NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) is looking into reports of a family of three currently isolating on an uninhabited island in The Bahamas, Eyewitness News understands.
The BBC World Service featured Captain Brian Trautman and his wife Karin in a video report that quickly made its way around Bahamian social media today.
The pair host a crowd-funded travel vlog where they sail from country to country exploring the world’s oceans.
The couple, who also have a nine-month-old baby, share how they have been living onboard the SV Delos and on an uninhabited island for over 100 days – though they had only planned to stay for one month.
As of yesterday, the couple was still sailing in the Ragged Island Chain, near Maycock Cay.
“We’re thinking like, well…if we can stay here, and we can stay safe and we can stay healthy then it sounds like a much better place to be than heading off to some marina or dock in the U.S. where we’re just literally trapped on board,” Captain Trautman said.
He noted that they have managed to stay very isolated and self-sufficient – catching their own food, making drinkable water, and creating their own power supply with solar and wind.
During the interview, Trautman acknowledged that The Bahamas government had put the entire country on lockdown, closing the borders to inter-island travel on all types of transportation.
He also expressed concern over the start of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the active season forecasted.
“At some point, we will have to make a decision to leave because I don’t want to stay here, you don’t want to stay here through hurricane season – it sounds like a terrible idea,” he added.
“Hopefully things will improve toward the end of this month.”
The BBC story garnered some criticism by those who questioned whether the couple was in Bahamian waters legally and whether they could be considered poachers.
The couple was shown fishing and eating lobster during the closed season.
Some people insisted the story romanticized the couple opting to flee from the coronavirus outbreak in their country, noting that given their length of stay, they had ample time to return home.
The Bahamas entered into a state of emergency on March 17, just days after confirming its first case of the virus, and its borders were subsequently shut down on March 23.
The U.S. Embassy Nassau continually warned citizens who wished to return to the U.S. to make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
For those U.S. citizens on private vessels, the embassy urged pleasure crafts anchored or moored in The Bahamas to depart directly for their country of origin.
The embassy further advised that while vessels can transit on a direct route back to the US, they will not be able to refuel or make use of fuel docks during the full lockdown period.
Departing vessels from The Bahamas were told to avoid unnecessary deviation on the way to their final destination and crew and passengers must remain aboard their vessel.
It is currently unclear whether the couple followed maritime protocol to be docked off the uninhabited island.