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Out of Bounds
Steve's Jumped In!
April/21/2010, Puerto Patillas, Puerto Rico

Photo: Second sighting of Manatee.

Steve fell overboard today!
He say's he slipped in.
I had just come up from the galley, when Steve informed me that he was going into the dingy because the fishing lines were all tangled up. Frustrated by the entangled fishing lines, he decided it was best to undo the lure so that he could unwind one entangled line from the other end. As I reached for the auto pilot, I thought for an instant that he should be wearing his life jacket but Steve was heading back to the aft deck. I asked if we should slow down the boat. He suggested that he would decide if it was necessary. I throttled down slightly. We had two lines out, both sails up, and the motor at 15 rpm's.
As I backed off the throttle, Steve was already over the back, standing on the monitor and pulling the dinghy line towards him.
Suddenly I heard that dreaded splash! As I turned around, I shouted "Oh, Steve" and put the boat into neutral. At first I couldn't see him, but then I saw him hanging on for dear life, one arm slung over the side of the dinghy, the other hand grabbing the line that runs along side the craft. He looked to me a little stressed. "Hang on, hang on!" I panicked (noticing his struggle) and put the throttle into reverse (for a minute), hoping to slow the boat even more and hoping not to have him under the prop (back into neutral). The boat came to enough of a crawl, when Steve who could then muster enough of a shout; "Put the boat into the wind!"
Why didn't I think of that? I put the boat into irons and Steve pulled himself over the side of the dinghy.
The funny thing about this story; As he pulled himself to safety, I watched this white, skinny, bare ass land itself onto the floor. Steve was nude. The force of the water had been so great it stripped the clothing right off him. He claims that his bathing trunks were dragged below his knees. He tried to keep them but that prevented him from slinging himself aboard the dinghy. We both burst into laughter!
Now that's trolling!

After recovering from today's activity, I reminisced.
Mike lost his bathing suit while surfing in the water, with Thera alongside, hanging onto a line, tethered off the back of our then sailboat a 1988 C&C 30. He was around the age of 7 and both were wearing their life jackets. The wind was light and we were lazily sailing down wind. Our friend Jim was with us. We were enjoying an unusually warm water day. Suddenly we had a burst of a breeze and the boat took off. The kids were great swimmers and surfers (luckily) and they managed to keep their head above the water. By the time we let the lines go, to spill the wind and reduce speed; Mike started to cry. He had lost his bathing trucks and was in no way going to climb aboard (we were all laughing hysterically at his misfortune). Jim tried hard to calm Mike by explaining that things like this happened to all of us at one time or another and it was nothing to be embarrassed about (mind the pun). Finally, Mike climbed aboard.

Puerto Rico
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April/29/2010 | Danielle Sirek
That's hilarious!
April/29/2010 | rhonda
Such sympathetic parents.
May/4/2010 | Nancy Weber
Hey Steve; Good thing the creature that ate that baracuda wasn't looking for more while you were hanging on to the dingy!! "Yum!!! Look at that bait!"
Holy Mackerel!
April/21/2010, On our way from Puerto Rico to Isla de Vieques

Photo: A Cero Mackerel. How do we know? We have a book that helps us identify the fish we catch and it tells us the food quality... excellent to yucky (throw it back)

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Last Stop in Puerto Rico
April/21/2010, Puerto Patillas, Puerto Rico

What was left of the Barracuda... hum? Trolling with a Barracuda as bate! Who ate him?

Puerto Rico
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Found One
April/21/2010, Playa Salinas

Hi Gerry, We found Frank and Mariann and English Steve is still around.
Mariann and Frank now live on a huge acreage farm and she sells tomatoes and does canvas work right in front of the marina. Give her a call or email her. BTW: She may know the first owner of Lion's Paw... Debbie McGowan. It's a small world.

Off today. Spanish Virgin Islands next.

Thanks you everyone for your emails and news from home.

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April/21/2010 | Gerry
Hi Margaret and Stephen

Great to hear that you are enjoying PR and have met some of the gang in Salinas. We had a great time when we kept our boat there and miss it.

