HELLO from Isolation Bay, Indonesia; home for a while. It’s been over a month since we first dropped anchor in the bay; the longest we have stayed in any anchorage, ever. Florence, crew and our new community of stationary sailors are safe, well and grateful to be provided with a safe place to stay by the Regional Government. Limited fresh and dried provisions are delivered each week, weather permitting, by small boat from the nearest island town. Phone/internet is a 3-4 hour sail/motor away and our time in internet anchorage is limited as it’s near a town.
Back in Isolation Bay we are able to swim from the boat and exercise on the beach. Necessary rationing of the good (unhealthy) food stores is well underway. Our new machete is making light weight of the coconuts but our fishing still needs more practice/patience. The small island is shared with several other stranded sailors, hundreds of hermit crabs, 3 increasingly portly pigs, 2 cats, 1 delightful dog, a reducing number of chickens, a few pythons (responsible for the reduction in chickens) and 1 island caretaker (responsible for the reduction of pythons). Movement within Indonesia is currently restricted until at least the start of June but we hope to be able to stay here until international borders re-open, whenever that may be.
As I write this, we are not in Isolation Bay. There has been some bad weather recently so we have temporarily moved to a more protected anchorage. The downside is that we are not allowed ashore here and cannot swim due to the crocodiles. The upside is that if we hoist the phone to the top of the mast we can just about get enough signal to share this message.
The last couple of months have really made us focus on what we have to be grateful for. Having spent nearly a month being denied a safe harbour, being asked to stay put during this crisis feels more like a huge privilege, rather than a denial of our freedom. Without the further 5,000 miles we had planned to be sailing this year, we suddenly have a lot more time on our hands; a major currency. To take away some of the pain of not being underway, we have been using that time to do things that are difficult/not possible when we are constantly sailing from place to place. Things like regular exercise ashore, sleeping, sit down meals, walks and cuddles with the same island dog, getting to know the same unchanging neighbours, growing a (very) mini boat garden, catching up on video editing. The hammock and my (Amy’s) paints have even made an appearance for the first time in a long time. There is of course a long list of less enjoyable boat jobs to keep us out of trouble for many more weeks but we are grateful to have the time to tackle them and a safe place to stay.
Change and uncertainty are always hard and life in Isolation Bay is not always the easy paradise that the photos often portray, yet if sailing has taught us anything its that we can adapt, change our course and keep sailing with the Flo.
In a moment, we will lift the anchor and sail home; back to Isolation Bay and away from the internet for another few weeks. The wind has gone and the sunshine returned. It’s been lovely having contact with family, friends and the incredible online community who share in our adventures. Thank you for all your messages, comments and positivity. Despite the isolation, the community that surrounds us both back in Isolation Bay and spread all over the world, means we never feel that we are facing anything alone. See you again in a few weeks. Stay safe lovely people.