Changing Plans

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After we got underway this morning from Antwerp, we learned that Belgium has closed all restaurants, bars, cafes, and night clubs. The US recently blocked anyone from the Schengen area from entering the US. Princess Cruise lines has suspended all operations for 2 months. Italy has shut down all non-essential, non-emergency services and already has 15,113 sick, straining their medical system. France has 2,882, Germany has 3,059 and Spain has 3,864 impacted. All numbers continue to rise quickly.

With no museums open, restaurants closed in some countries, and borders starting close internationally, we’ve decided to pause our trip to the Mediterranean. We know it will pass and we hope it will pass quickly. But, for now, it’s not the best time to enjoy the European continent. We plan to head to Scotland and will cruise some of their less populous areas.

We all need to be a little extra careful for the next couple of months. Stay safe.


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55 comments on “Changing Plans
  1. Robert says:

    Dear James,
    Just getting used to Akismet system instead of sending to you direct e-mail.

    This is for Jennifer’s history interests. To your South East in Portland you will notice two large concreate structures. These are in fact Mulberry’s. The mobile docks used in the D-day landings. The two you see were reserves and not delpoyed. This bring me to remote Anchorages we discussed in the e-mails. There is another Mulberry which broke in half in Langstone Harbour. Langsstone Harbour is very quite compared to its neighbours.

    Hey, check what I did using the Navionics Boating app! #Navionics #BoatingApp

    I think there is more detail on Anchorage on my paper charts which I will look up if you choose to go there. Southsea marina is a little tight even for my 32ft boat.

    • Robert says:

      Sorry James,
      I am talking about places in the wrong direction. You are heading away fro Ramsgate.
      In that direction Solcombe is lovley and Dart marina has a Spa attached to it which my wife appreciates after a stressful journey.

      • Thanks Robert. We appreciate the recommendations on possible places to visit. Many parts of the world are closing their ports right now so we’re expecting it quite possible that ports may close to foreign boats for a while.

        Thanks for the stop recommendations.

        • Robert says:

          Dear James,
          We will be putting our 2 staff on mandatory sick pay this morning. Our small car park operation is shutting down due to no one in them. My bank manager expects the UK to be in shut down by Sunday.

          Everyone in the car parks has been sick over this flu season, no one more than three days; nothing unusual. I am going to see if my brother in law needs help in his funeral business. One of his men has fallen over and broke his arm. I also want to borrow tools to finish a project.

          Everything here appears to be panic but I am well placed to give you an on the ground point of view.

          • Robert says:

            I have been into the funeral parlour this morning for some wood clamps to build planters, whilst our car parks are in effective shut down (empty). You will be glad to hear I have nothing unusual to report.

            People are walking about, walking dogs, riding horses etc… like a long weekend.

            If anything starts to change I will let you know. The general feeling here is this is much ado about nothing.

            • I agree that there isn’t much concern here or anywhere else where we have traveled. I’m sure that in countries where things have gotten bad and the medical systems are in overload have concerned citizens but, generally, people being worried is a trailing indicator. High levels of concern don’t usually set in broadly until things get bad.

  2. Tim Morris says:

    Hi James/Jennifer

    We saw Dirona in Barbados a while back, and are pleased to now see you’re near our home town of Torquay. We’re in self isolation now but will wave as you go down the Channel. Scotland will be a fabulous place to explore. The world is closing. Take care, Tim

    • Wow, that was both a while a back and a very long way away. Kind of cool we’ll likely be passing your home on our way north. And, yeah, your right about the world closing. We were planning to stop off in Ireland on our way north but that now comes with a 14 day quarantine requirement so we’ll stick with the UK for the next few months. Stay safe on your end.

  3. John says:

    Hi James,

    Ireland is more or less in lockdown since the weekend. It sounds like the government will close airports later this week. Most offices in town are working from home were possible. All pubs are currently closed until the end of March with most restaurants and cafes also closed. Dublin is a complete ghost town! Somewhat ironically Dún Laoghaire is quite busy with families walking and cycling! Rural and remote Scotland sounds like a good bet for now!

    As an aside the Irish revenue have now fully adopted the EU directives on marked gas oil with its use illegal in pleasure craft from January. You may wish to look into this further if you’re holding MGO.


    • We were heading to Dun Laoghaire but there is now a 14 day quarantine on all visitors, even those from the UK, so we’ve decided to keep it simple and just stay in the UK. And, thanks for pointing out that green diesel is no more. We fueled there three times back in 2016 and 2017 and it was priced right. But, with that over, I’ve heard prices are now somewhat better in the UK so when we need fuel, we’ll do it here.

      Thanks for passing along the data points John.

  4. Kim Knuttila says:

    James, Jennifer,
    Stay safe, my dudes! There is a lot of adaptation happening around us here in BC as well.