April/21/2010 | Gerry
Corrected e-mail. Dyslexia rules KO!
Playa Salinas

Thursday: We arrived in the afternoon and anchored outside of the channel to the Marina, hoping to get more air and less noise from the bars in town. We are getting fairly savvy at this. On the way from Caja de Muertos we caught another fish; well two actually; the first was a barracuda (which we tossed back) and the second was a Mutton Snapper which was big enough to share. Dinner was aboard "Vanilla". Tonight - BBQ (wrapped in tin foil) - Mutton snapper with orange and onion slices, butter, tarragon and salt 'n pepper; served with rice and a pineapple & mango salsa.

We hope to rent a car. We will be on the search for Frank and MaryAnn and English Steve. Lynne and Gerry - The Incredible Hull mentioned we should say "Hi" but don't know where to find them... I'm sure we'll be able to find them somewhere. We'll be here for a while. It's going to be our re-provisioning stop before heading to the Spanish Virgin Islands.

Friday: We rented a car at 1pm and headed to Ponce for the afternoon. Unfortunately, it was spent at Wal-mart! We headed home for a late dinner... but it was Steaks, baked potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce. Yummy!

Saturday: Today we traveled by car to El Yunque Park. To Steve's delight, Sylvain drove. It took us around 2 hours. Lise and I sat in the back set with my new friend Vicky (the dog), who recognized me. As you will see by the photos, I dyed my hair today a warm brown colour. Keep an eye out for further photos. I am sure it is going to turn very brassy as the sun starts to bleach
El Yunque is the best known forest in Puerto Rico (and a finalist for the New Seven Wonders of Nature competition). It is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System and has been a U.S. Federal Forest Reserve for over a century. It was a king of Spain who originally set aside this paradise for preseveration centuries ago, and today its 28,000 acres house an incredible biodiversity. In the article we read, it was supposed to be easily accessed on 24 miles of clearly marked and well-maintained recreational trails. Unfortunately, we drove to a dead end. The road was closed. A family (with food, drink, chairs and tent) sat at the barred off road, by a waterfall and enjoyed an afternoon together. We literally walked by their table of fanfare and hopped over the steel fence and continued by foot up the road. The paved road that had obviously been closed for years cut a pathway along the steep mountain. We walked under huge stands of bamboo and viewed countless ferns and fauna along side. At one point we thought it pointless to continue, but luckily we persevered and continued. After all, we weren't challenged by the hike (paved road) and the forest was beautiful. It turned out that we didn't need to hike into its steep, huge, dense growth).
El Yunque is home to thousands of native plants including 150 fern species, 240 tree species (88 of these are endemic or rare and 23 are found exclusively in the forest). El Yunque National Forest has no large wildlife species but hundreds of smaller animals abound in the gentle forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet. And for us, they hid. We heard many birds in the trees, but we could only mock their songs back to them. It was a wonderful day, without bugs, a gentle breeze and a continuous welcomed sprinkle of rain.

Ps: Hi Ted, you should be in Luperon by now and we are sorry we missed you but we had to move on... insurance dictates that we arrive Grenada before the hurricane season. We would have liked to have stayed longer. Say "Hi" to Kim for me. I liked her (even though it was a short visit at the marina) and I believe we would have had a great time getting to know everyone better.

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April/18/2010 | kim&marius
The fern & the bamboo are so huge it makes you think you're in the land of the giants. The fish looks amazing. Love the hair
April/18/2010 | Lori
English Steve - is that the guy we met? did you find him? nice fish, Marg!
April/19/2010 | wendy and paul
wowwwwwww.......suck it, sun,'ve earned it
Isla Caja de Muertos
April/14/2010, Isla Caja de Muertos

