Hello everyone, and I hope you’re staying safe and healthy.
We have reached the sad decision to close completely for the next couple of months, along with many other businesses in Penzance and Cornwall as a whole. This means we are not currently taking any fresh bookings for the period between now and mid May. After that, bookings remain open (both phone and online reservations), but obviously things will need to be reviewed on a continual basis as government and WHO advice is issued.
There are several reasons for this decision. First and foremost is the immediate health of our customers, staff and ourselves. It is clearer now exactly what we are facing together, and we could not in all conscience continue to offer an activity which may jeopardise that health, even if it does not seem to be a particularly risky activity. Secondly, Visit Cornwall and Cornwall Council themselves have issued a plea for people to stay at home and not travel to Cornwall for the next couple of months. Even though we love and appreciate having visitors and we know full well we depend on you, Cornwall’s resources are scant and there is a real danger they will be overwhelmed. There is ONE main hospital and to be political for a moment, despite its dedicated and talented staff, it has been starved of proper funding for a decade. Add this to a population which is older than the national average, it does not take much to work out that we need to keep extra people out of hospital if at all possible. There is a growing acknowledgement in Cornwall that we do not have the resources to cope with the usual visitor numbers this year. We would not want to play a role in making this worry worse.
Of the accommodation and activity providers in Penzance who have made this decision to shut – we have not been told to. It is voluntary. We just know that overall, it is the best and most moral path to take.
So, if you have a trip booked in March, April or early May – this is the tricky part, and one where we ask for your help and support if at all possible. It is not yet clear how small businesses and the self employed fit into the government’s guaranteed income schemes announced yesterday, if at all. Obviously when things return to normal (whether permanently or temporarily), we want to be able to immediately start our wildlife watching trips and research again. If you have made a booking, we are able to keep that open for you for a period of 2 years, maybe longer (we’ll have to see how things go). You will be able to get a credit note or a voucher to this effect. Almost all of the people who have had to cancel so far have said they would be able to do this, and we can’t express how much gratitude we feel to you and how much we’re looking forward to taking you out on your trip when it happens. Thank you. If you have booked through Virgin Experience Days, Red Letter Days or Buy A Gift.com (or affiliates), please get in touch to discuss options for your voucher. Basically everyone who is booked in March and April can assume their trip will not be happening at that time. If this credit system is not an option for you, please say when you call (07749277110).
Can I also suggest at this point, that our Marine Discovery Vouchers are for sale on the website and we are able to increase the term of their validity from one to two years. This extension will also be applied to other vouchers already out there, seeing as people might not now be able to use them in the usual 12 months. Every little helps, as a larger business than ours says! These vouchers are just basically an advance ticket with a code with which you can call and make your reservation.
We are very much planning (if possible) to continue doing wildlife updates on our Facebook and Instagram page after going for regular sails. It will just the two or three of us onboard rather than the usual fourteen and we won’t be getting paid, but it does mean we’ll be able to keep you up to date about what wildlife is out and about in Mount’s Bay. This also means that when trips can resume we’ll know where to sail to to find it!
Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding during these troubling times. I’m not of the praying persuasion, but still…may the force be with you!
Hannah, Duncan and the Marine Discovery team.