The Dominican Republic

There are several passages on this trip which give us pause for thought: The Gulf Stream, the Mona Passage…and the 130nm crossing from the T&C to the Dominican Republic. The strait is very deep and is subject to huge swells. The distance necessitates an overnight trip which means that we will not have access to current weather and there are not a lot of bail out options along the way.

With this sense of trepidation, we set off from Big Sand Cay after taking some hilarious “school photos” and having an early dinner.  To our pleasant surprise we had favourable winds, so shut off both engines and we were pushing almost 8kts.  The only problem is that we needed to arrive at sun-up and at this speed we would arrive at 0400.  We discussed pressing on as far as possible along the North coast but were unsure of the ports of entry, custom procedures and the duration of the weather window, so instead reefed the sails and timed our arrival in Puerta Plata for sunrise.

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Leaving Big Sand Cay

As we approached the coast the first thing we noticed was the smells wafting off the lush coast line. Tobacco, spices, smoke, coffee, earth and a thousand other unidentifiable sources all combined to fill the air with a rich and delicious fragrance.  As the sun poked through the clouds we were struck by the rising mountains covered in dense vegetation.  After the barren and desolate topography of the Bahamas, the T&C and even S Florida, the contrast was striking.

We pulled into Ocean World which boasted pools, hot water, laundry and grocery stores…. Oh the small luxuries in life! We only stayed one night at Ocean World which is an enormous marine/Sea World resort complex that was very empty.  The customs officials were polite and efficient and we found the Dominicans much more welcoming than the officialdom at our previous stops.  

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Leaving Ocean World

We thought we had a weather window and wanted to get the north coast of the DR out of the way so we left the following night into what was forecast to be light winds and stable seas….well it wasn’t.  Again, pictures never tell the full story but we quickly encountered squalls with winds in excess of 30 kts and driving rain as waves crashed against the rocky shore line.  

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Not impressed with Mommy taking a photo during a storm!

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The Skipper.  The Professor, Ginger and Mary-Ann are down below…

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First time pulling out our foul weather gear since we’ve been married!

Our strategy was to hug tight to the shore to take advantage of the katabatibc winds to counter the trades but the darkness only hid the danger that existed a half mile to our starboard.  Glued to the radar, GPS and depth sounder we coasted the 23 hours around the North shore of the DR and when the sun finally came up, we were treated to a majestic shoreline that rose up out of the surf to greet us.

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Daybreak off the coast of Dominica Republic

 

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We entered the marina Puerto Bahia in Samaná just before noon, a little tired but no worse for wear. This area of the DR is remote and undeveloped and the marina is again part of a larger resort that is surprisingly empty.  I get the sense that they built the multi-million dollar resort without much market analysis and there seems to me more staff than clientele.  After my “build it and they will come” comment in the Bahamas, someone has built it and apparently no one has come.  Our more modest needs……..showers, laundry, and wifi make it seem like paradise on earth.

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Entering Samana

After all those beautiful secluded anchorages, we found ourselves here…. in a rather glitzy marina.  Puerto Bahia Marina is…

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You became great little chess players as you were not allowed movies or electronic games until after 5pm

We rented a car and took off into the jungles of the Samana peninsula on the North East coast of DR.   We drove to the waterfalls “Cascada El Limon” and had the option of renting horses however, you thought they were too skinny and we could easily do with the walk.  It was a warm day and when we finally arrived at the Falls you promptly jumped in and swam under them.  Mommy drove us all crazy making us pose for photos but it would be a pretty boring blog without them .  

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Crossing the stream with our four legged friends

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Cascada El Limon

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Swimming at the falls

 

After surviving the two day car rental to see this side of the island we decided to celebrate and go out for dinner in Samana. Holy cow you two clean up well. The weather has not cooperated and we are now waiting for a window to cross the Mona Passage. It looks like we will be here for several more days….there are worse places to get stuck.

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A little soap and water…wow!

12 thoughts on “The Dominican Republic

  1. OMG, you guys are sooooo brave! Those waves, squalls, swells, whatever you call them…I call them SCAAAARRRRY!☺ Thanks for those lovely pics, I’ll be harassing you shortly for more shared copyrights on the splendid scapes you’ve captured. Hugs x♥x♥

  2. First time pulling out your foul weather gear since you’ve been married! Hat’s off to you!, I can’t remember how often Dorothy has pulled out her foul weather gear for me! You guys are doing great!

  3. Great work on the passage to the DR. I sense you may be understating your achievement of running a nighttime shoreline with underwater obstacles to port…or was that starboard? Well done gang…proud of y’all
    Best wishes Stephen and Helene

  4. First time pulling out your foul weather gear since you’ve been
    married. Wow!.. I can’t remember how often Dot has pulled out
    her foul wx gear for me!!! Keep it up – we’ll rooting for
    ya 🙂

  5. You guys are awesome! Love the well done blog and the ability to keep up with your adventures! All the Best, Mark and Emma

  6. It sounds like you’re having a fantastic time – quite the adventure!! Love the pictures.

    Stay safe.

    Cheers,
    The Coulas family

  7. So fun reading your adventures. We will keep following you. We left The Exumas today and are back at Palm Cay. Then Tuesday heading to The Abacos.
    Love all your photos. Miss you all dearly.
    The Konescos

  8. So glad there was some ‘down time’ after that crossing…. (I think I sicked-up a little on my keyboard just looking at the storm pics).

    Ingrid, you make yellow the ‘must have’ shade of the season!

    Hey Robin, love that flowing Beiber-hair!!! Work-it baby!!

  9. Hi guys. Looks like a great trip. The resounding comment was “thank God Robin shaved”. Its all a matter of taste and tolerance. We are not sure that our replies are getting through on the blog. We will probably email you soon on Ingrid’s account. Eric is home, and Austin is in the throws of final exams and the big summary exam but it looks good for her to be back next year. She comes home on the 13th of May. Take care and be safe. Let us know if you replace your “derelict” dingy. Love the blog. Love you guys. D,P,E&A

  10. You guys are doing great!! We will be making the same trip next year in Cheetah, so enjoy reading about your experiences. Fair winds & smooth seas!

  11. You’ve made amazing progress!! I just read your recent postings while we are driving down to Myrtle Beach. Very impressive. Can we hear some commentary from the girls? Extra credit 🙂

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