Fortunately there is good cellular data in most of the Bahamas. Unfortunately we have been keeping up with the news of the COVID-19 virus. We had been planning on spending about 2 more weeks before heading back, but weren’t sure how much we’d enjoy ourselves checking the news every hour, so we headed straight back. While in a way it made sense to just stay there in a tropical paradise away from people … it’s not that straightforward for many reasons.
How long would we need to stay? The Bahamas enforce strict immigration law & may not necessarily extend your visa. Hurricane season begins in only a few months & our existing insurance would be void. It may get bad there too – thousands of tourists from around the world are on their way out, but may have first infected many Bahamians. Medical resources are extremely limited with only one real hospital (in Nassau) for the entire country. Many of the smaller islands have only a one-room clinic with a part-time nurse.
These were our thoughts over a week ago. Of course, the situation has become worse since then. The U.S. State Department is telling all U.S. residents to return now, or be prepared to stay away for a long duration. What if we tried to cross back to the U.S. in a few weeks & instead of easily clearing back in via a phone app, we are ordered to appear at some pier for a health screening and/or mandatory quarantine on shore? This, or worse, is possible if the Bahamas becomes yet other country with a large number of cases.
The Bahamas government is now taking this very seriously, so it may not be easy for cruisers who decide to stay. Being able to stay and/or being able to re-enter the U.S., obtaining food & fuel may become serious concerns. From our decision time to arriving in the Miami area was only 3 days.
As we crossed the gulf steam, we were surprised at the number of boats who appeared to have just left Florida heading the other way. They are probably thinking … what’s the worst that could happen??
We found the last slip at a small marina in Marathon, Florida within walking distance to a Publix Supermarket. We had seen photos of the crazy supermarket scenes from around the country, so were were expecting long lines to get in, people wearing masks, large signs with cautionary messages, etc. Nope – these are the Keys baby – 1/2 way to crazy Key West. While extremely busy & some shelves bare, the atmosphere was fairly casual & one guy I spotted was even barefoot. Our cupboards were mostly bare after 3 months in the Bahamas, so we’ve made 2 cautious, but large runs to stock up, not knowing where our next easy stop will be. We can’t believe it, but some marinas are shutting down & will turn away any arriving boats.
We have also now scrapped our original Florida plans. As we were married on Sarasota Bay on a Krogen trawler on May 5th 30 years ago, I had the crazy idea to return in our own boat to celebrate. Oh well, maybe for our 31st wedding anniversary next year.
Be safe everyone!!
Hi Russ and Lori,
Glad to hear you made it back to US safely and – it sounds like – just in time! Brian and I are hunkered down in Boston just waiting for the day when school opens again so we can get back to work. Until then, we read, take walks, play Scrabble and search store shelves for toilet paper.
Enjoy and take care.
Hi Donna! “This too shall pass “. Might take longer than we’d like. Tough stuff as my mom would say. Glad you guys are well. Good to hear from you. Matt said Jim’s birthday celebration was postponed. Such is our lives these days. Hang in there. Be well. And good luck with not going stir crazy and finding TP! I’m hunting for Bounty!
Congratulations on your fast passage . . ahh those power cats can fly! Things here are still good although the Bahamas Government has issued mandatory closures of many businesses with important exceptions, i.e. – grocery, gas & laundry. Trivia night and Sunday morning church are now being done on the net and someone is even trying to figure out how to do poker over the net. That would be quite the trick to pull off.
Love seeing the airborne dolphins.
So lucky to have had three good days to get from Highbourne to Miami. That’s great about Beach Church and Trivia. Cruiser creativity. Poker yep that’d be quite the trick.
Good luck and fingers crossed things don’t get too shut down there.
We have had the exact same thoughts. We are leaving Lee Stocking tomorrow and should be anchor down in Miami by late Monday afternoon. Stay safe, and perhaps we’ll see you from six feet away in Florida. 🙂 Kimberly and Jeff
Safe travels ! Sounds like you no longer have extension worries- just come back. We will be 4-5 nights in Vero Suntex starting Thurs. I’m sure our paths will cross at some point as we make our way north.
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Nice update. Good thing that you made it back safely. It was definitely the right call to get back ASAP from the Bahamas! Good luck hunkering down. Maybe I’ll see you guys in BFT in a few months?
Be Well Stay Safe!
Yes definitely the right call in hindsight. We will move faster than usual once we leave Vero around April 1, stopping at marinas for fuel and bad weather.
We always want to jump from Wrightsville to Beaufort so I’m sure we will stop there. Will keep you posted. We are being very cautious now. Stay well and safe