Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada
We celebrated the 2020 New Year while anchored off Sandy Island (Blogpost Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada). The island and its surroundings are a treasure; rescued at one time from obliteration, it offers a quiet, protected and uncrowded anchorage, unspoiled beauty, a lovely beach with a back-drop of coconut palms, and a vibrant, shallow, reef to snorkel. The water is a deep turquoise that reflects onto the undersides of the beautiful white terns that fly above us. We knew we would visit again and again.
We arrived again on March 18th, under circumstances we could not have imagined. The first confirmed case of the coronavirus infection (Covid-9) in the Caribbean Islands was reported March 1st, and by March 16th 90 cases were confirmed (https://buzz-caribbean.com/article/coronavirus-update-in-the-caribbean).
In the interim 2 weeks a swift series of actions were taken. First, some islands turned away cruise ships with passengers who had recently been in countries reporting a high incidence of infection. There was an uproar and strikes in Martinique when St. Lucia turned a cruise ship away that was subsequently accepted in Martinique.
Within days an increasing number of islands had instituted bans for all cruise ships. By March 17th many islands had reduced the number of points of entry and instituted health checks and quarantines. St. Lucia, Martinique, and the Trinidad and Tobago went further, banning all foreign cruising vessels.
We recognized that if we stayed in St. Lucia any longer we could wind up there indefinitely. We had space reserved in Clarks Court Marina in Grenada for Ice Floe to be hauled for the summer months. In Grenada we would have options. We left St. Lucia mid-day on the 17th sailing through directly to Grenada, arriving March 18th late morning. We learned that at midnight a 14 day quarantine would go into effect in Grenada – we dodged that small bullet.
We are checked into Grenada. The process took several hours and before we were through the number of boats that had arrived to check in was over 50. A Grenadian pulled his T-shirt over his mouth and nose as he passed the line. We brought this here.
Everyone checking in had a story. Some were desperate to get home before flights in and out of the islands were cancelled. Families and friends who had chartered boats were being forced to cut their cruises short – a sad and costly end to a dream vacation. Cruisers on their own boats were struggling with the choice between getting home and staying for the perceived safety of isolating themselves here on their boats.
Our lives have been turned upside down – not just ours – the whole of humanity. By self-quarantining ourselves on our boat, we have chosen to relieve the islands and the United States of two “elderly” retirees who might otherwise add to the burden of dealing with the enormity of this tragedy. We have been granted the gift of options and of idle time. How often have I wished for more time with a smaller list of things to do. How difficult it is to conceive of how I might find enjoyment in this twisted granting of this wish.
No Covid-9 infections have been confirmed in Grenada as of this writing.