Kayaking for social distancing

Since I last wrote, the world has completely changed. The financial markets are in free fall, many countries have instituted bans on foreigners coming in and mandating that returning residents and citizens quarantine themselves for 14 days. Travel has essentially ground to a halt, and most companies have instituted work from home policies.

I couldn’t have predicted this a month ago. Then, I’d just come back from a spat of international travels, and still anticipating a couple more kayaking trips to Phuket and Ningaloo over the next couple of months. Then, we’d thought colleagues who decided to skip our work conference in LA as being overly cautious – I could not have predicted that just a week after, the US would shut down travel to Europe etc.

Of course, none of this should have been a surprise to me. Most of China has already been in lockdown since end January. But things only really hit home for me a relative got diagnosed with covid, and all his family and friends who had had contact with him had to go into home quarantine. Then a friend could not come home from Europe to be with her family, who is undergoing radiation. Another friend in the States has early stage cancer, but hospitals have told her they need to delay her surgery, indefinitely, because they need the beds for Covid patients. I realized too, that if anything happened to my own relatives here in Singapore, our family from overseas would be unable to come back.

So, we count our lucky stars that we are still healthy, still with stable jobs. Having to cut down on going out, on traveling, is just a minor inconvenience, in the broader scheme of things.

In the meantime, to practice social distancing, we can still go kayaking. We have our own kayaks that we carry to the beach, and once in the water, we are in our own vessels, plenty safe away from everyone else.

So we did. And it was glorious. We went the week before too, but the water was disgustingly dirty then. Yesterday, it was clean – I’m not sure if less people have been out and about or if the current swept everything downstream, but it was a beautiful paddle yesterday. We did around 20km, and got back to the beach right as the heavens opened up.

At least here, we can still go outdoors. But I did also read articles where some national and state parks are shutting down as well – to reduce the strain on rangers and the impact on local communities. That was definitely more food for thought for how every little action could have vast trickling impacts.

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