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Old 21-01-2014, 20:16   #91
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Re: St Lucia murder

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I am almost afraid to post because I am new and not looking for confrontation. I have sailed the entire caribbean (part time) in the past 22 months. I will admit I was naive in the first year and assumed crime happens to others and didn't give it much thought. After some uncomfortable situations I became much more cautious. I have enjoyed the Caribbean but feel more comfortable from the Saintes north. Probably will stay North. I am shocked by the story of the Pratts. It could be any one of us. Think about that. I have put myself in that position of being anchored off a "locals" town with no other boats in sight. I now feel I was a sitting duck. I think we all choose this awesome cruising lifestyle and know it comes with inherent risk. Probably more risk than we thought after living in extremely secure countries. I think we can focus on staying in promoted secure areas but I also feel we should not be indefensible. I am amused by all the gun - anti - gun arguments that litter this site. Americans are much more comfortable with the idea of self protection than other countries/cultures. If I choose this lifestyle I also choose to be prepared for the worst at sea or at anchor. It helps me sleep. I also lock down at night and I think the sensor alarms are a great idea and maybe with a loud siren and lights. After all we just want the guys off the boat. I guess my goal is to say there is no "safe" place just some safer than others. There have been beatings and robberies in Simpson bay lagoon which I consider very comfortable. No matter where you are by boat have a plan for what to do when your boarded. Having no plan would be like crossing an ocean without life raft or sat phone. The technology exists for safer passage and safer anchoring.
I think you're doing just fine. To have a plan is 90% of how to deal with this and if the plan is right, it may reduce risk of serious injury by an enormous amount, regardless of the plan being towards defense or surrender.

Electronic alarms can be very effective. Make sure there is a very loud siren just out of their reach, plus a very bright, high frequency strobe to disorient them.
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Old 21-01-2014, 20:17   #92
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Re: St Lucia murder

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I guess sail into Rodney Bay Marina and take a marina-suggested taxi to the airport
The trip south by car can be a bit long and rough. If it were me, and I was on a friend's boat, I would push for arriving at VF or Soufriere in the morning, go ashore and get a taxi. OTOH staying overnight wouldn't be a big risk, but do lock up the boat.

Colon?

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Old 21-01-2014, 20:22   #93
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Re: St Lucia murder

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The trip south by car can be a bit long and rough. If it were me, and I was on a friend's boat, I would push for arriving at VF or Soufriere in the morning, go ashore and get a taxi. OTOH staying overnight wouldn't be a big risk, but do lock up the boat.

Colon?

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Agree, when others can bring you, but when leaving my boat, it would be in Rodney Bay Marina.

Colon, I forgot Yes, Colon can be rough and if you are not familiar with it, you should not go there for a stroll. In fact, cops will stop you and put you in a taxi back to safety.

So, for first timers, here are the rules:

1. do not go into town at night.
2. do not go to the post office.
3. only use a taxi or the marina provided shuttle.

There, these 3 points reduce risk by 99%. Ask boats like us where to get what and you'll be okay in Colon.
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Old 21-01-2014, 20:38   #94
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Re: St Lucia murder

Agree that RB marina is a good place for boat.

And agree with your rules for Colon. I think I heard that the yacht club is closed; back then it was OK to walk from there to the canal offices (all in the zone) during the day but otherwise taxi/shuttle. The duty free is a must see, but watch for pickpockets (everywhere outside the US really). Lots of good food shopping. Just don't be stupid - not following your advice gets dangerous fast.

Greg
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Old 21-01-2014, 20:38   #95
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You may be a Jedi..
You may own a Dashew..
but even you can't sail in Times Square..
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Old 21-01-2014, 20:47   #96
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Re: St Lucia murder

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You may be a Jedi..
You may own a Dashew..
but even you can't sail in Times Square..
No, but he can tie to a mooring at the 79th St. Boat Basin and walk there. Pretty safe these days. Not so much 50 years ago.

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Old 21-01-2014, 21:13   #97
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Re: St Lucia murder

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You may be a Jedi..
You may own a Dashew..
but even you can't sail in Times Square..




Boatie, nice new avatar! Is it just me or is there a resemblance?


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Old 21-01-2014, 21:42   #98
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Boatie, nice new avatar! Is it just me or is there a resemblance?


That's for when I party...
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Old 21-01-2014, 21:46   #99
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Re: St Lucia murder

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That's for when I party...



LOL! Thanks for having a sense of humour...
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Old 21-01-2014, 21:55   #100
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LOL! Thanks for having a sense of humour...
Thought you'd know that by now... no boathooks up my ass..
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Old 21-01-2014, 21:58   #101
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Re: St Lucia murder

Oooh- painful image.
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Old 21-01-2014, 22:01   #102
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Re: St Lucia murder

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So, Rodney Bay is safe when following your logic? And Blue Lagoon is safe too? You have just named two of the most dangerous spots of the East Caribbean. Rodney Bay is where a Dutch sailor was murdered and his wife raped to near death. It's where I had to resort to violence to repel a boarder. Many incidents incl. multiple murders (all on boats anchored) have occurred there. Numerous more ashore.
Offering a different perspective, I just returned from 10 days in Rodney Bay following a passage from the Canaries (not the ARC). I walked all around the area every day, miles and miles, from the Pigeon Island past Sandals to Gros Islet and the mall area to the south. Took mini buses now and then and was in some definitively un-touristy areas. I never felt anything less than safe. That said I'm no expert and I can't argue with your experience or the other incident you cite.

The marina at Rodney bay has what appears to be very good security...gates with keypads on all the docks which are also manned 24/7 with a guard. Then again, maybe that is out of a need for them.

You can argue that you should avoid places like Rodney Bay entirely as a means of avoiding any degree of risk, and you can argue that cruisers should avoid them to send a message that if they are not safe, they won't benefit from cruisers' dollars. But you can also argue that some general prudence and precautions will almost certainly ensure a safe visit, and that the government is well enough incented to make these areas as safe as they can within the constraints of their resources.

St. Lucia has a combination of circumstances that conspire and will continue to conspire to make it less than stable. Tourism and finance are pretty much the dominant industries and since 2009 tourism there has been suffering, tracking the world economy. A look at the number of murders per year in St. Lucia tracks pretty closely to that, with 22 in 2000 rising up to a spike of 52 in 2011.

One thing I find odd in the articles on the recent murder is the focus on the fact that they were not cleared to leave the country on the day they desired, as though that in some way contributed to the crime. Yes, if they had left when they wanted then the crime would not have happened, but the delay is obviously unrelated to the crime which was essentially random and could have happened on any day of the week.
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Old 21-01-2014, 22:29   #103
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Re: St Lucia murder

or in any country in the world...
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Old 21-01-2014, 22:32   #104
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Re: St Lucia murder

Having done some travelling in off-the-beaten track areas and faced a few potentially threatening situations, I'd like to suggest that in addition to taking precautions which have been well covered in this thread, people need to trust their gut. If you don't feel safe, if the thought even crosses your mind, don't wait for something to happen... Take action to remove yourself from the situation. It could just be me but I got a sense from reading this story that these folks did not feel safe where they were. In a case like this, finding a marina or a hotel even just for the night could be a viable option. When put in an unsafe situation by bureaucracy, I had the police assist me in finding a safe alternative (and they let the fellows watching me know they were watching them). I have found locals to be helpful in situations, sometimes coming to my assistance without even exchanging a word. Always find another option to secure your personal safety first and deter a potential offender.
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Old 21-01-2014, 22:33   #105
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Thought you'd know that by now... no boathooks up my ass..



Oh,I do! Or I wouldn't have gone there. Good to not take yourself too seriously...
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