September 22, 2006

Anchor in the Middle

Someone swam out to our boat yesterday and apparently was trying to climb aboard (I was ashore with the dinghy) when my wife asked him what he was up to. He swam to shore and took off. We were anchored in a good spot in Cartagena, in nice shallow water close to shore with good holding. It was also convenient to the dinghy dock at Club Nautico, but it was obviously too convenient for those on shore who might be interested in checking out how the rich gringos live. 

Of course, we have no idea what he was up to, and I suppose it could have been an innocent swimmer who was getting a bit tired, but we doubt it. So we moved to a spot where we could drop the anchor in 12 meters of water in the midst of the cruising fleet. We’re now surrounded by friendly eyes and ears, and Colombian Coast Guard patrols pass nearby.

Hopefully, that’s all we’ll need to do to feel safer. Usually, making yourself a slightly more difficult target than the next boat is all you need to do to be safe. Lock the dinghy and they’ll go for the unlocked dinghy. Close the hatches and they’ll go for the boat left open. Put away the loose gear and they’ll choose the boat with tempting items in plain view. Anchor in the midst of the cruising fleet and they’ll go for the boat in the isolated cove where no one is watching.

Luckily, cruisers are a very observant and helpful lot, and they tend to watch what is happening on other boats, if only to make sure the other boat isn’t dragging anchor. That can be a real safety plus if security is a concern.