US Couple in Caribbean feared dead

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Horrible story. In situations like this I wonder if a concealed weapon would have helped. I would like at a minimum a 9mm, 45, whatever your arm of choice is. I think I've read enough that it is illegal for us to try and protect ourselves in that matter? That goes for NY as well. Is that correct?

Why is it they want to disarm those of us who are responsible? No one can protect, defend you in a situation like this. Man is inherently evil and must be kept in check.

All that said perhaps he was armed, perhaps they were ambushed and had no chance. Perhaps I am jumping to illogical assumptions as no one knows what happened except the murderers. What is the law on guns in foreign waters? And what do you do to protect yourself? So sad....

https://loosecannon.substack.com/p/...r=2sl664&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
 

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Seems like every country is different...check the website "Noonsite" for some info on most countries.
 
Another link to the story, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...mates-escpape-stole-catamaran-identified.html

Weapons in other countries are problematic. As suggested, check out Noonsite.

Other countries prevent one from carrying a Swiss knife in public and pepper spray is illegal as well. Firearms can get you in deep trouble in some countries.

Firearms conversations on Cruising Forum quickly lead to the usual statements, right or wrong, and the discussion often is locked.
 
After legally moving a long gun on a boat through all the hassles Cayman Islands, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico, I think I would just not bother and "sharpen" up my sword or machete skills.
 
Another link to the story, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...mates-escpape-stole-catamaran-identified.html

Weapons in other countries are problematic. As suggested, check out Noonsite.

Other countries prevent one from carrying a Swiss knife in public and pepper spray is illegal as well. Firearms can get you in deep trouble in some countries.

Firearms conversations on Cruising Forum quickly lead to the usual statements, right or wrong, and the discussion often is locked.

Yes, I get it, sorry for that direction, but I just wonder how besides trying to be safe, head on the swivel, do you protect yourself if you cannot be armed. There are bad people out there who do bad things.
 
Good defense is multi-layered.... on person weapons are only one of the layers.
 
Yes, I get it, sorry for that direction, but I just wonder how besides trying to be safe, head on the swivel, do you protect yourself if you cannot be armed. There are bad people out there who do bad things.

The only protection you can have is by not going there. We’ve traveled to 47 countries by boat and have never been broken into or had intruders on the boat. Granted **** can happen but do you drive a car, walk on a public street?

Statistically, you are more likely to die in the US by homicide than in the Caribbean.
 
You guys remember the Peter Blake story? Most of the others on board said he'd probably still been alive had he not had a gun and tried to defend himself and his crew. I don't know what the answer is, but there is as many, if not more reasons NOT to carry a gun than there is the opposite.

For those that missed it:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/dec/07/alexbellos
 
That is a PR nightmare for Granada. They will likely fix the jail problem quickly.
 
Been a member of SD sailing association for quite awhile. Seem to recall these folks. Nice people. This is tragic as is violent crime anywhere. Know that area and have anchored there. It’s not far from the prison nor the med school. Most folks stay in St. George proper or in the southern bays. When anchored there try to stay in a group and not too close to the beach itself. Try to have at least a few boats around you. That’s a good practice wherever you are. Unlike St.Vincent Grenada isn’t a really dangerous place. Just like in the states violent crime occurs. People think of the Virgins as being safe. Met a gentleman who almost died anchored among numerous boats in the East End. He showed me the bullet hole in his boom. Would have much more concern in Haiti, St.Vincent and some parts of PR then in Grenada.
I’ve mentioned Noonsite being your friend multiple times on this site but don’t know if would have been much help here. This was due to a local jail break.
There’s a fed and state pen in my town as well as a jail. A break can happen anywhere. Need to pay attention to local news and alerts. Greneda has a local cruisers net on the VHF. There’s a safety section in each of the daily broadcasts. Perhaps that would have helped. Wasn’t there so don’t know.
Just like when visiting a new to you city need to think about what decreases your risk. Unfortunately even with great street sense bad things happen. Think that maybe the case here.
A gun isn’t going to help much if it isn’t in your hand the moment of the attack. Asleep or on deck unarmed a dirt ball with an edged weapon will prevail. Reality is different than your plans.
 
