Where next is always a difficult topic for us, since invariably we end up nowhere near where we thought we’d be. This applies to this year more than ever, as Covid shuts down borders and complicates future planning with constantly changing regulations.
At the beginning of 2020 we had a well drafted plan that took us from South Africa to Brazil and up to the Caribbean for the year. However, as borders shut our options disappeared.
After a two month lockdown in Saldahna Bay, South Africa, we decided to head into the Atlantic while countries were still closed, hoping that borders would start to open durning out transit. It was a big gamble. Namibia remained closed, St. Helena remained closed, Ascension remained closed. The Cape Verdes remained closed.
But our gamble paid off. After sailing 6000 miles, we finally pulled into the Azores after 52 days to open borders and a welcome reception. After a very efficient Covid-protocol, we tested clear and were welcomed ashore 24-hours after arrival.
For the following month and a half we explored the Azores islands, enjoying a relaxed atmosphere and free movement within the islands. As an autonomous archipelago to Portugal, their close ties meant that we could enter the mainland Europe without requiring clearance; the following two months we sailed from Porto on the northwest coast to the Algarve on the southern coast of Portugal. Covid was well contained so we were free to travel and reduced tourism resulted in no crowds and no bookings or reservations required.
We are currently in the Canary Islands, considering following our original plan of a westward sail to the Caribbean. However, recent comments about Gambia have us interested in sailing south before heading west to explore the muddle croc filled waters of West Africa.
So, once again we are scratching out names on our agenda and penning in new possibilities. We hope to make a decision shortly, but at the moment which way we turn remains to be seen.