Isla Caja de Muertos - Coffin Island looks very similar to Tombs Island in Georgian Bay. It looks like a head and a body with arms crossed and toes up; whereas Tombs Island looks like a corpse's box.
We enjoyed our short stay here at this state park. We all went snorkelling at the reef Charlie and Steve found earlier that morning. As you will see by the photos, they speared a couple of lobsters (Steve's first) and a mutton snapper and hog fish.
Steve's exhausted. For four days, three hours of snorkelling and free diving with spear in hand and all with an athlete more than 10 years younger;
but the most fun Steve has had since getting here (sorry Janice, he's found someone else who loves the water just as much as you did).
Charlie and Lizz aboard "Kaya" were leaving tomorrow which saddened us all but mostly Steve because he really enjoyed his time in the water learning how to spot dinner. Steve's only complaint is that he would like to be able to see. We need to get him a prescription mask. Dinner aboard Lion's Paw was butter flied lobster tail with tri-coloured fusilli pasta.
A big hug and thanks to Charlie and Lizz for such a wonderful time and a spark of new "life" skills to work on.

Puerto Rico
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April/16/2010 | Craig & Sue McDonald
The key symptom that identifies that you are on Island Time is that the log (and blog) centers on the menu - the highlight of the day! Enjoy!
Gilligan's Island
April/13/2010, Cayos De Cana Gorda (Gilligan's Island)

Gilligan's Island, earlier got called Cayo Aurora after an extraordinary women who, at the age of 40, escaped misery and mistreatment in the workers' barracks of nearby La Ballena farm, and swam to the island. There she made a Robinson Crusoe home and lived off the sea until quite ancient. The locals renamed it after a 1970's American T.V. show because it looked like the one on T.V. and one of the fishermen looked like the lead actor, Bob Denver.
It is a small island where almost everyone from Puerto Rico comes to picnic. The Ferry's stops bringing people to the island after the magic number of 400. "Vanilla" arrived here on the weekend and they were totally shocked at the number of people who went to the island to spend the day there. We noticed that there were also private boats bringing loads of people to the island and as you will see by our pictures, there are many anchored at the island too. We wondered where all those people defecated with only one washroom located at the dock?
It was a wonderful spot to watch the guys soar around with their kite boards and Steve and Charlie managed to snorkel around each morning. Lizz and I enjoyed a Yoga class on the dock. Lise enjoyed kayaking around the bay and later we saw Sylvain sail boarding That evening we had "Kaya" and "Vanilla" over for one last Bouillabaisse (the last of our Maui, Maui) and an Apple Betty (what I do with apples we don't care for); fantastic rice (Vanilla) and jerked Mutton Snapper (Kaya). It was an early evening because we were all heading out the next morning . .up at 5am tomorrow.

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Steve's Notes again
April/10/2010, La Parguera

La Parguera is water oriented town. There are houses on stilts along the shore and rings of reefs and mangrove islands protecting the bay. There are no beaches but that doesn't deter the locals. The town has put at least a hundred mooring balls in the lee of the islands and reefs and boats of all sizes from huge sport fisherman boats to 2-hp dinghies go out to the balls to party on the water. You can hear the Spanish music blasting (the Spanish like their music loud). They even have "taxi and bus" service out to the main little island that has a large dock set up.

This is also a big Kite boarding destination and Charlie off of "Kaya" has been blasting around the bay with the locals on his kite board. I got involved when Charlie zipped by our boat, gave a big wave, jumped high in the air, seemed to make a good landing, then crashed. The kite got all tangled up and I was the rescue boat. I don't know whether I was a help or a hindrance but we got to shore, straightened the lines out and he was off again.

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Steve's Notes
April/10/2010, La Parguera

The first night here we anchored in the hurricane hole also called Bahia Fosforedente. We forgot all about the phosphorescent part and went to bed but were woken up at 10pm to the sound of a tour boat bringing people to swim in the bay. After they left, I figured that if they were paying to go swimming, then I should take a dip. I dove bare-assed into the water and lit up like a Christmas tree. Every time I moved there was a trail of sparkling light caused by the millions of tiny luminescent dinoflagellates (microscopic plankton). Unfortunately I couldn't manage to fart because that would have been something to see.

