Corona changes everything

Travel preparation with pandemic

This corona bastard ruins everything. Sure, it affects everyone, even if some people take longer to figure it out. In Germany, toilet paper is sold out, in France red wine and condoms and in the USA, weapons and ammunition are the best sellers. Everyone deals with a crisis differently – savoir vivre.

Here in Luxembourg a state of emergency was declared on March17 and as I write this, we are voluntarily at home in quasi quarantine. Fortunately in the best of health, but very frustrated. We can’t leave Luxembourg and that would not be wise or responsible. Everything is long since closed, restos, shops and also some administrations. Everyday life stands still, a Sleeping Beauty sleep. Bizarre for one of the most important financial locations in the World.

The food supply is working well, we don’t have to starve. And our wine cellar is still well filled. We have a lot of unexpected time now, trying to do something useful. But of course our preparations are stalling. Not being able to leave a country does not feel good at all. And not knowing how long it will take is even less thrilling. For the first time, we have no control and no influence at all. We have to practice in something we’re both really bad at: Patience.

Of course we don’t know now if our flights will go and if we can enter South Africa. Whether we can take over the ship. And if our planes take off as planned, it is not clear whether we will then have the necessary documents and visas with us.

We imagined our last preparation phase differently, much more sentimental and harmonious. Everything was timed, organized, agreed in detail. The virus turns our great planning of the last 3 months into data garbage. All agreed appointments were cancelled, with one exception:

Rivercafe is still on schedule.

We got good news from Cape Town: the shipyard of Robertson & Caine (Leopard) is still virus-free and work is in progress. At the moment the planned handover for July 1st is still confirmed. Status today. This is a great consolation, because a ship is not completely unimportant for a circumnavigation. If only we could make it to the Rivercafe…

Sailing friends waiting for a cat from Fountain Pajot have already been informed that the shipyard has “coronised” in France and is no longer working. Their delivery is cancelled for the time being. But Dee and Steve can’t enter Europe at the moment either. Our Luxembourg sailing buddies Raymonde and Guy are not coming to their new cat, which is waiting in France for the finishing touches. Again some plans for the garbage.

At the moment we benefit from the fact that our preparations are already very far advanced. Our crewshirts made in Italy arrived before the company was closed. The fenders from France have also been delivered, not a week too early. And our moving boxes for Cape Town left the country just in time. Luckily our Luxembourg passports have already been extended, because now the administration has closed.

But everything that we haven’t been able to tackle yet is getting much more complicated to do. Embassies have stopped contact and no longer issue visas. All embassy appointments have been cancelled without substitution. A US B1/B2 visa is valid for 10 years, but there is no interview date scheduled. I guess this is more psychological than epidemiological. Administrations work, if at all, then only sparingly. Many rules have been tightened and the restricted freedom of movement makes it even more difficult.

South Africa has banned Germans from entering the country. Guess it will not be long before they discover Luxembourg on the World map. But even if not: Emirates does not provide flights anymore. Not surprisingly, there are no direct flights from Luxembourg to South Africa as we have no transcontinental flights at all. We have to fly via Germany or England and that’s not possible right now. But it makes no sence in looking for alternatives at the moment. Tomorrow everything could be different again.

In the banks, too, many are in quarantine, others are overloaded and in fact hardly anything is working well. The completion of our house sale is also delayed. That’s why we can’t leave until that’s done. That’s a great pity, because it takes away some of our options and flexibility.

We hope that we can register our ship and that the regulatory authority will provide radio licenses. We can just wait and see. Both of us are not used to completely useless waiting and I find it very difficult to deal with it.

Many of our sailing friends are struggling with the restrictions imposed by the virus. Some are in quarantine on board, others have come ashore. It is not easy to travel anywhere anymore, but that is very understandable.

Sure, you could also uncork the next bottle of wine and let the good Lord be a good man. Sit and wait. But for more than two years we have been working every day to start our blue water life again on July 1st. I have no idea how many bottles of wine it takes to make it feel better. Knowing that we would be on a plane to Cape Town in three months, I would be more enjoyable. If we were onboard Rivercafe and had some provisions, it would take us two months to see civilization again anyway. We have to manage to get on board somehow.

But as long as there are a lot of people working day and night to save the lives of others, we should not lose sight of the scale. Many thanks to all these people.

We will sail away in any case. And if it can start on July 1st as planned, we will be very, very grateful.

However I wish all of you: stay well. / Holger Binz


5 thoughts on “Corona changes everything”

  1. Hallo
    Ja, es ist genau wir du schreibst…es ist diese Ungewissheit wann sich das Ganze wieder normalisiert, dieses Warten, dieses in den Tag leben ohne Pläne machen zu können…das nagt doch schon arg an der Moral 🙁
    Uns bleibt nur zu hoffen, dass all die Massnahmen schnell zu dem gewünschten Erfolg führen und wir unsere Ziele weiter verfolgen können.
    Bleibt gesund.

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