Corona virus

Unlike most people who live ashore we are not constantly surrounded by radio and television with hourly news updates. Sometimes we don’t look at news for long periods of time as it’s usually just frustrating to read what’s going on in the world without being able to change anything, so quite often we focus on the big and small worries of our little world here…

We first read about the coronavirus on the BBC newsfeed we get via SSB radio and pactor modem–just headlines no articles. We were confused, asked friends via emails for explanations and started reading the headlines on a daily basis. The speed of the escalation around the world quickly had us worrying badly, we found another source of info, an Austrian news broadcast on the SSB radio (most other countries have stopped those oldfashioned broadcasts in the times of modern communication, but good old Austria still booms out with waltz music followed by news on 6155 AM at 6:00 UTC).

For us out here the world still looks the same and it seems impossible to imagine the locked-down cities, closed schools and shops and empty streets in Europe (and many other parts of the world).

Last week the virus arrived in Tahiti on an Air France plane, nobody knows how many people got infected on that flight and afterwards, but the first case was reported from Fakarava (an atoll in the Tuamotus). Most of the little islands have just a medical centre with a nurse and no means of dealing with an epidemic. The big hospital in Tahiti is far away (e.g. 900 nm from the Gambier where we are). There are rumours that Air Tahiti will stop inter-island flights, but the supply ships are supposed to keep on bringing goods to the outer islands–if they should stay away panic will rise quickly.

While most cruisers we know don’t worry too much we have stocked up on provisioning in the main village here (disinfecting everything and ourselves back home on the boat) and are preparing to go into quarantine. ‘Better safe than sorry’ is a motto that has been working nicely for us before, so we hope that our friends and family ashore stay safe and await further news.

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