October 11, 2011

Sailing with pirates

MY COMPUTER has been boarded by pirates again.  I am typing this on a strange borrowed machine and I am unsettled and unable to think of anything to do with boats. Except that the thought of pirates reminds me of little Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old Dutch girl who is vying to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone.

Now that she has left Darwin,  Australia, on her ketch Guppy, her blogs have suddenly stopped giving her position at sea. She says it's for her own security, which might lead one to believe that she is taking the Red Sea route to the Mediterranean. That's where the Somalia pirates lurk, and pirates, as she has noted, can read blogs, specially the ones translated from Dutch to English.

You might also be inclined to believe that Somali pirates don't bother with impecunious yacht owners when they can ransom rich oil tankers and other fat prey; but as we know, such is not the case. Several yachts have been hijacked, and their crews held to ransom if they're lucky, and killed if they're not. Perhaps the pirates know that even if the sailors and their families can't come up with the ransom money, their governments will, even if they swear they don't do that sort of thing.

Even if Miss Dekker doesn't fall foul of pirates, I don't think the Red Sea/Suez Canal  passage is a good choice for a young girl on her own. I hope and pray she's taking the safer Cape route around South Africa, but she certainly hasn't shown any inclination to go that way. I guess it would make better copy for her forthcoming book if she takes the pirate route. She has a definite streak of stubbornness, and there doesn't seem to be much that frightens her, so I fear she may be influenced to go the pirates' way. I can only hope that she, and her advisors, have thought long and hard about this.

Today's Thought
It is when  pirates count their booty that they become mere thieves.
--Bolitho, Twelve Against the Gods

"James, did you give the goldfish some fresh water today?"
"No, madam, they haven't finished the water I gave them last week."


1 comment:

Hajo said...

Rounding South Africa (As I am sure you know better than most) can be a very nasty passage. Even in its upcoming summer. I personally would prefer the challenges of the sea over the challenges of pirates; but that doesn't mean that the decision to take Suez is just taken for book promotion purposes.
(To be honest; this girl has been remarkably about the actual sailing and less about making future money in contrast to some other young girl...)