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Yacht Attacked At St Vincent: Comments

By doina — last modified Jan 03, 2008 10:37 AM

Published: 2008-01-03 10:37:52
Topics: Piracy Reports 2007
Countries: St Vincent & the Grenadines , Martinique , St Lucia

Yacht Attacked At St Vincent

I have just read about the recent attack on the couple in St. Vincent. I have to agree that the monetary loss is nothing compared to the emotional and physical trauma that is left after such an attack. In May of 2006 my husband and I were attacked in St. Martin by a couple of 14 to 16 year old boys. This occurred in front of the post office while I was on the phone and my husband was sitting on a bench waiting for me. It was about 10PM, but the place was well lighted and neither of us felt we were in any danger at the time. Luckily for us, my husband was able to take down both attackers but not in time to avoid my severe beating by one of the boys. Nothing was stolen or taken so we do not know what prompted the attack. Maybe they just hate cruisers!! Just a word of caution to everyone out there cruising. BE VERY CAREFUL AND BE ALERT AND VIGILANT AT ALL TIMES!! On that same trip a friend of ours was anchored off Dominica. Upon waking up in the morning he discovered that he had been robbed. They took all his money from his wallet but left the credit cards. He never heard a sound during the intrusion!! I guess he was lucky! These remain poor islands and with the increase of cruisers to those areas, these situations remain a threat. I personally would not return to cruise there.

Gloria et Gaston Magrinat aboard LA DANSEUSE

Dear everybody sailing or considering sailing the Caribbean,

I fully understand that the violence in St Vincent is causing concern again, as Steve and Katherine Jones wrote in their article "Yacht Attacked At St. Vincent".

Boat Boys are for me a pest in most anchorages, although we have had some (read very few) good experiences. For example when we were in St. Vincent last time we wanted to anchor in Wallilabou Bay on St. Vincent (where part of the Pirate of Caribbean film set still remains), but long before entering the Bay we were approached by eight individual Boat Boys hanging on to our boat from all directions, begging (and banging into our boat with their boards and boats) and in clear terms asking money from us without making any serious effort to sell anything or give services, other than hand us a mooring boy, which we did not wish to use, as we used our anchor.

After a lot of haggling and refusal to give them money, one of my sons heard two of them arranging to come back after dark and give us hell.....

When I heard that, we lifted anchor within minutes, as it was getting close to sun set, and I called the beach restaurant where we had booked a table for five, but now cancelling the dinner and explained the reason and the harassment we had received. I also explained that all the Boat Boys had told us they worked for the restaurant, which was a lie. The restaurant owner got angry and told me they had a lot of trouble with the Boat Boys. I suggested they talk to the Police and sort things out, or they would lose business.

No wonder that there were only two other boats in the bay that day and subsequently when we passed weeks later, it was empty.

In Donald M. Street's Pilot book "Martinique to Trinidad", he clearly mentioned the problems surrounding St. Vincent and its theft, violence and Boat Boys. He also stated that the Island should be avoided for these reasons. OK his Pilot is a bit older than Chris Doyle's Pilots, but I believe some of his comments are still correct.

When I have been asked for advice about the Caribbean, I say that I agree with Street and that one should stay away from St. Vincent and go straight to Port Elisabeth on Bequia, which is a much more pleasant place with kind and friendly people. One sailor family we met there, took the ferry to Kingstown and left their boat at anchor in Bequia and had an enjoyable visit to St. Vincent without the worry of the crime, harassments and risk to boat and family mentioned above.

We are perhaps going back to the Caribbean next winter, but I believe that many of the Islands have become more and more violent during recent years and unless they can sort this out, the area risks a less vibrant economy in the near future. At least if we sail back there, we will be even more vigilant than before. And I will be extremely careful and worried if there are several Boat Boys around.

Paul