The thing about travelling with teenagers is whether you like it or not, it’s going to be difficult at times. Especially now during Covid. It was challenging at times before Covid. Covid has slightly pushed it over the edge.
This can be hard to explain to a dock full of boats who don’t have teenagers. Yesterday was just such a day. Our oldest teenager has a temper. We’ve never hidden this fact. She is intelligent and perceptive. The temper comes as an extra. A little bonus.
Unfortunately, because we live this lifestyle, it isn’t exactly always considered cool for teenagers. It especially isn’t cool on a Saturday afternoon when our teenager sees her friends hanging out together back home.
In some ways, Covid saved us from this FOMO for a while. None of her friends could hang out together. A lot of the teenagers became like her – with online school and limited social contact. It was spooky.
Things have changed a bit now though. Despite rising case numbers and the beginning of a second wave in the U.K., kids are hanging out again a bit. And our teenager is still very much in touch with her friends back home. If something is happening back home, she knows about it. Damn you, social media.
It’s true too we haven’t been ultra-lucky finding teenage friends here. There are some boats with teenagers on board, but they headed mostly to Grenada during hurricane season. We decided to come here instead – to Bonaire. We didn’t want to do another hurricane season in Grenada. Not that we didn’t love the people. The diving just wasn’t brilliant overall. You can’t dive in any of the nice spots without paying a guide. The south coast is full of murky mangroves too – which limits your options.
So, we chose clear waters over guaranteed teenage socialisation – and hoped we’d get away with it. After quarantining, we did find some locally-based groups. Swimming and water polo for teenagers. Firstly, the local kids speak a variety of languages between themselves, but English isn’t one of them. They learn it for school, but it isn’t a language they’ll banter in. Our teenager got left out unfortunately.
She did stick with it though – until Covid arrived. A ‘light’ lockdown was imposed. Swimming wasn’t banned, but large numbers of kids here began testing positive, and the fact that it’s a small island, we decided she should probably stop going for a bit.
For the last five days or so, there have been no new cases on the island. It seems the clusters of infection in Bonaire may be under control. The island cracked down on testing and people have distanced – including us.
This leaves us with a dilemma. We have a somewhat lonely and unhappy teenager on board. A completely normal one. But one who the marina occasionally knows about. In these moments, it’s hard to feel we’re all in this together. I wish this yellow Bonaire bird could tell us what to do.