We are firmly strapped to a mooring in Les Saintes. A small group of islands just south of Guadeloupe. A French colony, with all that brings. Fantastic restaurants, well stocked grocery stores, buildings in immaculate condition and an infrastructure that allows our sorted garbage to be shipped to Guadeloupe rather than just becoming landfill somewhere else on the island. Being a part of France also brings French Covid restrictions and a somewhat heavy-handed police force that ensures that regulations developed in Paris are adhered to in the colonies. Or in their overseas territories as they call them now. To us this means that the Gendarmerie is quick to remind us of that we are supposed to wear a mask everywhere we go and that there is a curfew between 8 pm and 5 am.
I am not for a second trying to suggest that this is some sort of minimum security prison. If it was, I would recommend anyone to find a suitable crime to commit. This place is what most people would define as paradise. But it is getting harder to move from country to country and the East Caribbean island chain is made up by numerous sovereign nations. All with their own view on how to limit the spread of Covid. What concerns us most is the potential for anyone of us testing positive as we try to enter a new country and what that would mean to our ‘minimum security’ status in paradise. Some countries reportedly just send you away, while others give you a tracker and confine you to your boat or send you to a government approved corona hotel at your own expense. Now that would probably feel like prison!
There are quite a few French islands out here. I am fully aware of that all locals probably do not want to be governed from Paris but to us ignorant sailors, it means that we are free to move between several islands without nose jobs or other Covid related red tape. It also means that, as EU citizens, we should be granted hospital care should we get ill. We have spent one week in Martinique and one in Les Saintes and we are thinking of going to Marie-Galante next. We still have Guadeloupe, Saint Barths and Saint Martin to go to without any formal entry procedures. Maybe we will be able to find a PADI approved diving school willing to teach us to breathe under water. Among the turtles, seahorses and barracudas. Not a bad way to spend a Caribbean confinement. Beats weaving baskets in a normal prison!