@5410Africa Weekly Travel Update #12: 9 days in Quarantine

A happier me in Swakopmund before quarantine

Ten days ago my shore leave came to an end and I entered quarantine on my way back offshore. For those that don’t know I work offshore on a 5 week ON/OFF rotation. Since Corona manifested itself into our life’s things have not been that straightforward. We are now forced by our beloved government to complete a 9-day quarantine period and two negative COVID tests before returning to sea.

So by now you should have realised there will not be any travel for the next 5 weeks. I thought I would provide you with some insight into the ongoings during quarantine in Namibia. It’s nothing glamorous, but still an interesting bit and a reflection of the times we live in.

A few days before we enter quarantine the location is sent to us. Collection is from a central point in Windhoek and we are all driven together to our lodgings for the next 9 days. All of this is done by and paid for by our company. Once we arrive, check in is done and rooms allocated.

We all get our own room to prevent infections amongst ourselves should one of our crew members arrive carrying the virus. Meals are delivered in front of your room, there is no housekeeping and social distancing is always practised . This is to keep contact amongst ourselves to the minimum. Temperatures are taken twice daily as well.

On our first morning the people in the white suits arrive and we are all assembled for our first sample to be taken. There is quite an excessive amount of paperwork, then your sample test tube is prepped, and you are seated for your swab. I am not sure why its called a swab as there is no swabbing…  

The test is done using an elongated cotton bud, the type you would use to clean your ears, only half a mile longer. You tilt your head backwards and the bud is inserted all the way up your nostril. It starts with an itch which quickly turns into an unbearable burn. Imagine drinking a Tequila shot through your nose. Then the uncontrollable tearing of the eyes commence and soon they start removing the bud. If they are not happy with the sample they reinsert the bud. Ouch!!!

The next couple of days are pretty relaxed. You get a lot of time to yourself used mostly to watch television, Netflix, have coffee, swim and this specific lodge has a track where one can go for a run. A lot of time to rest and reflect. Perfect for me as I  use the time to plan my 5410Africa. The downside is off course that once we complete the quarantine we need to go and do our 5 week rotation at sea. Also the 9 days falls within our leave period, so its deducted from our 5 weeks off.

Before that, on day seven, a second test is done. Exactly the same process is followed except maybe that they’ll use the other nostril this time. The results will be out on day nine and on the tenth day we head back to sea. This is where I am at today, probably as you read this at the airport to take a 1 hour flight to a small coastal airport in the south of Namibia. From there it is a short flight with a Sikorsky helicopter, and I am back at work doing by 12 hour daily shifts for the next 5 weeks.

A little insight into the life of an offshore worker during the Corona virus. I thought it would be an interesting addition to the content seeing as I wont be travelling for a while. I’ll also be doing my posts for the trip I just completed. Look out for those, I’ll be posting one each week.

Hope you have an amazing week and if you are lucky enough to travel, ENJOY & BE SAFE 🙂

Nick fr Namibia @5410Africa

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