Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osborne from Manchester, UK, have only recently found out about the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic. The couple was travelling across the Atlantic ocean from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean last month when the highly contagious disease was spreading across the world.
Elena and Ryan quit their jobs in 2017 and bought a boat to sail around the world. While they asked their families to keep in touch, they had one rule: no bad news.
Perhaps that is why when the two tried to dock on a small island in mid-March, after 25 days at sea with little communication with the outside world, they were shocked to discover that the Caribbean island had sealed its borders. According to The Guardian, thousands of cruise ship passengers have been left stranded at sea as countries have closed their borders to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Elena and Ryan, who document their adventures on the blog Sailing Kittiwake, say that they had heard little of the coronavirus crisis that has disrupted the global economy, triggered lockdowns across the world and forced millions to stay indoors.
“In February we’d heard there was a virus in China, but with the limited information we had we figured by the time we got to the Caribbean in 25 days it would all be over,” said Elena to BBC.
“When we arrived we realised it wasn’t over and the whole world had been infected,” added Ryan.
After failing to dock at the Caribbean island, the two diverted their vessel to Grenada, where they finally managed to get a good Internet connection and realised what was happening around the world.
“A friend of ours was already in Saint Vincent, which is where we were aiming to head. We managed to get in contact with her 10 hours before we were due to dock,” said Elena. “She told us we were going to be refused entry as I’m an Italian citizen, even though I hadn’t been to Italy in months.”
Luckily, the couple had been tracking their GPS history and were able to prove that they had been in isolation at sea for 25 days, following which they were allowed to dock. The couple is now at St Vincent, but are hoping they will be allowed to leave before hurricane season begins in June.
“We don’t want to leave Saint Vincent for now as nowhere is open,” says Elena. “We’re sitting tight for the time being with the aim of getting out before hurricane season starts at the beginning of June.”