Thursday, February 22, 2024

Splendid isolation: Hungarian family outsails COVID nightmare on the sea

Splendid isolation: Hungarian family outsails COVID nightmare on the sea
February 2, 2021

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - While the world was grappling with the pandemic, a Hungarian family of four decided last summer to fulfil their dream: sailing around the globe in a 50-feet boat called “Teatime.”


After having spent Christmas on Martinique, they are now anchored in Marigot, on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, waiting to sail towards the Panama canal.

They are in no rush, though, as life on the boat -- just as for many people quarantined in their homes -- has slowed down.

“For me it is a fantastic experience that I can spend a lot more time with my kids, instead of getting home late from work totally exhausted,” said 48-year-old Domonkos Bosze, who set up a home office on the boat. He works in the IT business.

“Our route is fairly flexible: basically the weather defines which way we go, as the hurricane and cyclones seasons set the limits for sailing each region.”

While the pandemic presented them with the dilemma of whether this was the right time to go, in the end their determination overruled all worries and risks.


So far the biggest challenge has been a six-hour storm during the Atlantic crossing which they managed well, losing only a toaster and the satellite phone which broke.

They follow the changes in coronavirus rules in each country and take a test or go into quarantine as required.


“When we arrived in Martinique ... we told authorities that we just spent 16 days on the open seas and they accepted that as quarantine,” Bosze said.

Nonetheless, the boat is filled with enough foodstuff for a month. And they catch their own tuna or mahi mahi (dorado), much to the joy of their 6- and 8-year-old daughters.

The two girls do remote learning, and will be enrolled in local schools if possible to get familiar with different cultures.

Domonkos said a discussion with Jimmy Cornell, the legendary Romanian-born British yachtsman, had a great influence on their thinking when they planned the trip.

While being together all the time in a confined space posed some difficulties in the beginning, now everything goes like clockwork on “Teatime”, named after the family’s habit of sitting down for tea and chatter.

Anna said the trip has given her huge freedom even though she cooks regularly besides handling the sails if needed.

“We saw dolphins jumping at the bow of the boat and swimming with us, with the sea totally calm ... so we could see them clearly under water,” she said, smiling.

Depending on COVID restrictions, they plan to sail on this year or next year towards the Pacific, and now they say their trip could last another 5-6 years, stopping for extended periods in the southern Pacific and on the Indian ocean.