On Wednesday morning, we sent out an email blast to our readers and advertisers that tried to put a positive spin on what’s going on in the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis from a sailor’s perspective. I asked readers to share their experiences and this morning there were several notes and pictures in my in box. This email from world cruisers Bruce and Audrey Toal in New Zealand, captures how cruisers and host countries are dealing with the crisis.
Today, New Zealand entered Level 4 of their Covid-19 emergency plan, which is mandatory shelter-in-place, for a four-week period. With 166 cases that have grown rapidly and multiple community-spread cases, they have shut down all foreign entries by air and sea, and any returning Kiwis must quarantine for 14 days in their city of arrival.
Tonga is similarly closed and while Fiji is still open to cruisers, they have a 14-day quarantine period. Cook Islands and French Polynesia are closed as well. We had planned to leave NZ in early May for the next South Pacific cruising season, but have decided to stay put in NZ until conditions improve everywhere. The Kiwis have extended all visitor visas until late September and indicate leniency for further extensions after that.
So here is a picture (above) of boats berthed and moored at Opua, Bay of Islands, with the Russell Peninsula in the background on the eve of the shutdown yesterday. It was taken from the deck of SV Wild Orchid, our Beneteau Oceanis 58 shelter-in-place home – two beautiful rainbows of hope and tranquillity! We are thankful for the hospitality of our Kiwi hosts.
Bruce and Audrey Toal