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This particular incident is a wrong place /wrong time story. Seriously - how do you account for a prison break in risk planning?

A lot of people are very selective about international travel due to security concerns. But consider this - you probably feel pretty safe in the US, but how does it look to someone outside the country? What would you tell someone who said "not going to America because of all the shootings, abductions, drugs, home invations, car jackings, and police beatings"?

Stories like these reverberate throughout the cruiser community - even more so in the aspirational group. If isolated events and such are going to keep you up at night with a Glock beneath your pillow, don't go. I believe the risk can be managed but perception is reality. Spend your vacation time in places you' feel safe and comfortable.

For us, fear of missing out of visiting some really cool places is much more palpable than fear of crime. We've given up trying to explain why we feel safe - people who ask do so with the best intentions. Not to say we ignore stories like these, but we look at the broader picture. We will bypass Guatemala and Nicaragua but stop in Panama, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Peter
 
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Unfortunately the Caribbean and South America are high crime countries. Robbing boats and stealing is quite normal. Even in anchorages they will just come to your boat and take what is yours.
Am not sure that a shoot out is a good idea, most criminals have guns as well and won't hesitate to shoot. Problem is also that guns are almost everywhere illegal, so you will end up in jail if you defend yourself.
What you can do however is have a spear gun ready and shoot with that. May sound strange, but you will be able to get away with a claim of self defense when you use a spear gun.

Best option however is to avoid certain countries, simply not go there and if you are there just hope and pray it will go well. In most cases they will come via the water, so a protected marina is not really going to help at all.
There is a reason why we live behind iron fences in the Caribbean and it is not to keep your children inside. In fact, on Curacao we always close the fences of the house when it gets dark, have the dogs outside and have a pellet gun plus a machete ready for use. Not nice living, but it is also one of the reasons why we made the move (for most of the year) to the Med.
 
Many in the Salty Dawg family have offered support and the willingness to help in any way that they can, as we all mourn the disappearance of two of our long term members, Ralph and Kathy of Simplicity.

The family has asked us to share the following with you and others and encourage you to forward this to anyone that you wish to get the word out as broadly as possible.

As you can imagine, the family faces considerable expense with all this and a close family friend has set up a gofundme fundraiser, listed at the end of this note.


February 24, 2024

Bryan Hendry: Statement from the family

We want to reach out to the entire cruiser community to express our gratitude for everyone that worked to gather information from eyewitnesses and provide search and rescue support. It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible.

Thanks to all this input from this community we are able to develop a timeline of events. For the safety of the cruising community we are asking all cruisers, and anyone that is not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction, to stand down. The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches.

We also want to applaud the St. Vincent authorities for their quick actions in securing Simplicity and their brave, swift response that led to the apprehension of three dangerous fugitives. We greatly appreciate the coordination of the St. Vincent and Royal Grenadian Police forces and Coast Guards in investigating these events.

With love and eternal gratitude,
Bryan Hendry and Nick Buro

From Salty Dawg. There’s a link to a go fund me as well. Have cruised the Caribbean for a decade. Never went to the ABCs as there’s pirates in those waters. Approach needs to be from due north. Piracy is an issue getting to Trinidad as well. But can be done safely going in a fleet of boats. The cruising enclave once there is safe. In both cases it’s due to the spillover from the collapse of Venezuela .
However view the Caribbean as no more dangerous than certain areas of the US. Just like in the US you’re wise to avoid those areas same in the Caribbean. A segment of the posters here cruise Mexico. It has a terrible reputation in many peoples eyes due to cartel violence but they cruise safely. Although in the US I have a conceal carry license on the boat only have edged weapons at hand. After researching it believe there’s more downside than up for projectiles.
As regards this event think Weebles has it right . Wrong place at the wrong time.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/kathy-brandel-and-ralph-hendry
 
Not sure we will ever know what happened, but does does seem like the crew were surprised below decks. Some of the boat build details had ways to secure hatches and companion ways that allowed air flow AND made it secure for the crew.
 
