The COVID Coda

This is the hardest post to write.  I mentioned COVID fogged brain in my last post.  I missed the final dinner, although they brought a delicious Beef Wellington to my stateroom.  I also missed the final slide show and farewell lecture, although I did listen on the ship’s PA system.  I was not feeling well. 

Alaska Dream Cruises required us all to be vaccinated and that we all have negative PCR COVID tests before boarding.  The 35 guests and staff formed a bubble for the week on the ship.  We were pretty careful keeping our bubble.

However, I wasn’t feeling well on that final night, so I asked for and got a COVID test.  That test came out negative, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to possibly expose folks to what I may have had in case the test proved false.  I was feeling better on Sunday Morning so I went to breakfast.  That may have been a mistake.  A day after getting off the boat I tested positive for COVID with a breakthrough case that put me in the hospital for 5 days.  (I also had a bacterial infection that complicated things.) Suzi also tested positive but was mostly asymptomatic.  We notified Alaska Dream Cruises and they sent out an email to everyone telling them to isolate and test.  Several other cruise mates have tested positive for COVID. 

This set me to thinking of whether I should report this final chapter.  Alaska Dream Cruises did everything right, testing, vaccination requirement, the bubble, and yet several of us were infected.  I decided to write this final post because it was part of the cruise and people need to think about what this new variant can mean to their plans.  The rules seem to have shifted.

The first question I asked myself is should we have done this cruise in the first place?  When we signed up Sitka was at the lowest level of alert, the Delta variant was still in the future.  Alaska Dream Cruises had set up a strict protection regimen.  We were all vaccinated, we were all tested before getting on, the ship had strict protocols, including ventilation and the ability to test on board.  We thought we were in a protected bubble.   

Selfishly, I am glad we did this cruise.  It gave me new insights into a place I have called home for 40 years.  Plus, I met interesting people and had a good time.  At the same time, I feel badly for the healthcare workers exposed to my germ bomb of a body.  Everytime someone came into my hospital room it took them nearly 10 minutes to “suit up” and created a lot of plastic waste.  They endangered themselves and their families whenever they entered my room.   When we decided to take the cruise, we believed in the vaccine and that if it would not absolutely prevent infection it would prevent hospitalization and all of the resources hospitalization would cost the community.  I suppose the lesson is that you can be careful and follow the rules as you understand them at the time but must keep in mind that this virus keeps rewriting the rules and that you are not making decisions just for yourself.

So, this blog is late, written more than two weeks after the fact, pulling details from a COVID fogged memory.   And this last post gives me the excuse to post more whale pictures allowing me to be a little lazier in my picture culling. 

Looking at the pictures and rereading what I have written makes me happy.   I am through the disease and have come out on the other side.  And the cruise was one of those peak experiences that ties me closer to my chosen home.  When I look at this blog in the future I will remember the wildlife, the glaciers, the curious and smart cruise mates, the care and competency of the crew.  I will feel a sense of gratitude for this experience and the people I shared it with. 

The track from Wrangell to our Anchorage North of Sitka on our final night.

8 thoughts on “The COVID Coda

  1. I can imagine you feel bad but also where did your exposure come from? You did go ashore. Most people become symptomatic 2 to 5 days from exposure according to my resident nurse. It was a beautiful trip. I love Sitka. I hope to be back someday when this is gone. Hang in there.

  2. I started feeling poorly on Thursday but did not test positively until the following Monday, although they did test me. Do not know where the exposure came from. I suspect it was in the airport holding area in Sitka on Saturday night. The plane was late, we were there quite a while, very crowded and some people, of course, do not know how to wear a mask.

  3. We are all sailing in uncharted waters so to speak with COVID. It would be easy to second guess this thing since it appears to be making it harder to get rid of and we all want to bring some normalcy into our lives. I am glad you got through and trust everyone else have recovered if they caught it. Especially since they were supposed to be vaccinated. That’s the ticket for me in us getting back to normalcy and it appears that we’re just going to have to work through it. In ay case, it looks like a great trip for you and Suzi..

  4. I am so sorry to read on your blog that you caught covid on your cruise. I have always enjoyed your blog both text and photos and appreciate you sharing your experiences

  5. I remember how crowded the waiting area was at Sitka Airport. It would be impossible to social distance there.
    Do you still have to go through security twice if you need to use the toilet?

  6. I am so happy you are better now. Thank you for sharing your story. The photos are stunning and it made me miss Alaska even more. Please be well ❤️

  7. Marion, They have put two toilets into the post security area, which, of course, makes the waiting area even smaller.

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