Quarantine On A Sailboat in Bonaire

Sailboat during quarantine

We knew what we were getting into but it’s still a challenge. After arriving in Bonaire, our requirement was 2 weeks quarantine on the boat. Currently on day too many, here’s what it’s like to be in quarantine on a sailboat in Bonaire.

Our Surroundings

Sava is docked in slot B52 at Harbour Village Marina in Kralendijk. It’s our first time in a marina since last November when we bought new batteries in Martinique.

I can’t talk about the marina because I can’t see or explore it being stuck on the boat since the moment we arrived.

The amenities include water, power, and wifi. The wifi is the best part because we haven’t had lengthy access to that since before the pandemic lockdown in Antigua. That explains the profusion of blog posts since I’ve arrived.

I am sure it’s a fine marina, but all I can see are some rental villas behind our boat, water, and a few other boats on our dock. We are next to the end of B dock with only one occupied boat near us. The couple on that boat are very nice and have even loaned us some boat equipment. They’re kind of keeping us sane too. Quarantine is lonely so it’s nice to have some interaction with other humans.

Our other marina friend is the very nice guy who works here. His name is pronounced Eeedee, but I don’t think that’s how it’s spelled. He comes around a few times a week to check on us and take garbage. He’s been great to us.

We have a little dock next to our boat which we are allowed to walk on but not for more than a few minutes. Each of us goes on the strip of wood at least once a day just to turn on the water. It doesn’t feel like freedom, but it’s all we’ve got.

Boat at a dock during quarantine in Bonaire
Our little strip of “land” access

Quarantine Rules

That leads us to the rules. What must we do in quarantine on a sailboat in Bonaire? The rules are pretty simple. Don’t leave the boat except that little strip of wood for a limited time. No guests on board either. We are on day 11 and we’ve followed the rules to a T. Fortunately do not talk about quarantine isn’t a rule. I’d be kicked out of the country by now.

We listen to the VHF in the marina, and apparently you aren’t allowed to have visitors off the boat either. We’ve talked to our neighbors but mostly in passing or from our boat to theirs. On one of our first days in the marina, we overheard another quarantine boat get reprimanded on VHF for socializing too long. If I recall, they were told that short conversations and drop-offs were allowed, but not to abuse it. I couldn’t see what happened, but maybe they were having too much fun with others.

Keeping Busy in Quarantine

Since we’re not allowed to have fun with others, we’re trying to fill the time constructively, but not always. Mostly we sit out in the cockpit and read and listen to podcasts. It’s a lot like our passage to Bonaire except we can balance and sleep easier. And we can drink, which we don’t do on passage. More on that later.

We are fortunate that the weather is good. There’s usually a breeze and we can sit outside in the cockpit and watch the seabirds. Domino likes that. At night the wind dies down, and some nights the mosquitos come out, but it’s been fine overall.

Sava’s cockpit

Boat Projects

We had a few boat projects but not many after so much down time in Antigua. Brian worked on the battery charger for a few days. A new one is waiting for us at Budget Marine after q is done and he has a temporary fix now.

Going Up The Mast

I did something new in the interest of boat improvement. For the first time, I went up the mast. It’s over 60 feet high, and the nav lights at the very top of the mast are installed incorrectly, so I went up to investigate. Normally Brian would do it, but I can’t winch him up and no one is allowed on our boat, so I volunteered to do it. I didn’t fix anything but I got some good views and killed some time.

Up the mast keeping busy in quarantine on a sailboat in Bonaire
Me up the mast on Sava

It’s a safe process to go up the mast: I wear a harness which we attach to a couple of lines on the mast called halyards. Brian then attaches one of those to a winch and pulls me up. I can kind of climb up too. It’s almost like rock climbing. My biggest concern was holding onto my phone. And in that I succeeded.

The best time to go up the mast is when the boat’s at a dock because we aren’t moving in the waves. Calm is good. The day I went up it was pretty calm but it rained. You can tell from the photos that the sky was cloudy. Still, it was nice to see a bit more than the same old thing after so many days in quarantine!

view up the mast in quarantine on a sailboat in Bonaire
My view from the mast

Boat Maintenance

Being at the dock with fresh water means we could rinse the boat down and give it a good clean. There was a lot of red Saharan dust everywhere, so we wiped the windows and cleaned the cushions and bimini too, so everything looks much better. We also polished the metal, cleaned the bathrooms and refrigerator, and vacuumed the interior.

Sava’s in good shape thanks to quarantine.


Speaking of good shape, we can’t do much cardio, but I try to exercise a bit. I use my dive weights and spend time using them for different workouts a few days a week. It at least kills some time. Noticing a theme?


I am ready for a meal out because I am running out of ideas for meals to cook. We stocked up well before heading here, but ran out of fresh veggies. Good thing the marina has a service so we got some fresh produce and Dutch cheese on Friday. Salad!

Food delivery on Sava in Bonaire
Fresh produce!

Dishes I’ve cooked in quarantine include chili and cornbread, hot dogs with pickled onions for July 4th, tilapia with lemon and capers, beef and bean burritos, and roasted pork loin with butternut squash. Tonight we’ll have stirfry. It’s all good, and it takes up an hour at least each day, but I’m ready to have someone cook for me and no dishes to clean.


We kill time playing games too. Brian is very happy to be plugged into shore power so he can play video games on the PS4.

We also do the New York Times crossword everyday. Well, Brian does it everyday. He calls me in for help for the Thursday through Sunday puzzles.

We play dominoes sometimes, except it really excites Domino and she gets involved and makes it more difficult to play. Domino is part of our entertainment too!

Cat lying on dominoes
Domino amidst the dominoes


Ever since we were locked down in Antigua, we’ve made a concerted effort to wait until 5pm to start drinking. We only changed that rule when we were drinking with friends. Since we can’t drink with friends under quarantine, we wait. Some nights we’ve waited until 6, but usually we don’t. It’s going ok. We still have a lot of drinks left on Sava, so we’re doing well, I guess. We’re looking forward to company.

Couldn’t Do it Alone

Quarantine is hard. Even more so than sailing on a passage, I’ve realized how alone we are on the boat. It’s just me, Brian, and Domino. I know there’s no one else I could or would want to do this with, but not sure how those two feel. I think Domino likes it. She spends a lot of time outside looking at the sky and the water, and she hasn’t tried to leave the boat yet, even though that strip of dock may be calling to her. It is to me, but I have a few more days of quarantine on a sailboat in Bonaire before I am free.

My brother recently asked me what we’ll do once we are off the boat and I couldn’t answer him. I hadn’t planned anything for post quarantine, probably because I worry that will make quarantine worse. If I think too much about scuba diving or eating out or even going for a hike, maybe I’ll miss it more. So instead, I focus on what we’re going to have for the next meal or what we’ll watch on Netflix or Prime tonight. That day will come soon.

If you have any suggestions of fun activities to kill time during quarantine, please share in the comments. We have a few days left and are open to suggestions!

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

4 thoughts on “Quarantine On A Sailboat in Bonaire”

  1. Always enjoy your posts so much!!!! Only a few more days to go you guys. How are the Covid19 numbers in Bonaire?? Sending hugs. xx

    1. Bonaire has zero cases! They’ve done a great job and we are happy to quarantine. I hope I don’t sound too whiny!

  2. Aw, Hang in there! You’re almost there! I will suggest that I found a Jigsaw Puzzle app for my iPad that is great for killing time! It’s called Jigsaw HD. There are lots of ads between puzzles, but it’s pretty fun. May your remaining days pass quickly! ????

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