Adam Whistler and Emily Nancolas, from Skipton, have been spending a year sailing around Europe on their 38ft boat and had just returned to their mooring in Greece after a visit to Yorkshire when the lockdown was imposed.
The couple were not allowed to go ashore again to buy extra supplies, so had to survive on what little food they had for the two-week quarantine in which they could not leave the boat for any reason and risked a 3,000-euro fine for doing so.
At one point they nearly ran out of drinking water and finally manage to persuade a local restaurant owner to deliver some bottles along with a food order.
The couple, who are in their 30s, had been planning to spend a month getting their craft ready for a summer at sea and admit they were 'completely unprepared' for the extent of the lockdown.
"We had some food and water on board but not much, so we were forced to ration our supplies to try and make it last. We made what meals we could with the food we had - pasta with a tin of tomatoes, rice with tinned mushrooms and spoonfuls of peanut butter," said Emily.
"As the days went on we were eating just one meal a day, but it was clear we would run out of water. The water in the yard wasn’t drinkable, so we tried to rig a way to distill it with an electric kettle, but that was pretty unsuccessful.
"Realising we’re not cut out for survival tactics, we found a local restaurant that was delivering takeaway. He would deliver us four bottles of water when we ordered food from him, which he left at the gates for us. He thought it was hilarious, but he really was our saviour. We like the simplicity of sailboat life and we usually enjoy having to be sparing with resources, but living with very little food and water made us realise just how spoiled we really are.
"A few days after we arrived complete lockdown was announced and all flights to and from Greece were suspended. Realising we weren’t even in the same country as family if anything were to happen was an unsettling feeling, and still is. We used to joke that it was easier to get to London from Greece than it was from Yorkshire, but suddenly we felt very far away indeed. Living in a dusty boatyard away from any sort of community has been hard, and having limited internet makes social interaction difficult. Clapping for the NHS to an empty boatyard didn’t have quite the same effect.
"Living for two weeks in a few metres of space had its challenges too, and I can’t explain how strange it felt to actually walk around once the two-week quarantine was over. Rather than being excited for a little fresh air, we actually found ourselves quite hesitant about going outside again for the first time. It was a very odd feeling. In Greece we can’t leave home without our passports and a permission slip, so going for a walk or run feels even more restricted. I don’t think we will ever take walking for granted again.
"We feel very thankful to have made it back to our home when we know of so many who haven’t, and we feel thankful to Greece for having us, and for their incredibly strict measures that have kept us safe so far. As much as we are feeling the distance between countries right now, we have been shown a lot of kindness from a country that isn't ours."
Adam and Emily have written a blog about their experiences at www.twogetlost.com.