A STONEHOUSE couple who were stranded in one of the remotest places on Earth have arrived back in the UK.
Jamie Spring, 27 and Abi Morris, 25, travelled to Ecuador’s iconic Galapagos Islands, when the coronavirus pandemic hit during their visit.
The pair found themselves marooned on the archipelago, living in a hotel with no staff, food stocks running low and uncertainty over flights.
All the national parks and beaches were closed and a curfew was in place from 2pm to 5am.
To get back to the UK, Jamie and Abi first had to get to mainland Ecuador – around 800 miles from the Galapagos – and they struggled for two weeks to get on a flight.
But finally, on Friday morning, they secured tickets to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on one of the last emergency flights available.
“We eventually got saved by our airline- Avianca – that we previously booked an exit flight with,” said Jamie.
After a brief medical check, Jamie and Abi headed for the airport, where they queued with hundreds of other tourists before flying to the mainland.
“We left on the last emergency flight available for some time,” said Jamie.
“We then had one night in Quito.
“We wanted to stay by the airport to ensure we could get there quickly to take any potential flights.
“The only option close to the airport was five star hotel, the Wyndham.”
Jamie then stayed up until 2.30am, looking for a way home.
“I managed to book a flight to Houston, Texas with United Airlines for the next day, as well as two flights the following day to Newark, New Jersey and then onto London, to eventually arrive on Monday morning,” he said.
“We had a 14 hour layover in Houston but we managed to get a nearby hotel for the night. We shared a room with a girl from Cambridge and a guy from Australia who were trying to get home too.
“The Sunday was my 28th birthday, which was very surreal.”
Jamie describes the day as ‘a birthday full of airports’, finally winding up in Heathrow, where they caught a coach to Gloucester.
“We are currently renting a house in Stroud for two weeks for our quarantine,” he said.
“We didn’t want to go straight home as we both still live with our parents and siblings who are key workers and didn’t want to risk passing the virus on if we have it.
“We are relieved to be home but it’s very strange considering the current situation of lockdown.
“But the circumstances here are much better than in Ecuador where you had to be inside by 2pm and wear a face mask at all times.”
Despite their stressful stay on the Galapagos, the couple’s experience hasn’t put them off and they plan to return and finish their trip one day.