Twenty-four little hours. Read on for dramatic changes.
Those of you with long memories will know that I promised to make Post 80 an update of the abbreviations and TLAs (three letter acronyms) that were given in Post 40. I’ve decided life is too short. Shout via my contact page if there are any you don’t know and I’ll get back to you personally.
As this race was so short the fleet were pretty bunched up most of the time. I referred in blog post 79 to Qingdao: they missed a Mark and, as is allowed in the rules, they were called out an hour later (the maximum time allowed) so had to go back and do it again. Well, I guess do it for the first time. In the previous race (Race 7/8) two boats missed Marks but found out pretty quickly and did not lose so much time. In this one, Qingdao feeling hard done by (and don’t forget, well in the lead) as they were “ratted on”, made everyone determined to beat them. It almost worked.
At the end of the Post 79, Becca and I had just got back to the Yacht Club hotel (Friday 13th). We went out for supper that night, seeing if we could find a restaurant to take the troops to once they arrived. Back to the Yacht Club and sleep, knowing that our boys were well on their way back. Saturday we hung around the Yacht Club. Went up to the Clipper Office to see about the prize giving tickets but were told they were not back yet. They had to unlock the gym for Becca but otherwise all normal. Then, a call from another supporter who had gone away for a few days to another island. She had a booking starting that day at the Yacht Club but they would not let her in. Odd, but she managed to get into another hotel where the Clipper staff were staying, so we though no more of it and had a nightcap overlooking the marina and wondering when the fleet would arrive. The Marina Manager came over and said there were a few issues as his manager felt they should not let the boats in, but he was liaising with Clipper. Odder and odder. We went to bed wondering what was going to happen, only to be woken about half eleven to be told we were confined to our rooms.
The next morning, we were at least allowed to visit each other (rooms next door and thankfully overlooking the marina). We could also walk around the third floor where the bedrooms are. Only three other guests were apparent. Breakfast was provided by the hotel restaurant: an omelette in a cardboard takeaway box with takeaway coffees in my room. We discovered that all of Subic Bay Freeport Zone was in lock down. George called at 0730 and suggested we got out of the country as soon as we could. I changed my flight from 22nd to 17th (earliest I could manage) and as a safeguard booked JD and George seats as well. We saw the Marina staff erecting a shelter along the pontoon where the fleet tie up.
Becca and I watched the fleet being lined up in the outer harbour then brought onto the pontoons two at a time. Happy photos were taken as they arrived which you can see on the Clipper website if so inclined. Clipper staff and Sir Robin had been allowed in just to give them the situation. As Unicef were fifth (and WTC seventh and Qingdao tenth) we had to wait a while to find out.
They are not allowed off the pontoon until they have had their temperatures taken. They sail on 19th with 40 days of food, heading towards Seattle. All ports have to give refuge to ships in distress so they’ll be fine. Vancouver and Victoria in Canada, Mexico, San Diego, LA were all mentioned if Seattle wouldn’t take them. Then the FCO issued advice that only essential travel to The Philippines be undertaken, then the same for the USA.
A while after all the boats were in, the front desk called to say we could see our husbands but had to maintain a social distance. We were escorted out and told where to stand, Even with “boat voices”, conversation was not easy, but we did at least glimpse each other.
Meanwhile Becca and I had lunch in the lobby on our floor. Marginally better than breakfast, it was on a proper plate and with beer!
Later we found out that no-one was going to arrive to take their temperatures (on a Sunday) so a night on the boats in port. They were able to order beer and pizza so some semblance of a party. I forgot to say (if it needs saying) that prize giving is cancelled. I was awoken Monday morning (today) by Romeo (OK, JD) outside my balcony. The crew are being allowed to go to the shower block along the marina. A super yacht moored up (they seem to have full freedom) was blaring out pop music so once again no real communication. I was not compos mentis enough to get a photo so you’ll have to imagine the scene.
Becca and I found out that we could leave the hotel from the front but could not go into the marina at the back. We went and had a decent breakfast at Urban Deli across the road. We are still in limbo regarding the crew being allowed off the pontoon, out of the Yacht Club and out of the country (other than across the Pacific).
To the best of my knowledge, I will be able to get a taxi to Clark International tomorrow and fly home. I am so glad I did not travel via Manila which, although international flights are not stopped, is also in lock down and finding a taxi to take me there would be difficult. Most of the cases and deaths have been there (about four hours away). The issue here seems to be two Clipper staff who have been taken to hospital with gastroenteritis and, as a precaution, tested for CV. The first one is now out of hospital so presumably tested negative. The second went in a day later so I guess his results will be out tomorrow. Since typing this last sentence, I’ve been told the crew will not be tested until at least tomorrow, so another night on the boats.
More news as it comes in. Enjoy the sunset I’ve used as the header photo, a reminder of happier days earlier in the week!