As we sit here in Antigua on Easter Sunday, Brenda and I feel lucky to be safe, even though we are thousands of miles from home. It’s been frustrating to be locked down aboard a small boat (sure bigger than some but still small) in a foreign land, with no clear idea of when we will be heading home.
However, all is not lost as the Easter Bunny visited Pandora to help us feel like there is some semblance of normalcy. Oh yeah, if you have little ones under foot as you deal with the frustration of “sheltering” this Easter, at least you could rest easy knowing that the Easter Bunny will indeed have found his (if the Easter Bunny is a guy) way to your home because, at least in New Zealand, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are considered “essential services”
Some weeks ago, New Zealand’s prime minister, a woman of course, said, when she laid out restrictions that would be necessary as a result of Covid-19, “You’ll be pleased to know that we consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” she explained in a completely serious tone, although taking care to add, “But as you can imagine, at this time, of course, they’re going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”
So, there you have it, the Easter Bunny has full travel privileges during the pandemic so I guess that explains why he visited Pandora. As far as bunnies in the US are concerned, fortunately it doesn’t matter that Trump hasn’t embraced the Easter Bunny as essential because most restrictions, at least on a federal level, are optional so the Easter Bunny has been able to made his rounds, unchallenged. Thankfully, he must be concerned about social distancing as he almost never seen as he makes his way from house to house.
So, it’s Easter, and I’ll admit that it feels a lot like most any other day as we sit here in Antigua, waiting for a “sign” that its time to head north.
At the same time, many of our friends wait and hope that Grenada and Trinidad, below the hurricane belt and where they keep their boats during the summer, will open up before the hurricane season gets going in earnest. A few of them have told us that if they have to take their boats back to the US this spring, that this will be their last season afloat in the Caribbean as they feel like they are too old to make the arduous trip south again.
For me, I am hopeful that we will be able to use Pandora at least a bit this summer, so that makes the trip north worth it to us. Also, I am fearful that there won’t be a cruising season here in the Caribbean next winter and the idea of leaving Pandora here for two years is a non-starter.
To that point, Prime Minister Brown of Antigua recently announced that some form of restrictions will likely remain in place until a vaccine is available and that seems like a long way off.
The simple fact is that countries like Antigua don’t have the infrastructure to deal with a major outbreak that would quickly overwhelm their health services. As just one example, a local doctor here in English Harbor,and there aren’t all that many doctors on the island, tested positive for Covid-19 and now they have the daunting task of tracking down all of his patients.
So here we sit and with the hope of not becoming “setee potatoes” (no couches on Pandora). Brenda and I continue to do laps around Pandora, generally twice a day, in the morning and evening, our only way to get even a modest amount of exercise. The exercise app on my phone reminded me today that it recorded 85 steps yesterday. Wow, that’s a full two laps around Pandora’s deck.
As everyone here is confined to their boats and hoping to avoid becoming stir-crazy, I saw this couple out for an evening sail last night, technically a violation of quarantine. Never the less, it was nice to see as they went drifting by in the light breeze. While I respect that the Prime Minister would not approve of what they did, an evening sail seems fairly innocuous to me and I was frankly jealous that Brenda and I weren’t able to do it too.
The problem is that human nature being what it is, when you “give them an inch, they take a mile” so the harsh restrictions are needed to keep things from getting out of control. To that point, the other evening there was a raucous dock party at one of the big marinas involving the crew of several mega-yachts with blaring music heard all over the harbor. The authorities arrived to break up the party and the next day a reminder was sent out via the Antigua Marine Trades Association reminding everyone about the rules.
When the extent of the Covid-19 threat began to become clear, my friend Bill on Kalunamoo remarked, “what next, a plague and swarms of locust?”. Bill, you were right. Check out this headline today on Bloomberg News. “In nearly 20 states, the Easter Sunday forecast includes snow, tornadoes and hail the size of tennis balls.”
Yikes! No locust but just about everything else. At least I’ll be safe as Brenda made me a face mask out of a handkerchief, a bilge oil diaper and some lovely green ribbon. Safe or not, let’s hope that things get better soon. It’s Easter, the daffodils are beginning to bloom at home and that’s where we want to be.
For now, Brenda and I are doing what we can to make the best of it here in Antigua, waiting for a sign that it’s time to head home.
At least the Easter Bunny found us. And everybody, and I do mean everybody, knows that’s essential.