This is a story about a visitor to Hawaii who took the 14-day quarantine very seriously. For two weeks he didn’t venture from the address he wrote on the form he filled out when he landed in Honolulu. He answered his cellphone when authorities checked up on him. Friends brought him supplies while maintaining social distancing. He stayed put and stayed busy.
Milosz Kaczorowski of Poland is captain of the Golden Rule, a 39-foot sailboat that has a proud history. It was the first environmental and peace vessel, sailing to Hawaii from California in 1958 en route to protest nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. The crew of activists was arrested in Honolulu, and the incident sparked international attention. Since then Golden Rule, a project of Veterans for Peace, has sailed around the world on similar missions. It was an inspiration for Greenpeace.
“People did bold things on this very boat,” Kaczorowski said.
Last year Kaczorowski sailed the Golden Rule from San Diego to Maui and Hawaii island. Kaczorowski flew from Poland in early March to the U.S. to prepare for a cross-Pacific sail from Hawaii to Japan. He was in California with the project manager of the Golden Rule when the COVID-19 pandemic escalated. Guam, one of the planned stopping points in the journey, closed its borders. The Marshall Islands had closed its borders even earlier due to the measles outbreak. The Japan trip had to be postponed.
Kaczorowski flew to Hawaii two weeks ago to get the vintage wooden sailboat ready for the eventual Pacific crossing. Local supporters of the Golden Rule Project offered to have him stay in their homes to quarantine, but he wanted to be on the sailboat. “I had a lot of offers, but I would have been just bored,” he said. He emailed the state’s coronavirus response team to make sure it was OK for him to quarantine on the boat in Ala Wai Harbor.
He has not ventured out farther than the trash bin that sits about 15 feet away from his slip in the harbor. He has not had anyone on the boat, except one visitor who stepped on board without permission. “I had to say, ‘I’m sorry. You have to leave. I’m in quarantine.’”
He celebrated his 31st birthday in quarantine, talking with family and friends via video calls before getting back to how he spent every single day of his quarantine. “I worked,” he said. There are so many things to do to prepare the Golden Rule for the open ocean: electrical work, plumbing, preventive maintenance. “This was time well spent,” he said.
Barbara Cooney is one of the local residents who has been helping him maintain strict quarantine. Supporters of the Golden Rule Project have donned masks to bring him food, supplies and the thing that has become most valuable to him: ice.
“The history of this sailboat is one of moral fortitude,” Cooney said. “The first crew in 1958 took a vow of nonviolence. They made a commitment. The history of this boat is about living by your vows. Milosz is the perfect captain.”
He gets his electrical supply and water from the harbor facilities. He showers and cooks on board and does laundry in a bucket. The sailboat has a holding tank for the toilet. He prefers to work alongside other people — the optimum crew of the Golden Rule is four — but he made a commitment to follow the rules of quarantine for two weeks, so he’s alone.
“I’m a guest here. I respect differences in island society and conditions of hospitality. And also, I have a lot to lose,” he said. He can’t go back to Poland at the moment. The country’s borders are closed.
Today, Wednesday, makes day 14 of his quarantine. On Thursday, Kaczorowski plans to go hiking with some of the friends who have brought him food over the last two weeks. “Hawaii is the other end of the world for me,” he said. “I’m interested to see some of it.”
But he was determined to wait until it was legal for him to do so.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
>> To read more about the history of the Golden Rule and the upcoming voyage, go to vfpgoldenruleproject.org.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or email@example.com.