Unfortunately the Caribbean and South America are high crime countries. Robbing boats and stealing is quite normal. Even in anchorages they will just come to your boat and take what is yours.
Am not sure that a shoot out is a good idea, most criminals have guns as well and won't hesitate to shoot. Problem is also that guns are almost everywhere illegal, so you will end up in jail if you defend yourself.
What you can do however is have a spear gun ready and shoot with that. May sound strange, but you will be able to get away with a claim of self defense when you use a spear gun.

Best option however is to avoid certain countries, simply not go there and if you are there just hope and pray it will go well. In most cases they will come via the water, so a protected marina is not really going to help at all.
There is a reason why we live behind iron fences in the Caribbean and it is not to keep your children inside. In fact, on Curacao we always close the fences of the house when it gets dark, have the dogs outside and have a pellet gun plus a machete ready for use. Not nice living, but it is also one of the reasons why we made the move (for most of the year) to the Med.

Interesting info Mambo, I hadn’t made the connection between your constant references to all things “Med” to the fact you actually reside in Curacao in the Caribbean.
Does the fact Curacao is a Dutch territory give you visa access to lengthy periods in the EU?

Piracy is very much a global issue, the same as any violent crime, especially as socioeconomic gaps widen. Desperation, greed, psychopathic behaviour will occur.
As attractive as the Med is in so many ways, there are of course locations to be wary of, North Africa and Albania for example.
 
That was really sad , I am sure the bad guys will get justice , on travelling with a gun , Jamacia used to have a special prison if your caught with a gun , it was built so you could not stand up in it , owning a bullet could get a life sentence , cheers
 
Simple solution is to avoid areas you don't feel safe in. I usually travel to the area between Cancun and Tulum to go go cave diving. Won't be going this winter because of the Cartel violence in the area.

I don't see this as any different than avoiding parts of USA cities. One of the first rules of taking a concealed carry class is not to go places with a weapon that you wouldn't go without one. Pretty much common sense.

Ted
 
I have read on so many forums to "avoid the bad places."

I am not sure this could have been avoided. I think any sort of early warning system may have helped...like an alarm system on board. Is there such a thing?
Maybe an alarm if someone gets on the boat while you're sleeping?

The other question I have is self Defense. I realize firearms are a no-no in may countries around the world and certainly don't want to open that can of worms.
What about other means of self defense, machete, sword, bow and arrow, cross bow.

Any ideas on self defense would be great!
 
One way to think of self defense....is as a pyramid.

The mind is the top and controlling everything below and the feedback loop saying what is/isn't working.

The bottom is location...are you in a good spot and then the ability to monitor how that can change/how quickly can you change your proximity to danger.

Up from the bottom is the monitor/alarm methods to alert you how that is changing.

Near the top is the last line of defense.... like safe rooms, and close contact personal weapons from martial arts to hand held weapons of choice. Just below that are short range and lower, long range firearms which are the problem in many places to even have aboard....

In between...there are thousands of options discussed in many places.

But like accidents...it takes a successful series of events for bad guys to get to you.... if you have thought of self defense as a layered approach.

Think of protection as only one option, and that series of events depends on that one deterrent to keep a bad thing from happening.

My one son, who is highly weapons trained in the Navy and multiple self defense and concealed carry schools and I (LE trained by the USCG) have had multiple carry and defend discussions for years. After a decade of carrying and evaluating, he finally agreed with me that the possibility of actually and responsibly using his concealed weapon in a real life situation was so small he really wonders what the answer is.

He does agree with me that from self defense to national defense the concepts are not dissimilar....intel is everything and multiple layers and redundancy of layers of those defenses are crucial.
 
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Cruisers are now going back and forth in an attempt to find and recover the bodies. I’m glad the cruising community is doing this. I would have thought the local authorities would have done this soon after the incident so unfortunately don’t have high expectations.

