A liveaboard family from the UK have been spending lockdown in a Mediterranean boatyard having been living out their dream of sailing around the world together.
The family from Rottingdean consist of Mum, Irenka, who was Brighton's first female beach lifeguard coxwain and an RNLI crew member, with previous experience as an RYA training centre principal and flotilla skipper.
Irenka's partner Alan Wood, had a small bespoke furniture business before setting off on their journey and also had been an RYA chief instructor and flotilla skipper, which had 'only partly prepared us for the challenges of a live-aboard life'.
After setting out two years ago, the challenges don't end there and like many have had to hold up their voyaging due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Alan spoke to The Argus:
"Before the Spanish lockdown we had our boat lifted for some essential repairs before our Atlantic crossing. Six weeks later we are still living on the boat, several metres above the ground, and home-schooling the kids.
“Despite difficult conditions we have decided to stay because if we go back to the UK we won’t be able to return to Spain for the foreseeable future.
“Sailing is also now heavily restricted in most parts of the Mediterranean and our contacts tell us that is true of most parts of the world.
“The boat is our home so we have decided to wait it out in the hope we can continue our journey when this all ends, although travel bans may extend to September according to President Macron of France.”
With stringent restrictions being tightened, the family had even been buzzed by drones to stay in their boat at all times despite not having toilet facilities. With the only exception to go food shopping, which had to be done solo on their bike being without the luxury of a car.
Living out this dream was always going to produce certain hardships but the family have pulled together and made the best of these unprecedented times. The community of other liveaboards proved a real help with regular contact via their VHF radios and generous donations of food the family had received from other boat owners.
Despite this roadbump the family are keeping their spirits high with quizzes, activities with the kids and home-schooling to keep themselves occupied whilst boat repairs are being stalled.
The couple had admitted,
"It has been difficult, especially trying to stay sane with three kids onboard but we are all healthy and we've got each other, when other folk are going through lockdown in total isolation. We hope everyone stays safe and knows that you are not alone in all this!"