Wednesday, February 5, 2014

So, this happened…

Posted by Scot.  Written January 31, 2014.

Last night, around 8:00, the kids were playing up on the trampolines, I was reading in my cabin, and Sara was hanging out in the cockpit.  As she was sitting there, she looked up when she heard a noise, and was surprised to see a boat about 3 feet away from our stern, with three men in it, and no lights on at all.  It was totally dark out, so she couldn’t really see them.

The buaxite plant in Discovery Bay.  Not really relevant to the story, but I didn't get any pictures that night, since it was dark.
“Uh, can I help you?” she asked them.

“We’re the coast guard,” came the reply.  “Just doing a routine check.”

“No you’re not,” she said.  “You don’t have any markings on your boat, and you don’t even have any running lights on, or a spotlight, or anything.”

“Oh, yeah,” they said.  They switched on some red and green running lights, and continued to drift up the side of our boat.

At this point, the kids were curious and had come around to see what was going on.  Alexander asked them if they were out diving or something, but they repeated that they were the coast guard.

While the kids were talking to them, Sara poked her head into my cabin.  “Scot, you need to come up right now.  You don’t need to do anything, but you just need these guys to see that there is another adult on board.”

Not knowing what was going on, I ran up the stairs, and saw the unmarked speedboat floating along side, with three figures in it that I couldn’t make out in the dark.

“Can I help you?”

“We’re the coastguard.  Just doing a routine check.”

“OK,” I said.  “Do you have any identification to prove to me that you’re the coast guard?”

“Uh, no, we forgot it.”  And with that, they revved up the boat and drove away.  I watched them go, and noticed that they didn’t approach either of the other boats in the anchorage.

Some of the other boats in Discovery Bay.  They were pretty close to us, so we weren't too worried.
After reassuring the kids that it was nothing to worry about, Sara and I sat down in the cockpit and discussed what we would do that night.  For sure we were locking the boat.  We took a handheld radio down into our cabin, and also our air horn.  There were other boats nearby, and lots of houses on shore, so we weren’t overly concerned.  But it was definitely a weird occurrence.

10 minutes later, the boat was back, still without lights on.  This time, I took out our super bright Lupine headlamp and shone it on them.  The boat was an unmarked, scraped up blue hulled speedboat, about 18’ long, with a few worn out looking bumpers hanging off the side.

Houses on the bay.

To my surprise, the three men in it were all in uniform of some kind.  Two of them wore camouflage, and the other wore an official-looking blue jumpsuit.  I kept the light trained on them so that we could see them, but they wouldn’t be able to see us.

“We just went to get our I.D. to prove we are the coast guard,” one of them said.  He held up a blue card that had a photo (which looked like him), a name, and the insignia of the Jamaican Defence Force.  It looked pretty legit.

“Yes, you see, we are really the coast guard. We are just doing routine patrols.  We’re the good guys!”
“Uh, OK,” we responded.  “You can see how we were a little nervous, having a boat come up to us in the dark, with no lights and no markings.  It seemed a little strange to us.  Ha, ha.  Anyway, good to see you are who you say you are.”

And with that, they disappeared back into the night.

Weird, or what?  We still locked our door last night.


  1. Hi Guys,

    It honestly sounds like they were the good guys - the bad guys wouldn't have come back. We've met lots of local officials that don't have much in the way of uniforms. The ones in Panama with black balaclavas (to protect them from the sun) and machine guns were Park Rangers :)


    1. We came to the same conclusion in the end. It was just all done in such a strange way, we thought it was a story worth sharing.