OF ALL the places to be stuck during lockdown, French Polynesia is arguably one of the most beautiful. Andrew West, of Godshill, Janet Coates, of Cowes, and mainlander Matthew Sage are currently stuck on a 43ft Westerly sailing boat.

They left the Isle of Wight on August 6, 2019, to join the ARC rally leaving from Gran Canaria to St Lucia at the end of November.

They arrived in St Lucia before Christmas and left with the World ARC rally to undertake a circumnavigation of the world, setting sail in January.

They have since stopped in Columbia, San Blas Islands, Panama, Las Perlas Islands, the Galapagos and across the Pacific to French Polynesia.

While crossing the Pacific, a daily update was received from the World ARC, based in Cowes, but with no internet, they were unaware of extent of Covid-19 until an email was received, informing them French Polynesia had closed its borders.

It made the trio 'refugees', with 21 days worth of food left, and not quite two days worth of diesel to run the generator and motor.

Luckily they have a water maker on board.

The government wanted them to go to Tahiti, where flights could be organised to repatriate everyone, but unfortunately they did not have enough fuel to get there.

Janet said: "The bay is beautiful and there are currently 90 boats on anchor with 35 live-aboards of all nationalities.

"It all seemed rather idyllic until we learnt about the restrictions.

"We are not allowed in the sea under any circumstances. Each boat can only go ashore once a week.

"It is usually 29 degrees inside the boat and 35 degrees outside.

"We are only into our fifth day so quite enjoying the scenery, but not sure how we will feel in a week's time with no exercise.

"On a positive note, there is a local fruit and veg lady who makes boxes of produce and leaves on the jetty each Thursday, and we have a delivery of baguettes every Friday.

"Each evening one boat does a trivia quiz. There are some great characters who keep us entertained.

"Books are swapped by leaving them on the back of your boat and letting others know over the VHF.

"It may not be the paradise we were expecting but it's a great place to be quarantined.

"We have a minimum of six weeks staying here, perhaps three months.

"After that, we will wait for the international flights to recommence and come back to our own lovely island to see family and friends.

"I was planning on returning on March 29 for three weeks for my dad's 95th birthday before coming back to continue the trip, but all inter-island flights ceased before that date.

"So happy 95th birthday Roy Coates, for April 17."