Date: March 11/2020
Place: Piedmont CA
By: Lili Naveh
Right, after "hovering" for 10 days in the virtual reality heaven of great movies, screened at the 25th CA East Bay Jewish Film Fest, (on which its board I serve)
And along with "sinking" in a much less pleasant ultra-realistic scene related to getting rid-off a disgusting tenant, we were due to sail away on the high seas.
This last scenario got aborted, fulfilling the known prophecy:
”the earthling plans, and the creator laughs”
So far we have refrained from going on cruises, preferring flying and having full control in making changes, which land-touring more allows. Excluding the 4 days sail on the Chinese Yang -Tse river, and a short visit to the Galapagos, this aborted trip, was supposed to be our first looong ocean cruise.
We were due to fly out today, and to join on March 12th in Papeete, the minority of brave travelers - our dear friends Raphi and Pnina, on the "Aranui Fraiter” .
12th sailing days among the remote South Pacific Marquees Islands on an expedition cruise, was our destination, as outlined in this promising itinerary
Our friends left Israel to Tahiti a week earlier, prior to the14 days Isolation decree, enforced this week by Israeli Gov, in an effort to battle against the engulfing Corona virus pandemic spread.
So now being “stuck” on land, in this remote exotic, yet still a safe heaven corner of the world, became a much more attractive option for them, then getting on a cruise ship, or returning back to an Israeli 2 weeks of quarantine.
“If Paul Gauguin and Jack Brel survived living on the Tahitian islands for months in a raw” declared our friend Raphie, then him and his adorable wife are “definitely made up of the material to withstand this unforeseen, but preferable condition”
3 weeks prior to the sail's due date, David and Raphi had maintained a serious corresponding exchanges with the ship operators.
Since the breaking out hype of the Corona threat, they demanded from the ship operators a verification, "that neither the ship's staff, nor any of the passengers who would be coming aboard, had originated from contaminated pandemic hubs."
Furthermore, these two had provided suggestions and an "expert consultation", based on David's Pharmaceutical technical knowledge, on how to handle and limit this growing contagious situations.
They strongly advise the Arunai to "DEMAND of all the passengers to send a copy of the airline tickets from their originated port of departure, and to sign a form declaring, that the travelers did not visit any of the high risk countries between Feb 1-March 12 ." This, they, insisted, "would deter people from lying due to risking liabilities ."
"Masks and washing of hands and oxidizing detergents are important," they confirmed "but wouldn’t not prevent infections nor contamination."
Raphi, emphasized that" if the operator wouldn't follow Dr. Naveh's recommendations, the company would be subjected to significant lawsuits from all of the passengers coming aboard the ship who may have been exposed or would contract the corona virus, even if contaminated prior to boarding the ship". Aranui would have been liable to big penalty especially, since the company would have failed to follow "expert advice" which in essence, would require only a small effort.
Three days before we were suppose to fly out, and join our friends in Tahiti, Raphi informed us, that in light of the growing concerns, they decided, to our own relief, that it was not wise to risk being stranded on a ship, and especially on a cargo one, in case a contamination breaks out.
Our concerns had been swelling, as well, and especially after the Tahitian Gov requested from anyone landing in the Polynesian territory, a “Good Health Certificate” signed by qualified medical Dr.
to be furnished 5 days prior to arrival, verifying we are clean of any infectious diseases.
Yet, as we felt responsible “dragging” our friends to this ordeal, due to which they had found themselves stranded in Tahiti, we were reluctant to be the first ones to back off, and to give up both on the cruise and the flight to Tahiti, which we eventually did, just 2 days prior to the departure due date of today.
Their wise encouragement, along with our daughters plea convinced us to avoid ships and airplanes, for the (doubtful) less risky stay, back home in CA.
Luckily, both the air and cruise lines let us reschedule
the travel for May 2021, with no penalty, in true hope that by then this Biblical size plague, will be over much sooner than later.
The other positive note is that were spared of returning from a cruise ordeal, looking like this couple below...
Have a Healthy Purim and Stay Safe our dear friends in Tahiti and in all other corners of the world.
And stay a way for a while from.🚢✈