create a document that shows details of hundreds of anchorages from Vanautu, Papa New Guinea and Indonesia. It was fun at first to research the exotic ports of call, but it became somewhat depressing as the realization sunk in that things weren’t going to be opening up for cruisers any time soon. I will be ready when they do.

Some other random things that I did that wouldn’t have happened otherwise:

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Blinkist: Get insights from top nonfiction in 15 minutes. I really like the idea of listening to a condensed audio on a complex subject. I can listen to crucial insights from leading thinkers from an app on my phone.
Meteorology: I have a keen interest in the weather and there were a lot of free meteorology classes being offered on-line so, I took advantage and enrolled in a few classes.
Boat Manual: I started to make a manual for all the important boat systems to include the engine, batteries, water maker etc. everything in one document and easy to follow.

From Alert Level 4 to Level 2 we ended up spending 50 days onboard Shenemere

I learned that self-isolation is kind of in a sailor’s DNA. We are probably more comfortable with long “passages” of time without interacting with people.
We are a social group within the sailing community so, even though there was not the regular Wed. and Fri. Happy Hours there was the virtual Zoom Happy Hour. We had our morning roll call on the Net that provided us daily updates and there was the highly active FB Group “Whangarei Lockdown Liveaboard”. We were able to visit our neighbors from the deck to dock chats, but it did not replace the cozy cockpit conversations we are used to.

I heard repeatedly from sailors in our community that we are Grateful to be riding out the pandemic in a progressive, safe, and politically sensible country. New Zealand was able to swiftly shut the country down and there are no new cases of Covid.
Meanwhile, in the South Pacific there are an estimated 500 boats that are in the Pacific with the intention to explore all the exotic destinations we were privileged to do last year and now they are in limbo and struggling with ever shifting immigration laws. Soon these boats will have to worry about what countries will give them refuge in the forthcoming cyclone season.
We are going along with our plans to haul the boat out and do the bottom, replace the windlass etc. just in case Fiji and the Marshall Islands open for us. However, we are getting our head around the fact that the Pacific islands will not be opening their borders to cruisers and we will be spending a Winter in New Zealand. We have a new heater and have started to put on layers of clothes. There are worse places to be and again we are extremely grateful to be here.

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The sun always shines after a storm

We celebrated our 2 year anniversary of cruising while in lockdown. This gave me time to review footage from the Drone, Go Pro and Nikon and put all the highlights together in a short clip…Enjoy!

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