As governments around the globe impose lockdowns and people self-isolate, coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit the travel industry hard. The World Nomads Travel Podcast has suspended its regular destination episodes and, in their place, offering a daily round-up of the major coronavirus-related travel headlines.
00:46: Good news for the planet
01:32: The future of travel
02:01: Keeping the travel bug alive
02:31 Introducing Captain Brian
05:20 Idyllic spot to be self-isolating
06:56 How long could you last on the boat?
08:46 Brewing moonshine
10:21 Next episode
"... all the Caribbean islands have a shutdown. We're getting messages from people who are stuck in Martinique, in Antigua, Turks and Caicos, Grenada, pretty much any place, any island in the Caribbean. And I've also heard from friends that are in French Polynesia, in the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, to just happen to arrive in port before the country's closed their borders and their ports." - Brian
Who is in the episode
Brian Trautman bought SV Delos in May of 2008 after deciding to sell everything and set off on a grand adventure. Currently, he and his wife Karin and baby Sierra are stranded in the Bahamas with ports closed due to COVID-19.
There’s also a tracking map to follow their movements.
In self-isolation? You can put your time to good use practicing your travel writing skills
You can get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].
We use the Rodecaster Pro to record our episodes and interviews when in the studio, made possible with the kind support of Rode.
Kim: In this episode, a family stranded at sea. The positives for the planet as travel is restricted, and the crazy idea, Phil, to keep your travel bug alive.
Speaker 2:Welcome to the new daily World Nomads podcast. We'll be keeping you up to date with travel alerts, information about coronavirus, and sharing some uplifting news and views, to inspire you, and keep you smiling.
Kim: Hi, it's Kim and Phil with you. You still in your pillow fort here in Sydney?
Phil: I'm pillow fort, and are you still in your wardrobe?
Kim: Yes, here in Sydney, keeping you up to date daily with headlines surrounding travel and COVID-19. Also, we're sharing stories of travelers that are stuck in self-isolation, lockdown, or as we'll hear in this episode, port closures.
Phil: We are hearing how the pandemic is affecting travel and travelers, but how is it affecting the earth? As you can imagine, carbon emissions are down, with fewer cars on the roads, and plenty of flights canceled. I saw a Facebook meme yesterday Kim, that showed some pictures taken a couple of months apart of the Los Angeles skyline. And the blue sky over LA. I've never seen that.
Phil: I'll see if I can dig that up, and we'll stick it in the show notes for you. We've already shared with you about the canals in Venice, running clear, and of dolphins returning. Good news for endangered species with many countries banning the trade and consumption of wild animals, at last. Well done. Thank you very much.
Phil: In Ecuador, a new species of orchid has been found, and those destinations that have suffered from over-tourism, like Venice, are taking a well-earned breather. Therefore, there has been a lot of discussion on how travel will change in the future, and we'll be delving into that next week on the podcast.
Phil: But industry insiders say business travel is likely to return to normal first. And hotels may recover before Airbnbs because people will be concerned about things like cleanliness.
Kim: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay. Do you want this crazy idea to keep your travel bug alive?
Kim: Now we've been hearing, that a lot of people have been sharing their armchair ideas to travel. There are some crazy suggestions. I'm rating this as number one. Sit in your lounge chair for a 12 or a 22-hour flight, and leave your hairdryer at its lowest level, to create the ambiance of a plane.
Phil: No, I'm not doing that.
Kim: Lots of other ideas, please share them with us. That's crazy.
Kim: Captain Brian, his wife Karen, and baby Sienna have found themselves stuck in The Bahamas. It sounds idyllic, but with ports closing due to the virus they're stranded.
Brian: Yeah, so we've been cruising on this boat for a number of years. This is actually our 11th year sailing. We've just had a baby this season. We lived in Sweden for a while. We came back to the boat when our daughter was four months old, to continue sailing, and everything has been fine, cruising through the islands.
Brian: We visited Puerto Rico, we did a big provision. After we left Puerto Rico, that's when things started to get a little bit weird. We got a message saying like, "Hey, watch out for this virus thing." And we said, "Oh, we're out here. We're sailing. We're so solitary anyway. There's no way it could ever affect us."
Brian: And now we find ourselves in quite a precarious situation in The Bahamas actually. This is currently our 54th day since we've been in a city, or a port, or anything of any kind. We've just been at sea and anchored at these uninhabited islands out here. And it's probably the weirdest thing I've ever seen sailing, and I've seen a lot of weird things.
Kim: So all the ports are closed?
Brian: That is correct. I mean, all the Caribbean islands have a shutdown. We're getting messages from people who are stuck in Martinique, in Antigua, Turks and Caicos, Grenada, pretty much any place, any island in the Caribbean. And I've also heard from friends that are in French Polynesia, in the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, to just happen to arrive in port before the country's closed their borders and their ports.