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April/11/2010 | Lori
absolutely fantastic!
April/16/2010 | kim&marius
I always said you had an illuminating personality. LOL Nice to see you having some fun.
Just hanging out.
April/10/2010, La Parguera

Steve's out with Charlie snorkelling among the reefs that outline the coast here.

I wanted to go but I knew I would not have the stamina to spend 2 or more hours in the water. I admire Nancy (Steve's sister) and Thera, for they could do just that. My hands get pickled just doing dishes (very similar to Mike's). I can't wait for a spot where we can just jump over the side to snorkel, in crystal clear warm waters. Perhaps the Virgin Islands.

I am sitting on the computer; finally having made time to enter the information noted on the various boat cards that we have collected along the way. On the back of one is the note:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Thank you Will and Ann s/v "Como No". . . a Cape Dory 40 Cutter.

We met Will and Ann for a brief moment while anchored at Boquerón.
One morning on channel 16, Will asked if anyone needed propane. He had organized a drop off at a home up the street, whom had a truck and offered to do a propane run for "us" vehicle-less boaters; and that's all it takes to meet someone while cruising.
We had admired their awning that covered their boat and Will proudly told us that they had it made in Thailand. It turns out that they had been around the world. What started out as a 2 year adventure (they sold everything) ended up as a 13 year one (so far). They left Boquerón and were headed for the Yucatan Peninsula.

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April/11/2010 | Lori
love the picture with the feet! awww!! lovely
La Parguera
April/9/2010, Puerto Rico

So this is what they meant by "Easterly Trade Winds"

Ahh! Puerto Rico "the Island of Enchantment", the smallest and most easterly of the Greater Antilles, approximately 110 miles long and 35 miles wide, with a mountainous interior that lies directly in the path of the easterly trade winds.

We are now transiting the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Experienced cruisers have told us that the southern coast is the toughest. We'll be heading eastward into the prevailing winds and seas and it is a TOUGH beat.
Ha! "We've read all about that" and "Haven't we heard that before?"

Yesterday, we left our quiet anchorage in Boquerón around 0600. We had a trip of 22 miles. "Don't sweat the small stuff"..right?

We had to round Cabo Jojo (the south western tip of Puerto Rico); safely pass by the Arrecife de Margarita (the longest reef along the Puerto Rican shoreline) and arrive at our next anchorage La Parguera (about 8-1/2 miles east of Cabo Jojo) before the trades picked up.

We left too late!

To our surprise (we now refer to ourselves as "Dumb and Dumber"), we encountered steady 25kt easterly trade winds and huge easterly swells at least 6-7 ft even though on the North and West side of the coast they were experiencing North-West swells. This is why we read that it is best to leave your anchorage at 0300 and get into our next anchorage by 0800-0900.
For those following us, when you look at the map and see the "staging" anchorage at Cabo Jojo is only an hour away from Boquerón, don't be fooled. Make the extra step to stage to Cabo Jojo the day before because you just can't make La Parquera in time.
We arrived by 11 am and dropped the anchor with white caps and 28 kts winds blowing.

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April/10/2010 | kim&marius
Glad you're safe & weren't blown away but at least you missed the snow here. It was great talking to you last night. Can't wait to see you in Grenada in a few months. Wishing you calmer winds & less stressful sailing. Keep safe. Love to you bath. Kim & Marius
Cabo Jojo

Cabo Jojo lighthouse
Environmentally Speaking

Marg and I have continuously separated our garbage since we left - Blue Box - Green Box - Paper and Plastic and we've had to through it all in the same container unless we have an opportunity to toss the green box on shore. I have started throwing more and more green box stuff over board. At first I started with just fish parts (what comes from the sea goes back to the sea) but now I toss more veggies. I figure, if the locals are tossing plastic bottles in the ocean, my carrot peels are minor. Talk about buying local... we were in Boquerón Puerto Rico and went to the local grocery store and were only offered carrots from Holland Marsh. Now my mother was never fond of marsh produce but when you are 18,000 mile south, you buy what you can. You have to wonder whether there isn't a carrot farm between here and central Ontario. What do the rabbits in the U.S eat?!

