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socamon
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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
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chriskat
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Joined: 04/24/06
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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
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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
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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
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Joined: 04/28/06
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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
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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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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
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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
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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
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Joined: 05/10/10
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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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tothedogs
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1750813 - 11/01/17 03:11 PM (129.63.123.24)

We have chartered in the Grenadines six times and are returning for the seventh this January doing a one-way from St. Vincent to Grenada. To this point, the furthest north we have been is Wallilabou. Boat boys were a bit agrgessive but no problem. No issues at all in Kearton's, Young Island, or Blue Lagoon.

From Bequia down to PSV on these trips we have not had any issues and are not anticipating any based on past experience. We have also been respectful, freely passed out Hairoun's and a few EC's on the way for assistance. We exersize reasonable, but not undue caution in locking the boat and dinghy. I am sure there are periodic episodes everywhere in the Caribbean, but in our experience these are the exception and certainly not the rule.


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aarpskier
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: maytrix]
      #1750841 - 11/01/17 09:42 PM (174.221.6.128)

Quote:

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




2005 - April
2007 - November


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Jccarr
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1750846 - 11/02/17 04:31 AM (68.102.38.41)

Under sail, we made it from between the Pitons, close to Sugar beach, to Bequia in 9 hours. We were up pre dawn engines running and slipped the lines at the first perception of morning light. We made Bequia in 9 hours and there at about 3:15 pm. Marigot bay is 10 miles north and requires more presision to clear the mooring area so you may want a bit more light on departure. Marigot Bay to Bequia is possible, Be sure to check on the time when the customs office closes. We were on a Moorings 4800 which may be faster than a smaller boat.

We were aware of additional crime around Soufriere so moored as far south/away as possible. We also had dinner on board. I felt pretty safe at our location. We also felt safe at Rodeny Bay.

I wrote a 2 part trip report on the one way trip over in the southern Caribbean section.

Edited by Jccarr (11/02/17 04:35 AM)


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FRANKIE2
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: socamon]
      #1750895 - 11/02/17 02:58 PM (162.212.13.71)

We are presently sailing the Grenadines after our cat was destroyed in the BVI. We were in the Pitons the day prior to this event and had several tense encounters with "boat boys".
Presently we are in Marigot Bay. I would not return to the Pitons, even though it is a easy stop before a run to Blue Lagoon. Yesterday, there were no boats in the Pitons when we passed by. This is a beautiful area, but if the locals do not take steps to make it safe, I will not be back.

KF Quinn
S/V Event Horizon (destroyed)


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snmhanson
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Jccarr]
      #1750900 - 11/02/17 03:30 PM (68.186.105.33)

Thank-you Jccarr - that's very useful information. I read your trip report a couple times and it is partly what inspired me to do this trip. We will be on a 42' Lagoon so probably not quite as fast as the 4800 you were on, but we'll hope for a fresh breeze and keep the throttle pinned if we don't get one. I'm sure we'll get some good info about the current situation during our briefing, but I've got a couple follow-up questions in the meantime if you don't mind helping me out a bit more:

If we do head straight for Bequia from Marigot Bay I'm sure it will be late afternoon and close to dusk on our arrival. Was it pretty crowded on your arrival at 3:15? Or were there plenty of options for anchoring and/or mooring? And is the holding pretty good so that we won't be struggling to set our anchor as the sun is nearing the horizon?

Second, did you feel more comfortable and secure once you got south of St. Vincent and into the Grenadines? Less aggressive boat boys and less overall sense of crime in general?

It's really too bad this is an issue down there. All it's going to do in the long run is keep sailors like us away from their islands. As a family of five, between dining, shopping and incidentals, it's not uncommon for us to spend $1,000 or more at many of our stops. If I have to worry about my family being robbed or assaulted, or fending off overly aggressive boat boys, I am not going to be visiting those islands and will be spending my money elsewhere.

Matt


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rhans
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1750924 - 11/02/17 04:57 PM (69.36.53.120)

The moorings in the Grenedines in general are interesting and the ones in Bequie are deep in. The anchor holding in from the drop off towards Princess Margret Beach is great.

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Jccarr
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: rhans]
      #1750950 - 11/02/17 10:32 PM (68.102.38.41)

SNM, Bequia had many moorings open at 3:15. We moored away from Princess Margaret beech for security. We never felt unsafe anywhere on the trip but that was a year ago. I’m mostly reacting to what you see on the internet and the unknown, but once there we were fine last year. Generally the crime is theft of items left unlocked, no different than the mall at Christmas, not counting recent events at the Pitons. There were far more boat boys at the Tobago Cays than St Lucia and Bequia. All were polite and were providing services. Entering Bequia a boat boy will meet you and try to guide you a mooring ball that they are accociated with. I generally try to get a spot away from shore. The first Bequia boat boy was fine with me making my own selection, a nice lady met us next to help with the mooring, she just charged for the mooring. We accept their help and provide them some money. I even paid one guy to not help us, I wanted my crew to gain experience mooring. This goes a long way for relations and does not cost you much. We head back to Grenada in a few days. I let you know how it goes.

