Well, maybe Pirates of the Carribean is stretching it a bit.
We weren’t in the Carribean yet……. And we still do not know whether they were real pirates………..
I’ll tell our story anyway.
Our journey from French Guyana to Trinidad was a real pleasure. The current and the wind worked together amazingly and we managed to cover the distance in only seven days. I know, because I had exactly 6 of the lovely, huge, pink grapefruit that they sell in French Guyana – and we had one each day for breakfast.
Anyway, on the second last day, coming closer to land than before, we started encountering some oil rigs.
This was the time that Frans would usually retire to bed, while we start up the watches. He stayed a little longer, as he was uneasy about all the activity around.
After some time, we received a call on the radio. It was a nearby oil rig that wanted information on our status. It wanted to know specifically whether we were on course or not. We assured them that we were fine. It must have been the AIS system in their control room that had them worried. The signal always sends out a course of steering, but a yacht steers all over the place – due to the waves – yet ultimately moves in a certain direction. They were worried that if we were in trouble, we could possibly collide with them.
It was properly dark by this time and the moon was not yet up.
About 15 minutes later, we heard the sound of an outboard motor. It was a long, narrow-looking boat and it pulled alongside Shang Du. Frans called out to them, asking them whether he could help them. We also shone our torchlight on them and it seemed to me that there were two or more people aboard. They shouted something, but no real communication took place. Then, they just left.
Frans and I speculated whether these men belonged to the oil rig and were sent to investigate us, maybe before the rig managed to hail us on the radio.
Frans was not happy at all. Up until this point I did not suspect them to be pirates, but I guess if you are the only guy on board, it is your job to be suspicious.
He immediately called up all the girls and told us to sit in the cockpit where we would be very visible. We were not to open our mouths to give away the fact that we were female. We were there to make the numbers on our boat look more. We talked extensively on what we would do if someone were to board our boat. Scary stuff!
The sound of the outboard engine came closer once again. The same boat pulled up alongside. Again, we shone the torch and attempted communication (Frans only). This time, they said nothing and just moved off.
Phew! A great relief and an answer to prayer.
The moon came up and for the rest of the night…………..nothing.
We still do not know whether thy were a real threat and maybe our numbers and our being alert scared them off……. or whether they were harmless from the word go.
We do know that we are in God’s hands ad that is the safest place to be – whether in South Africa or on the high seas.