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Old 05-10-2013, 08:57   #61
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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If customs are searching a boat they have more important things to look for... guns, drugs contraband etc.

And, no matter what we think about customs officers theres one thing they can pretty quickly spot: an honest cruiser! so they won't worry about an honest person with a non lethal thing thats kept on board.


Mark
That's a good point, Mark! Over the years we have become friends with two Customs officers, one in Oz, one a Kiwi. They both said, in almost the same words, that they can always tell within a couple of minutes of boarding a boat whether or not they need to do any searching or questioning beyond the normal forms, etc.

But in both of those countries (as I think you know), aerosol deterrents like Mace or bear spray are illegal. I don't know what either of these chaps would have done if we had had such on display, 'cause we didn't.

Unarmed self protection within the confines of one's saloon isn't an easy endeavour IMO, especially as one ages beyond the athletic years. Finding a useful sort of armament is doubtful if one stays within the bounds of law (in many places that we have visited), so that physical barriers become a tempting means. But, for us, living behind locked screens or whatever is just not acceptable as a daily practice. OK, at night, and in dicey locations I could live with it, but as MarkJ has said, this attack didn't really fit into that scenario, so what to do?

Our practice has been to try and avoid known trouble spots, to use "street smarts" to detect potential trouble, and to try and not appear to be good victims. It has worked so far, and hopefully will continue to do so without too greatly limiting our cruising destinations.

Ann and I add our wishes for speedy recovery for these unfortunate yotties.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:06   #62
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

"Our practice has been to try and avoid known trouble spots, to use "street smarts" to detect potential trouble, and to try and not appear to be good victims. It has worked so far, and hopefully will continue to do so without too greatly limiting our cruising destinations." Jim Cate



Jim, I agree with your above statement and there are some of us who are definitely more "street smart" than others. But, in an unpredicted, worst case scenario, what will you do to protect yourself and your wife from bodily harm or worse as in this case against intruders armed with machetes?
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:15   #63
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

[QUOTE=Jim Cate;1356831 [COLOR="Red"]Try and not appear to be good victims. [/COLOR]

Ann and I add our wishes for speedy recovery for these unfortunate yotties.

Cheers,

Jim & Ann

For me, this was a little hard to get my head around, 'cause it's hard to look "pretty" and unlike a victim. However, I gave up wearing jewelry, even my wedding ring, a plain gold band. My clothes come from thrift shops, thereby ensuring they are not fashionable. Clean, I can do, appropriate to go out to a play would take a shopping expedition first. I am okay with this camouflage; plus I like the concept of recycling, and clothing seems a good thing to recycle.

One time when i wanted a traveling dress, I found one in Colorado Springs, at a thrift shop. I used it for about 3 years, off and on, then lost weight, and gave it to a friend in Australia. She sailed it with her back to America, where in a year or so, it got donated to another thrift shop, and someone else snaffled it up. To me, that's cool!

So our main camouflage is to consciously appear unwealthy. So far, we have not been molested. (However, there may not be a causal relationship here, merely a coincidence.) And no one has offered to buy us a cuppa 'cause we looked hungry, that I know of. I also think being friendly with the locals helps; you have a reputation as a nice guy, and the baddies choose someone else, perhaps, some of the time.

But we don't know what happened in this instance, perhaps Mark and Christina did nothing to make themselves conspicuous in any way; maybe they just had very very bad luck. Or maybe it was drug related? We wish them a speedy and total recovery.

Cheers,

Ann & Jim
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:27   #64
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Do we know yet how Mark and Christina were able to fend off three armed men/teenagers?
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:42   #65
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
"Our practice has been to try and avoid known trouble spots, to use "street smarts" to detect potential trouble, and to try and not appear to be good victims. It has worked so far, and hopefully will continue to do so without too greatly limiting our cruising destinations." Jim Cate



Jim, I agree with your above statement and there are some of us who are definitely more "street smart" than others. But, in an unpredicted, worst case scenario, what will you do to protect yourself and your wife from bodily harm or worse as in this case against intruders armed with machetes?
Worst case?? Hope that they don't get too much blood on the upholstery...

I just can't live my life worrying about worst case situations, for no matter what "protection" you throw up, one can imagine a way around it.

