How has the pandemic affected us as liveaboards traveling far from home?

All in all not too bad and we are very grateful for that. We did have to skip the Bahamas, one of the most anticipated stops of our trip. Does this mean we have to make plans to come back?!

We started taking precautions

when going ashore in the Dominican Republic since there was one reported case in the capital when we were there at the beginning of March. At the time this consisted of carrying hand sanitizer & wipes, washing our hands more frequently than normal, and avoiding touching our faces. Our plan was to visit Turks & Caicos on our way to the Bahamas, perhaps stay a few days depending on the weather. On Saturday we arrived after our overnight trip and headed in to find customs, which was surprisingly challenging. We were anchored in Sapodillo Bay and finally found the office by the industrial docks. The customs officer stamped our passports as he explained that beginning Monday nobody will be allowed to enter the country if arriving from the Dominican Republic.

Hearing this news we decided to fast track to the Bahamas but our weather window was short: the last day we could leave to have a comfortable sail was Monday. We then hurried on to Mayaguana, one of the easternmost islands in the Bahamas, where our cruising guides suggested we would be able to check in. Sadly that wasn’t up-to-date information as the customs office of the island had closed 3 months prior to our arrival. We had to wait out some weather here before we could move on. The Bahamas closed its borders a few days later as we were making our way to the closest port of entry, but unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time.

Our only option was to head back

to the US. We arrived at West Palm Beach, Florida in early April. At this point, we were out of fresh food aside from an onion and 2 sweet potatoes. (Our non-perishable food was well stocked since we purchased about two months’ worth of food in St. Martin in preparation for our time in the remote parts of the Bahamas.) Our water tanks were running extremely low as our watermaker retired just after we left the Dominican Republic. Thankfully Chris on Tala, the boat we’ve been traveling with since Virginia, has a great watermaker and was able to supply us with some potable water for our way home. When we finally pulled up to a dock in West Palm Beach to fill up our fuel and water tanks we felt renewed on Celtic Spirit. This was also the first time in several months we didn’t have to pay for water by the gallon, which was unusual by now – the good habit of not wasting water when filling up remains.

Going ashore for groceries was a whole new experience – when we last shopped in Providenciales a few weeks ago masks weren’t recommended for everyone just yet. We haven’t been on land for so long at this point that we really minimized our time there and wore all the accessories for shopping (masks, sunglasses, gloves).

Sadly the sightseeing has been taken out of our itinerary completely. Scheduled visits from friends and family in the Bahamas were canceled. We had plans for others to visit us along the east coast right about where we are now, coming close to Charleston, SC. We were looking forward to visiting these gorgeous southern cities very much, but instead, we will most likely pass by without going to town at all. Now our only goal is to stay fairly warm as we get closer to the northern latitudes (60F/15C feels very different after a winter spent in beach weather). We are taking our time waiting for good weather windows to make moves and exploring more of the ICW along the way. Rhode Island here we come!