Attacked by Pirates ! by Larry Caillouet

A boat in a marina is not a great place to sleep, so after a wonderful dinner at a dockside restaurant we treated ourselves to a night in a hotel with real air conditioning. In the morning as we were getting dressed to go back to the boat and depart for Les Saintes, the phone in our room rang and it was Charlotte Bonin, the manager of the Sunsail base. With the sound of trouble in her voice she told us that during the night thieves had boarded Vagamonda, smashed the wooden doors to the companionway and robbed us. I had locked the hatches, the cockpit lockers, the dinghy and its outboard, and the companionway, but locks won’t stop a thief who is determined to get in. They must not have been onboard long because the left a lot of valuable things including money hidden in several places, but these marina pirates stole 3 cameras, my handheld GPS, my new Motorola Atrix smartphone, and even my sunglasses, a pair of shoes, and a pair of hiking shorts. Adding insult to the injury, they stole my backpack to haul off their plunder. Well, the joke is on them–the sunglasses were Oakley fakes.A platoon of French policemen came to take our statement and gawk at the scene of the crime. They told us that since they don’t file police reports on Sunday I would have to come to the police station on Monday to complete the report. I went postal on the police officers, slammed my legal pad on the cockpit table and asked “Are you going to rob me too? I’m paying hundreds of dollars per day for my vacation and you are going to steal a day from me?” In hopes of finding a Guadeloupe policeman who didn’t mind working on a day he or she was getting paid for, Charlotte took me to the police station anyway. It was as empty as a French church. We approached a policewoman who wandered through the lobby and asked her to take our report. She confirmed that they don’t do that on Sunday (even if they aren’t doing anything else). “Well, if I were stabbed on a Sunday, would I have to wait until Monday for you to file the report?” She filed the report.After finishing our police business we sailed out of Guadeloupe and crossed the channel to Les Saintes, a picture postcard grouping of seven small islands. The main town is Boug Le Saintes, a cute little village with narrow streets and well kept tile roofed houses spreading up the hillside. The harbor was full of boats but we found a nice anchorage with a panoramic view. We walked through the town, shopped a little, and hiked up to a lighted cross on the hill overlooking the harbor.We were a bit reluctant to leave Les Saintes, but Dominica awaited us about 25 miles to the south. We motored out of the harbor and after a small rain storm we raised the mainsail. A batten hung on a lazy jack, so I went forward to pull it loose. When the boat lurched in a puff of wind, I lost my grip and went tumbling backward. Three thoughts flashed through my mind: (1) I’m going overboard. (2) Ouch! I hit the deck. (3) Great–I’m still onboard. Following my latest attempt to win the Boat Bite 2011 award, we had a pleasant and uneventful sail into Prince Rupert Bay at Portsmouth, Dominica.In Prince Rupert we dealt with a local entrepreneur who went by the name of Lawrence of Arabia. He motored out to meet us in his bright yellow and green boat. We struck up a deal with him to watch and protect our boat while we toured the island the next day. We found out that Lawrence is a vertically integrated conglomerate–yacht security, water taxi, river tours, and land tours. His employee, Uncle Sam (actual name is Kenroy Liverpool) gave us an all day tour of Dominica the next day. We traveled through lush rainforest and down rugged Atlantic seacoast; we shopped handicrafts at the Carib Indian Reservation, the only place on earth where Carib Indians still live; we hiked to two waterfalls and the Emerald Pool high in the mountains; and finally arrived back at our boat. The boat was just as we had left it and it was good to be home.Today we sailed down the Caribbean coast of Dominica to Roseau, the capital. A man named Sea Cat sent Mark and Desmond to take care of us. They are friends of Lawrence of Arabia. We did some sightseeing and shopping in Roseau and will set sail for St. Pierre, Martinique in the morning.

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