It’s a chaotic, worrisome time right now. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought anxiety and fear into every aspect of people’s lives. It’s not different for us here at Nordhavn with some of our staff being quarantined and working from home. Focus is on the well-being of all involved and the stop of communal spread. Heeding the advice of our government and health leaders, we try to continue with life and work as much as possible. Our leadership group and our yacht owners are navigating these tricky waters and taking approaches that are getting them through this unique time. But how exactly is the virus impacting Nordhavn and how is it being handled?
What follows is a multi-part series on ways Nordhavn and Nordhavn owners are facing the many challenges posed by the novel Coronavirus.
When we arrived in Stornoway, Scotland on June 9th, we stepped ashore for the first time since departing Portland, UK on March 22nd. While we were looking forward to revisiting Stornoway, surprisingly, neither of us was desperate to get ashore. The same versatility that made our Nordhavn 52 Dirona a comfortable and safe home for us over the past decade as we’ve crossed oceans, lived in world-class cities, and explored remote parts of the planet also made the boat an ideal place to wait out the Scottish lockdown. We can produce our own power, make water, generate heat, do laundry, exercise, connect to the Internet, and cook meals all without leaving the boat.
We were initially planning to spend the summer in the Mediterranean but, long before any borders were closed, we decided that the health systems of France, Spain, Italy and the rest of the Mediterranean region were under too much pressure from COVID-19 and so we changed our plans and decided to go to Scotland (see Navigating Uncharted Waters). We’d spent time in Scotland in 2017 and knew it would be a good place to spend some time.
Since grocery shopping can be a hassle, we’d stocked up the boat planning not to need anything except produce and bakery products until we reached Genoa, Italy in July. So when our plans did change and we decided instead to head north to Scotland, we were able to provision the boat for a multi-week lockdown with only two grocery trips, one in Ramsgate, UK and the second in Portland, UK. We bought extra meat, purchased ingredients for baking bread and breakfasts, and stocked up on more produce than we normally would. With the excellent humidity control of our SubZero fridge and some food-storage techniques, we had fresh fruit for eight weeks and our lettuce and carrots still were in great shape eleven weeks after purchase.
When underway from the Portland, UK to the Scottish Outer Hebrides, the UK lockdown was declared. So we anchored at the Isle of Gigha in southern Scotland. Our perhaps naïve expectation was that lockdown would last six to eight weeks, then the restrictions would be lifted and we could return to cruising. But after more than eight weeks, we were still anchored in at Gigha with the lockdown remaining firmly in place. We were doing fine, but starting to run low on supplies and fuel.
The people of Gigha were truly wonderful. The fish farm workers came out once or twice a week to make sure we were doing well. The most amazing experience for us was the local shopkeeper, Joe Teale at Ardminish Stores on Gigha, contacted us on our blog (mvdirona.com) asking if we were OK and needed any groceries. He was willing to order the groceries we needed, and the local fish farm was willing to ferry them out to us out.
While the anchorage at the Isle of Gigha worked out well, after more than two months we needed to refuel and replenish our deep stores. Also, our trusty Northern Lights 12kW generator had developed a valve seat issue and we needed parts to fix it.
Most marinas in Scotland were, and still are, closed for the lockdown to all except local residents. Having been to Stornoway back in 2017, we asked the Port Authority if they would support us in refueling and reprovisioning here. They explained they were closed to recreational boaters but would refuel the boat and allow us to berth here to replenish our supplies. They also generously agreed to accept delivery of the generator parts we needed to get us back to fully operational.
It’s a relief to have full fuel tanks, be fully provisioned and have the generator back to peak operating form. We’re hoping Norway opens up over the next couple of weeks, and we’ll plan to spend the rest of the summer cruising the Norwegian fjords and islands.
With the rapid daily changes that occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all information contained is accurate and up-to-date as of the time of posting.