Saturday, June 19, 2021

Parachute cruising...

Something to think about the next time you go out to eat, how to deal with that worker shortage, and in the "plywood satellites in space" department...

The other day I read an article about Parachute Science which got me thinking about how a lot of cruisers do pretty much the same thing.

"In Fiji, as in other lower-income countries, parachute science occurs when international scientists, often from wealthier nations, travel to a country to complete fieldwork and then leave without meaningfully engaging with local researchers or communities."

Replace the words "International scientists" with "First world cruisers" and it becomes an apt description of how a lot of cruisers operate with minimal interaction with the local community.

Worse yet, is there seems to be a growing number of cruisers that not only do the whole minimal contact/engagement with locals thing but when they do it with disdain and a whole lot of attitude.

Case in point: I'm on a mooring and the adjacent mooring to me are all private and for rent and I find myself witnessing a lot of cruiser/local interaction of the somewhat embarrassing sort. What happens is a catamaran come up to one of the moorings, ties up and apparently ignores the sign on the mooring that they should go the the marine store and pay X amount per foot for the pleasure of not having to deploy their anchor. 

With me so far?

Almost all of the cats (and yeah, I've asked myself why it only seems to be cats that gravitate to these moorings) jump right in their dinghies and motor off to one of the local bars instead of paying for the mooring. When the owner of the moorings finally loses patience, launches his boat and goes out and asks for the payment in which their answer seems to be nope we're not going to pay. Then when asked to leave since they're not paying and they refuse to do that as well.

Apparently, the logic of someone who is sailing a fifty-foot catamaran runs something like this...

  1. The mooring is vacant so I am entitled to pick it up.
  2. Having to dinghy in to shore to pay for the mooring is such an imposition that I should be able to stay on the mooring for free.
  3. If the owner of the mooring comes to the boat asking for payment they'll either say it's too expensive or that the guide book said there were free moorings so they should be free and if you want to charge for the mooring you're trying to cheat them.
  4. When asked to leave the mooring the cat owners dodge is to say it is a matter of safety, there is an issue with their windlass, or the anchorage is too crowded to be safe in which cases the mooring should be free.
  5. The subject of conversation on the cat after the owner of the mooring leaves in disgust having failed to get his payment  becomes "How greedy these islanders are" (remember sound travels incredibly well over water so if you don't want the guy in the boat next to you to hear your conversation, go below to have it).

The first time I witnessed this sort of cruising behavior I was surprised at the audacious assholery of the catamaran crew that did it. The second time it surprised me as well. The third time I realized it was now a trend and, now having lost track of how many times this particular episode has replayed on the moorings, I pretty much just assume that anyone driving a catamaran and picking up a mooring apparently thinks the sun shines out their backside and that rules or common decency simply do not apply to them.

That said, these cat folk do seem to be interacting and engaging with locals in their own particular way. The downside is it's a way that will cause problems for every good minded cruiser that follows in their path.

Listening to Friends of Clay

So it goes...