It has become clear to me, perhaps later than it should have, that this is not an appropriate time for me to be wandering around the world on a personal adventure. For those of us who are not sailing with our families it is a time to point the compass in the direction of home.
With that in mind, yesterday I had Flying Fish loaded on the back of a freighter in Phuket, Thailand bound for the Mediterranean Sea. It will bring me nearly 5,000 miles closer to home. After that… who knows. The world is spinning so quickly now that it seems impossible to plan for the future.
Ports worldwide are closing as the pandemic–and the panic–sends cruising sailors in search of a safe harbor. Most islands and countries around the Indian Ocean have closed their borders. Some sailors have been denied entry into countries that had already issued them visas. A number of boats are backtracking as they scramble to find legal dry land. It is rapidly becoming a real-life Waterworld.
Remaining in Thailand was an option for Flying Fish, but it would have been short-term security. Thailand has the virus like nearly every other spot on earth. Once a U.S. citizen is officially in Thailand their visa is limited to 30 days. I had only a couple of weeks before my visa expired and I would be required to leave the country. But to where? The number of countries accepting foreign visitors was rapidly diminishing as borders closed. Turkey was still open. I accepted transport by freighter (the shipping company would not allow me to ride along) and I booked a flight to Istanbul.
It is interesting how priorities shape in a crisis. While many have suggested that being on a boat in the middle of the ocean might be the safest place in the world to avoid getting sick, being healthy while your family may be at risk is not how families take care of each other.
I am not home yet. Flying Fish will be unloaded in Fethiye, Turkey at the end of March. Once she arrives I will look for a secure place to moor the boat while I determine if and when I can re-enter the United States. My family is healthy now, by the grace of God, but if any of us do become ill the distance between us is now 5,000 miles closer.
I am not aboard Flying Fish but you can still follow her daily progress as she hitchhikes aboard a freighter from Southeast Asia across the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Click this link: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Flyingfish
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To see where Flying Fish has sailed since leaving Key West in 2017, click here: https://cruisersat.net/track/Flying%20Fish
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Text and Photography © Jeffrey Cardenas 2020