Hurricanes, Pirates and Risks
When we tell people about our sailboat plans, there are usually 3 different reactions we get. The first being, “Really? Are you serious?” The third being, “How cool! I want to come!” And the second most received reaction, everyone asks when we mention our plans is “Are you not worried about hurricanes and pirates?”
I’m not gonna lie, hurricanes and storms are pretty high up on my list of scary things that could happen while sailing too. Pirates not so much.
First, pirates. Do these people exist? Yes, they do. But from what I’ve read, the Bahamas is one of the safest places you can travel. Sailboats are the lowest on the totem pole at risk of being attacked by pirates. Sure there is crime. Where isn’t there crime?
The fact is, you are probably more likely to get in a car accident on your way to work in the morning than you are to get attacked by pirates on your sailboat in the Bahamas. You take risks everyday. You can have a heart attack choosing to run that extra mile during your morning workout, you can break your leg while hiking to the top of that waterfall, or you can be mugged on your way to your car after a late night movie, but you choose to do these things because you love them and they make you happy. Why put off doing what you love because there is a risk that something bad might happen to you?
Some of the concerns we do have, is about protecting ourselves if we do run into some scallywag pirates trying to board our boat. Do we carry a gun? Do we carry bear spray or wasp spray like other cruisers do? What are our other options?
Guns are a sensitive subject anywhere, not just on a boat. I’m not going to get into all the politics about them either, but I will say, we are for the right to bear arms. Research says there are many laws for different countries about bringing guns into their waters. All require you to declare your weapons upon entry and some will confiscate your weapon until you leave the country. Some will just take you straight to jail. I have read some very good information on this website here. Because we don’t know where we might end up, we will most likely not be bringing a gun on board.
Upon beginning my search for everything sailboat at the beginning of August, I found this blog called Windtraveler. I absolutely love her blog. Her name is Brittany and she is like a sailboat blog celebrity to me. (I squealed like a little girl when she responded to my tweet.) Molly has looked at photos of their cute girls so much, that she has declared she wants to be best friends. She is a fantastic writer, she is hilarious, and she has a lovely family. I have learned so much about being a liveaboard cruiser from her blog.
But now I’ve gotten off topic, where was I? Oh yes, upon beginning my search for everything sailboat related at the beginning of August, I found this blog called Windtraveler and they carry bear spray for protection. (She has a hilarious blog post about it here.) However, I’ve read that bear spray is not as effective as regular pepper spray because it contains a much lower concentration of the active ingredient — oleoresin capsicum. If you’re really interested in the difference of bear spray and pepper spray you can read about it here or here, where they also touch on wasp spray. (FIY, wasp spray, is apparently illegal to use as self-defense in the US). Careful though, because some countries classify pepper spray as a weapon also, and you guessed it, illegal. So we will most likely have some type of spray on board for intruders.
Anyone have any other thoughts? Machete maybe? Moving on.
Hurricanes. We are still learning about what do during the months of hurricane season. I’ve been reading that many cruisers head down south to Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago. Which is probably where we will go (any experienced cruisers with advise, please feel free to share!)
From all the research we’ve done, August and September seam to be when most hurricanes some through. We are definitely being safe about it. But so MANY cruisers continue sailing during hurricane season. There are many weather instruments out there to help us decide where to go, what our weather window will be for how long and so much more that I’m sure we will learn all about.
We are still learning, and we will continue to learn about all things Sailing including weather and pirates. Also, we turned in our passport applications last week. So in about 4 to 5 weeks we should expect those back if nothing comes up that we need to fix. Cross your fingers.
Something else we are trying to figure out, is where we will live in between the time we rent out our house and purchase our boat. We have a few options, with family, but nothing concrete yet.