Peter Jenke has sent an email with his tale of travel in the time of Corona:
Greetings. You might be interested to hear that Kez and I are in the second week of our compulsory lockdown back in Melbourne, having arrived home from Miami last Monday. We left Australia on the 19th Feb for Argentina for a week there and the Iguazu Falls, before boarding a ship to go around the Cape via the Falklands up to Lima. We were due to disembark in Lima on the 15th March, fly back to Santiago for a few days before heading back home on the 18th. It didn’t happen that way. Just 12 hours out of Lima we were turned away. We turned back to Santiago, only to be turned away from there as well. We had all been ashore there only 4 days previously. We then turned north again towards Panama. We waited for two days for a crossing slot and then headed for Miami where we disembarked on Monday of last week. We stayed at the Miami airport before being able to catch a flight to LA on the Tuesday, arriving back in Melbourne on Thursday of last week. It sounds terrible – and it was certainly very worrying – but in hindsight, we were very lucky. Several ships are still sitting off Sth America, others can’t get through the Canal, Miami is now closed and we caught the second last Qantas flight to Melbourne from LA. Two days later into Melbourne and we’d be quarantined in a city hotel rather than at home. Our close friend and neighbour, Larry Wilson (class of ‘70) had stocked the fridge so we aren’t going to starve.
There was no CV on the ship and as we had been at sea for 14 days, I understand that’s why we were permitted to dock in Miami. The ship’s staff were fantastic, as was my Consul contact at the Embassy in Mexico (thanks to my son in London) but passing through and spending considerable time in 3 airports which were virtually empty was like being on the set of an Apocalyptic movie. Even the streets of Miami were deserted on our drive from the docks to the airport. Given that we were in Miami on the same ship 12 months ago almost to the day, it was very weird being in what seemed like a ghost town.
I don’t care about the isolation and a lack of snacks in the cupboard, it’s just great to be home.
and followed up with:
It’s interesting, because of my contact with the Consul in Mexico, one of the other 49 Australians on board, a retired lawyer, ex-CMF officer and Gordon rugby player and I ran a daily briefing for the skippies. They proved to be very useful. For many the situation with prescription drugs became quite problematic the longer we remained at sea. I’m now hoping my travel insurer will come to the party for the extra $14k it cost us to get home. Although we have travel insurance through our Credit Card, because of existing ailments which the policy won’t cover, we take out an separate annual policy, this year with Allianz through Defence Health. As it happens, it has a pandemic exclusion, our credit card insurance through Chubb doesn’t, so we’ve put in a claim to them. Our trip to London in June to visit the grandkids and spend a special birthday in Paris won’t be happening, I give you the drum.
On a personal note, Trish and I have booked an overseas trip departing on 20 May – and paid the airfares in full well in advance (of COVID-9 in particular!) We took out insurance with Allianz through Defence Health as well, and they will not pay out. We are waiting, however, for a decision on whether they will refund the policy. The airline, Lufthansa, has just revised their policy to give a credit, allowing rebooking by 31 August, for travel by 31 December 2021. David