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Grenada is the hurricane season refuge for thousands of cruisers. The fact that the island is historically quite safe from tropical storms is only one of the many reasons why people choose to congregate here. The beautiful countryside, protected bays, and excellent infrastructure are other motivators why we, and many of our boat-bound brethren, opt to stay here year after year. That said, one of the most significant reasons why we come here has nothing to do with anything so tangible as a well-stocked chandlery, or a reef-protected bay. It’s the friendliness of the people, and the fact that we feel safe here. Is that changing? I’d like to believe that it’s not.

When crimes against cruisers occur, the news spreads like wildfire. Stories, that in the past, might have taken months to travel from sailor to sailor by word of mouth, are now communicated instantly over the internet. Rebecca and I pay very close attention to security issues that could affect us, and while we haven’t avoided a location solely because of news of local crimes, the reports do factor into our overall travel plans.

This is reality, not TV!

Just the other day an incident worthy of a TV crime drama occurred here in Grenada. A cruiser, while walking his dog on our beloved Hog Island, was accosted at gunpoint by two individuals, and then forced to bring them back to his boat. Once on board, the criminals made the gentleman and his wife raise anchor, and directed them to sail the boat to Puerto Rico. Either by design, or by luck, the vessel was driven onto a reef as it exited the harbor, stopping their progress. The criminals then panicked, and abducted the wife, exiting the boat with her in the vessel’s tender. At some point following that, the kidnappers apparently came to their senses, and released the woman, reportedly unharmed. I’ve since read that the two men have been IDed, but have yet to be apprehended.

If the above story sounds crazy to you, believe me, it shocked all of us too, and that includes the Grenadian citizens! This incident, along with the recent stream of boat burglaries, has many of the cruisers on heightened security alert. While I don’t blame people for feeling the need to do so, I don’t want to always be looking over my shoulder!

hog

Hog Island, Grenada, one of our favorite spots. Coincidentally, Rebecca and I were jogging on the back side of the island on the same day that the incident took place. Photo by Joshua Yetman.

On the morning radio net cruisers are warned to be vigilant, to be aware of their surroundings, and to lock up their boat and their possessions. We have been instructed to keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and to take note of, and report anything unusual. While all this sounds perfectly logical given the circumstances, and I sincerely appreciate my neighbors looking after our well being, I still resent the fact that it seems necessary.

Perhaps I am being unrealistic, but one of the biggest reasons we stay here is that we consider Grenada safe. Over the years, I have told anyone who would listen that Rebecca and I would feel perfectly at home walking around here at night. Now we are being told that we should avoid unpopulated areas, and stay in groups? No. I choose not to!

Even though, after these incidents, heightened awareness does seem somewhat prudent, I refuse to live my life always on alert. I am also not going to believe anything other than the fact that the vast majority of people are good. I have too much evidence to prove that this is true. Some might argue that I’m not being smart, or that I’m looking at things through rose-colored glasses. I simply disagree. I can assure you that if Rebecca and I really felt unsafe here, we would leave. That is the benefit of being a cruiser. In spite of this serious incident, and other misc. crimes, in my opinion, Grenada remains a safe shelter. I hope that most people remain as convinced of that as I am.

8 Comments

  1. Everyone will breathe easier when the perps are identified, arrested and convicted with material jail time. Even better if it shown they are not part of the community. Please do post an update on this if that happens.

    • I agree. The convicted and jail time part is significant! One of our cruising friends is STILL waiting for that type of satisfaction from a previous incident (on a different island).

      I find the “not part of the community” comment interesting though. I have noted that people on every island, and every small town (back home), refuse to accept that crimes committed locally are being done by “their people.” It is always the other guys, from the other town, or the other village. I think it’s more reasonable to understand that in any group of people there exists one or two bad apples.

  2. Although off island & off boat currently, I strongly feel that we are safer in Grenada compared to the dangers of “city life” in major US cities, especially considering traffic accidents/deaths. I agree that one of the biggest advantages of Grenada is the people. No place is utopia, but we have found overwhelmingly friendly/helpful people on Grenada. Still, it is something to watch and be aware. Stay safe!!

  3. Darla and I have only been to Grenada twice. On both occasions, what we saw, who we met and experienced was through our relationship with you and Rebecca. We loved what we saw and learned of the country, the people that we met were polite and gracious.

    When I first saw the article, for a brief moment, my thoughts were of the “run and hide” type. As quickly as it came, it was replaced by the memories of our Sunday at Hog Island. Every person we encountered was smiling, laughing, relaxed and simply living life.

    I work in Rockford Illinois, in 2105 it was rated the 2nd most dangerous city in the US, with a population under 200,000. It was #3 in 2014. Being in EMS, I see and hear the reports of shootings. Every single day, someone is shot. Some days, more than 1. Most recover, some die.

    If I chose to run and hide, the POS that create the issues win. I refuse to let thugs or anyone else steal my life from myself or my family. I have learned to surround myself with good people, people I trust, people that choose to be happy. People that understand that the good far surpasses the bad.

    The Grenada we saw, looked nothing like the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan in the video I shared. The country we saw was rebuilt by people that choose to be happy. People that understand that the good far surpasses the bad. People that smile, laugh and chose to live life. Good people that we have chosen to begin our new lives around on October 6.

    We will not run, nor hide.

    • I want to be clear that in addition to the friendly Grenadian citizens, the cruisers here are also predominately good people. Many of them, taking these threats seriously, have been giving their time to make like safer for the community. Like you said, surround yourself with good people. You’ll love it here. 🙂

  4. I’m convinced.

    I love that fact that every Grenadian I pass will say “Good morning” or “Good night” from the youngest school kid waiting for the bus to grandma sitting on the porch two stories up the hill waving energetically. Love it! Nope, not gonna stop me from going places on this beautiful island. Gods willing.

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