German couple sailing the world find unexpected refuge in B.C.

Paul and Marion Bauer’s boat, Luna Mare, had to be repaired after the hull endured damage after colliding into a rock in the Strait of Georgia. Since November, the couple have been living on their boat anchored at Discovery Harbour in Campbell River.Paul and Marion Bauer’s boat, Luna Mare, had to be repaired after the hull endured damage after colliding into a rock in the Strait of Georgia. Since November, the couple have been living on their boat anchored at Discovery Harbour in Campbell River.
Paul and Marion Bauer pose for a picture at the shipyard in Campbell River where their boat was getting repaired. The couple who set sail from Germany in 2017 to circumnavigate the globe, found their plans altered after the pandemic struck in 2020.Paul and Marion Bauer pose for a picture at the shipyard in Campbell River where their boat was getting repaired. The couple who set sail from Germany in 2017 to circumnavigate the globe, found their plans altered after the pandemic struck in 2020.

Marion and Paul Bauer left Bavaria in 2017. They boarded their sailboat planning to circumnavigate the globe.

And they enjoyed every nautical mile of their post-retirement life, crossing European cities through the Baltic Sea, proceeding towards Cape Verde in Africa and from there sailing the Atlantic Ocean.

When they were nearing Panama in April 2020, they heard about “the coronavirus” through a brief satellite message from a family member.

Paul and Marion had no idea about the extent of chaos this new virus had caused back on land as they had been out of communication for months. Marion, a nurse by profession, assumed that it could be something to do with the heart since it had the term corona in it.

RELATED: After 7 years and 14 countries, sailing family finds home

RELATED: Victoria-based solo-sailor oldest person to sail around the world unassisted

By the time they reached Hawaii, the human race’s social etiquette had changed. Faces were masked, social distancing had set in and all group gatherings were prohibited.

Life at sea was not very different from the isolation that was being undertaken back on land, so the couple spent most of their time on boat while docked at ports with their routines unchanged.

But they had to pivot their sailing plan to the south Pacific Ocean as most countries in the region had begun implementing strict lockdowns.

They carried on towards Alaska with the hope of anchoring in Canada before heading to the U.S. where they decided to halt and plan their route to turn back and head home. Their arrival in Canada in October last year at Prince Rupert was “not the best experience,” said Paul.

“We were denied entry and not even allowed to anchor at the port to refuel,” he said. “There were other sailors who were let in at the same port but not us.”

Tired and upset, they had no option but to turn around and head towards Washington.

It was during this stretch that their boat– named Luna Mare – sustained a leak after bumping into a rock in the Strait of Georgia at night, near Campbell River. The emergency, relayed through radio, led officials to give them entry into Campbell River, where they were able to anchor and get their boat fixed.

The repairs took over a month and gave them time to quarantine and take a break from all the unexpected challenges.

Paul and Marion went for long walks, explored the numerous hiking trails at Elk Falls and made a couple of friends in the city. Their opinion about Canada as an “unfriendly” place slowly changed as they anchored at Discovery Harbour in Campbell River and planned their route back to Europe.

They have spent a little over five months in Campbell River as they waited for the next sailing window to head back.

Thanksgiving of 2020 was spent on boat – Marion made a special turkey dish and Paul made his signature beans with chestnut and bacon. On Christmas and New Year they connected with their grandchildren and family via video calls.

And they forged a good friendship with a couple of Campbell Riverites.

“People are nice here,” Paul said, redeeming the unpleasant impression he had of the country upon arrival.

Ten years ago, when they took sailing classes, they both never imagined they would undertake a global sailing adventure like the one they embarked on, and they certainly did not anticipate a global pandemic to be the cherry on the top of their challenge list.

When they set out in 2017, they wanted to experience life at sea and not just settle into the routine of retirement that awaited them after their careers, says Paul. 2020 certainly exceeded all their expectations of this experience, according to him.

“Life at sea is peaceful,” and perhaps even helped them sustain sanity when COVID-19 had turned life upside-down for most land dwellers.

This week, Paul and Marion departed Campbell River, homeward bound through the Atlantic Ocean. They intend to complete the final leg of their journey – sailing through the waters of the Pacific Ocean – when the world is “back to normal.”

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Coronavirustravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP responded to 256 calls from April 12 to April 19, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Terrace RCMP briefs: Bear spray, assault with a hammer and hot tub theft

RCMP responded to 256 calls from April 12 to April 19, 2021

The Pure Movements dance group performing ‘Coffee, Coffee, Coffee…Americano’ during the 2019 Pacific Northwest Music Festival, the last to be held before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions of the two-week Terrace event. (Submitted Photo/ Ken Juniper)
Spotlighting the Arts 2021 brings performances to the people during pandemic

The initiative was created by organizers of the cancelled Pacific Northwest Music Festival

There were 29 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Terrace between April 11 and April 15, 2021. (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control)
New COVID-19 cases in Terrace increase by 15 compared to previous week

There were 29 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the Terrace area between April 11 and April 17

Nass forest service road deactivated due to Landslide. (NLG Conservation/Facebook)
Landslide deactivates Nass-Kinskutch service road

Service road going to Kitsault and Alice Arm affected

Terrace-based Skeena Diversity Society among organizations to receive provincial funding to combat (Skeena Diversity Society/Facebook)
Skeena Diversity Society receives provincial funding to combat racism

The provincial funding extends to 36 organizations covering 57 communities

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. COVID-19 hotspots targeted as AstraZeneca vaccine runs low

17,000 appointments booked the first day for people aged 40 and up

Most Read