By Kimberly Mayer
Approximately four miles off the white sandy coast of Coronado Island in Southern California, sit cruise ships, including Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Eclipse, in anchorage. They’ve been part of the view from here ever since the CDC suspended cruise ship sailings around the US. Every couple weeks one will go into the Port of San Diego for supplies, otherwise they are not going anywhere. On overcast days the ships appear like small far-off islands, and on clear days, like beach toys that floated off.
Beach toys with all the amenities. Beach toys with staff at a minimum, mainly engineers and captains. Also, ship doctors on board as well as medicines. Beach toys with booming foghorns when they need to make their presence known to other ships at sea. Beach toys waiting out the pandemic in an outer anchorage area managed by the US Coast Guard.
“It kind of harkens back to the 1800’s,” notes Adam Deaton, cruise business manager for the Port of San Diego, “when ports used to provide a secondary function protecting communities and protecting infections from other locales.” (The Coronado Times, 9/01/2020)
Interesting he should say that, for I’ve been feeling nothing but nostalgic during my stay on Coronado—back to a time when my grandparents first began to winter in Naples, Florida. Back when traffic there was light and elderly ladies wheeled big Cadillacs about like boats. My grandmother wore Lily dresses and brightly colored beads there, and when they built their home in Naples, she specified all pink appliances for the kitchen. While my grandfather clad in cardigans insisted on a massive brick fireplace and hearth in the living room, like no other house around. Florida: where every garage was immaculate, and poinsettia plants grew into shrubs or trees, much to my amazement. Where people risked their lives to live where coconuts could fall on their heads and kill them, or so I thought. But somehow it seemed worth it.
Coronado is much like that. The traffic is slow and crosswalk lights, extra long. The children all ride bikes and scooters, residents drive golf carts on the roads, and every dog is picked up after. Where all the ice cream is gelato, parks are aplenty, and everybody’s got the beach. And now I’m the grandparent.
This is the pandemic pause. We’re all on these ships lately, stuck in time and not going anywhere. We can choose to mask up or not, vaccinate or not, but we’re all in this together. The same boat.