La Ciotat Visitors 02.10 a.m.

Ariel of Hamble
Jim and Valerie SHURVELL
Sat 19 Jun 2010 07:38

La Ciotat  Visitors 02.10 a.m.


We had gone to bed at about 11.30 p.m.  The wind was howling and Ariel was being moved back and forth with the other boats.  Most of the owners were constantly checking their boats and lines. The surge in the harbour was quite violent in the way the boats all moved.  Unlike, most English harbours there are no pontoons dividing up the boats and you get 30 plus boats all moving it causes a lot of noise especially with some rigging clanging against the masts. The noise is quite disturbing and it is difficult to sleep in such rough weather.

I woke with Jim saying there is someone on the boat.  As we sleep in the forward cabin with the door open and I am the one by the open door I looked around to see 2 men within 5 feet of me, the nearest one to me by the second stool.  I shouted to Jim “No, they are in the boat”.  I jumped out of bed screaming at them followed by Jim as these two chaps flew up the stairs making their escape over the hatch door making quite a lot of noise as they had not opened the sliding hatch back very far. Not the easiest thing to do in the dark and not knowing it.

The first one out of the boat I could not give a description of but the second one had straight blonde hair and dressed in a black short sleeve t-shirt and black trousers. Jim had woken with a flash light being used in the saloon.

We know we were very lucky as they could have had knives or even demanded money by force.  We only lost the Nokia mobile with the Gymsim and I am sorry Jackie and Mark they made off with the Aussie hat you very kindly gave Jim last year. Beer had been spilt in the cockpit and a fresh cigarette was on the floor.

No night security at any of the three marina’s in La Ciotat which seems to be normal in this part of France.

We reported it to the manager in the marina office in the morning as Jim felt the police wouldn’t be able to do much at 2 in the morning.  He asked us to report it to the police station as this is a serious problem in the area and we were not the first.  Although the marina cost us 50 euros a night just to tie up as there were no facilities but one toilet and one shower they say they have no money for night security when they appear to be overloaded with office day staff from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

The police station was ten minutes away and we report the incident and a very nice finger print man came down to Ariel and took finger prints.  As the wind was still blowing very strongly we were unable to move and get out of this place. We looked around for several days for anyone wearing the hat and the mobile rang for several days but was not answered.

When I paid the bill 4 days later I was told the men wouldn’t have known we were asleep on board although you can see me from the hatch as if it seem to make it okay in their eyes.  The next people might not be so lucky as these two were daring.

Now we lock the hatch at night and hopefully we will be safe.

Jim is very shocked as in 30 years of sailing he has never known this to happen.  I ached all over for two days afterwards and I can only think this was the shock of what happened.

With the Gymsim we have lost several mobile numbers.  If you ring us on it please email vjshurvell {CHANGE TO AT} gmail {DOT} com with your telephone number home or mobile.  We will sort out the Gymsim when we are home.

PS If you know my Mum Stella please do not tell her anything about it. She does not need to know.





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