A Canadian man who set out on a solo sail 267 days ago returned to land earlier this month to a much different world than he left.
Bert terHart, a public speaker and IT entrepreneur, set sail from Victoria, British Columbia, in October, making a months-long trip around the world via the five Capes — South Cape in New Zealand, South East and Cape Leeuwin in Australia, Cape Agulhas in South Africa, and Cape Horn in Chile — with no aid from electronic navigational devices.
He arrived home on July 18, in a world hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. He had seen COVID-19 restrictions first-hand during a stop in Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, in May, but didn’t fully know what to expect in Canada, Yahoo Life reported.
“When I got back, the first thing I said was, ‘What did I miss?'” he told Yahoo. “I had some idea of what was going on with respect to COVID, but you can’t fully understand or fully grasp it until you actually are immersed in it.”
He told Yahoo that arriving back into a pandemic was a “harsh and brutal introduction,” especially because of Canada’s restrictions around the virus.
“I miss the closeness that used to be [there],” he said. “You could walk down the street and you could pass someone nearby and say, ‘excuse me,’ and smile at them. And they would smile, and not everyone is automatically moving away from you, which is very odd. Because as human beings, we don’t necessarily want all other human beings to constantly be, you know, migrating away from you. You suddenly feel like a leper.”
What a week! Just a quick update as to how Bert has been adjusting to life on land. After the triumphant return on Saturday July 18, Bert’s week has been filled with family, 3 meet and greets and then all the press…so much press! Zoom interviews, phone calls, and Facebook Live, oh my!! The response, support and interest has been so incredible and it has meant the world to the success of this voyage. Thank you EVERYONE!! An amazing experience for both Bert and ShoreTeam Leah. Everything is looking nice and quiet for the upcoming week and Bert will be sailing home to Gabriola and Nani, finally. What a whirlwind! You can find all the press articles, videos, radio interviews and magazine features on Bert’s website press page: www.the5capes.com Bert has enjoyed pizza, cookies, donuts and some great movies. (Notably the Maiden documentary!) Seaburban is nestled in a cozy slip and has had a wash and a quick polish, but strangely enough, Sir Salty is nowhere to be found… #celebrate #whirlwindtour #paparazzi #svseaburban #aroundalone #sextant #penandpaper #circumnavigation #sailor #sailing #nonstop #5capes #onehandfortheship #occadventuresailing #sailinglovers #adventureisoutthere m#occchallengegrant #instasailing #sailboatsofinstagram #captainbert #onemanshow #brave #sailinglife #sea #ocean #sailboats #sailingaroundtheworld
A post shared by SV Seaburban (@svseaburban) on Jul 26, 2020 at 8:07pm PDTJul 26, 2020 at 8:07pm PDT
TerHart did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Canada has had 115,470 people test positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began, and 8,917 people have died from the virus.
The country currently has travel restrictions put in place, and has encouraged its residents to wear face masks and social distance to help prevent the spread of the virus.