There’s no free lunch. Heavily locking and reenforcing your vessel means when unattended the thieves will destroy the companion or entrance ways leading to huge reconstruction expense. Perhaps appropriate to metal vessels where cutting tools or torches are more unlikely to be available. Saw what could occur when a grp boat was attacked with a battery saws all. We do use substantial locks but with the thought they would more likely destroy the door than the boat.
We have edged weapons by the bedside. Long enough to maintain arms length but short enough to be functional inside a boat. The line cutter used to clear fouled props works well for this and hasn’t upset LEOs.
Pressure pad alarm systems are fairly innocuous and may have some protection in populated anchorages. We used the anchorage where this occurred several times. There were other boats there.
We have good shades which allows us to keep exterior lights on at night without disturbing us. Here you pick your poison. Depending upon situation you may be safer with a dark boat or a lite boat.
We have other defenses but don’t wish to disclose them on a public forum.
Noteworthy after decades of cruising have escaped violent crime events. Some just dumb luck, some situational awareness, some following the known protocols cruisers should follow. I would go back to Grenada tomorrow. I wouldn’t be reluctant to anchor where this event occurred.
 
Updated article...

https://loosecannon.substack.com/p/...r=2sl664&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Random Thoughts on the Horrific Events at Grenada

Regarding Cat Security: That Sugar Scoop Is Like an Open Gate

PETER SWANSON
2/29/2024





A fellow cruiser snapped this shot of Ralph Hendry aboard Simplicity. Note the ease of access to the deck of the boat via her port sugar scoop.

Objectively, Grenada is a safe island despite the recent hijacking of a U.S.-flagged catamaran and the likely murder of her owners. Cruisers like the place, and nothing in the overall crime data suggests they shouldn’t. There’s more to it, however.

This story is a random collection of observations in the wake of the almost-certain deaths of Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, whose first Caribbean cruise ended horribly at Grenada. But first a message for the couple hundred new Loose Cannon subscribers who signed up after reading the story about their ordeal and, to a lesser extent, that of a Swedish sailor who wrecked on a Colombian beach:

Lurid crime is not the only topic reported by Loose Cannon. Please visit the website to get a sense of the full mix of coverage. You will find stories about vessel design, interesting characters, important court cases, nautical history and oddball occurrences.

A few days before the events in Grenada there was a story about a New York State gun law that was frustrating guns-on-boats people wanting to cruise the American Great Loop. The story included an estimate of how many U.S. cruisers down-island carried firearms—about a third.

Predictably, after Loose Cannon broke the Grenada story internationally (followed later in the day by CNN, NBC, CBS et al.), some commenters were posting that this was a case for guns on boats.

Not exactly. Grenada requires that guns be checked with island authorities during a stay in local waters. If there’s one thing that subsequent news coverage strongly suggested, it was that Hendry and Brandel were not rule-breakers, so it is difficult to see how having guns locked up far away in a customs office or police station would have changed anything.

The fact is we don’t know the sequence of events to the hijacking of their St. Francis 48 cat, named Simplicity, but there are three plausible scenarios.

One fellow cruiser—a neighbor in the anchorage—suggested that the trio of jail escapees linked to the crime may have taken the couple while they were ashore, and they all went together to the couple’s boat.

A second scenario—oft repeated by criminals on other Eastern Caribbean islands—is that the escapees came in a small boat, boarded Simplicity and took her owners by surprise. Nothing in local news reports suggests that, however.

And the third is that the escapees swam out. These guys were desperate and swam to the nearest boat that looked like it could be boarded easily. That’s normally a selling point for cats—their sugar scoops make it easier for swimmers to board. Even if the swim ladder is stowed in the up position, it provides a place for someone to grip and hoist himself up.

A catamaran or any contemporary monohull with a platform notched into the transom is like having an open gate on a fenced yard. It’s not that a determined thief cannot climb over the slab side of, say, a 40- to 50-foot monohull, it’s just that it requires quite a bit more athleticism. Try it sometime.

Also, the sudden addition of weight outboard will induce movement that might actually wake a sleeping owner atuned to the abnormal motion of his or her boat in calm water.

