Trouble in Venezuela?

Here are a couple of emails from the World Cruising forum on Yahoo that caught my attention:

If you know someone planning to sail to the south

eastern carribean, especially Venezuela, I would

suggest they check out Jimmy Cornell’s Noonsite

and the Carribean Safety and Security Net

websites. We have been lucky so far. Several

boats we know here have been robbed while their

owners were beaten and held with guns to their

heads. Others have been shot. Everyone has had

something stolen. The day our stuff was stolen a

Dutch couple were in their dingy returning to

their boat when one of the many pirogues that

continuosly buzz through the anchorage at full

speed ran them down killing him. Three armed men

tried to enter the marina next to the anchorage

and in a shootout one of the bad guys was hit twice.

A dog onboard might help but we just read in the

Carribean Compass that a boat with a dog was

recently robbed. They shot the dog in the leg

then stabbed it before beating and robbing the

couple. Her hand was serously injured when they

tried to rip off her wedding ring. Fortunately

the dog survived and the ring was so tight they

left it.

There is no law enforcement here and no help can

be expected from the authorities. We will be

leaving tomorrow and had planned to stop at Los

Rochies but learned from the web sites above that

the La Costa Guardia themselves have been robbing

yachts there. We will sail at night without

lights to Bonaire.

I really really hate to spread negative

information but in my opinion if you know someone

planning to sail here you must talk them out of it.

 And, here’s a response….


Haven’t been to VZ this year but visited in 2006 and summer 2007.
Trying to figure our where this guy is that there is an anchorage neara marina. There is no marina in Porlamar and no anchorage in Puerta La Cruz, which are the 2 areas most frequented by cruisers. At any rate we heard the same type horror stories before we reached VZ each time we visited, and found nothing of the sort once we were there.

Common sense is definitely required. One does not ever anchor alone anywhere (except Chichiriviche was very safe as visitors there are a real novelty and the locals get excited about having you there. In fact, Chichiriviche was the highlight of the entire Caribbean for us.). Cumana has been known for crimes for years and should only be visited in groups of boats, not just a couple of boats. We skipped Cumana.

The only crime this year that I have heard about that surprised everyone was a shooting in Los Testigos. There had never been any problem in Los Testigos prior to this incident. I find it extremely doubtful that La Guardia Costa in Los Roques are robbing boats. Sounds like just another rumor. La Guardia Costs was quite professional in their actions when we were there. The only boats that had any problems were the ones that had already cleared out of VZ but stopped in Los Roques enroute to Bonaire and stayed weeks. Can’t do that. Or they did not pay the Park fee — again because they had already cleared out of VZ. La Guardia Costs does check boats daily in Los Roques just for this reason. Los Roques is a popular vacation destination for wealthy Venezuelans and the local law enforcement is well-provided for, unlike many places on the mainland.

Sailing without lights is downright stupid. Friends did exactly that in VZ waters in Sept 2006 because they had heard all the bad rumors
and thought it would be safer to be unlit. Radar picked up a target closing on them, so they diverted course; and the target diverted also to follow them. This happened several times and our friends began to panic. They finally decided to light up and also took the big flashlight and lit the sails. Then the radar target zoomed up near them. It was La Guardia Costa simply checking on the unlit boat because drug smugglers travel unlit down there. No problem at all for our friends and they resumed sailing with proper lights.

 And, on a lighter topic, I mentioned a few days ago that Nordhavn was working on an ad featuring our Sans Souci. It’s still not final, so blame me for any errors you see:

 Nordhavn ad Featuring Sans Souci

2 Responses

  1. David:

    Try copying and pasting this link into your browser:

    http://nordhavns68.talkspot (

    My guess is that you don’t have your browser set to display PDF files.

    If you don’t, here’s a link to Adobe’s free reader: (

    You’re the first to hear, but I think they just canceled my ship again. I’m waiting until I get the official word to react, butI suspect I already know what is going to happen; my delivery skipper gets some work, and the boat gets a long trip on her own bottom. We’re not waiting for another freighter.

    -Ken W

  2. Hello Ken,
    I was not able to see the ad link open- having tried several times, I just thought I would post a note incase the problem is on you end. I hope all is well with Rebecca and Shelby ( we have a pomoneranian and a shitzu) and your boat makes this next freighter. Dave

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