Cornered by Corona!

It’s with confused Corona emotion that I start writing this blog, some days I am totally content with the current status, others I am angry and on some days I am just complacent and feel nothing (so let’s just go fishing or go grab some crayfish…).

When LodeStar firstly heard about Corona we thought ‘the world has gone mad’, this conversation was with or great friend Val on board in Antigua but hey stanger things have occurred in the past… having Val with us gave us the feeling you got upon entering Fragonard (French perfume factory) everyday. Val bought a fantastic charm to LodeStar with great humor and great conversation we also realized a few times that LodeStar was the backdrop of a few photos from strangers so we sent our ‘famous guest’ our to pose (Vals post will update you on this period).

LodeStar has a quick turn around time with laundry, was down and provisioning before The Kellaway family from Canada joined us. By this time the Virus was being discussed multiple times a day with everyone tracking Italy and the death rate etc, while airports and cities seem to be shutting borders (how odd…)

With the Kellaways we motored to Barbuda for Clauds’ birthday doing the frigate bird sanctuary and back again, what an amazing time with incredible friends, kids definitely pick up all of their parents nuances as the comfort level with great old friends passed down to the four youngsters while they played and rummaged around all day. The Kellaways flight out was a slight concern with borders closing but this ‘thing’ will pass soon.

Phew two solid weeks of guests and a lockdown looming in Antigua, well let’s just bunker down in English Harbour and regroup for a few days, actually some ‘shut down’ time sounds great, the beach is still open so let’s quickly rent a car for a day to investigate the island, but Claudia a bikini (this was high on the priority list as I’m tired of seeing her in Miladys outfits designed for the over 55’s, I’ve told her she will have plenty of time to look over 55 in a Miladys bikini when she is actually 55) and do a massive provision at the largest supermarket (Epicurean, it was a R 12500 shop and you don’t get much with the outrageous Island prices!)). Awesome I don’t like shops and crowds anyway so this could be fun, have food, have booze, have beach and sea (plus a huge success on the bikini front)… whoop whoop let’s do shutdown!

The day after the ‘big shop’ was the first official day of shut down so we took our little rental car for a drive around the island. On the bikini run we bought the kids boogie boards and somehow Bowdie lost the strap so part of our tour was to backtrack yesterday’s route but with no success after much searching under random cars). The drive was eerie however all shops were technically open as you were advised to be home and quarantine was only 20:00 to 06:00.

Our week relaxing and doing a few boat jobs in English Harbour was great, Pacific Pearl our UK friends with 3 daughters similar ages were in the same harbour which just made things better… we managed a few hikes along the coastline to Mermaid Cove, Pigeon Beach and to Shirley Heights (the easy way not the way we took Val) and spent the late hot afternoons on the beach snorkeling with turtles and rays. Not a bad shutdown so far… but ok we need to move so let’s do something…

LodeStar upped anchor after communicating our movements with the Coast Guard that we were heading to Great Bird Island and went to find Pacific Pearl (PP) as they had left us the week before to antifoul.

After 10 days of Great Bird Island I’m over this Corona Shimona thing and it’s time to get on with life… friends (The O’Neills) have had to cancel their trip to the BVI’s to see us and I’m losing the fun…

During this period we are in constant conversation about what we do next as hurricane season is fast approaching and LodeStar is not insured within the hurricane belt (basically from Grenada 300 NM South of us to Georgia 1700 NM North of us). The plan was always to head to the States but that’s a big jump in one go but Grenada and all other islands are current 100% in lock down. Fortunately Claudia’s in overdrive research and discovers the Salty Dawgs organization who are placing flotillas together weekly to head back to the USA and the USA is open still if you have the appropriate visa. Fortunately we all are in possession of a 10 year multiple entry B1/2 visitors visa, great no problem we will hang out with PP (they have decided to sail directly back to the UK mid May and have found crew Cat and Martin), so LodeStar signs up for the 10th May flotilla leaving from Antigua all organized, we can chill for now and start a few boat jobs that need or be done as usual.

Oh no wait Trump just had a wobbly and has decided he no longer wants borders open and wants to shut down all immigration processing and if he places this into full swing LodeStar or its crew are stuck in Antigua so it’s a nail biting day or two but we decide to head to the USVI’s in a week or so (this is Monday afternoon). On Tuesday Trump is heating up his argument so we decide to make leave a little earlier and leave around Saturday. Fortunately on Tuesday afternoon we have Cat and Martin around as we are renting their Iridium Go (satellite communication which we require a lesson on), Martin needs to give us a bread making lesson (which he is phenomenal at, we now have light fluffy bread instead of a Dutchman war biscuit) plus Martin and Cat need a quick Crayfish catching lesson, well we cover all of the above in four hours.

At midnight on Tuesday Claudia hands me her phone to read comms from Salty Dawgs which is a plea for all non US citizens to enter the USVI’s ASAP as the political status from Trump is uncertain but if anything he will deny us entry. Oh damn, ok what to do. A midnight decision is made and the girls are awoken at 06h30, the last goodbyes are done and were off to St John to try and check out, buy provisions etc within the curfew hours from 07h00 till midday.

We did it before noon (it felt like the town was watching everyone and was waiting to pounce on the individual with the last food to pillage the last 2min noodle…) so it’s approval from the Coast Guard to anchor at Deep Bay to exit at 01h00. In Deep Bay we (Claudia also armed with a scraper and tightest costume to keep young barnacle crustaceans from finding nooks and crannies) still need to scrape the hulls as we have been stagnant for so long the growth looks like a Germans unkept armpits and set the boat up for a 180 NM crossing.

So we are on our way, LodeStar has covered about 25NM and the sun is about to rise,we are in no mans land and if Trump makes some crazy rash decisions in the next 30 hours we are left with no options of where we can make landfall as no country is open to us… I am left here staring at the emptiness and still believe ‘the world has gone mad’!

Early morning goose wing as we head west!


  1. Oh no, worse than an end-of-season soapie cliffhanger (yes, unfortunately that’s how we landlubbers roll)! This riveting episode leaves us up in the air & anxiously hoping you’re safely in the USVI, despite Agent Orange’s best efforts. Look forward to hearing further news. Dorothea (I sing with your dad in the St George’s Choir – well, pre-lockdown)


  2. What a lovely update of your situation. A anxious time for all of us in our Lockdown state.

    Great to catch up on your news and safe sailing to your destination.


    Gav and Jane


  3. Hi there, I have been thinking of you so much . Just pray you reach your destination in time! Keep strong and positive and may you have favorable winds behind your sails! Sending lots of love!!

    Sent from my iPhone



  4. So even the corona shimona gets in the way! Hope you are safe and well. Take care of yourselves and keep on adventuring in the beautiful wild world. Love, Jax Rob and boys xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.