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Porlamar and Venezuela - a positive view

By Sue Richards last modified Feb 08, 2009 08:35 PM

Published: 2009-02-08 20:35:58
Countries: Venezuela

Having read the latest input from a nervous crew member in Porlamar I feel I must comment and tell of my experiences in Porlamar and Venezuela in general.

Firstly, it is simply not true all boats in Porlamar are boarded and robbed by locals. I have spent many months there and I have not been boarded and none of the other cruisers were either. Isolated incidents of boardings have happened. Thefts have taken place too, but this happens everywhere. Not all thefts are carried out by locals, some "cruisers" steal from other cruisers, some incidents are reported that never happened, maybe to claim on insurance. Some sailors have upset the locals and repercussions have taken place. I don't understand why people put out this scaremongering propaganda, unless they want to spoil some of the local businesses.

I know of another reported incident that never happened in Porlamar, whereby another nervous skipper shouted and fired a flare at a fisherman pulling his net during the night. The skipper saw the fishing boat 20 metres away and thought he was going to be boarded, called a MAYDAY on channel 72 waking everyone throughout the anchorage. These poor fishermen than came under floodlights from nearly all the 100 boats in the anchorage, they were pulling nets, they do it regularly. Our nervous friend still swore it was a ploy. It wasn't, but it has been recorded as an attempted boarding.

Venezuela gets a lot of bad press, there have been some serious attacks in the known troublespots, something none of us want. Venezuela is a huge country, with over 1000 miles of coastline and more offshore islands than the rest of the popular Caribbean put together. Consequently more incidents per country will be reported.

If new sailors to the Caribbean listen to these unfounded reports it can deter them from visiting one of the nicest countries. Personally, the Venezuelan people I have met have been the friendliest and most helpful I have found anywhere throughout my travels.

The serious attacks that have taken place are of course terrible and devastating to those concerned, hopefully the authorities will do something about reducing the numbers, one is too many. The Guardia Civil have many boats patrolling the coastline, but it is not enough and probably never can be, so life here, like in Antigua, St. Lucia and our home countries, is dangerous.

In my opinion it is important to do as much homework as possible of the countries/anchorages we visit. The known hotspots in Venezuela are to be avoided, but Porlamar isn't one of them.

Phil and Yvonne
SV Chaser 2