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socamon
Traveler


Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 272
Loc: Staunton, VA
Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia
      #1750694 - 10/31/17 08:51 AM (162.212.13.24)

We are currently sailing from St Lucia to Grenada, since our cat was totaled in the BVIs. I just received an email with the following My wife Pam recently received the attached warning that was posted on the "Women Who Sail" Facebook group. We own a crewed 4800 in St. Lucia and this is certain not the message that we want potential charters to hear. We hope that the Moorings management and other vacation orient businesses are putting appropriate pressure on the St. Lucien authorities to address this concern quickly.

Al and Pam Swanstrom

How Swede It Is
M4800 crewed - St. Lucia


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Facebook post -- Women who sail
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:09:17 -0400
From: pam <pam@swanstroms.com>
To: Alan Swanstrom <al@swanstroms.com>

WARNING! Three nights ago in Soufriere Bay, Pitons, St. Lucia, a Moorings catamaran, not 20m away from our boat was boarded in the middle of the night by multiple armed gunmen. They stole all of the money and valuables onboard, terrifying the passengers, forcing the children to jump overboard into the water.

We arrived in the bay at sunset prior to the incident and were approached by a local boat offering guidance into the anchorage. This is not uncommon and usually welcomed, but I immediately had a bad instinctual feeling. The two guys were far too inquisitive, pushy and unaccepting of our decline to give them anything or accept a ride to shore with them. They claimed it was unsafe to take our dinghy in, but, instead, they would taxi us (leaving our boat unattended and us without transportation, at will, back to our boat). Of course, we continued to decline, but it quickly became a very uncomfortable situation. We left the bay immediately at day break.

This is not an isolated situation. There have been multiple boardings reported (one incident ended in a man being murdered protecting his wife), purse snatchings in broad daylight and even reports of rape in St. Lucia. The locals hassle you relentlessy. Please be careful, smart and safe if you choose to visit this island.

We will not be returning to St. Lucia. We have spent the last four months cruising the Caribbean and it has been nothing short of amazing. With the beauty of all the other islands, I have no desire to put up with that kind of bullshit. St. Lucia, get your act together. The police station is right there, yet their presence was ZERO! Put some cameras up! PATROL, PATROL, PATROL! Clean up the riff raff off the main street. The island is gorgeous, even the bars and restaurants were nice, but not nice enough to risk my life or property. Cruisers BEWARE!



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab® S
__._,_.___
Posted by: Al <al@swanstroms.com>
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chriskat
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Joined: 04/24/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Alexandria, Virginia
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: socamon]
      #1750708 - 10/31/17 10:32 AM (50.202.107.38)

Unfortunately I've seen similar reports like this over the years regarding St. Lucia. We've been to Grenada and found the people there exceedingly friendly. Never had any issues.

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Christo
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Joined: 01/04/17
Posts: 46
Loc: UK
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: chriskat]
      #1750709 - 10/31/17 10:46 AM (86.164.162.189)

Its been a while for us...

But in the past we have had numerous 'scary' moments in both St Lucia and St Vincent.

Which is why its been a while for us! Beautiful islands but would need a pretty good reason to return.


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maytrix
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Joined: 09/18/10
Posts: 5428
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Christo]
      #1750716 - 10/31/17 11:02 AM (24.91.86.214)

I have seen past stories and they all involved boats in an anchorage by themselves or an area where it is not recommended to be. This is the first I've seen involving a boat in an anchorage with others around.

We had a great time our last two trips to St Lucia but I've never liked the boat boys as they are too aggressive and often don't take no for an answer so quickly. Last time we had 1 approach us and we told him thanks, but we are all set. He accepted that and left and then another boat approached us as we were much closer and I told them we were all set, no thanks and the other boat had already talked to us. They did not take no for an answer and then the other boat came back.. it was an uncomfortable situation.

They really do need to do something. With the money tourism brings in, you'd think having patrols and other deterrents would be more of a priority. Although it seems even when they do catch someone, the penalties are too lenient.

--------------------
Matt


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sailbynight
Traveler


Joined: 04/28/06
Posts: 1721
Loc: Med/ Caribbean
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: maytrix]
      #1750749 - 10/31/17 07:16 PM (72.48.44.170)

Take the first boat boy that comes. Pay him but decline tender services. Maybe tip them for garbage removal or anchor/mooring help. You'll end up with a much better visit. Oh and make Marigot Bay your base.

Edited by sailbynight (10/31/17 07:20 PM)


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Christo
Traveler


Joined: 01/04/17
Posts: 46
Loc: UK
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: sailbynight]
      #1750750 - 10/31/17 07:30 PM (86.177.135.228)

Its ironic, Marigot used to be the epicenter of crime and problems! Several times we were threatened by armed 'locals' there. Being part of the ARC and having just come from a party hosted by the Tourism Minister where he assured us that we would have no issues in these anchorages...didn't count for much!

No longer the case for sure.


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sailbynight
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Joined: 04/28/06
Posts: 1721
Loc: Med/ Caribbean
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Christo]
      #1750753 - 10/31/17 08:06 PM (72.48.44.170)

Active resorts in Marigot seem to have helped the last decade or so. Not sure what this season will bring. The island should be much busier so maybe real jobs will keep the bandits busy working

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aarpskier
Traveler


Joined: 04/09/14
Posts: 219
Loc: Rockford, Michigan
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Christo]
      #1750761 - 11/01/17 12:42 AM (174.221.6.128)

We chartered with Moorings out of Marigot Bay in 2005 and 2007, stopping at the Pitons for dinner and an overnight. Both times, there was an uniformed security guard on the beach, so we felt comfortable declining the "dinghy protection services" offered by a couple of surly boat boys. Apparently times have changed for the worse on St Lucia.

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maytrix
Traveler


Joined: 09/18/10
Posts: 5428
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: aarpskier]
      #1750789 - 11/01/17 10:53 AM (50.234.181.178)

What time of year did you go? I think, either things have changed or it is different during the busy season.

We had boys greet us at the dinghy dock when coming back to check in at the end of our trip and they said they were "security" and would watch our dinghy for a tip. Knowing this was more of a bribe to prevent them from causing trouble with it, we just gave them a few bucks and moved on.

--------------------
Matt


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snmhanson
Traveler


Joined: 05/10/10
Posts: 314
Loc: Pacific NW
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: maytrix]
      #1750808 - 11/01/17 02:25 PM (68.186.105.33)

This isn't the type of information I want to be reading right now. We are booked for a one-way St. Lucia to Grenada this February - we being myself, my wife, and my three kids (16, 12, 8). The charter base is located in Grenada and we are paying extra for them to bring the boat up to St. Lucia for our start. I've read about sporadic events in St. Lucia, but this is the worst I've heard of and I don't like the idea of having to deal with armed thugs or overly aggressive boat boys. We were planning on waving in the direction of St. Vincent as we sailed by so not so concerned about that island, but I was hoping St. Lucia was going to be relatively safe. In any case, not sure what I want to do at this point.

I suppose we could not do the one-way and just start and end our charter in Grenada. Just would have to see how amenable our airline is to changing our tickets at this point. Or, maybe we could make it from our start point in Marigot Bay all the way down to Bequia in one day if we left at the crack of dawn. In any case, it sounds like staying away from St. Lucia (other than possibly Marigot Bay) might be a safer bet at this time.

Can anyone concur with Chriskat that the situation in Grenada (and the Grenadines I hope) is relatively safe? Or, put another way, should we be out of the higher risk areas once we get south of St. Vincent?

Thanks,

Matt

Edited by snmhanson (11/01/17 02:44 PM)


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