Troubled Region

This story began by noting that Grenada is popular among cruisers because it is perceived to be a welcoming and safe place. The problem is that it is smack in the middle of islands where drug trafficking has led to the rise of gang violence.

InsightCrime is a think tank and media outlet that studies organized crime. Here’s how it describes the region: “The Caribbean’s geographic location and countless islands make it a huge transshipment route for drugs heading to the United States, a dynamic that has fostered high rates of violence and gang-related crime.”

The prime minister of Grenada made the same point in January 2023. “Our island(s) are under constant threat from the importation of small firearms in particular. They are coming in barrels, they are coming in containers…We are probably the last bastion of little or no gun violence in the region,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said, adding that St. Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago all faced the same problem.

For sure, reaction to this story will include all manner of anecdotal defense of Eastern Caribbean cruising and comparisons to crime rates in places bereft of palm trees. The drumbeat of incidents reported by the Caribbean Safety and Security Network, however, suggests that would be delusional to think that some invisible force prevents criminals in island settlements from making mischief in the anchorages.

Here at home, no one is too surprised when a suburban home near an inner city is subjected to a home invasion.

Loose Cannon tipped off the Washington Post to the events in Grenada, hoping that since the victims had resided in Fairfax, Virginia, Post reporters would deliver some unique insights into the lives of Hendry and Brandel. The coverage wasn’t bad but unearthed nothing new.

That other Post, however, did give us something to think about. The New York Post story was headlined, “Pals sailing with Virginia couple before yacht hijacked say they felt safer in Caribbean than U.S.: ‘We’d leave the door unlocked’.”

Pete and Tammy Sisson of Rhode Island were quoted about how they rode down to the islands with Hendry and Brandel and a third guest as part of the Salty Dawg Rally from the U.S. East Coast to Antigua. They flew home before the hijacking. Sisson’s full quote actually specified that the cat’s door was left opened during the day.

The couple at right, Pete and Tammy Sisson, said they felt very safe after arriving in the Caribbean with Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel.

We all have nearby places in the U.S. that we might avoid. The boat where this is is being typed is serenely equidistant between two such places—the drive-by shooting neighborhoods of Jacksonville and the meth-lab and rattlesnake forests of interior Florida. Plus, I would assume most of us keep our boats open during the day at populated anchorages.

Hatches Closed?

The question for Sisson is: Did they lock the doors and close hatches at night?

For sure, that big St. Francis would have a genset and air-conditioning system capable of cooling her down for the night, but what does the fact that doors need to be locked say? If this were standard procedure aboard Simplicity, it would lend credence to that neighbor’s theory that Hendry and Brandel were taken while still ashore.

However, many cruising boats still don’t have a generator sufficient in wattage to power AC. Some don’t have a generator at all. Those folks used to enjoy sleeping with all hatches open, as airscoops funneled a cooling katabatic breeze aftward through the vessel.

Now, the only way for the situationally aware in the Caribbean to sleep soundly—without a humming compressor—might be the addition of “burglar bars” on all the hatches. What’s the alternative?

Oddly, in all the discussion, no one has sung the praises of history’s most tested combination of danger alerting, intruder deterrence and personal protection—a family dog.

Nuri the Portuguese water dog is protector of the Valiant 42 Little Wing. Ted Arisaka says that even though she looks fierce, Nuri’s bark is probably worse than her bite, but sometimes barking is enough.

More interesting than the Washington Post story was the comment section at the bottom. A lot of readers were skeptical of a GoFundMe campaign to benefit the adult sons of the victims. What these readers needed to understand was that even though these parents were well off financially, that doesn’t mean their heirs would have access to inheritance money to deal with immediate expenses regarding the boat and probably some other stuff. It could take more than a year, especially if the bodies are not recovered.
 

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CRUISING SAFELY

The shocking news of the ordeal suffered by cruising couple Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel when their catamaran “Simplicity” was hijacked by three escaped criminals from Grenada, has rocked the cruising community. Ralph and Kathy were living the bluewater cruising life that so many of our readers aspire to. That they have gone missing, presumed dead, in such awful circumstances is truly tragic, and their families and friends are in our thoughts.