Fyi, the painters on the mooring balls in the area don’t have floats and the painter sinks, they require a bit more digging or help from your boat boy.

You should check the carribean security network and noonsite for what they have reported.

Edited by Jccarr (11/02/17 11:15 PM)


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BoatLifeIsGood
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Jccarr]
      #1751001 - 11/03/17 01:49 PM (65.32.152.145)

Our group has booked a Moorings crewed sailing trip to St. Lucia and our crew is from St. Lucia. After reading these post we are reconsidering sailing in St. Lucia. Has anyone experienced this while on a crewed cat? Normally the crew doesn't leave the ship and they will take you in on their dinghy. I would think the locals and "boat boys" would not bother you. Any thoughts or experiences with this?

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maytrix
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1751009 - 11/03/17 02:34 PM (198.55.234.150)

I felt perfectly safe in St Lucia when in Rodney Bay and Marigot bay. We felt safe at the Pitons during a day stop as well. I just wouldn't have left the boat. This particular trip though our visit was to inspect our boat and make a list of issues, so we didn't really go anywhere but those 3 spots. We spent the majority of our time docked at Marigot enjoying the Capella resort.

Our prior trip (now 5 years ago) we did go all the way down to the Tobago Cays and back and felt safe the whole time as well. We we're never alone anywhere, there were always other boats.

Only stop we made on St. Vincent in Blue Lagoon since there was a Moorings/Sunsail base there at the time. We then stopped in Bequia, Canouan and Tobago Cays.. Bequia we stopped twice I think once on the way down and on the way back as well.

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


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aarpskier
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: FRANKIE2]
      #1751106 - 11/04/17 04:23 PM (97.91.61.135)

Quote:

FRANKIE2 said:
I would not return to the Pitons, even though it is a easy stop before a run to Blue Lagoon. Yesterday, there were no boats in the Pitons when we passed by.




A decade ago, our charters from St Lucia were not complete without an overnight stop to visit Dasheen. Fond memories include the climb up and meeting and talking with other cruisers over drinks while watching the sun set, before a fabulous dinner. It's too bad that experience has to be missed simply because their is no beach / bay security.


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bviicatter
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: aarpskier]
      #1751215 - 11/06/17 11:28 AM (71.166.51.167)

We were boarded once while sleeping and robbed again the next day October 29 and October 30 2017 in Marigot Bay. I put a new post about it under the BVI Forum.

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sail445
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: bviicatter]
      #1751377 - 11/08/17 08:34 AM (107.72.162.82)

You'll find most islands that went Independent from the U.K. couldn't govern themselves successfully and that's the reason for the poverty and crime.
Very seldom will you see people harassing tourist on the islands still under French and Dutch rule.


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Sunset_Sammy
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: sail445]
      #1751415 - 11/09/17 07:19 AM (104.129.194.176)

Quote:

sail445 said:
You'll find most islands that went Independent from the U.K. couldn't govern themselves successfully and that's the reason for the poverty and crime.
Very seldom will you see people harassing tourist on the islands still under French and Dutch rule.



You may want to read some of the crime threads on the St. Maarten forum. Ask for advice on walking around Marigot at night as an example.

--------------------
Life is short, live it!


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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Sunset_Sammy]
      #1751417 - 11/09/17 07:32 AM (173.221.6.130)

Almost no reason to be in Marigot during the DAY these days..

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Sunset_Sammy
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1751423 - 11/09/17 11:24 AM (104.129.194.176)

Yes, and it's a shame what happened to the island, I loved going to the small local restaurants on the waterfront in Marigot, especially Enouchs. I'm not trying to knock SXM, it's just the last sentence of the above post doesn't seem to have a basis in reality.
I'm leaving for St. Lucia in 5 weeks, land based this time but will be sailing there in April with the last leg of the WARC, so certainly concerned about the up tick in crimes against tourist. The ARC+ has already left the Canaries and the ARC will soon be following. Will have to check noonsite for any additional reports of problems. I read in the St. Lucia news that the government has given police powers to the group that is responsible for the marine parks, so hopefully that will help.
For boats that are heading from Rodney Bay, the new location of the Moorings base, or Marigot Bay and can't make it all the way to Bequia in daylight; Cumberland Bay in St. Vincent has been good to us and one of our favorite stops. There are 5 beach bar/restaurants and a tourist center in the bay. The boat boys are more friendly than in Wallibalou and I haven't seen any reports of problems there in usual sailing sites. They know where their income comes from and they look out for their interests which is based totally on yachts stopping for the night. But of course, like anywhere else lock the boat, lock the dingy, motor and fuel tank.

--------------------
Life is short, live it!


