Raising the Waterline–A Lesson Learned
Sorry. Blame it on the Windward Islands

Thugs Aren’t Pirates

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.

Anniversary 5 St. Lucia 2011 7-6-2011 1-19-10 PM

Anniversary 2011


St. Lucia 2011


Underway in the North Atlantic, 2010

Christmas Morning at Sea II

Christmas Morning, 2010 heading toward Bimini


Blue Hole, Bahamas 2011


Church Parade Bahamas, 2011


Brunch on Board, Bahamas 2011


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Mike Laurence

Very interesting Barb - and the article was amazing! As one who has made a few offshore transports between FL and ME, I often looked at approaching (then passing) power boats with a very critical eye. The attititude and generosity you have been shown (and to your cruising friends) makes me realize, those power boats were probably just fellow "sailors" going from one place to another. They certainly did not deserve my stereotyping - Thanks for the eye opener!


We meet a lot of cruisers - most of whom are generous, warm, and open to meeting new people and to experience what this life offers. I have a lot to learn from them. The generosity that Kate and Allen showed by taking the time to write that article shows that spirit as much as what they had to say. Thank you for your note. I'm delighted that you read Harts at Sea.


Wow!! I was just telling a client about your travels and how much I enjoy reading your blog. She made a comment " aren't they afraid of pirates?" I thought to myself hmmmm I don't think so. I just read kate& Allens report and thought how scary, but these things happen on land too! I am glad they are safe and admire their no fear attitude. I loved the stand the police officer took as well and payed the fee for them. Your right about other boaters reading this they shared some great safe keys of what they should do or not to do. Thanks for sharing Xo

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