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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island
We stopped in Chateaublaire some years back.. it didn't 'feel' right, only one other boat in sight so we 'checked in' and moved on further down the coast. We've often heard off and on that areas of St Lucia are ill advised. This is the first incident we've heard of at Frigate.
There's no forgiving ANYONE, ANY AGE, taking a machete to another person, as far as I'm concerned they've clearly crossed the line and anything they receive is on them.
When we have cruised the island chain our hosts work hard to get along with the locals. They use the boat boys, including dinghy watchers (it costs little and hopefully generates goodwill) It's not hard to imagine that word of mouth travels quickly and your boat may become 'off limits' for pilfering. Of course whether that scenario would have prevented such a blatantly violent criminal act is debatable.
On the flip side, we've observed cruisers rejecting the boat boys, loudly announcing that they are crooks etc in local watering holes.. equally easy to think that would breed resentment and perhaps make you a target... I remember another incident where, after we had a delightful walk around Charlottetown in Nevis, at the dinghy dock the owner of a 100+ foot motoryacht was telling everyone that would listen that there's 'nothing here'..
I'm certainly not saying these latest victims acted as the latter - there's no info I've seen about that, and seriously criminal elements anywhere don't need provocation.
The whole situation is one that could naturally breed resentment among locals living with little.. cruisers must be seen as wealthy to them.. even if they really aren't. Many boats are probably worth more than what some of these people might earn in a lifetime. It's almost surprising that they are as generally friendly as they are, and it's nice to be able to add to their local economy.
It's a sad story, hopefully they have the right offenders and they are dealt with appropriately. It's a wonderful cruising grounds, it would be a shame to have to look over your shoulder all the time. We lock the boat, lock the dinghy, etc. as a general precaution and in 5 or 6 visits have happily not had any issues, or even any real scares.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)