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Rainbow on the Horizon Post COVID-19!

Bali catamaran rainbow

We hope that this finds you safe and healthy wherever you are! We want to give a shout-out to our boat owners, family and friends on the frontlines of this pandemic. The grocery store employees, the healthcare workers, the people who generally make the world go around for the rest of us at this time. We thank you and your precious families!

Finally, it seems like MAYBE our country has hit the top of the virus curve. If that's true, then perhaps we can come up for air and see when we can start socializing and sailing again! That rainbow in the picture behind Zuri 3 looks like a new beginning and we are ready to go get that pot of golden sailing adventures!

As many of you know, we sailed off to the Florida Keys when the COVID-19 issue became real about 30 days ago. We are back in our marina now and rearing to go! During this social distancing period we had planned to catch up on projects on our boat as well as in business. So, we decided to take advantage of this time to focus and do the things we have not been able to do while on the go. Mostly our daily life hasn’t changed that much, except that we are obligated to be in one place for a lot longer than we usually choose to be.

Covid 19 masks

After all, as live-aboard sailors and boat brokers, we are always travelling somewhere - either sailing to a new port or flying to a boat show or visiting boats for sale. Other than not travelling, life hasn't changed that much for us. We already work online and we are used to some uncertainty ( i.e. we enter into foreign ports all the time) and a degree of discomfort at times ( i.e. unstable weather at sea and crappy anchorages). Of course, we are looking forward to the time when we can travel again, but until then we are just trying to make the most of this 'opportunity'. 

During our 30-day "quarantine" period we had been on land only once for about 30 minutes. We knew that we were the outsiders and not welcome in this closed community on Key Largo, but it was the only place we could go on land within a 10-mile range. We had plenty of provisions (boy, that big refrigerator on the Bali is awesome!!) but we needed to get some dinghy fuel. While it is understandable from the locals' point of view not to want outsiders on the island, we were very careful and adhered to all the rules, so it certainly did not make it any more fun for us to be looked at as some pariah! It sure was an eye opener for us as sailors and travelers. We are usually welcomed everywhere but in these strange times the landscape has changed, and we realized that life as we know it has forever changed.

But we are not complaining. We know that we are the lucky ones. We were quarantined on our boats and while we were not allowed on land, we at least had the ability to go for a swim or go fishing, a much-needed distraction. We got to hang out with our "social pod". These were the other couples on the catamarans that joined us in the Florida Keys. Since we were all quarantined together for so long with no symptoms for any of us, we figured that we were okay to hang out from time to time. Here's a snippet of what we got up to during those thirty days! 

Fishing in the Mangroves

As soon as we anchored off Key Largo, we quickly got busy exploring the area, particularly the dense mangrove channels that navigates out to the Atlantic Ocean. Not only was it teeming with sea life in the mangrove channels like dolphins, turtles, manatees and rays, there was plenty of Mangrove Snapper to catch! We don't usually do this type of fishing. We usually just throw out a handline rigged with a giant hook from the big boat and catch big Mahe or Wahoo. So, this type of fishing definitely was a learning curve! 

But we are enthusiastic anglers and happy to learn. We got our light fishing gear out, baited it and set off trawling in our dinghies in the mangroves. We were not always successful. We saw the fish swimming around our dinghy and they sure enjoyed our bait on the hook, but we didnt always catch the little buggers. But when we did, man they were GOOD eating! There is nothing better than a fresh fish on the BBQ...and it gave the guys a reason to celebrate their fishing prowess with a few beers and much bantering – and that was probably their biggest motivator to get the lines in the water. LOL

     dolphins key largo 1   

Stephen fishing     Fish BBQ

     

Fish key largo     Mangroves

Fixing Boats In Quarantine

We all found ourselves doing plenty of chores onboard including some big repairs on some of the boats like watermaker, fridge and engine issues. It took some ingenuity, a bit of “MacGyver-ing” and a lot of sweat but between the seven boats, we managed to get all the issues sorted out, which allowed us to stay out on anchor longer. Let it never be said that sailors are not self-sufficient and creative!

We managed to get the the pump-out boat to service us out at anchor, which was a huge relief since we didn’t have to leave and go offshore three miles to dump. It made life a lot easier for all of us and our footprint became even smaller! We didn’t have much garbage since we tried to be super careful and cleaned and compacted everything.
The Zuri “mothership” helped out with doing some laundry for the boats without washers and filled up the water jerry cans for one of the boats while the watermaker was being fixed. Mothership also had to supply ice once or twice for the thirsty crew on “Crazy Knot Nuts”. LOL

boat projects stephen     boat projects Tom

Sunsets and Dinghy Parties

While it is certainly not the way we behave under normal circumstances, we increasingly found ourselves saying: "Is it 5 o’clock yet?". This quarantine thing can be tough on any normal human! Anyway, the sunsets at this anchorage were some of the most stunning scenes we have encountered for a while. It is something one needs to share and while some of us were live-streaming on Facebook for family and friends, it is not the same as being there in person.

We were all craving the company of our friends. So, we decided to hang out, each on our own dinghies while enjoying an adult beverage or more. We figured that we were far enough away from each other that way to not infect each other (if God forbid one of us had the virus) and not to create an “incident” with local authorities. These dinghy parties were our saving grace!

Stephen Fishing Key Largo     Dinghy party

Dinghy party 2     Dinghy party 01

Key Largo sunset     Sunset key largo 2

Sunset key largo 1     Sunset key largo

Learning the BIG Sails

We went out sailing a few times to play with our spinnakers, parasailers and Code Zero’s. We had just had our spinnaker repaired from when we blew it out on the Atlantic crossing in December and wanted to make sure it is in good shape. As the picture shows, one cannot even see the repair, thanks to our friend Bob Meagher from North Sails in Fort Lauderdale!

The owners of Tangled Sheets, a Lagoon 42, wanted to try their big Code Zero and Crazy Knot Nuts just fitted their new black Code Zero on their Lagoon 50, so these calm conditions were the perfect opportunity for some sailing lessons. The light breezes and flat calm bay were the perfect conditions to deploy these big sails. Most of our group are still learning and so we set off sailing to teach them how to easily and safely use their big sails. What a thrill this was for all of us!

Bali 54     CKN Lagoon 50

A Girly Spa Day

After several weeks of being quarantined together but separately, the girls felt a little deprived of not only some beauty treatments but also some “girl time”. So in order to save us from ourselves, I promptly set up a “spa” on Zuri, complete with spa music, orchids, lotions and potions and of course Champagne. I invited the girls over to languish in this little oasis for the afternoon (we figured that we were all clear of the virus by then)! While donning face masks, foot and hand masks and sipping champagne, the girls had a blast giggling and chattering the afternoon away. We all had a lot to say after being cooped up for so long and we left all feeling refreshed.

I got so frustrated with my unruly locks that I started hacking at my own hair. In stepped legendary hairdresser “Andre” (aka Stephen). He took over in time to prevent me from looking like a mouse chewed at my hair. "Andre" did a fair job on my hair, although it ended up a lot shorter than I had anticipated. But Stacy took to her hair with kitchen shears and the results were...well, let's just say “less than perfect”.

 Catamaran spa    Catamaran spa girls

Catamaran spa feet    Catamaran Spa Dena

    Catamaran spa estelle kat    Catamaran spa facial

Catamaran spa hair cut     Catamaran spa Jimkat

Back to Work & Sailing!

But we have not only been idly languishing on our boat. We are surprisingly still selling boats! We have picked up a few good buys for our clients lately and we believe there will be more to come. We are back in our office and ready to help potential buyers! We wrote an overview of what we expect the boat and charter industry will be like after the lock-down is over. It might be insightful for some boat owners and poetential buyers. In the meantime, we keep our eyes on the news and talk with our peers, looking for clues for when we might be able to start sailing again!

We realize that life is not so good for a good many people cooped up in their apartments and we have great compassion for everyone caught up in these crazy circumstances. This is a special time...few of us will come out a winner in this. But we will survive, and we will hopefully have learned a lot and we will move forward.

If there is one piece of advice we could give, it is...limit the amount of news and social media you consume. The constant and relentless bombardment from the media can be disconcerting which makes things even more stressful than it has be.

Well wishes to everyone who has been directly affected by this virus. Thank you to those on the front lines dealing with COVID-19!

 

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