On the way to New Zealand, Floris and five others were trapped in French Polynesia when the corona virus reached the archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. There are bad places to get stuck, but they are still worrying. Will they be able to continue their journey or will this dream destination become their prison?
When handing us a form from the police boat, Genderm sternly says, “You are not allowed to continue traveling.” Only one crew member is allowed ashore at a time for groceries or medical advice. Always have a mouth mask and keep this form in your pocket, ”says his colleague. When we look at the sheet of paper in amazement, they fly. They are now traveling at full speed on a boat that came to Gambier. We hear from the Dutch crew that they had been at sea for almost a month, but the police ordered them to travel to Tahiti. They are currently allowed to stay as their food and fuel supply is exhausted. The sudden announcement of the lock-up and the harsh behavior of the police in this paradise sailing area makes us think. Where should we go when the hurricane season begins? Can we continue our voyage and our sailors for sustainability?
Endured in the gambier
We are in Rikidia, the only village in the beautiful Gambier archipelago, so we could have done worse. “At least we can get new packets every day,” the five laugh. “Shopping for more new boats.” New boats are tricky almost every day. Unlike us, newcomers have to be in isolation for fourteen days. However, most are happy to be tolerated for the time being; Officially, all boats coming to French Polynesia must proceed to Tahiti, and the crew must fly home.
As time goes on, we feel more and more trapped in Rikidia. Adding to the prison feeling is the fact that the uncle officer closes one eye on Anchor Bay from the police station. We would love to explore the archipelago further and get the first chance we get. Dozens of boats immediately ‘hide from bad weather’ when genders mention that sailors are allowed to enter the gambier if needed for safety. We choose an island in a corner of the archipelago about eight miles from Rikidia.
Are you interested in the rest of the story? Where can humans find a kind of trash can? What do Floris and the Five Do in exchange for nature? How did they realize beforehand that as world sailors they relied so heavily on political decisions about their independence? At what point are all the sailors in a happy mood? What do Plan A and Plan B mean? Will they be allowed into their destination or not? You read it all inside Lines 04/2021! Buy or read the number online here on the website (read the article) Lines Here Digital. Would you like to read these kinds of stories every month from now on? Then subscribe here.
Cover and photo: Floris von Heiss and Ivor Smiths
Text: Floris von Heiss and Iver Smiths