A travel blogger stranded on an island in Yemen during the coronavirus crisis reveals how she resorted to six days of sailing on a cargo ship to the UAE to catch a flight to Poland.
Eva zu Beck, 29, arrived in Socotra, in the Arabian Sea in early March on a commercial flight from Cairo, but struggled to find a way to leave after the island was shut down to protect the population from COVID-19 .
Since flights were not allowed to land on the island, the only commercial options were sailing to Oman, which had closed its borders, or to the mainland, which Eva said was risky because of the health crisis and the civil war.
As the political situation on Socotra deteriorated – Yemeni separatists have since taken the island from the Saudi-backed government – Eve spent weeks looking for a way home before getting through on a freighter to the Middle East.
Eva zu Beck, 29, arrived on Socotra, in the Arabian Sea, on a regular commercial flight from Cairo in March, but struggled to find a way to leave after the island was shut down due to COVID-19
For weeks, Eva searched for a way home before moving on a freighter to the Middle East. She documented the voyage on her YouTube channel (pictured on the ship)
The journey, which was documented on Eva’s YouTube channel, lasted six days and the group had to spend an additional eight days on board the vessel off the coast of the UAE to quarantine before being allowed to transit and take a flight home.
Eva said from her home in Poland, “I was on the island of Socotra in Yemen and stayed there for the next 80 days.
“That means I spent almost the entire closure in Socotra and I am so blessed to have been there on that incredible island.
“But I knew the situation wouldn’t last long. I knew I couldn’t be there forever and the political situation on the island slowly deteriorated while we were there three weeks ago. ‘
Eva said she was “so lucky” to have spent time on the “incredible island” of Socotra, in the Arabian Sea, but wanted to leave before the political situation deteriorated. Shown on Socotra
Eva, who has 475,000 Instagram followers, documented her time on Socotra on the social media site. Photo: Eva explores the island during her travels this spring
Yemen has faced major conflicts since late 2014, when the country went into civil war. In recent weeks, the crisis on Socotra itself has worsened, with Yemeni separatists ousting the governor and expelling the troops from the Saudi-backed government, which condemned the action as a coup.
In addition to mounting political tensions, Eva was aware that the island’s windy season, known as Khareef, was fast approaching, with gusts so strong that the island is effectively ‘cut off’ until the weather turns in October.
Eva continued, “I knew that if I stayed there, I risked getting stuck there until fall. My friends and I have been trying to get away from the island for about a month since early May.
“Look, there was no coronavirus on the island, as far as I know there still isn’t. But the island was keen to protect itself and its people from the virus, so there were limited travel options. ‘
After a few weeks, Eva (photo) and the rest of her group were allowed to take a freighter to Abu Dhabi, which would take six days to travel 2,500 kilometers at a speed of about 15 kilometers per hour
On the ship, Eva (photo) thought about what life on the island was like without WiFi or easy contact with the outside world
After arriving in UAE, Eva and her friends were unable to leave the ship for eight days and needed a coronavirus test before getting a visa
After a few weeks, the group was allowed to bring a cargo ship to Abu Dhabi that would take six days and cover 2,500 kilometers at a speed of about 15 kilometers per hour.
However, after arriving in the UAE, Eva and her friends were unable to leave the ship for eight more days and needed a coronavirus test before getting a visa.
“Although we were docked in the harbor, we were not yet allowed to leave the ship,” she explained.
Eva shows footage filmed on her ship’s 12th day and says, “You can see the city behind me, it’s so close, it’s within reach.
Under local law, the group had a coronavirus test that came back negative and meant they could leave the ship and enter the United Arab Emirates. Depicted, Eva on the freighter
‘Recently someone on Instagram sent me a photo, a video of our boat from one of those buildings that we are so close to.
“We’re not leaving the boat, we’re still there. Frankly, I think this is a quarantine. I just want to go home, you know. ‘
Under local law, the group had a coronavirus test that came back negative and meant they could leave the ship and enter the United Arab Emirates.
Another excerpt from the trip allows Eve to explain, “I have the visa. After exactly 14 days after a coronavirus test we can enter Abu Dhabi as an evacuation measure and from here I fly back home. ‘
Eva is now at home in the picture in Poland, where she continues to post about traveling