Cruising

Ti Marick - A magical lockdown in the Tuamotus

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In the Tuamotus, this is where the first case was recorded - a Swiss diver. Near the garbage bins, a poster read: «Coronavirus alert, sailing boats forbidden». The mutoi, (the municipal policeman), strongly advised us to leave the anchorage, which we did after we were sure that we could return two weeks later when the Cobia, one of the schooners that supply this part of the Tuamotus, passed by. Then we sailed to Toau, about 15 miles away. Like everyone else, we were astonished to learn that all trade, movement and travel on the planet had stopped. Thanks to our Iridium Go we always had access to our emails. Our days were well organized. In the morning, the men went spearfishing. Even though it was a bit difficult at the start, they really enjoyed discovering and sharing these moments together. After lunch, we went to stretch our legs on the ocean-side of the rocky outcrop, in the shade of the coconut palms. Or we would head out in the dinghy to discover new snorkeling spots - the sea bed is beautiful. Night falls quickly: 8pm of course meant a relaxing aperitif before finishing the evening with a film or a book. Then it was absolute calm: not a sound except the waves on the reef, with no intrusive light except the moon. One day we anchored near an abandoned pearl farm. We could make out a small house nearby, hidden among the coconut palms. We approached in the dinghy to greet the occupant, while respecting the regulatory distances. The welcome was polite, but distant. During one fishing trip, the guys watched helplessly and amazed as the sharks ...

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