Ever since they bought Dirona, their Nordhavn 52 in 2009, James and Jennifer Hamilton, a high-tech couple from Seattle, have been cruising. At first they concentrated on the Pacific Northwest while still working in shore, but in 2012 they started cruising full time. Since then they’ve completed a circumnavigation and much more. Indeed, they’ve put more than 74,000 miles under their hull.
The Hamiltons know how to plan, and to plan well. But now, in a time of the coronavirus, even the best-laid plans go by the wayside. Last summer and fall the Hamiltons cruised through Scandinavia, and ended up spending the winter in Amsterdam.
They left there in mid-February, cruising down to Belgium, with plans to head down to France, Spain and Italy in the spring and summer. They even had flights booked from Milan for a brief trip back home. But the coronavirus changed all that.
In mid-March, just as they left Antwerp, they learned that Belgium had closed all its restaurants, bars and cafes. At the same time, the virus was causing closures in France, Spain and Italy and many other countries in Europe. The U.S. was blocking people from many of those countries from coming here. It was time for a course change.
James wrote on their blog, mvdirona,com, that “we’ve decided to pause our trip to the Med. We know it will pass and hope it will pass quickly. But for now it’s not the best time to enjoy the European continent. We plan to head to Scotland and will cruise some of their less populous areas.”
The Hamiltons already had 1,000 gallons of fuel on board, as well as full provisions for a long cruise. So they headed across the English Channel to Ramsgate, the historic boating community basically across from Dunkirk. (The picture at the top shows Dirona in the harbor at Ramsgate; the chart shows their route across the Channel.) From there, it will be on to more cruising in the U.K. The Med will wait. Read more.