Inevitably, when we talk with those who aren’t cruising under sail, someone will ask about pirates. One of our Buddy Boaters said that her mother will ask, “Have you seen any pirates, yet?” just as if we expect to see a schooner under sail, flying the Jolly Roger.
Well, actually, we have seen “pirate ships” but those usually have seating for fifty or more invited (paying) “crew”, songs, grog (with and without alcohol) and at least one Johnny Depp look-a-like. We do not see, nor do we expect to be attacked by, pirates in the Caribbean.
However, we were very distressed to learn that folks we'd met recently were attacked on their boat at anchor in the Tobago Cays. Kate and Allen have lived the cruising life for the past 20 years, and are outstanding people and excellent sailors. We had heard about the attack on them from a number of cruising radio nets and from other cruisers. Now, they've taken the time to write a detailed account of what happened, what they could have done differently, and what they (and others) did correctly. This has been posted on Noonsite, The Global Site of Cruising Sailors.
It’s a lengthy report, one that I think should be read by every cruising sailor or prospective cruising sailor. I admire Kate and Allen for what they've accomplished as sailors and because they are genuinely nice people, and EW and I agree with their conclusions. While we all know that there is truly a concern about piracy in some areas of the world, most cruising sailors need to focus more about taking precautions against bad guys breaking into their boat or robbing them on the street. I often remind our friends and family that there are bad guys everywhere – from my hometown of Newport, Maine, to Portland, to New York and San Francisco. Don’t romanticize the ones I could meet in the Caribbean by calling them pirates. They are thugs, just like the bad guys who are detailed in the crime pages back home.
If you don’t choose to read the entire article by Kate and Allen, let me duplicate their final thoughts here as their words describe how EW and I feel.
The people of this planet are extraordinarily kind and generous and they invite us into their lives and share their meals and their world. From a little Masai Village in the Serengeti to an Engineers Elegant home in Borneo we have been welcomed. This is the life we choose.
We have always liked the following prose:
“I see before me fathomless depths
And far flung distances; vastness beyond vast
I see names of places, transcendental spaces, strange faces
I see routes across the earth
Well-tracked routes of famous people
They say “Come, I have been here, the way is not safe,
But death stalks surely where you now reside
And boredom, deaths brother.”
EW and I don’t know how much of the world we will see during the years we sail, but we have met wonderful people from Tony and his cousin Anna and her family in Luperon, to Debra and Vanessa and Elvis in Rodney Bay, to Cheryl and Winfield in Bequia. The islands are lovely, the sailing is fun and the people are wonderful. This is the life we choose as well.
St. Lucia 2011
Underway in the North Atlantic, 2010
Christmas Morning, 2010 heading toward Bimini
Blue Hole, Bahamas 2011
Church Parade Bahamas, 2011
Brunch on Board, Bahamas 2011