14 months had passed since the pilot on KL1202 from Amsterdam to Stavanger in mid May 2020 flipped on his air breaks ending our ‘going-home-for-covid‘ travels at Stavanger airport, Norway.
Our final glimpse of sy Escape was her being pulled out of the water in Curacao Marina as our friend and fellow OCC member Victor Langerwerf sped us towards the airport. This little virus had paused us, our Explore -Learn – Share, as it paused the whole world and still does.
Now, I leaned back in the seat, looked out to confirm the air brakes were off, smiled at Vetle’s expectations as the pilot let loose the 40.000 lb thrust pushing us into the next chapter in Escape-West.
It had been 14 months of work, family and friends. National holiday, midsummer, Christmas, Easter and birthdays had passed. 14 months of hiking, bicycling and day trips but still mysteriously gaining weight. Most of all, it had been Vetles first year in school.
The 14 months had matured us to better understand the impact of the global Covid ordeal and how to adapt.
At end of March 2020, we arrived Curacao waters at precisely the wrong moment entering into the disarray of uncertainty that coloured all professional and political decisions at that time. We had no other options than to enter Spanish Waters thus disobeying direct orders from the Curacao coast guard, we quarantined for 14 days waiting for a decision to be churned out and unwillingly causing busy people some unneeded head ache.
We were allowed to stay and then …… then the day came when we would finally get off the boat and Explore… that was the day Curacao issued a complete lock down at the end of March 2020. We hunkered down for two months.
Let history be history. Now we were airborne. The smell brought promises of a warmed up toast of some sort and re-heated coffee. Our check in claimed the lion’s share of the payload of the KLM Cityhopper we used to jump from Stavanger to Amsterdam where a longer flight awaited to take us to Curacao. Additional to our over sized over weight carry on, we had checked in 6 banana boxes in Philipino style filled with ‘stuff and things‘, mostly for the boat.
‘We dont need to bring clothes. We are going to the tropics’ was my argument and ‘we must have some clothes in the boat already’. ‘6 boxes, three persons, do the math’ Theresa said. ‘So the boat does not count?‘. No, the boat did not count since it was not a person with needs. I changed tactics. ‘I can prepare the banana boxes‘ thinking that this would allow me to sneak in some tools and boy-stuff unnoticed before I taped the bananaboxes. It worked and now it was thrusted towards Amsterdam and Curacao together with the rest of us.
I diligently followed to inflight map as we sped across the Atlantic. Dinner arrived, filmes were consumed and some hours later the Boeing 777 descended to Hato international airport at Curacao.
Our banana boxes raised eyebrows and questions at the customs. ‘Import fruit?’. ‘It is not bananas, it is cloths’. ‘Ohh,for selling?’. ‘No for wearing‘. She looked at Theresa and I think she was about to ask how one female could have 6 banana boxes of clothes. ‘We have a boat here‘, I said in a successful attempt to derail her train of thoughts. She smiled nodding with a daydreaming light in her eyes.
I managed to sneak our harpoon through without scanning but did not get far. ‘What is that?‘ I heard a baritone male voice from behind. ‘It is a harpoon‘, I heard myself say without thinking. ‘Illegal in Curacao‘ the baritone said. ‘We will confiscate it and you will get it back when you leave Curacao. I will get a form to be filled out‘. I was fine with that as we were not going spear hunt in Curacao. As I was waiting for the form, the customs lady waved us through. ‘It is ok. go sailing but don’t use it in Curacao‘. I smiled a thank you to her and off we went.
Outside, at arrivals, the omnipresent OCC port office was waiting. Victor smiled and gave us a warm ‘Welcome‘. We had arrived !