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Mar 27, 2020   |  St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands - Remarkably, yachts still have freedom of movement around the island, but a 'lockdown' seems imminent.

Learn more at: MutinyIslandVodka.com

Mar 25, 2020 (Day 4,682)
Quick Fix: 18° 19.9 N / 64° 56.2 W
Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Good News
Islanders are typically pretty resourceful. After-all, if you live in a small community surrounded entirely by the sea, neighbors are family, they are your friends - people you care for and share your life with, so working together to solve a common problem takes on a higher priority. A headline story in The Virgin Islands Daily News covers two local companies that, by working together, have created hand sanitizer from locally grown breadfruit. A single breadfruit tree yields enough to feed an entire family, but apparently can also be distilled to produce vodka (who knew?!), and by making a few adjustments to the process and stirring in a few other locally grown ingredients, like aloe vera, makes for an excellent hand sanitizer. Unlike the process used to craft Mutiny Island Vodka, this product is not suitable for consumption, the aloe alone would make it a little sticky on the palette, but it's still 140 proof, contains 70% alcohol, which is more than COVID-19 can stomach, and that's news worth toasting.


Day 4,680 - St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
14:17 hrs - March 23, 2020
Storm Season

No matter where you are, land or sea, the restrictions relating to COVID-19 are changing almost daily, and measures that would have seemed unimaginable a few days ago, reserved for the pages of a post-apocalyptic novel, are now a sobering reality for many.

Last week we had prepared Dream Time to sail north for Turks and Caicos, then the Bahamas before returning to Florida to close our 13-year world voyage. But changing conditions made it clear that moving anywhere, even on a cruising yacht, would be a mistake. The majority of islands and countries within the Caribbean have closed their borders leaving some mariners literally stranded at sea and wondering which way to sail.

We have friends crossing the South Pacific now, on the way to the Galapagos Islands, but as of March 14th, after sailing a thousand miles from Panama and spending over a week at sea, the Enchanted Isles can only be viewed from your deck, just long enough to collect some meager provisions before being waved on by Ecuadorian officials, and countries over 3,000 miles west - the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia - are all closed.

We're lucky to be on a well equipped and well provisioned boat, it is perhaps one the safest places to weather this pandemic. And the fact that we anchored, by chance, at Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands just a week before the virus exploded, makes us luckier still. The island has a population of just 51,000 people, stores remain open and fully stocked, cargo ships arrive daily to unload supplies, and locals are making preparations in the same calm, orderly and practical manner usually reserved for an approaching hurricane, to which they are well practiced. The Virgin island's Governor, Albert Bryan Jr., just announced additional closures, comparing the coronavirus to an "invisible hurricane".

Storm season has begun early this year.

Mar 19, 2020 (Day 4,676)
Quick Fix: 18° 19.9 N / 64° 56.2 W
US Virgin Islands, Caribbean

Off The Grid
We're independent in a way we never imagined possible when our home was New York. But it can be difficult. Weeks at sea can be sublime, sure, but they can sometimes be lonely. Distant anchorages off uninhabited islands can also feel desolate and empty. Of course, much depends on your state-of mind. Often we miss family and friends, perhaps that's why cruisers are quick to meet for sundowners and potlucks? But we value our independence on Dream Time. We have learned how to be self-sufficient, and we recognize how remarkably rare that freedom is, particularly now. We have replenished our supplies - petrol, diesel, propane, fishing lines, lures, toilet paper... and it is time for us to set sail. We'll be heading to Turks and Caicos and hope to be allowed entry, but if access is denied we can live off the grid for months. These are extraordinary times to be sure, but maintaining perspective is important, no matter where you are. Social distancing is simple on a boat, but it's not always easy. However, we remain optimistic, it is, after-all, the first day of spring.


Mar 18, 2020   |  US Virgin Islands - We're taking social distancing seriously on Dream Time, even here. Next week we'll have at least 6 days of isolation at sea.



