In Barbados, we wear face masks in public places like supermarkets, but the virus here has been largely contained. Borders remain closed, bar for the people willing to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. New cases are sporadic. Not completely gone, but contact tracing has proved effective. Barbados may be pretty safe now – excluding the never-ending threat of asymptomatic cases.
Cue the impossible question: what does the island do now? If the authorities open it up to new arrivals, they will likely lose the viral containment they worked so hard to win. Unless of course every person is quarantined upon arrival. Or tests may be performed just prior to departure – hoping there’s no hole in the system. It’s the biggest economic and health-related question of our time. It is parallel-world living.
Being yachties, we’re even more contained than land dwellers. The nine boats in our anchorage have settled down nicely together. We’ve felt the lovely feeling of community. We’ve been visiting each other again on our boats and mulling things over together. No one was planning to stay in Barbados over the hurricane season. None of us are insured for it. Still, this is our reality.
Some people – like us, are considering going back to Europe. Others are waiting for borders to open up locally so they can travel to more hurricane-safe zones. A couple of boats are awaiting the epic journey back to the Pacific.
The kid boat next to us has the fantastic name, The Mob. Their three boys have been hanging out with our girls. It’s been nothing short of awesome. Community has come back. It’s been careful and intermittent, but slow and sure too. We’ve decided we need to be together if we are going to hang off the edge of this beautiful island together. We’ve created a yachtie bubble.
As the beach has opened now from 4pm to 6pm, we decided to have a get-together. And what better excuse than a birthday party. I made two chocolate cakes and a banana bread. Our yachtie friends brought birthday presents, cinnamon rolls, cheese and pineapple on sticks. Crisps, drinks too.
The Mob gifted Lu with a cold coconut. They cut the top off and gave her a straw. Our diving friend, Eaon came and gave Lu a voucher for a dive course: Understanding Hazardous Marine Creatures. Result! Shona, from White Arrow, came earlier in the day and helped Lu to dye her hair a semi-permanent brown. Lulu washed it off by jumping in the sea. She looked like a perturbed octopus. It was so cool.
For much of the time at the party, we gazed at each other like we were at job interviews. Chatted and dug our toes in the sand. The kids ran around. The birthday girl had candles in her cake. We managed to light some of them in the afternoon breeze, and we sang to her. Then we ate the food out of the dinghy and lay in the hot sea.
Six pm came too fast. Packed everything back into our dinghies and said good-bye. This morning, four boats left the anchorage. We didn’t realise at the time, but it was a good-bye party too.