Covid Just the First Disappointment Today

Day 20, South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand Cruise

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022; Dravuni Island, Fiji, North Pacific Ocean.

I have Covid.

In my mind I wrote all sorts of clever ways to lead up to this news, but decided to follow my reporter training and just put it out there. And it’s not the only disappointment of my day.

Morning brought excitement to go to Dravuni Island (more about that later), but I had a bit of a sore throat. I wasn’t worried – I keep the room thermostat at the coldest setting because I sleep better that way, and sometimes I wake up with a bit of a runny nose due to allergies. But this felt a little different. I decided to ignore it.

After an early breakfast, I had my shore bag ready. It included some unusual things – a packet of photographs and a bag of art materials. I was last here five years ago, and our watercolor class went ashore to sketch and paint. We attracted a number of young children from among the approximately 130 residents of the island. Before I left home, I ordered multiple copies of photos from that day, hoping to give them to some of the same children or others who recognize them.

I also brought many pallets of watercolor paint, sketchbooks and other supplies to leave with the children. But it wasn’t to be. After lowering some of the tenders, the captain announced that the wind and waves were too much for safe transport to the island. So, we turned around and left for a day of slow cruising at sea. I was so disappointed I couldn’t go back to revisit one of my favorite memories from the 2017 Grand Asia cruise, but I left my bag of art supplies at the front desk so they could contribute them at another port.

All I saw of Dravuni Island – through the zoom of my camera

Deciding that my symptoms were following the typical path of a common cold for me, I got a latte and glass of orange juice. But then I remembered that my sisters, who had Covid last summer, had similar symptoms. I returned to my stateroom to use one of the dozen Covid tests I brought with me. And that dreaded positive line appeared.

It took a couple of hours for medical, who I called immediately, to show up to take its own test, which confirmed my results. A nurse called to get my medical history and prescription list. My only symptoms are those of a mild head cold.

The nurse said that today, Oct. 22, is day zero. On the morning of day six (Oct. 28), they will take another test and repeat it daily until I test negative. As I am alone in my stateroom and have a verandah, I can isolate here. I’ll order meals from room service. No one will clean my stateroom. I can ask for replacement towels if needed. No one may enter my stateroom. I must wear a mask when opening the door for deliveries. The list goes on, but you get the idea.

I’ve generally subscribed to the philosophy that if you prepare for the worst, it won’t happen. Before I left home, I did download some watercolor classes to my iPad and other time-filler activities for a stint in “Covid jail,” hoping my preparations would ward off the disease and isolation. That plan didn’t work, but at least I won’t be at loss for things to fill my time.

A couple of silver linings:

I am within 90 days of starting the world cruise on Jan. 3, and people can test positive for weeks or months after recovering from covid. The doctor’s official “documentation of recovery” I will receive could help me board the world cruise even if I still test positive then.

And second, I’ve already been to the ports we will visit for the next eight days, so unless this virus really lingers, I won’t miss new ports.