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.