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Puerto Rico Customs
April/5/2010, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

They almost didn't let me in. I look nothing like my passport photo.
The most popular anchorage along the western shore, Boqueron has a bohemian atmosphere and is popular with the college kids from Mayaquez and the beach is one of the most popular on the island. The center of action is at the end of the dinghy dock and on the night of our arrival, we had five live bands competing for ones patronage as they blared their music across the anchorage until 3 am. After all it was Easter weekend!

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April/6/2010 | Larry
Great move, I saw the weather window via NOAA weather, it sounds like it was a lovely Whitby moment
April/7/2010 | Danielle Sirek
Eeek! Glad they let you in!

We had a WONDERFUL time with Thera & Sheridan over Easter. Their new place is gorgeous and has loads of space....and is a 2-minute walk to the beach! We're uber jealous. They took us around to all the sites, and we had a blast.

Very excited to see Thera, and you two, in August!!!
April/7/2010 | anne stafford
Marg, Steve
Wonder travelling the Mona passage with you, my heart was in my mouth. Totally amazing. You are our heroes! Enjoy! much love from sunny France xx
April/7/2010 | Gerry
Don't forget to stop in Playa Salinas (east of Ponce). Giver our regards to Frank and MaryAnn and English Steve, if he is still around. Fair Winds.

Lynne and Gerry (The Incredible Hull)
Steve's notes: Samaná
April/4/2010, Los Haitises National Park

Photo: P1050657 (boys in uniform)
Steve's note: We by-passed the town of Samaná and continued directly to the National Park on the SE part of Samaná bya. Osprey and Vanilla went to the town and we were told we didn't miss much. Samaná has been described as the Appalachians of the D.R. (that scares me when Luperon is some peoples high point); cruise ships have recently started going there and they have had to clean up their act. The most notable thing they mentioned was having to pay off another comandante, getting ripped off by the gas/water delivery guy (all main anchorages have one... the one in Luperon was Handy-Andy) and have the cruise ships ferry their customers through the anchorage all day.

We arrived at the park about 10 am and put up as many sun shades as we have over the boat and went to bed. We were woken by shouts. I crawled out of the back of the boat, under the sun shade in my jockey shorts to be confronted by 2 men in uniform with a rusted old shot gun lying in the bottom of the boat. I told them "mañana" (tomorrow) but they seemed to want to come on the boat. I said "No mañana" and finally they indicated they wanted $5.00. I had to give them $10 because that's all I had. I asked them for change, they laughed and I told them to "Vamos". Bad timing, we never saw them again and non of the boats that arrived in the same bay were harassed.
The anchorage is beautiful. We anchored among high, green, steeped rounded hills that look like the anchorages of Bora Bora. The water is 84 deg and an emerald green. We were able to dingy among the hills through mangrove inlets as the cliffs and the sides of the hills towered around us covered with ferns and air plants. Another day we roared down a creek at the other end of the bay, rounding corners and skipping around mango roots; just like we did on Mosses creek as a kid. We would end up with flocks of birds flying in front of us as more and more were scared up out of the sides. We walked a trail through the bush under huge trees that were completely chocked with vines. Discovered coco plants and climbed into large caves. It was a great place. We had it all to ourselves for a few days until we were joined by "Osprey" and "Vanilla".

Dominican Republic
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Happy Birthday Amy and Shari
April/4/2010, Boquerón, Puerto Rico

Hi all,
April Birthday's: Amy & Shari (4th), Dawne (19th), Katie (23rd)...and everyone else not mentioned.
Anniversary: Petra and Colin Newbold April 25th

Weren't we delighted when we heard Sylvain hail us on the VHF as were re-anchoring this morning! They had crossed the Mona Passage the following day and had arrived safe and sound. Later that day, together we explored the town and on Monday will either rent a car or get a taxi or use the Publico to get to Mayagüez so that we can clear in to customs.

