Ignorance is bliss. But you would have to be living a hermit’s life to be ignorant of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Or maybe you’ve been sailing the Atlantic for most of March, as was the case for European couple Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osborne.

The couple quit their jobs three years ago and bought a boat to explore the world. Their most recent adventure started with them leaving the Canary Islands at the end of February, making the 3,000-nautical-mile journey across the Atlantic to the Caribbean over the next 25 days. Throughout this sailing trip, the couple had no mobile phone signal and no internet access. So, they were understandably perplexed when they arrived in the Caribbean, only to turn on their phones and learn of the worldwide pandemic.

Before leaving, the two were aware of the novel coronavirus spreading in China, but assumed things would be blown over by the end of their trip. Even upon their landing, they initially thought the restrictions for docking were merely preventive.

"We had no idea the world had turned upside down while we were gone," they posted on Facebook. "We thought all countries were just implementing preventative measures to contain the virus."

While Osborne is from Manchester, England, Manighetti is an Italian citizen from Bergamo in northern Italy. 

“It was about three days [after we arrived] that Ryan found a 10-day old article in the New York Times that said my home town was the worst-hit in the world," Manighetti told The Guardian. "I had had absolutely no idea. I called my dad and he said: ‘Oh you found out. Don’t panic. It’s all right.’"

The couple was in possession of a satellite device that could be used if needed, but ironically, before embarking, the two reportedly told their shore contacts they wanted no bad news while they were sailing.

“It’s quite a common thing for sailors not to want bad news when they are on an ocean crossing because there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it,” Manighetti said. “All you can do is cry, scream, worry, but you can’t turn around because the wind is behind you and is very strong.”

For the time being, the young explorers are stuck in Bequia, Saint Vincent. Here’s hoping for their safe return home!