We’ve cleared into the Dominican Republic
March/19/2010, Luperon, The Dominican Republic
It is truly beautiful! After months of trepidation we have found Luperon, Dominican Republic absolutely awesome. We arrived yesterday. It was cloudy and muggy but the mountainous hillside was lush with vegetation and was a welcomed sight after our 330 miles from Rum Cay. It took two nights and three days to get here and we sailed some of it but mostly motor sailed close hulled in fairly flat conditions.
The Bahamas were turquoise and mostly clear. The ocean crossing was a sapphire blue. And the waters here are green-brown in colour but not as green as some of the waterways that we encountered along the ICW.
March/17/2010, Somewhere on route to Mayaguana
It had to happen! I had a fishing line out and a hand line (it is a large spool with 80 yards of 120 lb line on it that you wrap by hand) all Wednesday morning. At about 1:30p the hand line goes tight "fish on". I start winding it in, it's really heavy and I see the fish jump, it's really big. The picture in our fish I.D. book of Mahi Mahi looks like it's being coloured by Disneyland animators, it is so colourful. The colour of an excited Mahi Mahi is so vibrant it is fluorescent, bright greens, blues and yellows flashing back and forth. It doesn't look real, more like a cartoon figure. Our pictures don't do the fish justice, he was no longer excited. . .dead!
I'm winding him in and Margaret is cleaning the fish landing area in the rear of the boat and pulling out the gaff blanket and booze (not for me the fish). I get him to the side of the boat and tie the line to the cleat (the line is that thick). I skewered him with the gaff and hosted him onto the boat, threw and old rug over his head and lay on top of him as I gave him a good dowsing of booze in the gills. "Fish on board" Ten minutes later I pull back the rug to see how he is doing and he starts flopping around like crazy. I get him in a leg and head lock like all star wrestling and work the carpet back over his head "Fish still on board". I decide, I better have a beer and wait. Last Kalik beer on board, next beer Presidente.
Next time I check he is less rambunctious and it is time for the great filleting knife that Heather gave me as we left Georgian Bay. I won't go into great detail, but it's a big job filleting a 50inch fish. I threw all our canned tuna overboard. We weren't going to fish anymore, but Marg saw a fish running in our bow wake. It had bumps on its back and it looked like Tuna, so we threw the lines back out, no luck. We gave up fishing for the rest of the trip.
The Direct Route
To get to Luperon, the "normal" way is to leave Rum Cay mid-morning to sail overnight to Mayaguana Cay; leave there at midnight to reach South Bore channel in Turks & Caicos at day break; then proceed to Provo to check-in by mid-day; leave Provo, in settled weather, to cross the 50mile Turks & Caicos bank, the sun high and a lookout to spot coral heads (which we've heard there are many; anchor at the west end of the bank overnight and then sail to Sand Cay to wait for a window to sail to Luperon, Dominican Republic in the night in order to arrive in the morning (wind is calmer off the larger islands in the night).
We sailed (well mostly motored) directly to Luperon from Rum Cay, 54 hours, leaving at 7 am Wednesday (after Chris) arriving 10:30 am Friday.
I checked in with immigration, then customs, then the port authority and then brought the navy out to the boat in my dinghy. I don't think they own a boat. The navy is the only one that doesn't charge a fee but they do ask, very politely, for a gift and make it clear that they are in charge of our security. We gave them $10 US and a cake. It was all done in good humour, a smile and we were joking and laughing through-out. It was a great experience. The navy spoke English, the other officials did not. I didn't try to speak Spanish. D.R. courtesy flag is up.
March/16/2010, Rum Cay
On the way to Rum Cay I caught a small barracuda and let it go. Then a 2ft Mahi Mahi. I got excited and tried to pull it onto the boat with the fishing line and it jumped off the line as it came out of the water. Then I caught a large barracuda. I figured if the Mahi Mahi could jump off the line as I lifted it, maybe the barracuda would too. As luck would have it, it did. I didn't want all those teeth aboard. Maybe I had better buy more canned tuna!
I have to acknowledge that I got so excited when Steve (we) caught the Mahi Mahi. It was so colourful! I was so disappointed that we weren't ready to catch anything. When we do things stupidly we have a frank discussion as to how not to repeat what just happened. Now we are ready with all equipment out and a plan of action if we get another bite. Meanwhile, I'm trying to bake a Hawaiian Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing and tidy the boat for our arrival in the Dominican Republic.