When a couple in Britain embarked on a transatlantic voyage on a boat, they told their families that they did not want to hear bad news.
Instead, they were shocked to learn that the world was in the middle of a pandemic when they reached their final destination.
In February, Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osborne, of Manchester, England, left the Canary Islands for the Caribbean and were unaware that a viral epidemic was spreading all over the world.
With the aim of reaching the Caribbean in mid-March, they were at sea with little communication with the outside world.
“In February, we heard that there was a virus in China, but with the limited information we had, we thought that when we arrived in the Caribbean in 25 days, it would all be over,” said Manighetti to the BBC.
“When we arrived we realized it was not over and the whole world had been infected,” said Osbourne.
While still at large, they managed to get a phone signal and discovered that the borders were closed.
“We told our shore contacts that we didn’t want to hear bad news, which was hard work because it was very bad news,” said Manighetti.
They tried to land on one of the French territories, but were turned back.
“Even then, we assumed it was a preventative measure due to the high season,” said Osbourne. “We thought the islands didn’t want to run the risk of a few tourists infecting the locals.”
As they sailed to Grenada, they were finally able to get a phone signal good enough to realize that the world was closed.
Deviating their trip to Saint Vincent, they contacted a friend on the island who told them that the Italian citizenship of Manighetti would mean that they would be refused entry upon arrival, as Italy was one of countries most affected by the viral epidemic.
Thanks to the GPS plotter of their boat, the couple were able to prove that they had not been in Italy for months and that they had been isolated for 25 days at sea.
Manighetti, whose hometown is in the hard-hit Lombardy region, said she had spoken to her father and learned about the dark news that affected the people she knew.
“My family is happily safe at home and has been in detention for more than six weeks, but people we have known for years have died,” said Manighetti.
Although the couple still intends to travel to the Caribbean, they are currently awaiting the virus in Saint Vincent.
“We are currently seated with the goal of getting out before the hurricane season begins in early June,” said Manighetti.