In the wake of this terrible incident there has been a lot of talk on cruiser forums about keeping the VHF switched on and an airhorn nearby, for use in an emergency situation. Carolyn Shearlock of The Boat Galley comments this month in our “New to Cruising” section, on the demise of the VHF as cruisers rely on other means of communication and advocates a number of reasons as to why the VHF should remain the preferred method of communication.

Ted Ownes responded to Michelle Shultz’s article last month on how we can keep ourselves safe on board and recommends Pirates Aboard! by Klaus Hympendahl, our book of the month featured at the end of the newsletter. The book discusses various cases of yacht piracy including interviews with over 40 victims and their thoughts on lessons learnt.

Thankyou for talking to us:
After launching our user survey last month we have had an excellent response from Noonsite readers who have taken part, with some really useful and insightful feedback. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to share their thoughts on Noonsite. It’s not too late to participate in the survey if you haven’t yet done so, we will be running it until the end of March. It takes just 5 minutes of your time and your feedback will help make Noonsite better and more useful.

This month we have more guidance for “orca alley”, plus some great destination cruising reports from our readers. Those new to cruising have plenty of interesting articles and links to explore and our environment section covers the catastrophic oil spill off Tobago in the Caribbean, plus a number of other concerns for the health of our oceans.

Thankyou for reading and sail safe,
Sue and the Noonsite Team
Previous newsletters can be viewed here.

NEW TO CRUISING

This from Noonsite. The other thing we do is preprogram the phone numbers of local law enforcement and CG/SAR into our local and Sat phones. We do close hatches and companion way in high risk places except those small enough that human entrance isn’t feasible.
 
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We sailed with Salty Dawg in 2014 and debated taking a gun with us and did some research. They are illegal in many Caribbean countries, and if you are found with one, you're in a lot of trouble. We decided against taking one. It's a tough choice.
 
Folks, contribute constructive feedback but please keep your personal views to your self. Guns, gallows and violence aren’t going to help this discussion move forward. We’ve done a few edits.

Thanks for understanding. :flowers:
 
Question for the peanut gallery. How many have significantly changed their itinerary due to safety issues? We've been going for 4 months in Mexico and have tweaked a few things due to safety concerns, but no wholesale changes. We're monitoring the Las Perlas islands off Panama and may bypass. On the other hand, Puesta del Sol on Pacific side of Nicaragua may be more feasible than we thought so may include it as a stop. Coming up the Caribbean ,Port Antonio Jamaica was known as a decent stop but I guess Jamaica as a whole has decended into a serious s-hole of violent crime so that's off the table for the foreseeable future. We didn't feel comfortable traveling by land in Acapulco so we moved on.

We make adjustments to our cruising based on a lot of factors, safety being one. But we haven't changed our cruising plans per se. Wondering how many people do?

Peter
(Currently living Oaxaca MX)
 
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Our plans for the Caribbean have changed due to the violence occurring off of Colombia, and in Jamaica. We were initially planning on going counter clockwise from Panama (Colon to Cartagena, Colombia, North thru the Windward Passage to Florida), but now we are going to go Panama to San Andres, or Providencia, bend around Nicaragua to Isla Mujeres, then to Florida. Based on Noonsite reports, and US State Department recommendations.
 
Our plans for the Caribbean have changed due to the violence occurring off of Colombia, and in Jamaica. We were initially planning on going counter clockwise from Panama (Colon to Cartagena, Colombia, North thru the Windward Passage to Florida), but now we are going to go Panama to San Andres, or Providencia, bend around Nicaragua to Isla Mujeres, then to Florida. Based on Noonsite reports, and US State Department recommendations.

Tough choice - getting north out of the Canal has been a concern of mine for several years. Both routes pose security issues.

