Day #375: Confined in Isla Provedencia (before IOTA hits)

We sailed six and a half days from Mexico to this tiny island in the West Caribbean, a hundred miles off the rough coast of Nicaragua.

Provedencia seems to be very promising. Harmonic green hills are covered with palms and a few houses, well build and maintained. The harbor entrance is correctly marked – which we haven’t seen in a while in the Caribbean, with Cuba being a positive exception. Average Caribbean buoys, which according to the charts mark the fairways or reefs or other hazards, are not on their position, are not working or not existing at all. Not so in Provedencia. This island appears neatly organized and well maintained.

Observed from our boat, anchored in front of the Coast Guard station. Due to the COVID-19 measures in Columbia, we are still not allowed on land.

Sorry, but stuff breaks

Our tracker stopped working, and we are very sorry about that – it is a technical problem in the backbone of our website. Which we only can fix with fast and reliable internet. We are currently operate with a SIM card and 3G. For really fixing that, we need to step on land or have at least 4G internet access.

We have received a lot of concerned messages from friends and family. I start to doubt the sense of such tracking device. Since it evokes a feeling that our readers can watch us on their smartphone.

But this is not the reality. The tracker is a robot, and sends every 15 minutes an SMS to the server, containing the current GPS position plus speed and bearing.

The reality is that: We sail or motor, it is day or night with moon or without, rain or sunshine, we are content and moving or stressed fixing stuff etc. etc. The robot can’t recognize our situation, just the GPS position…

In the Moment the tracker stopped, we had a very nice sail, with mild winds and waves. The family read books or played cards, or just took a nap. There was nothing wrong, and we only later found out, that the tracker stopped.

In fact, we are not facing many risks out in the ocean, compared to a life on land. That is something very difficult to understand for anybody not sailing.

The biggest risk we face is bad weather, for instance a survival storm, a hurricane. Weather is the one thing we constantly surveil and discuss with other boaters. We contain this risk as far and as good as possible.

A residual risk remains, of course. Like the risk of a bad car accident on the way to school or work.

Additionally, ARGO is prepared for a situation with sustained winds above 40kn.
Risk are low on the ocean, compared to land.

Our tracking page incorporates the actual weather for this reason. And as long we don’t experience 40kn and above sustained (which we have never experienced yet, knock-on-wood…), there is no significant risk to ARGO and her crew.

Internet access is the only thing we don’t have on the ocean, which we might miss sometimes. But only sometimes.

Waiting, confided

ARGO anchors six nights already between Provedencia and Catalina. We are the only sailing boat here.

One might have the presumption that Latin America is laid back, relaxed, sometime a little shady.

The Columbian Coast Guard pays us visits almost every day, and hands us the groceries for the day. Young soldiers, in neat uniforms, a brand new 15m boat with 3x300hp outboard engines, V8 of course. The conversation goes in Spanish, everybody is relaxed but professional and friendly. The guy on the foredeck carries an AK-47, just in case.

The groceries are cheap and good quality. We can get everything what we want.
The only problem: we are still not allowed on land. On Wednesday, our quarantine expires, by then we are 14 days on the sea without external contact. Still, we don’t know if we can step on land after the quarantine. The Coast Guard don’t has a procedure for a rare occasion like a sailing family coming to Provedencia in times of COVID-19.

In fact, we have asked the Embassy in Bogota for advise. The weather doesn’t allow to carry on for the next days. And technically, we cannot enter in any other country. Panama, which still let cruising boats in, is in lockdown.

The German embassy is very helpful, contacted us immediately after we put a request for CONS SUPPORT on their website.
The island doesn’t record any COVID cases and is confined. We are confined to.
Hopefully, we continue our confinement on the island. The family would love to stretch legs, go for a hike, sit in the local library with fast Internet.

To get some real work done.

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