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Couple Travelling The World By Yacht Had No Idea How Bad Coronavirus Pandemic Was

Jess Hardiman

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Couple Travelling The World By Yacht Had No Idea How Bad Coronavirus Pandemic Was

A couple who have been travelling were completely unaware of the scale of the coronavirus pandemic until they recently tried to dock in the Caribbean, where they were told that many islands had closed their borders.

Elena Manighetti, from Lombardy in Italy, and Ryan Osborne, from Manchester in the UK, quit their jobs back in 2017 and bought a boat so that they could see the world together.

They left the Canary Islands in late February of this year and made their way over to Bequia, a Caribbean island some 3,000 miles away.

While they knew that coronavirus was affecting China at the time they departed, the couple had no idea how extensively it was due to spread - and had told their families that they didn't wish to receive any bad news while they were away.

Manighetti told the BBC: "In February we'd heard there was a virus in China, but with the limited information we had, we figured by the time we got to the Caribbean in 25 days it would all be over.

"We told our shore contacts we didn't want to hear any bad news, which was a difficult job as it was pretty bad news."

Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osbourne. Credit: Instagram/@sailingkittiwake
Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osbourne. Credit: Instagram/@sailingkittiwake

After 25 days at sea - during which time they had no mobile phone signal or, in turn, access to news from the outside world - the duo eventually made it to the Caribbean.

The scale of the pandemic soon dawned on them when they turned on their phones while they were still offshore. Manighetti told the Guardian: "We bought some data and I remember Ryan reading out the news and our jaws just dropped."

Osborne added: "It was hard to grasp the scale of it at first. If you were waking up from a coma now, I think it would be hard to imagine the scale of what had unfolded."

The crisis meant they were unable to dock at several ports, with many borders closed due to new lockdown restrictions.

Osborne told the BBC: "We first attempted to land in one of the French territories in the Caribbean but when we arrived we found all the borders were closed and the islands were closing down.

"Even at that point we assumed it was a preventative measure due to the high season. We thought the islands didn't want to run the risk of a few tourists infecting the locals."

Credit: Instagram/@sailingkittiwake
Credit: Instagram/@sailingkittiwake

Now the couple are in Bequia, unable to continue their travels despite hoping to explore the Caribbean before the start of the hurricane season in June.

Manighetti, who said her family in Lombardy are fortunately safe, told the BBC: "We're sandwiched between the hurricane season and the virus."

Find out more about Manighetti and Osborne's travels via their Instagram page and their YouTube channel.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@sailingkittiwake

Topics: World News, uk news, News, Coronavirus, travel

Jess Hardiman
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