John and Anne on Bali Hai <hollamby@...>
Most people make sure thaat all their ground floor doors and windows
are locked over night.
Most people are not so careful when sleeping on a boat and hatches
and more importantly the companionway is left wide open.
An Oyster was boarded by two West Indians in Marigot Bay,St Lucia,
on 14 February 2004 whilst the owners were asleep. The luckless
couple were beaten up, tied up and threatened with knives.
Fortunately they had enough cash on board to satisfy the assailants
who then left stealing the dinghy so they did not have to swim
ashore. The police commented that one should be wary of "boat boys"
going around on surf boards with a few bananas as they are not
always selling bananas.
The owners were severely traumatised by the experience but they were
relatively lucky compared with another couple who were murdered in
Antigua last year or so I am told.
Hearing this tale reminds me of a Swiss couple I met in the Azores
over ten years ago who were sleeping on their boat with all the
hatches etc shut at night as they had been severely beaten and
robbed in the Caribbean. They also were severely shaken and were
returning to Europe to sell their boat. It also reminds me of a
couple who were luckier in a marina in Puerto la Cruz in Venezuela.
They had locked their dinghy on to their boat and put the keys on
the chart table before retiring to bed. The next morning the keys
and their dinghy were missing.
The Amel companionway could easily be secured with a strong mesh
dropin screen to sit on top of the wash board thus providing air
with security. Similarly it would be easy to arrange some way in
which the hatches cannot be opened far enough to permit access.
The mesh screen could easily be made up by any local firm dealing in
Sweet dreams, Anne and John Bali Hai, SM319