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Have you ever felt threatened in any way?

By The Ithaka - Published November 26, 1999 - Viewed 1086 times

Have you ever felt threatened in any way?

“You’ve been to a lot of places that sound dangerous,” says Reggie P. from Victoria, BC. “Have you ever felt threatened in any way? Do you carry a gun on Ithaka?” 

From Bernadette :   We’ve experienced warm welcomes and helpfulness in every country we’ve visited. That said, however, over the three years we’ve been out, we’ve heard of boardings and gunfire in Venezuela and Brazil; a stabbing in San Andres; and dinghy thefts in Mexico, Honduras and Panama.

On Ithaka, we don’t carry a gun. Neither of us is trained in how to use a gun, so we’d risk that someone quicker, more skillful, and less conscionable than we are could do us in with our gun while we hesitated before firing it. Self-protection experts agree: you should never bring out a gun unless you are going to fire and kill or incapacitate someone. Guns are not for us. So far we’ve been lucky. If intruders get below, we plan to cooperate.

Most importantly, we avoid areas known to be risky, and take precautions. We always lock our boat up when we’re off it, even if it’s just to go snorkeling. We lock our dinghy with a cable to Ithaka at night, or we haul it up out of the water on a three-point bridle.

The cruising grapevine is a reliable conduit of information, so we know where questionable places are as we move from place to place. For example, as we neared Guatemala, we heard from other cruisers leaving the area that to anchor alone in the Rio Dulce is to risk being robbed. So, when we went into the beautiful Rio, we pulled Ithaka into a terrific marina for only $110 a month including all utilities – well worth the peace of mind. A year later, we heard from other cruisers that the Venezuelan and Colombian coast is a risky place to anchor, that the safest way to travel it is all at once, with no stops. We avoided the area, and went instead to beautiful Cartagena.

Shy of never leaving home, no preparations can shield us from some danger. But we believe that hyper-vigilance promises only a living deadness, not safety. We travel carefully, and accept the risks.

To read about safety precautions aboard Ithaka, great safety ideas from other cruisers, as well as a detailed discussion of cruisers’ self-defense techniques, see “Staying Alive,” our Log Of Ithaka number 85 on the www.BoatUS.com website.

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