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Will This Fall/Winter COVID-19 Surge Effect Your Cruising Season?

The author's view that the current COVID-19 surge may have an effect on the upcoming 2021 cruising season. What do you think?

I purposely waited to edit this post till mid-afternoon to make sure I could smooth the rough edges of my writing.  We often talk to various sailing folks about their views on cruising and sailing subjects of interest, like…the 2020/21  cruising season.  In March, Behan Gifford wrote a great article when most of the South Pacific shut down to cruisers and Totem was unable cross at the time.  Emotions were running high back in the early days of COVID and I wonder if her advice is valid now like it was then.  As an intro to my story about the possibility of upcoming closures and the effects on your cruising, here’s Totem’s story from March:  The South Pacific Is Closed.  The Giffords are long-term family cruisers onboard Totem STILL out cruising.  I encourage you to check out their website and FOLLOW them to read many of the stories you also see in various national cruising and sailing magazines.  Turn the page to read the rest of my story:  

Will the current Fall/Winter COVID-19 surge in the US and Europe have an effect on your upcoming/spring-summer cruising season?  Yes…it might.  Read on:  The US and Europe are being hit with a fall/winter resurgence of COVID-19 as a I write and Europe is starting to close down now.  However; Panama, Costa Rica, parts of the South Pacific and parts of the Caribbean have started to slowly open…in time for the Panama Posse and southbound boats to dash through.  I think there’s a chance with the surge in Europe and the US that these same countries will have a COVID-19 surge filter through them as well, increasing the chances that these same countries may start to close sooner than later in answer to a winter surge.  Will this actually happen?  I don’t know.  But friends of the HelmsMistress who work in a Virology Lab and hospital Emergency Rooms predicted a Fall/Winter Surge and strongly cautioned us about how dangerous and virulent it might become.

Folks coming southbound may want to consider where they may go next if they come to Mexico or Panama…cause this might not be the season to “jump” to the South Pacific if New Zealand and Australia remain closed and if there’s any question that Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean might close again.  Obviously cruisers should not count on a vaccine getting approved, licensed and distributed by the end of this calendar year.  I also think there’s little chance of a vaccine getting out (distributed) until at least spring of 2021….longer to get to the warm places we all want to go.  This most recent surge in Europe also dashed hopes for Atlantic crossings, as the EU will likely remain closed as COVID continues to surge through countries there also. 

South Pacific, Caribbean and Central America may or may not close down again in response to this fall/winter COVID surge…so you should be prepared not to (be able) to sail to those dream destinations if that happens.  Parts of the Caribbean and Mexico will remain open (Mexico NEVER closed) and ready for cruisers this cruising season…but evidence supports a cautious approach right now for cruisers who want to cross oceans.


The last time I sat down to write this same post was in late July of this year.  I was sitting a calm bay at Coronado Island outside of Loreto in BCS, Baja Mexico contemplating the road trip we had just finished earlier in July and the post I came up with was called, Considerations For Cruising Right Now.  As both me and the HelmsMistress are steeped in Risk Management analysis from our previous lives….we looked at risk vs. gain for that roadtrip and we did it.  But in taking that leap toward risk, we made every effort to balance risk with mitigation efforts, our own safety protocols and minimization of personal contacts.  We took the same steps when we looked at what we wanted to do as a family in this upcoming cruising season.  We asked ourselves why we wanted to get down the coast of Central America so quickly and why we wanted to get through the Caribbean so fast.  Why did we need to get to Florida in one season?  While we can’t answer all these questions, we did decide there’s too much uncertainty right now with no vaccine “out” so we’re going to spend another season in mainland Mexico and Baja for hurricane season.  

Is this post supposed to come off as fear mongering?  Nope, this post is fodder for you to consider if you’re cruising or about to go cruising.

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