Brian: Because people are taking it really seriously, as they should be. And the deal is if you get into a place on your boat if you get into a port, then sometimes you're either locked in the country, not allowed to move. People, I've heard, from Antigua are not allowed to even leave their boat, except if they're going to go get food.
Brian: And so some people are actually just breaking the rules. They're turning off their lights, they're turning off their navigation transponders, and they're just going to an island that they know has food and resources.
Brian: So we have been in this area, we haven't moved, because we don't want to go to, let's say a city up north, like Georgetown, where we could potentially not be able to leave. And then we're really just stuck on the boat, not being able to go anywhere. We're perfectly happy to stay down here at these little uninhabited [tolls] that we're at, for as long as we can, as long as our supplies and provisions hold out.
Kim: Well we'll get to that. But if you were to rip a few things out of this chat, that you've said, "Stranded on a boat in The Bahamas, near uninhabited islands," sounds quite idyllic, but what are the stresses?
Brian: It is, I mean actually we were just talking the other day, that if we were going to be any place, especially seeing some of the news coming out of the US, or parts of Europe, this, I think, is actually like, to be in the position we are, we feel extremely fortunate.
Brian: We're self-sufficient on the boat. We're making our own electricity, we're making our own water. We're set up for long-distance, off the grid, sailing by nature. And we're able to catch our own food. There's lobster, and there's fish here, so we can spearfish, and we can swim, and we can still go out. And so from that perspective, it's really an ideal situation to be in, because this is almost what we do, day to day. The difference is that now we don't know when it might end.
Brian: And so now we don't have the out of just sailing back to the US for a re-provision, because things are just crazy there. There are some ports that we wouldn't even be allowed into. And then there are some ports, when we'd get into, we'd automatically be put in quarantine, so.
Kim: So you mentioned supplies, obviously you said you're self-sufficient to a certain degree, but you've got a baby with you. How long could you stick it out on the boat?
Brian: I think if we start managing our resources really well, we could probably last another two months. The big concern, Sierra is still breastfeeding, but she does need nutrients and vitamins, and iron-rich diet, so we're feeding her a lot of fresh vegetables, and that stuff is gone in a matter of two weeks. So that stuff is pretty much gone, and so we're supplementing her diet with baby formula, and porridge and oatmeal, and doing the best we can. But I think she needs more than just fish and rice. Whereas Karen and myself, we're pretty happy with just fish and rice for a long time.
Brian: So that's really the biggest concern for us. Fuel, eventually we will run out of fuel, in which case we won't be able to run our generator and make water. So that would be a bummer. Luckily we have plenty of electricity from the solar panels, and we cook with an induction stove and an inverter. So we're not really dependent on propane, or gas, or anything like that.
Kim: What sort of boat are you on?
Brian: She's a Cat. She's a 53-foot sailing Cat, built in France. And normally we have more people on board, but now it's just the two of us and our baby, because of the trip we're doing this season. Let's see, 16 meters long, 53 feet, Cat means she has two masts, a lot of sails. She has, let's see, two toilets, two heads, showers, three sleeping cabins. So it's pretty good accommodations for us really.
Brian: I guess, the other thing is eventually we're going to run out of... We've already run out of beer, and we're already running out of alcohol, rum, and stuff. So that kind of goes hand in hand with the sailing lifestyle out here. So we do have a moonshine still on board, so I've started brewing a batch of moonshine to help us through there and keep the crew morale up, as you do.
Kim: So you're putting in another month, and then you'll reassess your plans. What about the longterm? You would have had a lot of time on the couch there with Karen, chatting about your future. What are you thinking beyond COVID-19?
Brian: Well, I mean one of the big problems is we're in the Caribbean, so the hurricane season starts in July. And so if we need to end up staying, if this thing continues to go on much longer, and we have to stay here into the summer, the northern hemisphere summer, then we start having to deal with tropical storms.
Brian: And so we have three plans. All of them have slight variations, but the last part of that plan would be just sailing north, and finding a place in the northeast of the US, where there's the least amount of cases, and just go in there and deal with whatever happens to us when we check-in, whether it be a quarantine, or penalties, or whatever.
Kim: Thank you so much, Brian. Rush in that rum. What is it with sailors and rum? You're a sailor.
Phil: Yeah, I know. I'm not a big fan of rum, but it seems to taste really good when you're on a boat.
Kim: I'm a big fan of rum, and I turn into a pirate when I have too much of it.
Kim: We will have heaps of links in show notes, including a live tracker to follow SV Delos. It includes blogs and videos, and even a way to buy them a drink. Next week, Australians stranded in South America, the 96 hour journey to make it home, and the travel blogger who caught the coronavirus.
Phil: Okay. If you've got a story, you want to share it with us, email [email protected] Bye.
Speaker 2: The World Nomads podcast. Explore your boundaries.