Position: 37° 35′ 49”N 0° 58′ 48”W

We are on lock down. We can leave the marina only if we’re buying groceries or going to the pharmacy. Marlon can’t leave the marina and can walk only as far as he needs for his doggie business. Streets are empty and the police are taking their job seriously.

Two weeks ago, our friends Lauren and Wade arrived in Madrid. At the time we didn’t fully realize Madrid is Spain’s ground zero for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that gives you COVID-19). We met up with the lovebirds a couple of days later in the town of Cuenca, just ahead of Madrid closing its schools. From there it was a foot race as we tried to visit some of Spain’s most beautiful villages and not contract or spread the disease in the process. (We will have a road trip report soon – I promise!)

The immediate result of Madrid’s school closures was for the wealthy to jump in their cars, or onto trains, and head to their second homes along the south coast. Granada, Murcia and other states suddenly realized their low to no rates of infection were about to change. With the tragedy in Italy unfolding in real time, along with limited emergency care facilities and higher proportions of elderly residents off-season, Spain’s coastal states banned all but emergency travel.

How to wash your handsCartagena has shuttered schools and closed offices and restaurants. The police are out ensuring people stay indoors, and there are heavy fines for socializing. This is tough for Spaniards. Socializing is the essential fabric of their culture.

Panic-buying of toilet paper lasted a day. Our local Carrefour (a big supermarket chain) was out of fresh meat and milk last Saturday. The following Monday shelves were full again. There’s nothing wrong with the supply chain. Besides the addition of hand sanitizer and disposable gloves at the store’s entrance and masks on shoppers and employees, things are relatively normal.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been monitoring each other and taking our temperatures regularly. Being symptom free, and with the looming spectre of a global travel ban, Lauren and Wade headed back to the States two weeks earlier than planned. Originally booked on flights out of London at the end of the month, they caught the last plane out of Murcia’s regional airport for Gatwick on Wednesday. When they arrived in the UK, they discovered their flight home had been cancelled. So, they grabbed seats on the next US-bound flight that afternoon and skedaddled. They are now safely back home in self-isolation.

Today, the marina has about half the number of crews in it. Several boats set sail last week, only to find out they’re not welcome anywhere along the coast. Even if Aleta’s engine was working, we aren’t allowed to leave now. Other folks have headed home to wait out the pandemic there. The rest of us are practicing ‘physical distancing’ while remaining socially connected via a daily VHF net. We have internet access and therefore entertainment. We wash our hands regularly, try not to touch our faces, and walk around the marina for exercise. We feel a bit like very big hamsters.





  1. A thought for sustained fitness. Do you have mast steps, or can you get them at the marina? Combined with a belay, it may be possible to have aerobics *and* safety.

  2. Stay safe, we’re under increasingly similar rules here, although the National Guard is mobilizing, not out on the streets yet! Theyve closed the liquor stores which leads to consternation, fortunately KJN isnt here!

    Julian R Northcott
      1. We feel your pain, Marlon … same here. We walk – but not as often/far but longer than a pier. Stay well and continue to keep your humans entertained … our jobs during these trying times. WOOF. – Augie and Jasper

        Augie & Jasper

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