After missing the European boating season for 2020 we were hopefully optimistic that we would return to our Joie de Vivre in 2021. However to achieve this end a number of hurdles had to be successfully navigated.
1. Vaccinations with documented proof of the required 2 jabs.
2. Permission from the Australia border force to leave the country
3. The purchase of airfares(not too difficult thanks to Julie Avery)
4. A documented negative Covid test 72 hours before departire
5. Health declarations for all the countries we were transiting through
With all these documents in our hot little hands we finally departed on Wednesday 28th to our first stop, Hong Kong. All I can say is international Covid travel is e very different experience. To my dismay with the lounges closed there was no pre boarding glass of champagne. And the flight, only 25 people on board and no walking around the plane while in the air.
The next shock was on arriving at Hong Kong airport. This previously vibrant shopping hub was deserted , with the shops not only closed but empty. Again no lounges opened and to add insult to injury our flight to Zurich was delayed which pushed back our connecting time time from Zurich to Amsterdam from 1 hour to 6 hours. But I’m not complaining, we had escaped!
After the Armageddon like experience of both Melbourne and Hong Kong we felt as though, instead of arriving in Europe, we had been diverted to another planet. The airports were packed with people enjoying the luxury of travel. Admittedly everyone is required to wear a mask, but you can forget about contact tracing and social distancing. It is even difficult to find complimentary hand sanitiser.
We finally arrived at Joie de Vivre at 6.30 pm on the Thursday after a mammoth 40 hours from door to door. We were warmly welcomed by the harbour master. I even had the lady who lives in the house opposite our mooring come and say hello promising a catch up when we return for the winter mooring in October.
The joyful news is that all the systems on the boat kicked over on the first try. The downside is after 2 days on board I still have miles of cleaning and thousands of spiders to chase away.