Day 4,670 - St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
18:45 hrs - March 13, 2020

Yesterday we witnessed a cruise ship being denied access to the US Virgin Islands. One minute Grandeur of the Sea was making its slow pirouette into a tight berth alongside Crown Bay Marina on Saint Thomas, with the usual compliment of passengers lining the decks in anticipation of their arrival, the next minute it was steaming back out to sea. It seems one crew member onboard had travelled to Japan within the last fourteen days, and even though they were not showing any symptoms of COVID-19, the US Coast Guard denied them entry to "keep the public safe". The cruise ship was also denied access into Antigua before arriving in the US Virgin Islands, and as its final destination is the port Maryland, which is also closed, who knows exactly where it's steaming to now.

Locals we've spoken to here on Saint Thomas are growing increasingly concerned. Not necessarily about the coronavirus itself and possible contagion, most here have put that concern into perspective, but more about the domino effects of precautionary measures and how they will almost certainly have a significant economic impact on the island. Cruise ships will no longer be allowed to enter Saint Thomas for the next month, and as there can be up to five, sometimes eight ships arriving in a single day this time of year, unloading up to 10,000 tourists, well, that's a staggering loss of business. One local we spoke to today in a Pueblo supermarket was also concerned about the potential disruption of cargo deliveries to the island, and surrounded by long lines of locals wearing long expressions, many seemed to share her worry. A Walgreens we visited earlier in the day had signs stating customers were limited to just two toilet rolls each. The shelves were already empty.

Pueblo supermarket was exceptionally busy, edging on frantic, where many customers pushed trolleys loaded with bottles of bleach, water, and paper towels. We asked one local if it was usually so crowded on a Friday afternoon, she shook her head and said it felt like pre-hurricane preparations - and folks were getting ready for the worst.

We're very fortunate on Dream Time. Our cupboards are fully stocked. We can make our own water, and power, and we have a freedom and flexibility of movement (for now at least) that we are most grateful for. In a week we will be sailing north to Turks and Caicos, then into the Bahamas where we plan on spending a month or more exploring some of the more remote and uninhabited islands in the southern chain. We know how lucky we are.

We found a tiny gecko inside the boat last night. We're not entirely sure how he managed to sneak onboard, but perhaps he wanted to join us. After chasing him around the cabin we managed to finally gather him up, and this morning decanted him from a pot (where he was quarantined for the night) into a Ziploc bag (with air holes) so we could ferry him back to shore in the dinghy. We named him Thomas, found him a nice garden where, with an impressive back flip, he sprung out of the bag and stuck to a leaf.

Mar 9, 2020 (Day 4,666)
Quick Fix: 18° 19.8 N / 64° 56.2 W
US Virgin Islands

Welcome Home
We last sailed into US territory in 2013 after a wet, wild and windy passage through the ITCZ from the Cook Islands to American Samoa. And last week, after a mellow overnight sail under a moon bright enough to cast shadows across our deck, we entered home waters - the US Virgin Islands. As an American vessel no courtesy flag is required, and clearing customs, well, that too was unsettlingly casual. The officer didn't request our departure papers from Antigua until I reminded him. He then stamped our passports with an arrival date of March 3rd, which would be fine except it was March 7th, so any future official even remotely diligent in their work may question how, exactly, we managed to arrive in the US Virgin Islands two whole days before our departure from Antigua. Later we returned to our dinghy to discover a bright orange parking violation sticker affixed to our outboard engine, apparently for improper docking (that's a first in 13 years of world cruising). But it's still really nice to be 'home'.


Mar 4, 2020   |  Deep Bay, which strangely only carries about ten feet of water, is our last anchorage in Antigua. Tomorrow we sail for the Virgin Islands!

Mar 3, 2020   |   We're anchored tonight in Nelson's Dockyard (yep, that's us far right). I wonder what Horatio would make of this sleek fleet of mega yachts?