Moored in a Fragile Paradise


Doug Mann thought he would ride out the start of the coronavirus pandemic on his sailboat anchored on the shores of Culebra, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. With airports closing across the Caribbean and restrictions tightening, the American citizen planned to inch his way closer to the United States mainland ahead of hurricane season.

But when he arrived, after a three-day sail through rough waters, local officers told him he had to leave. Immediately. So he sailed on.

As governments across the Caribbean moved to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, closing ports and instituting quarantine rules that vary by island, mariners of all nationalities found themselves unwelcome at port after port. Unable to dock, many have converged on the only available and practical harbor of refuge: the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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