Dear sailing and non-sailing Friends
If you believe we have it tough here with the movement restrictions imposed by some of our State Governments, read the following news from our “Admiral” who is still stuck in Peru. Our “lockdowns” are nothing compared to what she has to deal with down there.
First, the no-driving rule remains in effect. No cars on the road. The usually polluted air in Peru’s capital has never been so clean. The water of the Pacific at the Costa Verde beaches is also cleaner than usual and I even saw reports that dolphins are swimming close to shore again.
The curfew has been extended from 18:00 to 05:00. Nobody goes out during curfew or you end up in jail. During the non-curfew hours, you can still go do your shopping, but you must walk and only one person per family can go out. Venturing out of the house is only allowed during these hours for food, medicine or for an emergency. The curfew regulations regarding the use of the white flag if you need to come out and the speed limit of 20kms – if you really need to drive – also remain in vigor.
Friday, even more stringent restrictions were implemented. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, only men can go shopping. Women are only allowed out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Sunday, nobody leaves the house. When it is your day to go outside, you must wear a mask. Yesterday, quite a few women have tempted their luck and they were promptly arrested.
As the situations in Ecuador and Chile are as bad or (as is the case in Ecuador) even worse, Peru had to call up its military reservists from 2017, 2018 and 2019 to reinforce the military in protecting the borders and to enforce the current regulations. Five thousand reservists and volunteers showed up and three thousand five hundred have already been deployed.
Mila went shopping yesterday and the grocery store opened at 09:00. She arrived there at 08:50. There were about ten people lined up, all wearing their masks and keeping a distance of about one meter from each other. She had her little shopping cart with her in which she puts her purchases, mainly non-perishables and meat as there were not too many veggies and fruit available. Everything she touched gets disinfected with alcohol wipes. She is wearing disposable gloves and is now looking for new masks as she has used the last one.
In order to reuse the mask, she washes it with hot soapy water. The problem with that is that the masks starts “fluffing” and small particles of fluff come off. So, here she was at the cashier of the grocery store and she inhales one of these fluffy particles that comes lodged in her throat. She starts coughing and gagging and the cashier retreats in panic thinking she has a virus patient in front of her. Between two coughs, Mila explains the situation and the cashier starts laughing and said that she too did have a similar experience not too long ago.
Last Monday was her Mom’s birthday. Under normal circumstances, that would have been the occasion for one fun party with lots of friends and relatives. Because of the current events, she celebrated just with her Mom and Dad but many were on line to make it a cyber party…
We still have no clue when she will be able to come back, so I am stuck north of the Equator in SW Florida. Notwithstanding the Florida “lockdown” which started Thursday at midnight, we can still go out and I spend my days, solving problems for our Med Sailing Adventures customers, keeping up with the rather depressing news, walking around our local marina and dreaming of going back to sailing, hopefully soon. I even replaced an outside faucet so I could wash the car and paid a visit to my sailboat on the hard on the other side of Charlotte Harbor.
Except for the fact that she was dirty from sitting out there, everything on board was in great shape. I even found a box of nitrile disposable gloves that was left there after an engine cleaning project of last year. Probably worth more than gold right now?
European charter companies hope to salvage part of the season and to open for business again in July, August and September.
We are still hoping to keep our Croatia and Seychelles flotillas going for the later part of the year and will keep you informed.
Mila and I hope you are all safe and healthy and we look forward to sailing with you after this pandemic storm quiets down.
Capt. Jean De Keyser (or as I say to Mila over FaceTime: “Solito y abandonado)…