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snmhanson
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: Sunset_Sammy]
      #1751830 - 11/15/17 05:05 PM (68.186.105.33)

Sorry to revive this thread just as it seems to be drifting towards TTOL history. I'm still trying to decide what to do for our February charter. Basically our choices are:

One-way, starting in St. Lucia and spending the first night at a slip at the Capella Resort in Marigot Bay (where we would also spend the prior night ashore in one of their rooms). Leave early the next morning and try to make Bequia that day with a contingency stop in Cumberland Bay if it doesn't look like we will make Bequia. It would be a long sail on the first day of the charter and/or a possible stressful night sleeping with one eye open on the hook or ball in Cumberland.

Or, we could change to a round trip charter starting and finishing in Grenada. This wouldn't be too bad except that we will still want to get to Bequia so we would be spending the first few days of the charter heading north into the wind and swell rather than on a beam or broad reach. We would also have to backtrack to islands that we have already seen on our return to Grenada. However, we would save the $1200 one-way fee that the charter company charges to deliver the boat to St. Lucia and we would probably feel safer avoiding St. Lucia and St. Vincent. But we would miss out spending a couple days at the Capella Resort which we are looking forward to.

Any advice or opinions? I don't think changing our flights would be a big issue right now as long as we get on it pretty soon.

Also, a side questions about C&I. My understanding in that St. Vincent and most of the Grenadines are all under the same C&I authority. So, we will only have to do C&I once after leaving St. Lucia (or Grenada), until we get down to/ return to Carriacou. Is that correct?

Thanks,

Matt


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DaveZ
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1751831 - 11/15/17 05:48 PM (75.149.252.193)

I have done this trip many times, both R/T out of St. Lucia and one way SL to Grenada. Last time was 2 years ago R/T start and finish in SL out of Rodney Bay. One thing I can tell you about the Mooring ops out of SL is that it has always been first rate with spot on local intel. They always gave us good info on where it was safe to stop and where you might want to avoid. One gem was a small bay with a great little french restaurant. They had their own moorings and it felt very safe. Others here may recall the name of the stop I just don't have it right now. In any event it is north of Kingstown but south of Cumberland. We were able to easily reach Rodney bay the next day. You could use it as a stop both up and down without trying to kill yourself reaching Bequia. When you get to Bequia to clear in you can contact African (associated with Moorings) who was very helpful in getting a ball and general info. BTW as an aside I never got the attraction with Bequia!!
For C&I you can clear in and out of Bequia pretty easily, never had a problem there. If you are in Tobago Cay and want to check out there you needed to go to the airport at either Union Island or Canuoun.
Hope this helps, but remember too that this info is 2 years old.


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maytrix
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: DaveZ]
      #1751842 - 11/15/17 08:43 PM (24.91.86.214)

I'd start in St. Lucia just to spend time at Capella :) Although when we were there it was July 2016 and we were just a handful of people there. But it was by far the best value we've ever had staying on the dock. We basically spent the majority of our time there as we weren't going to leave St. Lucia since we were doing a check out of our boat before phase out.

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


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tothedogs
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: DaveZ]
      #1751862 - 11/16/17 08:51 AM (129.63.123.24)

I think the place you are referring to is the Rock Side Cafe in Kearton's Bay. It is the next stop south of Wallilabou. One can probably even dinghy to it. We were last there 2 years ago and there were 2 moorings for dinner guests. They send people out to help you tie off bow and stern. They also send someone out in a dinghy to pick you up and return you back to your boat after dinner.

Orlando and Rosie were wonderful company and the meal was very good. We are looking forward to returning in January.


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snmhanson
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Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: tothedogs]
      #1751981 - 11/17/17 02:07 PM (68.186.105.33)

Thanks all. Based on the responses here I think we will leave our charter as a one-way St. Lucia to Grenada and just use extra caution and local knowledge when deciding how to proceed south. Sounds like there are a couple potentially good and safe options in St. Vincent if an overnight stop becomes necessary. Maybe I'll see if we can get permission for a pre-dawn departure to give us an extra couple house to get to Bequia in one day - or if not allowed maybe have the delivery captain accompany us on that leg through the night.

Really looking forward to our charter and a new adventure. Hope to run into other TTOLers while we're down there.

Matt


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DaveZ
Traveler


Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 199
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: tothedogs]
      #1751982 - 11/17/17 03:31 PM (75.149.252.193)

Yes, that is the place! Great food and inexpensive too. It was really nice to have a safe place to spend the night on SV. I've been to a couple of the other anchorages there and always slept with one eye open.

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StormJib
Traveler


Joined: 11/30/14
Posts: 1038
Re: Warning to Moorings refugees to St Lucia [Re: snmhanson]
      #1752087 - 11/19/17 08:43 PM (71.224.72.249)

Any place you go with charter boats it is the “boat boys” or their variet who keep us safe. If there are no strong personalities dependent on the income of charter boats and visitors we are all at risk on our boats. When the boat boys leave or the anchorsge looks empty there is always a reason.

We have enjoyed many great nights and days on St Lucia. The good days always start with a pleasant “boat boy” arrival.


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