Update on the covid situation and travel restrictions in the South Pacific

After an intial lockdown between March and July 2020, French Polynesia opened its borders and Covid arrived here shortly after. Ironically a local Politician brought the Virus back from France–presumably from some conference about avoiding the spreading of Covid… The Polynesians seemed very orderly and determined to hold the virus at bay, but in the end it got out of control with many cases in Tahiti and the Societies and a few on outer islands. Ironically a festivity of the ‘gendarmes’ was the source of the first cluster…

The opening of borders had been mainly due to pressure of the tourism industry: not many tourists arrived, but in the end all other businesses suffered from the measures to limit the consequences of the opening and arrival of the virus (nightly curfew, social distancing, etc.). With the spreading of the new mutations France decided to close the borders of its overseas territories again. Since the beginning of February 2021 flights to and from Fr. Poly are only allowed with ‘compelling reasons’.

The situation of cruisers in the South Pacific remains difficult. Apart from Fiji (entry is possible with a negative test and after quarantine), all countries remain closed. Only citizens of the respective states are allowed to travel home, but still have to undergo a lengthy quarantine (New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, etc.). For us Europeans Fr. Poly represents a little piece of Europe, but our 3 years here expire in October (after 3 years we’d have to import the boat).

We therefore have the choice to either pay import tax here or leave and sail to Fiji. We wanted to visit Fiji anyway, but sitting out a cyclone season there means taking quite severe risk… 2021 is bringing tricky decisions for us.

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