Geoff Schultz and Sue Waudy sail through South and Central America. They have been doing this every year for the last 20 years. However, the journey they made this year might turn out to be the most memorable one.
Waudby and Schultz flew to Guatemala from Boston where their sailboat is usually docked in January for starting with their yearly sailing cruise across South and Central America. They had a slow start as they were experiencing some problems with the vessel which kept them docked at Guatemala’s marina longer than they had expected. However, they started sailing in February mid.
As the residents of Marlborough started to sail in Italy, the coronavirus pandemic that had started in China has started seizing the whole world. Waudby and Schultz are the founders of Fresh Start Furniture Bank at Hudson. This is an organization which provides needy families with one-time help in offering household items and furniture. They had been at SouthwaterCaye in Belize during March and it is then that they came to know that Guatemala is going to close the borders to the outsiders in less than 2 days.
The couple was confused and didn’t know if they should stay in Guatemala or Belize where there is a lack of convenient and quality medical care. They didn’t know if it would be possible to make it to Guatemala before they closed the border. However, they had not planned to return to Massachusetts as the virus has been spreading quite rapidly around Middlesex County. So, they planned to return to Guatemala to reassess the options they have in hand. However, they faced big challenges.
Schultz states that reaching Guatemala is not simple. They had to navigate a 5ft sandbar and then cleared into Guatemala. They noticed that a French boat had been denied entry as the passengers held European dessert. The couple then had to assure the border agents that haven’t been to the US in the last 3 weeks. Waudby says it is scary thinking that they are going to say no.
However, they were allowed to enter but they had to undergo some health checkup that included taking their temperatures and answering questionnaires. Both of them had been given a card that contained a seal. It had their recorded temperature that they have to carry.
The sailing friends of the couple had invited them over for riding out the coronavirus pandemic at their home on Mexico’s Isla Mujeres that has many hospitals close-by. Waudby and Schultz took a taxi to the Mexican border and they crossed on foot while their luggage had been on tow. Thereafter, they had to undergo a health checkup by the Mexican official prior to entering the country.
After this, they booked a flight to Mexico City and then another to Cancun prior to reaching Isla Mujeres by a ferry where they met their friends. They said that the flights had only a handful of passengers. Schultz states that these 2 days had been stressful.