09 April 2018 | Approaching Grand Cayman, W. Caribbea n
As we planned to leave Panama, we heard of five incidents of piracy in the western Caribbean over the last 3 years. The incidents occurred in December and January with the last incident in January 2018. Boats were stopped, and money was taken. We're not aware of other details. So everyone was talking about it who was going north. How far east are you going to go through the Nicaraguan Reef Basin? Were these fishermen taking advantage of the opportunity? Three of the five were reasonably close, looking at their latitude/longitude. They were all northwest of Isla Providentia off of Honduras. We plotted the waypoints on our chartplotter with 'skull and crossbones' so we would remember them. Our path north to the Grand Cayman allowed us to go through reefs with a 1+ knot current, and 80 miles east of the January incident. So what would you do? We turned off our AIS identification in case the pirates were sophisticated. We didn't use any running lights at night. Only if we saw a big tanker did we turn the lights and AIS on, until we passed each other. Then we would turn them off again. Only the morning of the third day to the Grand Cayman did we feel safely past the danger area. And now our AIS is crucial because we are in the shipping lanes, seeing as many as six ships in a 25 mile radius at one time. That's busy! So, there was no Black Pearl this season, Mon!