August 20th, 2021
We left Happy Days safely in Hiva Oa, thinking we were not going to see it for a long time. We did so much work getting every thing clean and in place. I gave away all the food we had left to locals and other boats. We had to hibernate the water maker, the engine. Take all sails down and pack everything inside.
Everything was going ¨as planned¨. Flights to France in place, flights to Australia reserved and I was thinking I was going to have to start working from quarantine. But in the last couple of weeks before we were due to leave for Australia the biggest COVID 19 outbreak occurred in NSW and turned everything upside down.
The number of Australians allowed to enter the country was reduced by half. Our American Airlines flights canceled and they even confirmed there will not be any flights reschedule until November and subject to review. We started to looked different combinations of flights, passing by Turkey, China, New Caledonia and everything else. Prices increased horrendously up to 15,000 euros a single ticket with no warranty at all. I started monitoring the Sydney airport and more than half of the flights were cancelled on daily basis.
My manager was very understanding of the situation and once again my sabbatical leave got extended. This time until December 2021. That was a blessing as we could stopped worrying and getting all frustrated. When COVID hits there is nothing you can do. All the trip we had been navigating around COVID and getting back home was not going to be the exception.
With that in mind we had to put a new plan in place to be able to arrive in Australia by December. Basically two options: one, to stay in France and wait until we could get flights, or two, go back to French Polynesia get Happy Days and sail to Australia.
The biggest problem was to take the decision mid August. The only way the option two would be feasible is if we arrive to Australia beginning of December. Later than that and we take the risk to be on the path of a cyclone.
So after a lot of considerations and thinking of pros and cons our new route is Hiva Oa to Australia. That is 9000km about 4800 nautical miles. It is a long, long way so stay tune and enjoy the journey with us because it is not finish yet!…