A Canadian man set out on a solo sail around the world in October. He returned 9 months later in the middle of a pandemic.

kmclaughlin@businessinsider.com (Kelly McLaughlin)
·3 min read
Victoria, British Columbia canada sail sailing sailboat
Sailing ships sit at anchor as dawn breaks outside the harbor in Victoria, British Columbia, on June 23, 2005.

REUTERS/Andy Clark AC/CN

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."

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.

Read Yahoo Life's full interview here »

Read the original article on Insider