Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The last frontier

In an earlier post I raised the question of carrying arms aboard. As many may agree, in the end it is (like anything else) a trade off. In this case a sense of safety/ability to defend exchanged for the increased scrutiny. It's the goal of any cruiser to keep a low profile and a weapon aboard when clearing customs is not conducive. But, should you be planning to cruise lovely Yemen, this harrowing tale of piracy may encourage you to exercise your right to bear arms. These folks successfully defended themselves with a twelve gauge shotgun, but their repeated radio calls for help went unanswered. What does this have to do with sailing culture? My offshore experience has been limited to deliveries to and from the Northeast and the Caribbean, a route well traveled and well patrolled...or at least well monitored (see this post on Herb). But it has always struck me that going offshore is one of the last true tests of self reliance left in the world today. Our ancestors, particularly those who ventured west, lived a reality where owning a gun was not a right but a necessity. In many ways the ocean is the last frontier, the true wild wild west. The difference is, of course, that this frontier will never be tamed.

"The pirates were well organized and well armed. There were at least 4 boats involved. They had set up a picket line out from the Yemen coast probably at least for 50-75 miles, so if you transited the area during the day they wouldn’t miss you."

No comments: