As you may have heard, there is a deadly disease going around the world called COVID-19, caused by a new Coronavirus. It would appear that most sensible people are self isolating to try and reduce the number of deaths, which is a good thing. My family and I, on the other hand, are already pretty well isolated as we live on a boat. If you don’t already know why we live on a boat, here’s the short version. A few years ago we finished our year backpacking trip around Asia and started looking for our next adventure. The best answer we found was a boat. So here we are.
We are currently in Panama in Central America (Shelter Bay Marina to be exact). We were planning to go through the Panama Canal about now and sail across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand but this global pandemic stopped our plans. For the month of February, we were sailing around the beautiful San Blas islands. It was amazing but eventually we moved on to get to the Panama Canal. After a long and swelly passage, we arrived in Shelter Bay at the mouth of the Panama Canal. And promptly got stuck. Thanks to some guy in China eating a bat we, along with 50 or so other boats, are stuck here in Panama.
The world first realised the problem when China shut it’s borders and it all went down hill from there. China was the first country infected with this coronavirus but after that things really started to happen. The virus spread across the world. One of the biggest problems was a toilet paper crisis in America and the UK. And now all non-essential personnel have been self isolating. That means that shops and businesses have shut down. Schools have closed and Amazon have stopped delivering. The world’s governments have done everything to protect their people and economies. So basically, as of a couple of weeks ago, the world has entered into a global crisis.
But not everything is bad. The world is healthier than it was. Wild animals are returning to places they haven’t been seen in of years, waterways are now clearer and everyone in St Mark’s Square in Venice has been turned into pigeons. Overall the Coronavirus is good for everything not man made.
It has been two weeks since we arrived in Shelter Bay Marina and the worldwide situation has worsened. Adults all over the country are unable to leave their beds. Although this may be due to extensive exposure to Joe Wicks daily morning fitness video. The first batch of school work has been sent to British children. This has however resulted in the malfunction of a valuable resource, the Mathswatch servers. It is a terrible blow to teachers all over the country, as they may need to be slightly more active in their students’ homeschool. Another crushing blow has struck the world class athletes. The Tokyo Olympic Games have been pushed back to 2021. Wimbledon is cancelled. Football has stopped (it’s not all bad). All over the world the old and decrepit are perishing faster than they used to. This has struck Italy especially badly because a large chunk of their population are the prime targets for the disease. On another note, the stupidity of people has risen. The stockpiling of food and toilet paper has increased. And most food shelves are empty. So far the world is falling into a self dug hole and as one person said “There wasn’t this much panic at the start of world war two.”
Another day in quarantine and I don’t really feel like the coronavirus is affecting me as much as the media said it should be. The only things I’ve been told to do is to stay away from the elderly and avoid contact with strangers, which I already did anyway. On the upside, we are not in a city and therefore don’t have a set curfew. If we were in Panama City we would only be allowed out for one hour a day and be confined to the boat for the rest. So honestly not much has changed around here for me and we are preparing for a long stay in the marina. Today we gained Heath Robinson, our new AC unit, as it gets really hot, sticky and insect-infested in the wet season.
Today the Bozza (sometimes known as Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister) has fallen ill with a ‘mild’ case of Covid-19 but he will not retire from his duties. The Prince of Wales has taken refuge in the big pink castle in Balamory and even though the Government has clearly stated that they will pay most of the wages of the employees, people are still losing their jobs.
Here in Panama, the people who run the laundry, the shop, the chandlery and the sail loft have gone into isolation. Lots of the people here on boats are helping out in the shop, cleaning the toilets and generally helping out. My mum and dad have been helping in the shop.
Heath, the AC unit, has been rigged properly now. We’ve taken out a window on Fat Susan so all the hot air can be vented out and also a bit of pipe for the water outflow that leads into the bilges where the automatic pump will get rid of it (or not, depends on how its felling). Today we are going to rig up some tarpaulins to cover the windows so Heath can actually cool down the entire room.
I forgot to mention the other day that me, Sam, our friend Tyler, Tyler’s dad, Susie from SV Stargazer and Susie’s dogs (Tashy and Jester) went “trailblazing”. We spent an hour hacking our way through the Panamanian rain forest with our machetes to reach Fort Stanley. During the time when the Americans had control of the Panama canal they constructed four forts to keep out unfriendlies. We have visited three so far because only one was inaccessible when we arrived. Tyler, his dad and I each had machetes to hack through the undergrowth getting incredibly sweaty and grubby. The fort itself is undoubtedly the best out of the three forts we have seen so far. It consists of three storeys of 106 year old concrete and come to think of it, it probably wasn’t the best idea to walk around in a crumbling building. Anyway, it was really interesting to go and see a 19th century fort.
Last night Susie from SV Stargazer organised a fancy dress competition for all the cruisers. We would all share dinner together (by ourselves on our own boats of course). You then take a photo of all of you. There were some good costumes. Sam went as a knockoff lone ranger, which was just a white Panama hat (made in Ecuador) and some swimming goggles. Dad went as a pirate. He had a ‘stache and an eyepatch which I made. Mum went as a chef. She had a rolling pin, whisk, hat and apron. I, being me, went as Satan. I had two lighters and a A4 sheet of paper coloured red with an evil face on it. Susie and her new Australian friends from SV Calicoba went dressed as some oddities. They all had grass skirts and palm leaves on and went on a grand marina tour assaulting all the other inmates with their voices.
Last night we ate dinner early so we could set up the projector in the saloon and watch The Stranger series which we had downloaded from Netflix and go to bed at a reasonable time. Susie, on the other hand, had other plans. Just as we were about to start watching, Susie knocked on the door and hijacked me and Sam for some evening dog walking. We ended up walking the dogs down along side the secure storage area. This led us on to a path which led us to the sea. It was the first time I had really seen the sea since we arrived a while ago. We followed the dogs and the coast around and we eventually arrived at an area we couldn’t wade across. Sam had the idea that if we brought a paddle board with us we could get to the hidden 1914 forts. Eventually we got back to Fat Susan and stayed up until midnight binge-watching ‘The Stranger’.
Today another development has occurred in Panama. The Panamanian government has decided that on certain days men are allowed to leave their homes for one hour a day and on others women are. All the quarantine regulations have caused a slight bit of looting, pillaging and riots. As of now 420 people have been arrested for overpowering the police and breaking into shops. The Marina has also implemented this but there has only been slight arguments over food, and no riots. Yet. We are still allowed to move around the marina as long as we stay 2 metres apart and wash our hands regularly. We have a hand washing station next to our boat.
Sad news. We have now officially been put on full lockdown here in the marina, like the rest of Panama. We are only allowed out of our boats for one hour a day every day. The Panamanian government have restricted us further still. You don’t get to decide when that hour is. Your passport decides when you are allowed off your boat. It depends on the last digit of your passport number.
We had some unusual weather this morning. For the first time in a few weeks, it rained. Normally this wouldn’t be a worry but apparently it summons swarms of mozzies and other biting insects to eat us alive. Last night Susie came round. I know, scary. We all ate food together which wasn’t the best because there wasn’t enough food as it was. She then proceeded to drink two bottles of wine. That was most of our wine. Gone. She didn’t actually drink two bottles of wine. She drank one and a half cartons which still equals two bottles. I didn’t really mind though because I don’t drink the wine. Also, her friends from SV Tryst had left that day and she needed cheering up.
I have just heard that a little red boat just arrived in the anchorage from Africa. They’ve been at sea for ten weeks but still have to quarantine for another two weeks. Big oof. They didn’t even know about the C-virus.
The security measures in the marina have been partially lifted as of now. We still have to stay six feet away from everyone at all time and still no groups of more than three. On the upside, we are allowed to go for walks around the one mile long loop of road in the jungle by the marina. I can now walk to the loos without worrying about the Aeronaval Police shooting me. We can’t leave the marina as the rules have not changed in Panama.
Today, we are going to decorate our boats with bunting and lights. This is a Susie organised exploit. We are also going to sing at the front of our boats to thank the staff here at the marina for helping us all. Hopefully I am going all the way to the tippity-top of the mast to string up our Christmas lights. Susie has popped round today to ask us if we could fix her boat Christmas lights that she can’t get to work.
SV Litha were stopped in the middle of the night by the Colombian navy yesterday. We don’t really know why but at least they got a selfie with the Navy guys. They left a couple of days prior to this incident. That was sad because we had made friends with Tyler about a week or so before hand. They left to sail up the coast of the US to ‘Massive-two-shits’ where they had a mooring ball booked. (Evan! It’s called Massachusetts! – mum). You can follow their adventure at Lifeoffthedeepend.com and on FB and Instagram.
Another interesting story – somewhere near Venezuela a patrol boat has sunk (through only fault of its own). Apparently, the patrol boat in question was attempting to push the bow of a small cruise ship around. They had no right to do this because the ship was in international waters not Venezuelan waters. You might be thinking, “Why did the patrol boat sink if it was only trying to push the bow around?”. Well, this particular cruise ship has a special hull that was designed for the arctic weather and ice breaking. Instead of pushing the bow of the cruise ship around which was the desired result, the patrol boat only chipped the cruise ship’s paint and put a massive hole in their patrol boat.
It has been released that Bozza is in intensive care with COVID-19. He isn’t on a ventilator but people don’t think he should still be running the country. Looting and pillaging has not stopped in Panama City but no-one has tried to rob the marina shop yet. It would appear that all the Americans who were on boats here in the marina have either sailed or flown back home. On the other hand most of the Europeans have stayed. This means that I notice that everyone is British, French or German. I can’t really talk to the French or German people so the marina feels like it is full of people with British accents. It is weird because for the past year I have only heard a few people with British accents and all of a sudden there are loads of them.
Yesterday was baking day on the boat. I made cookies. Sam helped a tiny bit but he still ate loads of them. I don’t know what I’m gonna bake today but it will probably be tasty. You can see my baking on Instagram @evanhostad.
All around the world animals are “returning”. In Wales, the town of Llandudno has been overrun by mountain goats. They have been eating everything and anything they can. This isn’t the worst though. In Chile, three cougars have been caught and relocated outside of Santiago. They sensed the increased quiet in the city and wanted to find food so the ventured into Santiago. All three cougars were sent to a zoo for a medical checkup before being released back into the wild.
In North America, millions of people have been panic buying guns. There are two reasons for doing this. One is to protect the food they have stockpiled from possible threats (other Americans), the other is that some people think that after the current pandemic the police and army will be significantly eroded. This might then lead to the need to protect themselves from people with guns. So now everyone has a gun. Illinois had the biggest sales with half a million, followed by Texas.
The mini market here will now be closed on the weekends. The only challenge this poses is having to stock up on three days worth of cookies. The God group has been meeting regularly recently to discuss Jesus’s life (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for him this weekend). They have been sitting up at the Palapa (outdoor meeting area), reading the bible and saying prayers. On the jungle loop, there have been extraordinary numbers of runners over there running (well, probably about five). Before this quarantine thing started hardly anyone was over there at any time of the day. But now whenever I go for a walk, there are always loads of people either running or walking.
Yesterday when we went to walk the dogs, Sam and Susie and I went and explored the abandoned military barracks. It is basically a bunch of white two-story concrete buildings spread out around five acres. Most of the palm trees around there are chock full of Oropendular nests (noisy, black and yellow birds). They are effectively small woven baskets hanging from the palm trees.
The thing that annoys me most is that the swimming pool is still closed and we can’t swim off the boat because of the crocodiles. Every time I go to the shower I have to walk past and wish that it wasn’t closed. My dad, being a grownup, is more concerned that the Chandlery is closed as he can’t do any boat fixing jobs.
It has been a few days since I’ve done an update and therefore a lot has happened. Bozza is out of hospital today. According to him, having the disease could have gone either way, he was on the verge of death at one point. Anyway, he is healthy and immune now to the deadly pathogen. The Prime Minister is now hiding in his country home, Chequers, forty miles north of London.
According to the telegraph, Panama is very near the bottom of the number of cases on the Coronavirus infections list. I think this is mainly to do with the ‘one day men the next day women’ shopping rule.
Over the weekend in Manchester, the police ended over five-hundred street parties where party-goers were blatantly disobeying the rules. Not one of the people there were six feet apart, which is bad, by the way.
Today we had an egg painting competition for Easter. It wasn’t really a competition but if it was I would so have lost. We didn’t have the VHF radio turned on for most of the day so we didn’t really know we were meant to be doing it. Therefore, they were rushed and not the best they could have been.
In Rio de Janeiro, Christ the T-pose has been illuminated as a doctor. The Brazilian people have set up a huge protector to light him up in the spirit of a doctor.
In the United Kingdom, a ninety-nine year old man called Captain Tom has decided to raise some money for the NHS. He plans to walk around his garden one hundred times. Captain Tom will turn one hundred this year but before that he wants to donate money to the National Health Service. Tom Moore was born in 1920, he then enrolled in the army and rose to the rank of captain. He has been deployed in India and Burma. It took him and his zimmer frame a few weeks to travel the entire 2.5 km around his garden. When he started he was aiming for £1000 but has just recently smashed £20 million, all of which will be donated to the NHS. That figure has kept increasing even though he has finished his walk. I personally think that this is a huge achievement for anyone let alone a ninety nine year old man.
A few days ago the marina staff found a crocodile lurking in the flood piping. Mother saw it and ran back to Fat Susan to get us but by the time we got there a big group of idiots had arrived and had scared it away back in to the shade. According to eye witness accounts the crocodilian hissed at the assailants before retreating rapidly into the darkness.
A rogue kangaroo has been spotted running rampant down the roads of downtown Adelaide in Australia. The ‘suspect’ was almost hit by a passing vehicle. The kangaroo footage was caught on the CCTV cameras of the south Australia police department in Adelaide.
Back in the UK not many people are using the motorways at the moment. This means an influx of suicidal wildlife. This means an influx of corpses and carcasses. The animals are attracted by the smaller amount of noise on the roads and therefore they venture out onto the roads in search of food. Most of the time this doesn’t work out well for the animals, or the vehicles.
Back in Australia the people there are dressing up to put their bins out. This is because was everyone in stuck inside and they thought they would give their neighbours a laugh whilst they take out their bins. Hardly anything has happened recently here in Panama. I don’t know if the rioting and looting is still going on but the lockdown rules haven’t changed. No going out after dark, only leave your boat for shopping or exercise and stay away from each other.
As of the 20th May 2020, these are the number of cases of Coronavirus in:
USA:770,560 UK:120,067 Panama:4,464
It has been nearly a month since both the UK and Panama entered into complete lockdown. This whole quarantine fiasco started in China when some guy ate a bat. It has since progressed into a worldwide state of emergency, a shortage of toilet paper in the US and the deaths of 174,336 people around the world. A large majority of people have been incredibly bored for over a month as they have been staying in their houses. 2020 has so far not been the best year ever. So far Australia has been set on fire, world war three nearly started and a huge forest fire nearly set Chenoble in Russia on fire again.
Today there are 2.8 million confirmed cases of Coronavirus worldwide (that’s just the ones who have been tested in hospital) and almost 197,000 deaths, at least. Latest news in Panama is that the flight ban has been extended for another thirty days, until 22nd May.
As for our plans, well, we don’t really have a lot of options. We can’t go back into the Caribbean because it’s almost hurricane season. If we transit the canal, there’s almost nowhere to go on the other side. We also can’t go up towards America because were not American citizens. We are going to take all the sails off Fat Susan soon and store them in dry storage. Mum and Dad are thinking of buying a tarpaulin to put over the saloon to stop the sun and rain. It’s really sweaty and hot here. At the moment my daily routine is as follows: wake up, breakfast, school, lunch, more school, walk, shower, food, movie, sleep. Hopefully this virus will die out or we invent a vaccine soon. If not, well if not then make sure you have something to entertain yourselves with.