    • Gary says:

      Seems the only safe, unaffected place in the world is West Virginia, in U.S. and you can’t get there from there…that Lochaline harbor sounds like the place to be. Just need Uber Air-Drop services, you punch in your location and they drop it nearby enough to retrieve the drop with a tender worst case….actually, not the worst idea either! Safe travels as always James…more of us would like to be in your port than snugged up in our homes, locked down.

    • Hey Kim. Yeah, our summer plans of France, Spain, and a month and a half in Northern Italy don’t look ideal at this point. We even have flights booked out of Milan. Our plan is to stay away from crowds and hope it passes quickly. Hope you are all doing the same.

      • Kim Knuttila says:

        I am as always hopelessly optimistic. The universe here is “shelter in place” and we are following it fairly relentlessly. (Kinder not always excited about this….) Enough peeps seem to be doing it as well … the results remain to be seen.

        • It’s the right approach Kim. In many ways, you are lucky with Canada having less cases than were found on a single cruise ship. Italy, on the other end of the spectrum, is far smaller geographically but with roughly 40% more population and they are struggling with a problem that is 47x larger than that of Canada.

          Here in the UK, like Canada, it’s still in the early phases with the worst of the problem including mass overloading of the medical care system are still coming. It sounds like Canada is taking much more aggressive action much earlier than the UK so hopefully it’ll pay off with a less aggressive spike in cases that is more manageable by the medical system. Glad you are all staying safe. Isolation is the only safe answer until a vaccination is released.

  5. John S. says:

    Happened watch a recent you tube video done by MJ Sailing, a young couple who sailed from Florida to Norway and back to England. The video was filmed in Lochaline in the Sound of Mull — it is a seriously picturesque, very protected harbor where you could anchor undisturbed for weeks. If you are looking for a place away from crowds, Lochaline fits the bill. It’s even overlooked by a fine Scottish castle/estate.

  6. Trond Saetre says:

    Wise choice to postpone mainland Europe for a while. We are more or less in lock-down in Norway too. Most Schengen countries have now closed their borders, or plan to do so.
    Stay safe!

    • Yeah, as the days pass and the numbers keep growing exponentially in Italy, Spain, Germany, and France it continues to look like the wrong time for crowded places, busy marinas, restaurants, museums, etc. And, as you said, borders are starting to close.

  7. Timothy Daleo says:

    Glad to hear you have decided to change your plans and avoid people for a while. I look forward to seeing your posts as you move Northwest.

    • Yes, exactly the plan Timothy. We’ll go enjoy some nature in Ireland or Scotland. The timing just seemed remarkably poor to be heading into France and Spain on our way to spending a month or so in Genoa Italy. Hopefully things will settle down and European travel will again open up but that doesn’t look close at this point.

  8. Michael Crofts says:

    Hi James, Jennifer,

    Forget my earlier email, I saw you on Vesselfinder and sent the email before catching up with your blog. Scotland will be a good choice.

    My fuel suggestion would have been Guernsey, still possible if you are heading for the West coast, but not if you are going up the East.

    All 3 of the businesses I am involved in are in crisis management mode. Feels more like damage control at the moment. Testing times for everyone. Good luck.

    Michael, N4052 Coracle

    • Hey Michael thanks for the suggestions. On the fuel, we have 1,237 (4,682l) so we’re in pretty good shape on fuel at this point. We plan to head south from Ramsgate and work will likely head to Scotland and/or Ireland for a while.

      Sorry to hear your businesses are under heavy stress. It’s a tough time world wide. But the good news is that China and South Korea appear to have done a good job of getting it under control so it can be done.

    • Per-Erik G. Cederkvist says:

      Dear friends,
      It looks like I’ve lost you from the Marine Traffic. Of some reason Mv Dironas position remain the same. No progress on the map since 1 day and 12 hours. Howś that – any problems with AIS?
      Best regards
      Per-Erik from Finland

      • All the navigation equipment continues to work well. You can always get current positions on Dirona, whether in Marinetraffic range or not, at:

        • Christian Gnass says:

          HI James, sorry, no, the link you gave – – shows the boat position of March 25.

          Best Regards
          Christian Gnass from Germany

          • I understand our point. We only show moves of the boat and the boat hasn’t moved since 3/25. But we understand that it’s not possible for a viewer to know if we have lost communications and stopped updating or just haven’t moved the boat recently. That’s good feedback. We’ll come up with a way to show an updated time so then it would show when the boat got to the current position as 3/25 but would show last update at something close to the current time. Thanks for pointing that out.

            • Christian Gnass says:

              Well, it was just a bit unusual to not have actual AIS data available For Dirona, as you usually keep the signal on in times when he boat is not moving. Just wanted to point out that my impression was the same as Per-Erik had expressed.