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The Thorny Path, Mona Passage
April/3/2010, Boquerón, Puerto Rico

We sailed into Puerto Rico early Saturday morning.
Just as we were about to anchor a Ray leaped right out of the water and made a big splash as it slapped back in. That's the second "flying Ray" display I've seen; the last being in Cape Canaveral.

We were supposed to contact "Osprey" on our SSB around 7am but we were too busy negotiating our way into Boquerón at the time. "Osprey" was leaving Friday evening to make Cabo Engaño by early morning and pass through the waist of the Hourglass Shoals heading for the south coast of the Dominican Republic. I can only assume that they were as busy as we were and we will try to contact them on Monday.

On Thursday (April Fools Day) Chris gave us the okay to leave Friday morning, so we did. We woke at 4am from our anchorage at Los Haitíses National Park, to time our departure from Samaná Bay before the sea breeze picked up. We knew we were in for a moderately rough ride as there was a very large North Swell predicted to increase by Saturday and Sunday and continue to affect the area for the next couple of weeks. "Vanilla" joined us for a while but as they rounded the bay they decided it was too uncomfortable for them and they turned back to wait for another day within the next few weeks and something without such a large North swell! Once again, we were alone.

On Thursday we prepared the boat for the trip across the Mona Passage. Everything that could fly across the saloon, v-berth, aft cabin, kitchen was tied down; I prepared every meal in advance and re-organized the fridge so that we could grab things easily; I rummaged through the boat and re-organized the ditch bag; I stuffed a knapsack with personal items that we would want to take with us (like my USB stick full of our photos; Steve emptied the water jugs on deck to 2/3rds full (so that they would float if we had to throw them into the water; we brought the dingy on deck and Steve secured it and the motor and all the "junk" on the aft deck; we reefed the mainsail and rigged our baby staysail; and we checked the rigging and the charts one more time. We were as prepared as we could be.

We have been told that the Mona Passage (this is one of the big thorns) has unpredictable currents everywhere and rough shoals east of Cabo Engaño and Balandra Head. It makes perfect sense, since the ocean bottom drops from 150 feet to the second-deepest hole in the world, the 16,000-foot-deep Puerto Rican Trench. The massive volume of water funnels through this 60mile gap between the Eastern coast of the Dominican Republic and the western edge of Puerto Rico. And to top it off, thunderstorms, often severe, get set adrift from Puerto Rico's coastal front by the cooling of the night. It is obvious that it would be foolhardy to leave on anything less than a perfect forecast, right?

Yes, it was fairly windy (average 20kts) and uncomfortable (6-7ft with a 9 sec. interval) but the NNE winds were in our favour and we sailed the whole way. Luckily, we saw no "organized convection activity" and "Lion's Paw" rode the seas like a pro and the patch that Lori left me worked wonders. I didn't throw up at all!

As we entered the waters of the Mona, It is reminiscent of the fright I had when we first set sail for Lake Huron after meeting Blue Blazes. That seems such a long time ago and as of writing this, I haven't had internet for a while and often wonder the where-a-bouts of "Blue Blazes". We call for them on the SSB before Chris, just so that they know they are in our thoughts. Unfortunately, Harley and Janice can receive (hear us) but they do not have the availability to transmit using SSB.

Funny, I still re-call the trip around Georgian Bay with our friends Petra and Colin and Karen and Pat (summer 2009) to be the worst yet regarding wind and sea state. Another time was the five miles from one bay to another in the Chesapeake. The big difference was time; those passages were 30miles, 4 or 6 hours having the snot kicked out of you. This passage was 150miles and it was crossing through the Mona at night. One good thing, the clouds gave way to a brilliant moon (Easter weekend) and we know that our Whitby 42 is a sturdy and reliable sailing vessel made for these conditions, it gave us a steady average of 6 knots. However, we still wore our life jackets, just in case.

