Sunday, 26 April 2020

UPDATED - The Dive Bus and COVID-19: The story so far AND what's coming up ...

Greetings from sunny Curacao!

This is all of us checking in again, with a big, fat, cheery Bon dia! and our very best wishes that you’re all doing well – and still haven't gone entirely #coronacrazy just yet.

Things have been busy and changing quickly here in Curacao and at The Dive Bus, so apologies for this post taking a little longer to go live than we'd planned. Without further ado, here's the story of The Dive Bus Curacao and COVID-19 so far and what's coming up - enjoy and thanks for reading 💙💙💙


Life at The Dive Bus before COVID-19

If you read our last Blog post, you'll already know that life had been good and busy at The Dive Bus, with lots of fun, happy divers, great diving conditions for plenty of #seriouslyfundiving.

We'd had a great time at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show (where it didn’t snow once!!!) and were supposed to be heading back to the Beneath The Sea show in New Jersey - scheduled for right around the time that the first COVID-19 landed here in Curacao. We’re extremely grateful that the show organizers rescheduled the show long before then, otherwise right now, Mark and Suzy could still be in New Jersey, in desperate need of clean clothes, a lot of beer and some warm weather.

Instead, they’re happy to be here in sunny Curacao, even though - just like yours - life is a little different these days. (And yup, we know exactly how lucky we are to be "stuck here" surrounded by palm trees, the ocean, beaches and warmth. Although it will be less fun when / if the beer runs out.)

In the meantime, for the hundreds of folks who've been asking (thank you! 💙), we’re still here, still up, running and doing fine - just a little differently to regular SOP. All that's missing is you - but we're working on that, so keep watching this space.

For now though, here's the story of The Dive Bus since COVID-19 arrived in Curacao.

And - more importantly - how we've got your backs to keep you diving, busy and entertained during these strange times.

Starting with this awesome Dive Bus "best bits"  video - courtesy of our buddy Thais at Turtle and Ray Productions - to put in your 'happy place'

(yup, this is the one that should have been on the last Blog post - doh!)


Curacao’s Prime Minister, Eugene Rhuggenaath
COVID-19 arrives in Curacao

Curacao’s first positive COVID-19 case was identified and isolated in the ICU on 13 March 2020.

Things moved quickly and frequently from that point on, and The Dive Bus Crew weren’t the only ones glued to local news websites.The Curacao Government, led by Prime Minister, Eugene Rhuggenaath did an excellent, timely job in terms of crisis management and public information, issuing frequent, regular updates.

Dr Izzy
Virtually overnight, Curacao had a new hero: one Dr Izzy Gerstenbluth, Curacao’s Epidemiologist, who looks like he’s hardly slept since the virus landed – and the poor man probably hasn't.

He and his incredible ICU team are testing and taking care of all current and possible cases. Dr Izzy stands (2 meters away) from Mr Rhuggenaath in their public updates, urging the people of Curacao to be safe and careful - and the precautions to take to do so.

Lockdown in Paradise

10 points if you can (correctly) name this stunning Curacao beach and dive site...

Heaps of divers had already been in touch us to #postponedontccancel (massive thanks if you were one of them) - and we had just enough time to take care of our remaining divers’ vacations. We really appreciated them choosing to stay and dive their booties off, instead of flying home as soon as they could.

Their timing was perfect because just after the divers had left for home, the Government issued a mandated lock-down of bars, restaurants, beaches and any other shared / social places. This was soon extended to other non-critical businesses, effectively leaving only gas stations and grocery stores open.

So, on 25 March, just 3 months after celebrating another fun, busy Christmas, we closed and locked The Dive Bus dive center gates for the last time in a while.

Shortly afterwards, when the final date for non-residents to leave the island was announced, Collin and Whitney decided to head back home until it was all over. But not before a fun evening of plenty of food, drinks, laughs, "see you soon’"s and socially-distant hugs.

