Honeymooners Feeonaa and Neville Clifton planned to spend two weeks visiting family in the Falkland Islands before heading to South America. Instead, they spent four months stuck in the Falklands—three in isolation with an elderly aunt—and another month crossing the ocean in a fishing boat to get back home to New Zealand. "If you like confined spaces, you should definitely consider a fishing trip," says Feeonaa, 48, of Auckland, who was to set foot on land on Tuesday, per the New Zealand Herald. She and 59-year-old Neville—together for 25 years—arrived in the Falklands on March 7, around the time that international borders began to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Their flight to Brazil was canceled, and the only routes home were through the UK or Africa, which would've required quarantines, per Deutsche Welle.
"We just climbed every hill we could, because it's quite an isolated space," Feeonaa tells the Herald. After four months of that, the couple heard that a NZ fishing company was collecting stranded crews. Eager to get home, they hopped aboard Sanford Limited's San Aotea II, an Antarctic fishing vessel, for a 27-day crossing of the Southern Ocean. They worked, watched dolphins, and learned to tie knots during the day. At night, they slept in spare crew bunks. "It was pretty incredible," says Feeonaa, who'd never spent a night of sea before. "It's given me a brand new appreciation of the sea." Still, the couple is keen to get home after "a lot of long days." The boat anchored off Timaru on Thursday and Feeonaa and Neville only needed to await negative COVID-19 test results before disembarking. They did indeed test negative, prr Deutsche Welle. (More honeymoon stories.)