Discretion does help limit exposure to potential "worst cases". For instance, in 1998 we were cruising in the Solomon Islands... just before the "troubles" there broke out. All had been well in the Western Province, but when we arrived in Honiara things didn't feel good. There were knots of angry looking young men standing on the street corners, and there just seemed to be trouble brewing. We had planned to visit some of the WW2 sites around Guadalcanal, but decided to clear out ASAP and cut our visit short. Shortly thereafter decapitated bodies appeared in the public market, and a couple of weeks later yottie friends of ours were attacked by thugs in a panga while sailing well offshore. We were disappointed to miss out on our plans, but found other things to do instead. We were not disappointed to miss out on the months of unrest and violence that swept through the area.

We know some yotties who carry weapons. None of them have ever used them. We have never heard of any cases where yotties were successful (or unsuccessful, for that matter) in protecting themselves with firearms or even Mace type weapons. The one well (self) publicized instance of armed yotties warding off a pirate attack in the Indian ocean has always seemed bogus to me. No idea what really happened, but I doubt if it was as represented... however, that was a transit through waters known to be at high risk, not day to day existence in a cruising destination.

Everyone must make their own decisions on these issues. I have presented ours, others will perhaps not agree. So be it!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:40   #66
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

For the past 18 years I have lived aboard and cruised the eastern Caribbean from Hispaniola to Venezuela and all the lesser Antilles in between. Never yet have I seen or heard of crew being killed or maimed that did not fight back the intruders. I have never been attacked but boarded at night a couple of times. Both times (Grenada) I yelled and the unarmed thief got away quickly.

To me carrying weapons is only going to escalate the risks unless you have absolute supremacy. And then you risk harming innocent people.

Three times I have witnessed boats burning to the waterline so locking myself in I find scary. The locking mecanism must open easily even when the adrenalin is pumping.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:11   #67
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I wish his wife a speedy recovery,
Killing a human even in self defense is no small matter, we could discuss tactics and methods etc till the cows come home,
Have a plan for each scenario practice it until it becomes habit. It could prove as valuable as Mob or Abandon ship drills.
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Old 05-10-2013, 13:00   #68
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For the past 18 years I have lived aboard and cruised the eastern Caribbean from Hispaniola to Venezuela and all the lesser Antilles in between. Never yet have I seen or heard of crew being killed or maimed that did not fight back the intruders.
Don't fool yourself. Just check safety & security net to find plenty of examples of raped, murdered and maimed cruisers who had decided to ignore the criminals like you do. The fact that nothing happened to you doesn't mean there is no violence.. it only means you have been lucky.
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Old 05-10-2013, 13:30   #69
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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There was an armed robbery (guns) on a cat in Chatham Bay along with 3 others boats in other anchorages the same night by the same criminals, but this was many years ago and the culprits were arrested and jailed except one that escaped the country. No injuries were reported.

There was an attack on a boat at the Tobago Cays over a year ago and again culprits were arrested (not Union people).

At one time Chatham bay was a rendez-vous point for drug traffic. It was then risky to be there at night. This was years ago and the anchorage is again safe.
When we were there we heard a story about a recent event - a local that was attacked walking back from Chatham Bay after running one of the BBQ's he does for his business.
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Old 05-10-2013, 13:32   #70
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Originally Posted by SaltyTanned View Post
For the past 18 years I have lived aboard and cruised the eastern Caribbean from Hispaniola to Venezuela and all the lesser Antilles in between. Never yet have I seen or heard of crew being killed or maimed that did not fight back the intruders. I have never been attacked but boarded at night a couple of times. Both times (Grenada) I yelled and the unarmed thief got away quickly.

To me carrying weapons is only going to escalate the risks unless you have absolute supremacy. And then you risk harming innocent people.

Three times I have witnessed boats burning to the waterline so locking myself in I find scary. The locking mecanism must open easily even when the adrenalin is pumping.
SaltyTanned your point is well taken that escalation is often the wrong choice. I would argue that some people are just better prepared to exercise that judgement than others. Not some of the people who think they are, and some that are woefully unprepared are plenty capable of sound judgement in a sudden crisis. Non-lethal options are ideal, including lights, noise makers, and spray. Oh and then there's Slocum style... What would have happened had he not had some deterrent? Violent attack is unlikely, but possible, so chance favors the prepared. Why not have options, but trust your judgement to yell first, or hit the panic button - with horn and powerful strobe? Dulce, a security drill is a good idea but doubt many even do MOB to begin with.