Timing is everything and we have arrived on Easter weekend. Customs I believe will be closed until Monday or Tuesday; we are both too tired to do anything about clearing in, so we fell asleep as everyone else was waking.

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Luperon to Samaná
March/28/2010, Los Haitises National Park

It was a misty morning as we left Luperon.
So far this trip, we have not had the usual "prevailing conditions" (Eastern trades) and therefore we have not been able to travel as our guide book "The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South" suggests. He suggests hugging the coast in the night lee of a mountainous shore. We have experienced no night lee (a lee from wind and sea at the margin of sea and land. Created by thermal effects caused by the land cooling faster than the sea. Significantly abetted by orographic effects on mountainous coasts).
We bi-passed the town of Samana and continued directly to the anchorage in the Los Haitises National Park which is on the south east end of Samana Bay. "Vanilla" and "Osprey" headed towards town. It took us another few hours of travel but it was absolutely gorgeous and we were alone. We wrapped up the boat and fell asleep.
Steve will write about our experiences while at Los Haitises National Park and I will type it in when finished. I believe this to be our best anchorage since leaving Georgian Bay.
Please check out our photo gallery: Dominican Republic - Los Haitises National Park

Los Haitises National Park is a national park located on the remote northeast coast of the Dominican Republic. It is a protected virgin forest with little road access. Haitis (singular) means highland or mountain range in the Taíno language, although the elevation of the park's hills ranges from 30-40 metres (98-130 ft). There is a multitude of caverns created by water erosion. Native Americans adorned these caverns with pictographs and petroglyphs. The culture or cultures which created these artworks remain unidentified, some of them possibly predating the Taínos.
Despite advanced deforestation, the precipitation is still considerable, ranging from 1,900-2,000 millimetres (75-79 in) annually. The park is near the top rank in both annual total rainfall and annual number of rainy days among sites in the Dominican Republic.

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April/13/2010 | Colin
The sea was angry that day my friend, like an old man returning soup at a deli.
Despacho Papers
March/26/2010, Luperon, The Dominican Republic

Above is a photo of the improved "new" bridge that we cross to get our despacho papers. It extends over a stinky conduit for raw sewage. Apparently, the old system involved pulling yourself across the stream hand over hand along a slimy rope while standing in a leaky rowboat. This month, it cost us $20 US dollars to receive our despacho and we all know that it is to line the pockets of this comandante.

We have our despacho papers for Punta Cana (another $20 US). It cost us $113 US to stay in Luperon for a week and we are supposed to check in and out of each port while in the D.R.

We are heading to Samana, Dominican Republic tomorrow, where we've heard there is a great national park. It is there, that we will wait for a weather window from Chris and stage in Punta Cana or jump straight to Puerto Rico and cross the dreaded Mona Passage. The plan is to wait until it is flat and calm and motor the 80miles across.

We are going to travel with another two boats "Vanilla" and "Osprey". They were thrilled that we were going tomorrow and that we had contacted Chris for the okay.

I will not be getting internet unless a miracle comes our way. We've heard that Samana is very remote and it's the closest that you can get to Bora Bora in the Caribbean???

For Chris Cornford; of the 50 T-shirt hanging up over Shaggy's bar, one is the Toronto Police marine unit (black)... were you here?

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March/26/2010 | jennifer
March/27/2010 | Lori
all my questions answered! enjoy!
March/27/2010 | Dad and Betty
Found your sailboat on Google earth and saw you sitting on deck enjoying a martini. Amazing!!! Happy to be able to follow you on your adventure, glad of the technology to be able to keep track of you. Look forward to your next blog. Love Dad and Betty
March/28/2010 | kim&marius
The pics are great. Looks like you're finally into good weather. Let the adventure continue. Keep safe. Love Kim
“Queso de freír”
March/25/2010, Luperon, D.R.

