Bahamas Bound – Not This Season :(

It’s been a difficult decision, but we’ve reluctantly decided to skip the Bahamas this winter.  While the COVID rates in the Bahamas are somewhat under control (especially in the Exumas where we spend most of our time), there is the “what if” one of us did somehow contract COVID with complications.  Then there are the testing protocols, both before departing & again on day 5 in the Bahamas. While not too difficult flying in, a bit challenging traveling by boat with weather & all.  The “last straw” was the U.S.’s new plans to require COVID testing prior to arriving back in the U.S., along with possible mandatory quarantining – a huge hardship traveling by boat.

Waterfront bungalows at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Canada’s recent cancellation of all air travel to the Bahamas (and the Caribbean & Mexico), along with the U.S.’s new plan of  required testing all arriving international travelers (and possible quarantining), will be absolutely devastating for the Bahamas.  Tourism (mostly from Americans & Canadians) is over 80% of their economy & had been reduced down to a trickle, but was looking to improve this spring.  Almost overnite, these announcements caused thousands of cancellations for the resorts who just the week before had begun hiring back workers to re-open.  Their government can’t simply print money (as we apparently can) & there is virtually no safety net for the Bahamians – it is very tragic. Next year we’ll spend additional time & $$ in the Bahamas for sure.  For anyone looking forward to a vacation next fall/winter, please consider the Bahamas (but not by cruise ship!).  For a “true” Bahamas experience, you may want to skip New Providence (Nassau) & look to places such Great Exuma or a smaller “family island” such as   Staniel Cay

The final reason to hang around Florida is I’ll be able to get my first COVID vaccine in late March after my 65th birthday!  After prioritizing nursing homes & medical workers, Florida moved on to seniors 65+ with almost 35% coverage thus far.  While there were many difficulties early on, improvements have been made every week, including the vaccine now being available at hundreds of Publix (the major supermarket chain) Pharmacies.  Everyone we know (over 65) has been able to get an appointment within a week or so (although not without some determination!), so next month will hopefully be even easier.

Having some much time on our hands forced us to spend several hours at our nearby storage unit sorting & re-arranging.
Wouldn’t want to disappoint without a donut shop photo! This is Love Bug Donuts in Melbourne, FL
My first attempt at shrimp pizza on the grill – Fortunately tasted much better than it looked!

 

 

Lori’s been busy too with her bead creations, perhaps TOO busy, although she seems perfectly happy and our interior isn’t TOO dusty. 🙂  Sales were fantastic and with every notification, a big smile and happy dance occurred. We both got a big kick when a friend stopped by in her kayak, to order earrings, then more earrings! Lori says her star-shaped creation will be a covered box with a bezeled crystal in the center of the top. Not as major an undertaking as the huge Christmas Popper she made for a Christmas gift, but still lot of hours and beads. The bezel on top will be a first; always something new. Check out Lori’s Etsy shop- CraftMadein

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward to a Better New Year

We remain here in Vero Beach, but it’s getting “cold”! In the last 10 years we’ve never been this far north in mid-winter. It occasionally gets down to the high 60’s daytime & the high 40’s at night!  It’s easy to sit around & complain, as there’s not much else to do hunkered down for COVID.

Twin Sisters was treated to new fender covers for Christmas.

It seemed like a good idea to finally decide on & order a folding bike, after all, I’ve been thinking about it for the last 10 years.  Space & weight are always a consideration, but this ZIZZO bike is only 24 lbs., folds up into a fairly small storage bag & was less than 1/2 price of many others – while very highly rated.  I proved it’s comfort on my very first ride of 10 miles!  Although planned as a 6 mile ride back from returning our month-long Enterprise rental car, it seemed smart to avoid the Enterprise driver and/or other passengers.  “The rest of the story” … as Paul Harvey used to say … was the problem.  Halfway back I happened to reach to my back pocket for my wallet – gone!  I frantically backpedaled the last 3 miles twice looking all along the side of the roads, the sidewalks … where did I cross? After an hour of searching, I gave up.

I locked all my ATM & credit cards, waited one week, two weeks, three.  Finally gave up & ordered all new credit cards & a replacement drivers license.  Wait – that very night – what appeared from our mailing service (they receive, scan & send daily e-mails of any mail received)?  A mysterious U.S. Mail package stamped “FOUND LOOSE IN THE MAIL”.  Could it be? It was!  Some (kinda) good samaritan found my wallet, took my $75 as a self-reward, then dropped my wallet into a mailbox which the Postal Service finally mailed to me.

Long-term my folding bike should work out well & help in our travels along the way.  Two weeks later when we did a one-day car rental to go to our storage unit, along with other errands (liquor store), I could transport myself back & forth.  One little kid standing nearby was open-mouthed as I pulled out my bag, unfolded a “real” bike & all 6′ 3″ of me got on & rode off!

Our winter plans are still in flux.  While we could stick to plan & cross over to the Bahamas in mid-February, there are still challenging (especially for cruisers) COVID testing protocols before leaving & again once there on your 5th day.  There is the risk of getting COVID in the Bahamas with very minimal medical resources (we have emergency medical evac coverage thru our DAN divers group, but it excludes pandemic illness).  The Bahamas is likely to crack down further with additional measures as they just discovered that 42% of people entering the county are neglecting the required 5th day test.  The U.S. is now planning to require testing for travelers entering the U.S. – would that include us when we cross back?

Adding to the quandary is that staying in Florida, I will be able to get a COVID vaccine after my 65th birthday in mid-March. It’s ironic that Florida has been slammed in the media for weeks as giving the elderly (over 65) the next priority for vaccines (after medical workers, nursing homes residents & other high risk groups) as now the CDC & many states may now change their criteria to match Florida’s.

We may cruise down to the Keys or over to the Florida west coast, but it is difficult to get motivated when we’d be traveling so carefully & not enjoying our travels very much. We shall see …