The Press

Honeymoon turns into five-month adventure

- Samesh Mohanlall

A dream honeymoon to the Falkland Islands and South America turned into a swashbuckl­ing sea adventure for Neville and Feeonaa Clifton when Covid-19 thwarted their plans of returning home.

The stranded Kiwi couple will arrive in Timaru on Saturday following 31 days aboard Sanford fishing trawler San Aotea II, which retrieved 15 fishermen from another vessel the San Aspiring, after they were left with no other viable route home due to Covid-19.

The sea trip home has been part of an adventurou­s five-month journey beginning on March 3 after the Cliftons, who had been together for 25 years, were married in Auckland on February 29, and left to celebrate their nuptials.

‘‘Our whole trip was going to be a six-week honeymoon to the Falklands, parts of South America and Rapanui after we got married to celebrate being together for 25 years,’’ Feeonaa said. A telecommun­ications engineer, Neville was born in the Falkland Islands so the pair decided to begin their honeymoon there, and had a second ceremony in the capital Port Stanley.

In March, while the couple were still in the Falklands, Covid19 cases in Europe started to escalate, and flights began to be cancelled. Stuck in the Falklands , the couple heard in June that New Zealand fishing company Sanford had announced a special retrieval mission to bring home crew who were fishing for toothfish in the South Atlantic . Finally, on July 4, the pair boarded the San Aotea II as guests of skipper Shane Cottle.

The couple are grateful to Sanford and the San Aotea II crew who had been ‘‘highly profession­al and made them feel very welcome on board’’. ‘‘We just want to thank them very much for getting us home. There are no real words to convey the depth of our gratitude.’’

 ??  ?? Feeonaa and Neville Clifton
Feeonaa and Neville Clifton

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