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The Dutch in quarantine in Panama for 14 days, floating at sea

Two Dutch couples have been in quarantine in Panama for almost two weeks, after one of the four was struck down by the corona virus. They are not locked up in a hotel room, but float on the sea. Their story: how traveling became very special.

Here they went on October 1st. Ana Kuijpers (33) and Raymond Verwoerdt (35) left on a world trip when there was still no question of “traveling only if strictly necessary”. The couple lived anti-squat in Rotterdam and both were active in the social field for ten years. Anna worked as a youth protector with children with autism and underage asylum seekers. Raymond was just like Ana a youth protector and also a family coach. In that world they met each other and consecutively discovered a common passion, traveling. Ana: “I love to talk about it and share my stories. Last year I started my travel blog www.whenyoufinallygetthere.com where I have a lot of
enthusiasm (local) tips and hidden places share. ”

Mandatory Panama corona test and quarantine

The current journey the two began in Santorini, Milos, Paros and Mykonos in Greece, before heading to Mexico, Colombia, the San Bla Islands near Panama and the port of Colón in Panama itself. They are in Colón at the moment, together with two Dutch world sailors (who do not want their names in this article) whom they met in Colombia. Well, in… more for Colón so: at sea. To enter Panama a corona test had to be done and Raymond turned out positive (he actually became ill). In Panama you will then go into quarantine for two weeks. They are almost finished now, on their eleven meter long boat. Subway spoke to Ana.

A map of Ana and Raymond's whereabouts in Panama
Colón, port city in Panama.

You approached us. Why would you like to share your story?
“We find everything we are experiencing in this special time to be an interesting story. We feel that not many people travel the way we do and we think that would be nice to share. People can take advantage of the information. We have had many positive comments from people on our Instagram account. It is precisely in these dark days that we come up with fun and cheerful travel pictures and stories can provide distraction and be inspiring. ”

How is your situation now? Are you moored in the harbor?
“We are located just outside the marina in a special quarantine area on the water. We are a minute’s boat ride from the actual marina. The harbor master comes by with a boat to bring groceries that we have ordered online. ”

Pizzas from Panama

What kind of food can you order and will that harbor master bring?
“You can shop online at the harbor supermarket. The variety is not great, but there is enough. Think of eggs, burgers, chicken, chips, beer, cola and spreads. You can also order pizzas at the harbor restaurant. Both the store and the restaurant were open for about half of the quarantine days due to a stricter lockdown during the holidays. ”

How is Raymond’s health now?
Raymond has fully recovered. He had symptoms for five days, two days of which he really flattened. We have now been in quarantine for eleven days and no one else on board has had any symptoms. We were fortunate to have Raymond out of contact with other people at the time of his corona symptoms. Simply because we stayed on the boat. ”

A photo of Ana indicating food in Panama through a hatch
Reporting food had to be done through a hatch. Own picture

Was he temporarily isolated?
“Raymond lived as isolated from us as possible when he had symptoms. Food was provided through a hatch and he sometimes came out for fresh air. It took him a lot of effort. ”

Traveling while it is not strictly necessary

There is currently until mid-March an urgent advice to travel only if necessary. Why did you leave on October 1? Because it was still possible to go to many places then?

“Because we feel that we did not take more or less risk of becoming infected or infecting other people than if we had stayed in Rotterdam. We use common sense. We keep our distance as much as possible and wear masks where people are. We take our responsibility just as we would in the Netherlands. However, it is not waterproof, it is nowhere. We believe that by October 1 the virus was already widespread around the world and that wherever we will be (both at home and while traveling), we can contribute just as much in whether or not it spreads. ”

A photo of the mandatory corona test in Panama
On arrival in Panama, the corona test was mandatory.

What does a day on the boat look like for you?
“A day consists mainly of eating together, sunbathing, reading books, playing games, writing for my blog and we sometimes do small jobs on the boat.”

What kind of games do you play?
30 seconds, even if that causes some irritation haha. Furthermore Perudo, Backgammon and Yahtzee. ”

A little Expedition Robinson

Is boredom big?
“Actually not because we all enjoy the beautiful weather and there are also quite a few conversations about anything and everything with each other. We sometimes say that some aspects are canceled Expedition Robinson appear. We are talking about exactly how much food we have and that we have to handle this with care as supplies cannot be made every day. It also helps that there is an end date attached to it. ”

A picture of the sick Raymond
Raymond was really flat for two days. Own picture

Are you going to see Panama or do you prefer to leave quickly, on to Costa Rica?
“Currently the rules in Panama have been tightened up a bit. For example, men and women have to go to the supermarket on different days. Many restaurants are closed and there is a curfew. That is why we decided to go to Costa Rica as soon as possible. ”

14 days of quarantine is good

Do you think 14 days of quarantine is a bit exaggerated or not?
“We believe that 14 days of quarantine will rule out all risks and that we will not spread the virus. You actually know that the others really don’t have it when you go back ashore. So we think it’s good. “

When does your trip end?
“The end date of our trip outside Europe is most likely somewhere in May. At the end of that month we will go to Ibiza with Raymond and his family and after that we plan to go to Portugal by car. ”

A photo of Raymond in Panama with a plate of food on the boat
Raymond is now feeling much better. Own picture

Travel advice

What would you advise people in the Netherlands who are considering such a big trip to do with the current situation?
“We think this is very personal. Everyone will have to decide for themselves whether he or she wants to do this or not. We are not people who promote or advise against this. When it feels good to someone you can do it, otherwise you can’t. Again, use your common sense and look at the safety of yourself and others. What we would like to say is that our experience is that the local people express their gratitude to us for being there. They indicate that they are happy that people still want to come to their beautiful country and it also gives them hope that tourism will return. ”

Once back in the Netherlands, Ana and Raymond will temporarily move in with his parents in Voorburg and look for a home from that situation.

Also read: Many complaints about slow flight refunds when holidays are canceled

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The Dutch in quarantine in Panama for 14 days, floating at sea

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