Czech adventurers spend coronavirus lockdown in Caribbean

Jiří Fejfar, Kateřina Imlaufová, photo: archive of Jiří Fejfar, Kateřina Imlaufová

While most Czechs are currently confined to their apartments, due to the coronavirus lockdown, two adventurers from East Bohemia have been “forced” to spend their quarantine on their sailing boat in the Caribbean. They are hoping to continue on their journey around the world as soon as the anti-coronavirus measures are lifted or relaxed.

Jiří Fejfar,  Kateřina Imlaufová,  photo: archive of Jiří Fejfar,  Kateřina Imlaufová

Kateřina Imlaufová and Jiří Fejfar set out on a trip around the world on June 12, 2019 from the small Polish town of Kołobrzeg on the coast of the Baltic Sea. From there they continued onboard their red sailboat Polka along the coast of Germany, France and Spain, sailing through the Bay of Biscay to Portugal.

They celebrated Christmas and New Year off the coast of Africa and in March this year, they reached the Caribbean Ocean. This is where their journey was temporarily halted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Kateřina and Jiří were forced to go into a preventive, two-week quarantine, anchoring their sailboat in a bay by the coastal town of Colón, situated near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

Kateřina Imlaufová,  Jiří Fejfar,  photo: archive of Jiří Fejfar,  Kateřina Imlaufová
Because of the quarantine, they couldn’t leave their boat, having basic goods, including food, delivered from the port, and they receive all the coronavirus-related information through a radio transmitter, says Jiří Fejfar.

“Our ship is 7.8 metres long, and this is where we have spent the last two weeks. We couldn’t leave it at all. We spent most of the time exercising and swimming. We are in the Caribbean, but this is really all we can do at the moment.”

Now that their quarantine has ended, they can occasionally visit the harbour to do their shopping, but they have to observe strict regulations related to the coronavirus, explains Kateřina Imlaufová:

“Here, coronavirus-related restrictions are quite strict. Men and women are allowed to go out on different days of the week and I can visit a given shop according to the last numbers in my passport.”

According to the latest data, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently assisting some 200 Czech nationals to return to their homeland. However, Kateřina Imlaufová and Jiří Fejfar have not yet given up on their dream to sail around the world. They hope to continue on their journey as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

“We are waiting for the loosening of the restrictions. We have to wait until the larger stores open again, because we need to make food provisions for the next six months. Our plan is to sail through the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand.”

Even though they are stranded in the Caribbean, the two Czech adventurers are in regular contact with their relatives here in the Czech Republic and they also closely follow news from their homeland.