Coronavirus forced a group of teens to sail home across the Atlantic

(CNN) — As journeys residence go, it was a specially very long and abnormal one particular.

The Covid-19 pandemic pressured a group of 24 Dutch adolescents to sail the Atlantic to return to the Netherlands, arriving properly in the port of Harlingen on Sunday soon after much more than five weeks at sea.

The college students, aged among 14 and 17, had been on a sail/examine system around the Caribbean on the “Wylde Swan” two-mast topsail schooner. Though they were being scheduled to fly property from Cuba past thirty day period, constraints thanks to the world-wide pandemic place their return journey in big question.

Christophe Meijer, the director of Masterskip, the company which organized the program, advised CNN: “We made the decision the best option would be to sail back with the college students to the Netherlands, alternatively than keeping in the Caribbean, with all the question marks there.”

The group achieved the Netherlands immediately after sailing throughout the Atlantic on Sunday, April 26.

Arthur Smeets/Masterskip

The teenagers, along with three instructors and 12 crew users, coated about 4,500 nautical miles (5,180 miles) on their epic journey, according to Meijer.

As none of them had packed for an ocean crossing, they had to acquire warm garments like sweaters and pants in the Caribbean prior to they departed from Saint Lucia on March 18.

A health care provider monitored the wellness of every person on the vessel and immediately after two weeks of sailing it was determined that the vessel was cost-free of coronavirus.

Despite the fact that the learners ended up equipped to contact their people via electronic mail, Meijer stated the ship was its “own world” and was “a bubble, in a way.”

Midway by their journey the team stopped to select up provides in the Azores in the mid-Atlantic. Whilst they were being not permitted to disembark, one particular pupil recognized as 16-yr-previous Jona stated in a video clip recorded on board that it was weird to see individuals donning masks on the islands. “I experienced never ever noticed the planet like that in my everyday living,” he extra.

When the students arrived again in the Netherlands on Sunday morning, they ultimately still left the ship one particular at a time in accordance with the country’s 1.5-meter social distancing policy.

Meijer reported it was “weird” for them to see anyone standing so significantly apart, adding that although they knew about social distancing, it was still a “shock” for them to uncover the place hunting so distinct to how they left it.

The students, who each arrived from a diverse higher college, had been taught a special curriculum along with their usual research.

“Wylde Swan” was constructed in the early 20th century as a herring fishing boat and was converted to a sailing boat between 2008 and 2010, in accordance to Meijer.

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