According to Noonsite, Colombia has had general petty theft but mostly street crime. There was a well discussed Swedish single handed who was boarded by three different pangas who beat and robbed him (he recently died when his boat went around in Panama). Personally, his account seemed like there was a backstory - this was a near derelict boat and he reportedly was attached three times by at least two different gangs. I have to wonder if he pissed off the wrong people but who knows

https://www.noonsite.com/place/colombia/view/security/

But that's about it for Colombia.......except San Andres island. CSSN shows this incident from a few months ago.

https://www.noonsite.com/report/colombia-san-andres-island-armed-robbery-attempt-on-yacht/

And then there are the issues with Nicaragua and of course Honduras on the Caribbean.

Not sure which route is better. Both have reasons to pause. It's one of the reasons we may ship Weebles (the other reason is the weather sucks).

Also note that there's a WhatsApp group for Cartegena (perhaps Colombia as a whole?). Would likely have the latest/greatest information.

Peter
 

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Peter and any other cruisers, do you secure boat your boat when sleeping at anchor? Lock door, minimize hatch opening so you may hear someone trying to get in so you could possibly have time to thwart invasive intruders?
 
Peter and any other cruisers, do you secure boat your boat when sleeping at anchor? Lock door, minimize hatch opening so you may hear someone trying to get in so you could possibly have time to thwart invasive intruders?

We haven't cruised anywhere we've felt the need to lock the boat overnight at anchor, but we do typically have doors closed, screens in hatches, etc so a truly silent entry would be challenging. And because of our boat layout (a trunk cabin like yours), the most likely places anyone would step aboard (from a dock or at anchor) are pretty much over our heads while we're sleeping, which is likely to wake up one of us or the dog (who would almost certainly make his presence known in that situation).

I have thought about (but haven't done it) wiring up a switch in the aft cabin that will turn on all of our exterior deck lights, etc. in one shot without having to go up on deck to the switches at the helm.
 
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Peter and any other cruisers, do you secure boat your boat when sleeping at anchor? Lock door, minimize hatch opening so you may hear someone trying to get in so you could possibly have time to thwart invasive intruders?

We sometimes lockup at night, but not often. I do sometimes rig a motion detector alarm made for eBikes. I also think some sort of motion detector flood light would be helpful.

Once an intruder is aboard and intent on an armed invasion, not sure having a locked companionway would do much. For the unfortunate couple who are the subject of this thread, I'm hard pressed to believe that if I were in their Topsiders that I'd be much of a match for three escaped felons who apparently were quite comfortable in high violence situations. Who knows.....possible the couple were themselves armed. Also possible that being armed exacerbated their situation (the Peter Blake situation from over a decade ago referenced up thread).

Mexico has a lot of cartel activity and it's getting worse. Lopez Obrador, president of Mexico, implemented a "hugs not bullets" policy when he came to office in 2018. It has not gone as expected which isn't a surprise to anyone. But still, I don't see a slow boat like Weebles as much of a target for these guys. Poor fishermen, yes. But not the cartel guys as long as I stay out of their way. We don't stay up late. Don't do drugs. Pretty easy to stay out of their way.

In the end, all I can tell you is we have traveled a lot - it's a passion for us both. Travel carries increases risk in many ways. Getting sick. Being in an accident. All sorts of things are much more difficult when you're in a foreign country. For us, the benefits far outweigh the risks. But that's a personal calculation. Some people are so security conscious that it permeates their every waking hour. Not for me to say whether thats a good use of time and energy, but if that's what people worry about, then international cruising in non-firstworld countries is not for them. The anxiety will make their world close-in. The Loop is a great way to cruise and not feel the dread of security concerns. Is the sense of safety of being in the US real or perceived? Doesn't make a difference - this is a leisure pastime. Don't spend it doing something you are not comfortable doing. Life is too short.

But if you travel to culturally different places, you'll see some really unusual and interesting things. All I can say is we're having a blast in Mexico. For example, the food and sights in Oaxaca are simply amazing. Maybe something bad will happen and we'll change our mind. But right now, we wouldn't change a thing or be anyplace else. The attached picture is a free dance class in one of the plazas we passed last night.

Peter.
 

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