When the Chief of the National Guard and head honcho of the men with big guns on their shoulders, makes an effort to come see you, you are always going to take notice. Plus it was a big effort, it included driving to the bay we were moored in, then driving our dingy back to our boat. A decent effort for anyone really, let alone the Chief of the Guard.
I knew he hadn’t come for a social visit but we did start the chat by sharing Arabic coffee with cake and boating stories.
This guy knew his boats, but why had he come to visit?
He Had Come With A Word Of Warning
As a friend and the man responsible for our safety, he came to express his concern about where we would spend this night. When he used the words naughty boys and terrorists in the same sentence, he had my complete and undivided attention.
So Where Were We, You May Wonder
Literally around the corner.
We had taken our boat to Melloula, a bay only a short trip from Tabarka port, but only 3 nautical miles from the Algerian border. It was his opinion that although trouble was unlikely it was better that we not be so close to the frontier once dark had set in.
To put some context on his care, after the Algerian car incident I asked him to give me his personal guarantee that I was safe in Tabarka. To this he gave me his word. His visit was honouring his commitment to me and my dad. I told him my dad was not happy that I was in his town and he too wanted reassurance.
Needless to say before dark we had moved to the safety of harbour. Tomorrow morning we will go back to spend the day as planned.
I thought the Chiefs service was exceptional.
Our Polish/French friend on Lilia was not as impressed and decided he was safe and he was not moving. He had been coming to this bay for 15 years and he saw no reason to move back to harbour.
Me, I am not about to go against local advice and knowledge from “The Man In Charge”.
PS The term “naughty boys” will never be the same for me
PS Next day update the national guard vessel came later that day to check we had gone and to try and convince the other boat to leave with no success. Then in the morning the ship came back again to check up on us.