The spray seems to be the most practical for international voyaging. It would blend in with other canned supplies and if you are an honest cruiser, officials are unlikely to do more than confiscate it. Firearms are a tough one. I started carrying at age 11 around our large rural property; charter arms .44 spl, half jhp's and half snake shot. It was like carrying a pocketknife or driving a tractor. Dangerous when used improperly, and generally requiring good judgement. Some of my cousins did not have that privilege. I think for permit holders, a pump s.g. that you don't mind getting confiscated is worth it, with other styles attracting more attention. I'm trying to be vague here, so that the adults can have this conversation without the idealogues rushing in to sabotage the thread.

About the point of dressing down to fit in. There is another way of looking at it. If you are not a person of color, in a place of people with color, you already stand out. Particularly if you have a decent boat. As an example, Latin Americans are pretty spiffy, they tend to show more respect to gringos that are well kept, and are perplexed at the disregard that some show to hygiene. Doesn't hurt with officialdom, that's for sure. Looking respectable, or connected can be a benefit in some situations, and makes one a less convenient target. Broad generalizations here of course, and you can imagine the range of criminals one could encounter out there. I'm of course talking from a male perspective here, women have their own issues. Criminals are sometimes smart, and no amount of window dressing will hide your status if you become a target.

None of it is a guarantee, but we spend so much time and money on contingencies for everything else, why not security? Noonsite is the start, but there's lots more to it, as Jedi alluded. Some are just never going to want to think about it too much, and aren't really prepared to react to violence defensively when the time comes anyway. This poor lady never had a chance, nice work if this Mark guy saved her from getting hacked at more. I rough house with my 14 yo boy almost daily. I would not want to have to face anyone like him 15 yo wit ha machete.

Stay safe-
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Old 05-10-2013, 13:44   #71
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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But we don't know what happened in this instance, perhaps Mark and Christina did nothing to make themselves conspicuous in any way; maybe they just had very very bad luck. Or maybe it was drug related? We wish them a speedy and total recovery.
Mark & Tina aren't flashy people, at least the times of I've met them they are polite and modest in appearance and demeanor. I've never seen them flashing jewelry or expensive gear about or anything like that - and Rainbow is not a large flashy boat.

I can't see that them being anything but obvious visitors (as in being white) and perhaps anchored out of the mainstream anchorage in Clifton as being attractants.

It's been pretty quiet down here for most of the summer, but over the last few weeks there have been a spate of incidents around - dinghy thefts and attempts, that incident in Bloody Bay Tobago, this incident, the shooting in Venezuela. I wonder if there is any correlation to us reaching the end of the summer and the "Low Season".

At lot of the people that live in these islands make the vast majority of their money in the high tourist season. For example when I asked a taxi driver in Antigua what he did all summer, he basically told me...not much. Hang out with friends and try not to burn through all his cash.

At the end of the summer before the big dollars come back, are we maybe seeing some of the desperate people that didn't plan well enough or have enough to get through the lean times?

The global economic slowdown HAS affected people in these islands and they have seen it - this from another conversation with a fellow on Union Island that was trying to start up a laundry business, and considering going back to working on Cruise Ships since there was so much less money coming to the islands these days.

It doesn't excuse it, but it might explain all the stuff that has been cropping up in the last few weeks.
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:04   #72
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Don't fool yourself. Just check safety & security net to find plenty of examples of raped, murdered and maimed cruisers who had decided to ignore the criminals like you do. The fact that nothing happened to you doesn't mean there is no violence.. it only means you have been lucky.
I certainly do not ignore criminals and would not recommend sailing to Venezuela or even anchoring in St Vincent. Bequia has seen it's share of violence. St Lucia is not that safe and Grenada gets its share also. Union is not a dangerous island and this incident is very disturbing.

The island's economy has seen better times. It went sour when the airline bringing tourists from Martinique shut down. The five boat chartering companies closed their base at Clifton and many lost their job. This was before year 2000 and yet crime did not become a problem. Union is more like Carriacou than like Bequia and certainly does not resemble St Vincent.

There is no racism there either.

Let's find out who theses criminal are. They could be visitors from another island or Ashton residents (the boat was anchored near Ashton)?
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Old 05-10-2013, 15:34   #73
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Best of health both physical and mental to Mark and Tina in their trying times.
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Old 05-10-2013, 16:16   #74
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

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Do we know yet how Mark and Christina were able to fend off three armed men/teenagers?
They would be idiots to start giving out info on the internet before any police inquiries have finished. and possibly also after as well .
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Old 05-10-2013, 16:28   #75
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Re: Violent attack, Cruisers injured, St Vincent & Grenadines, Union Island

Very good point DOJ
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