139. A day(s) in the Office – Philippines style….. with the INEVITABLE 11th hour twist.

After the PCR trauma of actually getting out here it is fair to say that outside of hotel quarantine lockdow the time has flown by. Hotel lockdown is mind-bendingly boring but spare a thought for Danny Lee. His room has no windows! It’s already Sunday 6th March. I’ve been here 12 nights, am currently confined to my room awaiting results from my second Government PCR test and, subject to a negative result, I should be at sea again in a little over 24 hours. But there IS an 11th hour twist – isnt there always – see my very final PS comment.

It was a good job I had some time on hands immediately on arrival as it gave me time to cancel my missing American Express Card (last seen during the emergency PCR testing airport-trolley-juggling episode of Blog 138) which itself killed time waiting for the arrival of my missing bag of sailing kit!!! Oh and it was raining. I spared all that from blog 138 but if “these things happen in threes” I got my three out of the way early.

Rain on the afternoon of 22nd Feb was the last rain I have seen. The days are hot and humid with temperatures in the high 20s C and often as high as 25C in the shade. The Phippines are not as much in lockdown as I expected but your temperature is taken in all major shops and buildings before entry. Masks are compulsory, even outside in the heat of the day, and I have yet to see a local WITHOUT a mask, even when riding a bike or moped.

Dressed for the “office” Philippines style

None of us “first arrivals” were allowed into the Subic Bay Yacht Club or onboard the boats until we received a negative result from a Government PCR test conducted in our Department of Tourism approved hotels on 25 Feb.

PCR testing

Prior to that I was allowed out and I tried to exercise (walking – too hot for anything else) between 2 to 5km every day. Sometimes more than once.

When back at the hotel a variety of quarantine meals were delivered to our rooms. I use the word “variety” adviseadly! The earliest breakfast delivery was 0645, the latest 1050! Dinner has been any time between 1730 and 2220! And ahead of my latest and strictest lockdown I did visit a local supermarket for some additional supplies!

Those of us who had arrived and tested negative were allowed into the yacht club (via the tradesman ‘s entrance – temp check, medical certificate and formal logging in every time) on 28 Feb and, until this latest lockdown, the 5 or 6 of us cleared to do so, plus the skipper and AQP have been down there every day.

and Ian and Dan took the boat to sea on 2nd and 3rd March with skippers and AQPs from across the Fleet for their own refresher training.

I think we are the only unchanged Skipper/AQP pairing in that Dan was one of our Round-the-Worlders before taking over as our AQP. Although there WERE jobs for the rest of us to do, including when the boat was at sea, it is fair to say that Ian and Dan had already broken the back of virtually ALL of it in the three weeks or so they have already been out here.

No doubt refresher training will reveal more to do, and we want to replace the port rudder after training for reasons I’ll cover in a future blog. But we all think the boat is in great shape and we are raring to get going. The rest of the UNICEF team arrived between 1 and 4 Mar so we are now all here, even if we haven’t all been in the same place yet. We went into hotel isolation at 1800 on 4 Mar and after our PCR tests yesterday we have all been confined to our rooms. Test results are due later today.

Lockdown Sunday lunch. Chicken and salad fajita, boiled potato, 2 pieces of lettuce and a radio-active-looking orange drink!
All locked up pm 4 Mar.

But ……….. and here’s the 11th hour twist ……… there have been crew who have tested positive for COVID since we arrived and we are all expected to LFT test every Wednesday and Sunday. Whilst I LFT’d NEGATIVE first thing this morning, one of my team mates has tested POSITIVE this morning. And yes, I and others have been in contact with him prior to locking down at 1800 on the 4th. I have just been informed I must now complete a further LFT test first thing in the morning irrespective of the result of yesterdays PCR test the resulg of which are expected any time soon.I cannot even begin to tell you how I feel right now.

For Diabetes UK and the National Autistic Society see:




Please take a look. Thank You.

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