St Vincent & the Grenadines: Mayreau, Saltwhistle Bay – Robbery

Published 13 years ago, updated 5 years ago

We were a group of 32 French people on 4 catamarans (3 Lipari and one Lagoon 400), sailing from Martinique to the Grenadines and back for 2 weeks.

After having stayed at Mustique (where we were astonished by the awfully high prices of the moorings – US$75 per boat, as it was US$25 four years ago), we sailed to Mayreau and arrived at Salt-Whistle Bay late in the morning on the 2 June 2011.

Unfortunately, as usual, we were hassled by a lot of local boats, first for a mooring, then for fish, for t-shirts, for jewellery, …

After a time a local guy, Joseph, came to the boats and convinced us to have a barbecue at the beach all together for US$20 ahead, at 7 PM. We all went there and Joseph was there to welcome us (in hindsight we should have confirmed the price than with him, but we didn’t know that he was going to leave soon). We had a poor dinner, not enough food, and not enough room for everyone, but well it was ok, we were on holidays, the weather was fine …

When we wanted to pay, the “owner” who was completely drugged, told us that it was US$25 each. Joseph wasn’t there anymore to confirm the price we had agreed earlier. Some of the crew wanted to leave, letting the skippers manage the bill, but as the way to the dinghies was completely dark, and as there were local people preventing them leaving until we had paid, it was not possible. The “owner” let the negotiation last a long time, as we didn’t have enough money on us to pay the new price.

When we got back to the boats, we realised that somebody had broken into one of them, and stolen about US$300 in cash, a camera and a phone. They had come in through the safety hatch (under the boat) of the catamaran, which was closed but not locked. Money was missing from both the port and starboard cabins and they had also searched for money in the rear port cabin but didn’t find it. In the other cabins, they took some money but not all of it! They took also a camera and mobile phone but not the i-phone which was just next to the camera.

They came through the hatch which in the Lipari is in the front cabins at the water level at the inner side. This hatch cannot be normally locked for security reasons, to lock it you have to put an iron stick, which either my co-skipper forgot or which with some rough handling from outside can fall down (normally it should fall down only when the boat is upside down (again for security reasons).

There was no damage to the boat.

We didn’t report the burglary to the local police as we didn’t want to lose time (half a day, a day, even more) to be hassled going to the village or coming back from the village, for not any benefits. We just wanted to leave the place!

I reported verbally the facts to the park manager in the Tobago Cays, just to let them know, not more.

It’s a pity because I already avoid Dominica, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent to prevent such things happening.

We played innocent tourists and we lost.

If you want to advise people, tell them to go to the Northern islands, it’s even more wonderful than the Grenadines! I made the following trip in 2010, 2009 and 2004:

Guadeloupe (Les Saintes, Marie Galante, Iles de Petites Terres (five stars))

Antigua – English harbour, Non-such bay (five stars)

Barbuda (five stars)

Antigua North Sound (five stars), Five-Islands (five stars)

We had no problem, no harassment and there were very few boats.

Matthias Frohnhöfer

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