From thousands of miles away, I watch Flying Fish today on a computer screen as she transits the great Suez Canal without me. It is painfully disappointing.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I clearly understand today’s reality: We are in the midst of a global crisis. Tens of thousands of people are sick and dying. More each day. Our world is changing by the moment. By the grace of God, I am healthy now and so are the people I love. My gratitude far outweighs my disappointment.
It seems like yesterday that borders around the world began closing because of COVID-19. Less than two weeks ago I made the decision in Phuket, Thailand to put my circumnavigation on hold and find a safe place for Flying Fish. I wanted to return to Key West to be closer to family. I secured a last-minute passage for Flying Fish aboard the freighter Annegret. There were only two destination choices available, Turkey or Norway. I choose Fethiye, Turkey for Flying Fish and then I began shuttling from airport to airport until I reached home. By the next morning most of the planet was in lockdown. I immediately went into, and I remain in, strict quarantine. I have no regrets about leaving the boat behind but I carry some weight of survivor’s guilt. What karma in my life allowed me to find a safe place isolate and be with my family while so many others struggle?
As for Flying Fish, she sails today with no one at her helm on the back of the freighter through the Suez Canal. She transits this gash in the sand where engineering triumphed over nature and severed Africa from Asia. Flying Fish passes the Middle East to starboard. To the west are the great pyramids of Giza, the massive Nile River Delta, and the storied Mediterranean port of ancient Alexandria. In two days, some 400 miles north in Fethiye, the freighter will attach a crane to Flying Fish and lower her into the Mediterranean Sea. I won’t be there to take her lines and guide her into port. A shipping agent has been hired to do that. It will be the first time since Flying Fish has left the builder’s yard that I will leave her helm in the hands of someone else.
I realize that speaking of sailing during times like this can be offensive when so many other people are simply trying to breathe. But there is one thing that unites all of us and drives forward. It is a hope for normalcy.
I am not aboard Flying Fish but you can see where she is the Mediterranean Sea here: 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