Reflections from Roatan

April 2020 Roatan
by Amy

I’m finding it difficult to push myself through multiple layers of pandemic inertia and heat-induced lassitude to accomplish anything. Every day I vow to write more, play more music, and finish up some video editing projects. I could have completed my sailing memoir by now! The restrictions resulting from the pandemic create great swaths of time for creative projects and yet I find the days disappearing like a mirage. Before I know it, another day has gone by and I ask myself, “what have I done?” Let’s see… today I did laundry, looked at Facebook, made meals, snorkeled, walked up and down the stairs outside the marina in what Kenny calls our Escher-like exercise, and talked to people on the phone. Then suddenly it was cocktail hour! Time to whip up some gin and tonics. I think I’ll write a song on the uke called, “How I Wasted a Perfectly Good Pandemic.”

Of course, I’m anxious for it to end, and I feel so badly for all the people suffering with the virus and those close to them and the people working on the front lines. But it is also a golden opportunity for spiritual and creative growth; a chance to slow down and take stock of ourselves, our world and our relationship to it. So what am I doing? Having video chats or messaging with friends and watching Tiger King on Netflix. Thank God there were only seven episodes or I’d have wasted even more time! OK, enough self-flagellation for today.

Sometimes we think about sailing away from Roatan, but right now our only options are Mexico and the USA. Guatemala and Belize have closed their borders. But restrictions on movement are worse in Mexico than here in Roatan and the USA sounds like a nightmare. Just having to be that much closer to Trump gives us the heebie jeebies. So here we sit, in a fairly comfortable marina with 0 confirmed cases of coronavirus and oodles of time stretching out in front of us. We couldn’t be more fortunate. I must seize every moment.

The Bay Islands have been closed to all outside traffic for weeks. Only ships bringing essential supplies such as food are permitted in, and the crews are not allowed ashore. There was recently a case of 15 policeman sneaking in from mainland Honduras on a military transport ship! Word spread immediately and the people started protesting. The policemen were rounded up, and shipped back to the mainland where they were tested for the virus. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the test results. Another unauthorized individual from a cargo ship has been apprehended on the island. Yesterday, three cargo companies were banned from doing business in Roatan, because of infractions. They are determined to keep the number of COVID-19 cases to zero.

I keep fantasizing about hosting a Gilligan’s Island party at the Brooksy Point Yacht Club. All the French Harbor cruising community would be invited to come as any character from the legendary TV show. I, as Gilligan, would host a talent show, in which everyone would have to perform an act in character. I can see exactly which character everyone could play. Whether or not they would choose those roles for themselves, I have no idea. I would probably have to go as Mary Ann rather than Gilligan, because hers is the only costume I could come close to duplicating: jeans or jean shorts with a shirt tied at the waste to show off my slim midriff and braided hair. The only thing I can’t duplicate is the tiny waist. I suppose I could fast for a week leading up to the event. But alas, the virus prevents me from initiating in such an event. Although no one else here seems to give a rats ass about social distancing, it is still the M.O. aboard the good ship Mary T.

May 12, 2020, Roatan
by Amy

I knew the time would pass too quickly. Our COVID time on Roatan is coming to an end, and I’ve barely made a dent in the sailing memoirs or my next stand up act. What the hell have I been doing? The day after tomorrow (Thursday May 14), we sail for Florida, hopefully making landfall in five days in either Key West, Fort Meyers or Bradenton, depending on the weather and our level of fatigue and fuel. It looks like an ideal weather window, so many boats are departing from here, Belize and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We won’t be alone on the water.

The decision to depart was not an easy one. After all, we are currently in place where the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is zero and the snorkeling is world renowned. We are heading toward a country with over a million cases and the numbers are rising by the day and no coherent national policy. The virus will seriously dampen the usual thrill of making landfall after a passage. How can we look forward to arrival knowing it will be impossible to enjoy all the familiar places in the usual way. On the other hand, hurricane season is approaching here, the temperatures are rising, the no see-ums potentially carrying you-don’t-what diseases are multiplying, the health care infrastructure is lacking, and social unrest is on the rise.

On top of it all, Kenny is is tired living aboard and repairing Mary T. At night he sleeps on the settee midships because he finds it trying to climb in and out of the v-berth repeatedly in the night to use the toilet. He has fixed the toilet twice, replaced the bathroom faucet twice in addition to other small repairs. The oven, which we thought we’d fixed in Rio Dulce, is still problematic and our top-loading fridge is a continual source of annoyance as the desired item one needs is usually under a pile of other stuff, so we are constantly having to pull out half the contents to get to what we need. The oppressive heat and lack of air-conditioning means we sweat all the time. In other words, we ain’t exactly living in the lap of luxury. We miss our families, and Kenny wants the comforts of home. So home we shall go.

Of course, after getting out of here and enjoying the freedom of being at sea, we might feel differently, but our current thought is to put the old girl up for sale when we get back to Florida. Time will tell. There will probably be another boat in our future, but whether to go bigger or smaller is the question. We enjoyed many great years aboard Mary T, and are excited to try new things. We’re thinking of taking up sky diving and kite boarding. It is easier to embrace change than fight it. And we have it, oh so good.

We look forward to social distancing with all of you and eventually giving you all big hugs. Love.

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