The Shadow Over 2020 – COVID-19

There’s no need for me to tell anyone here about COVID-19 is there?  So I’ll skip right to the impact it has had on us.  Beginning in March, and through to the last day of 2020 and beyond, COVID forced us to make adjustments to our plans.  Pseudo-chronologically, here they are:

Honduras:  We flew to Honduras on January 12, with a return flight booked for April 30.  All was going to plan there until mid March when we started to see direct impact on us. It seems to me that the event that started the avalanche of closures was the NBA cancelling its games on March 11. This was followed quite quickly by the cancellation of flights in and out of Honduras, roadblocks preventing travel in and out of Trujillo, and further lockdowns throughout Honduras that only permitted travel outside your home to get groceries, medications, or gasoline on specific days of the week (Lisa’s day out was Monday, mine was Friday).

Our airline, Avianca, contacted us on the 18th of March informing us that our flights home were cancelled so for the time being we had no choice but to sit tight and see how this was going to play out. If you’re going to be stuck someplace it might as well be the Caribbean right? And we weren’t planning to go back to Canada until the end of April, so as long as we were able to get food there was no need to panic in our minds. Over the next few weeks there were repatriation flights organized by the Canadian government or the airlines directly but we chose to sit tight. As the number of expats continued to dwindle and the opportunities to get back to Canada became more infrequent, combined with diminishing certainty of supply of important prescription medication, we decided to take advantage of a flight operated by United Airlines (which cost us significantly). Sparing the details, I’ll say that our return trip included a 6+ hour drive in the car bringing COVID test samples from Trujillo to Tegucigalpa followed by flights from Tegus to Houston to Chicago to Toronto beginning on April 16th and ending April 18th.

Arriving in Toronto, we shared our quarantine plan with authorities at the airport and went into the AirBNB condo we had rented downtown for our mandatory 14 day quarantine. Thanks to cooperation of the the condo manager, our daughter Erin was permitted access prior to our return to stock the place with groceries and supplies as we requested. Home!

Did we do all that we wanted when in Honduras? No! We visited Roatan, which is one of the Bay Islands off the Honduran coast, and had plans to tour other Bay Islands before the end April. We were also looking forward to visiting the Mayan ruins in Copan. The Copan ruins are considered to be one of the most spectacular cities of the ancient Mayan civilization. Thanks to COVID travel restrictions, we weren’t able to get there, so we will definitely have to return when life goes back to normal.

2020 Cruising Plans: We had originally planned to spend the 2020 season cruising through Ontario, Quebec, and New York on the Triangle Loop, but plans changed a bit before the season even got started.  If you’re not familiar, the Triangle Loop is considered by some to be a side-trip while cruising America’s Great Loop (more on the Great Loop another time).  Starting at No Yards’ winter storage location in Midland Ontario, returning for the following winter to the Kingston area, this ‘side-trip’ is approximately 1750 km.  We’ll write about this loop when we travel there, hopefully within the next couple of years. Instead, access protocols, border restrictions, and local lockdowns took us on an extended cruise throughout Georgian Bay. Not a bad consolation prize!

Winter Plans 2020/2021: Our plan for winter #2 in retirement was to go to a different warm weather country than Honduras, possibly Costa Rica, Mexico, or Ecuador. We really didn’t get to the point where we did any serious planning for this as the pandemic and associated restrictions on travel continued. The plan was, and remains, to head south every winter. We kept true to our word by moving south from Georgian Bay to Toronto as we wait for the world to return to normal. We love Toronto, particularly the waterfront that will be our home until we return to No Yards in May. If nothing else, we know how to adapt.