Members' Online Book: Living The Dream, Chapter 4 of 10

Us And Them

sailing along the coast of Dominica

Sailing along the coast of Dominica

Cruising in the Caribbean has been a real eye-opener in many ways. Since we left the Canary Islands we’ve been sailing largely off the beaten track, and now we find ourselves back amongst a less nomadic tribe of sailors in a region that caters largely for the charter set.

This of course has good and bad sides. Services are far more available than they were in Senegal or Brazil, which is good, but the human dynamic that exists between the local people and the cruising crews is far more complicated. This is obvious when talking to regular cruisers of the area, when one subject always seems to rear its head above others—boat boys.

To listen to some people, you’d be led to believe that these guys are the lowest of the low, a mob of aggressive, abusive vermin who are out to damage your boat and rob you blind. Somehow the possibility that the vast majority of them are just poor people trying to survive in a harsh world becomes swept away in an unstoppable tide of vitriol, against which any plea to reason is doomed to be repulsed.

There’s no doubt that there are bad guys amongst them, but some sort of balance in the debate should surely be kept, that might in turn lead to a better understanding on both sides.

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Meet the Author

Colin Speedie

Colin, European Correspondent here at AAC, is a deeply experienced offshore sailor who holds a Yachtmaster licence, and a gifted photographer and talented writer who has added a whole new dimension to Attainable Adventure Cruising. In addition, since Colin and Louise are from England and had their OVNI 435, Pèlerin built in France, they bring a European perspective to our site. You can read more about Colin and Louise and their business at their website.

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