As previously reported, on the 17th March 2020, the island of Martinique in the Caribbean, introduced a compulsory quarantine for all persons on land and at anchor, to contain the Covid-19 virus. Not much news is available for our blog, so bear with us as we cobble together some photos of the lovely village of Sainte Anne, it’s surrounds and it’s anchorage, to keep you informed about our quiet existence.
On April 6th 2020, at the end of our week 3 in quarantine, Juliette and Guerric, while delivering our baguettes, eggs and croissants, informs us that the Prefect of Martinique is thinking of extending the quarantine to the end of April – we will know during the next week.
I received the email meme below, from a South African friend: It was also Founders Day in SA, as Jan van Riebeeck landed in Table Bay on the 6th April 1652, to establish a re-victualling station for the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope. I was born 295 years later at the foot of Devil’s Peak, behind JvR, in the painting.
On Esprit, life carried on, albeit slowly and a bit boring, with mostly reading and swimming around the boat to keep us occupied – all the boat maintenance items were up to date. Three days earlier, Annie was politely asked by the Maritime Police not to paddle board amongst the boats in the anchorage.
We celebrated our wedding anniversary on the 10th April – quietly. With our girls’ emails of good wishes, came the news that Michelle was now working for the UN Women remotely online, doing policy writing and advocacy on Gender Based Violence and Covid-19, while waiting for her deployment to PNG, whenever the Covid-19 pandemic will allow this. Karen was still working her butt off in orthopaedic surgery at the John Hunter hospital.
On Monday the 13th April, Emmanuel Macron the president of France announced that the lockdown in France and its territories has been extended to the 11th May 2020. This includes Martinique, but the date may be reviewed during, or at the end of this period. Bonjour St Anne – once again! Tuesday the 14th marks one month in quarantine for us, with another month to go.
We are getting concerned with the time left to us, to get out of the Caribbean hurricane zone, by the beginning of June. We were planning to reach Trinidad, which is outside the hurricane zone, by the 1st June and we have a booking at Peakes Boatyard in Trinidad to have Esprit hauled out on the 15th June, for 3 months. With most of the windward islands to the south of us still in lockdown, it may be quite a rush to get there in time.
We had completed our travel plans on land for the 3 months, to visit Cuba for a week. Then a road trip from Florida to North Carolina to visit friends, before travelling to New Orleans and then on to Guatemala and southern Mexico to visit the ancient Aztec sites. Fortunately, we haven’t booked airline tickets yet and will have to see what the Covid-19 situation allows us in terms of travel.
On the 16th April we got French attestation documents, allowing us to go for one hour walks in St Anne. We used the first opportunity to walk 4.5km to a fruit and veg stall to buy fresh stuff and on the way back stop at a small shop to get wine, beer and groceries.
With this new document, we wanted to make the most of it, without putting anyone at risk with Covid-19. We ventured forth again the next day doing another 5km walk in solitude, enjoying the lovely scenery, before going back to the boat. We were knackered after a month of inactivity, so we hit the water to cool down and then relax for the rest of the afternoon.
Matt, our Aussie neighbour on “Yotty”, is a keen diver and from time to time brings us some crayfish from his catch. He also helped me strip the lower leg gearbox of our outboard, to try figure out why the engine revs go up, but the prop revs stay the same. We can’t work this out, but the owners manual mentions the “over-revolution limiting system” which must be checked by a Suzuki dealer. That will be done in Trinidad when we get there.
The next milestone was my 73 birthday on the 28th April. Our neighbours on both sides, Kristina, Matt, Kasia and Martin join us on Esprit to quietly celebrate with drinks (A hurricane action plan meeting, if the cops turn up). A news item around this time, quoted Brian May, astrophysicist and lead guitarist of Queen, saying that us baby boomers are now old and vulnerable. I do a Google search for old age homes in Sydney.
To quote my friend Trena: “When this is over…what meeting do I attend first…Weight Watchers or AA?”
News on the Martinique cruisers net, on the same date, is that the quarantine period here and in Trinidad has been extended to the middle of May. So, we bid you adios – we will do an update in a fortnight.