Mark, Suzy, Zoe and Adam chose to stay in sunny Curacao. And because we could, and because it was exactly what we all needed, we headed out for a rare TDB team dive the day the next day. This was followed, of course - in true Dive Bus tradition - by Beer O’Clock. Even with social distancing rules in play (at the beer table, not underwater) it was fun, relaxing and just what we all needed, even though we missed Collin and Whitney not being there.

It was also very well timed.

Very shortly afterwards, the Curacao Government implemented the inevitable and necessary “shelter in place" lock-down. Under this, we all have two ‘get out of jail free’ days per week for grocery shopping or other critical activities only, while maintaining social distancing rule at all times. (This has caused  many awkward moments in the grocery store aisles.)

Supermarket Sweep, Curacao style

The toilet paper thing

Although everyone was expecting the lockdown, not many folks had had time to prepare for it - including us.

This announcement was therefore - not surprisingly - immediately followed by a massive, island-wide binge-shopping outbreak.

With not much time to prepare, grocery stores from Jan Thiel to Westpunt struggled to replenish their shelves quickly enough to cope with the unanticipated floods of shoppers-on-a-mission. The Curacao version of 'Supermarket Sweep'.

Toilet paper has never been in such high demand as it was that day. Grocery store staff struggled to replenish TP stock faster than shoppers could throw it in their shopping carts. The following day, there were mountains of toilet paper piled anywhere and everywhere. If the lockdown here continues long enough for TP to become trading currency, Mark and Collin will be millionaires.

Simor and Luna - BFFs 💖💖
Bad news for dogs.
Really bad news for dog owners.

Just like diving, the Curacao Government didn't deem 'walking your dog' to be a critical activity.

We figured that the decision makers were probably not dog-owners.

Because, as a result, already-fed-up dog owners across the island - including Zoe - now had to deal with clearing up pooch-poop on a regular basis (like they didin't already have enough s**t to deal with, arf, arf).

Zoe was convinced this was Luna’s way of punishing her for missing her long, daily walks - and she was probably right.

Owners and dogs alike were therefore thrilled with the very recent announcement that dog walking is permitted again.

So we figure that some of the decision makers are dog-owners - and just as fed with having to, quite literally, deal with the same s**t as Zoe.

How we've been keeping busy and avoiding #coronacrazy

How's that video for a classic!
10 points if you can name the guy on the left...

Even with The Dive Bus gates closed, there's been plenty to keep us busy and avoid going #coronacrazy.

Besides keeping up with and implementing the frequently-changing and new Government COVID-19 safety policies, we deep-cleaned, checked and tidied up all The Dive Bus rental equipment and tanks, cleaned all the dive shop furniture, fixtures, fittings, shop stock -  and a hundred other things.

The Dive Bus rental equipment and shop contents are now totally and utterly 'wintered' and very clean and shiny.

There's also been plenty to do on the administration and customer service side too, including:
And to keep us sane, all of the above are washed down with lashings of beer during the TDB Crew virtual beer o'clocks (!)

Keeping YOU busy and avoiding going #coronacrazy

Since our last Blog post, and in between all of the above, we've been working on a bunch of fun ways to keep YOU from going #coronacrazy.

So if you haven't already, you might want to check out:

fun tales of how The Dive Bus Crew are avoiding going #coronacrazy
➧ The Dive Bus #coronacrazy Challenge...
➧ The Dive Bus on
Instagram for regular doses of #seriouslyfundiving to keep you smiling

THIS space right here, for more distractions and fun ways to keep you from going #coronacrazy and keep on diving, coming soon...

And if you haven't already, take a minute to like and follow us on facebook, Instagram and twitter so you don’t miss any of these - and other - Dive Bus COVID-19 ridiculousness and distractions.

And (if you have any clicks to spare after all of the above) liking and sharing The Dive Bus posts really helps expands their reach, so more fun (bored!) #seriouslyfun folks like you get to see them.

Thanks HEAPS if you're able to help us with that

#Covid19 #Covid-19 #Coronavirus #StayHomeStaySafe #StayHome #QuarantineandChill #FlattenTheCurve #SocialDistancing #TogetherAtHome #Covidiots