              I wish you and Dirona all the best in these crazy times. I own a Sabre 42 Hardtop Express, located in the Baltic near Flensburg, which I managed to get craned back into the water, after the winter season – “last minute”, with regards to Corona. I pulled my crane appointment forward, and the boat splashed last Thursday. On Friday they closed the shipyard, also all marinas are closed. So I cannot use the boat, and I am not allowed to live on it – unless I go out on anchor. That might work. Very crazy.

              Take care, Christian

              • Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to your boat soon. On showing the update time on the ships location display, we’ll get that change made. Thanks to you both for the suggestion.

  9. John S. says:

    Although the spread of the virus seems terrifying now, keep in mind that the spread was checked in China after about a month or two. South Korea also appears to have decreased the infection rate after a month or so. Italy is now taking the same steps that worked in China and south Korea, so I hope the infection rate in Italy will taper off and travel restrictions will be lifted well before your planned stay there in July. Of course, then it could be a problem getting to Genoa from Scotland in 30 or 45 days, but you may be able to keep your summer schedule intact.

    Good luck,

    • Yes, your right John. There is considerable evidence mounting that the spread of the virus can be controlled and, if hospital systems are now overloaded, the fatality rate is likely better than those currently being reported. But given the the current growth rates in France and Spain, we decided this month was the wrong month to spend time there.

      I hope you are right that the Genoa stop can be kept on our itinerary as planned. We’ll know more in another 30 to 60 days.

  10. Simon says:

    I cycled around a lot of the areas you visited in the Netherlands with my mum, but in 90 degrees F! Great to see you enjoyed it. Welcome to the UK, I hope you have a great time (I’m from Cornwall). Simon

    • Well, no doubt it’s even more enjoyable in 90F but we really had a good time and the two advantages of winter travel are 1) less crowds and 2) it opens up more time to explore great places like the Netherlands.

      Thanks for the welcome to the UK.

  11. Adam says:

    U.S. just announced additional travel restrictions from UK and Ireland. As before, returning U.S. citizens not affected.

    • Hey Adam, it’s good to hear from you. When we arrived in the UK yesterday, it wasn’t on the “CDC Warns Against Non-Essential Travel” list but it’s now there and also on the US travel ban list. Seeing the problems in France and Spain, we’re glad we made the decision at the French border to divert.

      We have all of July booked into Genoa Italy and flights back to the US for work out of Milan with a cat hotel booked. I’m guessing none of that is going to happen at this point. It’s pretty clear that the only way to contain this thing is to avoid contact so we went into lock down on Dirona a couple of days ago where we stopped going to restaurants and are keeping our distance and staying away from crowded places. Obviously some are unavoidable like meeting with Immigration officials but we’re basically avoiding all non-essential contact for the next little while. Stay safe on your end as well.

    • Jaap Otsen says:

      How many people do you have on board? I watched your film Amsterdam to Antwerpen.

      • Ewan Grocott says:

        Only just found your site this evening via the Nordhavn Twitter feed. I have just spent the last 2 hours looking at your adventures and it is fantastic.

        I know Nordhavn’s well as I used to Captain an N55 and N60. Now running a 38m Italian fast yacht, so very different to the Nordhavn.
        They still hold a very special place in my heart, fantastic boats.
        Based in the Med in the Monaco area so I’ll be sure to say hi when you eventually pass through.
        Fantastic site, and great content.
        Kind regards

        • If you have spent time running a N55 and an N60, you’ll know most of the equipment on Dirona fairly well. As you know, they are fun boats. Not fast but solid and able to go anywhere in the world. Hopefully our paths will cross over the summer. If you have time without guests, I’ll trade you a tour of your 38M for a tour of Dirona :-).

  12. David Saunders says:

    Welcome back to the UK. Your revised plan sounds very sensible and you have the consolation of cruising some beautiful areas if you head for the remote parts of Scotland. Good luck, wherever you decide to go.
    Best wishes

  13. Jerry Sweeney says:

    Canada announced all Alska cruises will be suspended untill July 1st. Was going to take a repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal. Look’s like that won’t be happening! Stay safe!! Remote cruiseing is probably the safest way to go!!

  14. Wyatt says:

    Was wondering how this would affect your plans. Going to be challenging for a while, for sure. We’re all getting a crash course in working remotely.

    • We just checked into the UK so we’re in a better place than continental Europe and will likely move to less populated areas.

      • Frank Eigler says:

        Wouldn’t be surprised if one consequence of all this were the massive outflow of knowledge workers from urban areas.

        • That’s a good point Frank. I was thinking along a related line that this may be teaching employers that remote employees can be fairly effective. And it might make engineers even more location independent.

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