Photo of old cock fighting ring
On Monday, with water bottles in hand, our Spanish for Cruisers and our map from Van Sant's book, we headed into town, this time early in the morning.
According to Steve's cruising guide (Embarrassment of Mango's ... again thanks Karen for giving us that book), we should be able to buy some frying cheese "Queso de freír".
I decide to be a tourist and display my camera (with a noted risk of having it stolen) and took lots of photos . . . always asking first if I could. Check out the photo gallery for new photos under the album "Luperon". Today I managed to stop and start a conversation with everyone and anyone who looked my way and whom tolerated my pathetic effort asking what they did for a living, what their name was, where they lived and how long in Luperon and most of all asking for corrections of my pronunciations and for them to repeat more slowly so that I could respond to their answers. We have found most of the people in Luperon to be really friendly and very apologetic about the state of the roads that have been torn up (the broken water mains too).

We tried to take pics of not only the poverty which is so obvious, but also the richer homes. All houses here are fronted right up to the sidewalk, even the larger ones with court yards. Except for the very poor, all are behind steel gates and barred window coverings. Although there is a lot of neglect, even some of the poorer houses are treated with care and the fronts and streets have been swept clean and the greenery cut.

We found the cheese shop after Marg asked directions (using broken Spanish). It had obviously moved since the writing of EOM. The cheese was orange. I expected white. We haven't tried it at the time of writing.
We did find the cock fighting marina (see photo). It appears cock fighting has been abandoned for years but it must have been on par with horses racing in its day. It was in a well appointed area which must have had extensive landscaping and large trees for shade (all overgrown now). It originally had a tin roof suspended from the pylons. The rich would sit in the numbered seats inside (possibly the numbers were to keep track on who was betting) and the pour would stand along the edge from where I took the picture.

On the way back to the boat in a hot sweat, we were "enticed" "escorted" "coursed" "I don't know how it happened" into an outside street bar by a hooker. And there we sat with her and her just turned 65 year old Canadian from Vancouver that she had been shacked up with for the last week. He was less some of his teeth (I'm sure he came that way). These are not the type of people we are out here to meet but they are very prevalent in a place where the biggest draw is that "It is cheap".
The beer was cold from a bottle and was 120 pesos for 3 - 16oz Bohemia. Spelling guy this is the right spelling! And it is much better than the Presidente. (120 pesos = $3.30 US, $1.10 each). As the Vancouverite boasted, he could live well here on his Old Age pension. I'm not sure if he factored in the price of the hooker?

You can see by the photos that there are municipal improvements going on, similar to those experienced by Shorty (Marg's mum) on Truscott Drive in Mississauga. The main street and part of a paralleled street (some say the parallel street by mistake), were torn up weeks ago. People apologized profusely about the mess but everyone knows that paving is along way off .. Mañana (tomorrow).
Many of the sidewalks were only 2feet wide and we took some photos of heaved ones probably not caused by frost, maybe earth quakes. We had 2 small ones the other day. The wisdom is: better many small ones than one large one.
How would you like to run a snow plough over one of those sidewalks?

You don't run your hand along the fences that line the sidewalks; they are all made of barbed wire. The high block walls that encompass the schools are all spooled with razor wire and have guards (no gun) at the doors where the kids come and go. When the kids are in school, there are always a lot of them that are not. Which brings you to think that school is a privilege here not a right.

Dominican Republic
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March/25/2010 | Lori
excellent notes and excellent spelling! ;)
we got a real feel for the place.... enjoy!
Venturing into town.

Photo: Heading into town from the dingy dock

Steve and I aren't the sharpest tacks, however we do learn fairly quickly from our mistakes, one of which was walking around Luperon mid-day, without a water bottle between us.

It was Monday and this was our 2nd trip into town. We set off around 11am in search of engine oil, me with my handy notebook to ask, "Donde puedo comprar motor aceite?" "Where can I buy motor oil?" My first mistake was to pronounce aceite (a-see-et-eh) ..wrong and I don't know what that meant but I corrected my pronunciation to say "Ah-say-teh" and we were directed to the Esso station further along the street as you leave Luperon. We bought 2 large jugs. We wanted to buy 3 but didn't have enough money, so I got to use more of my broken Spanish and said "Lo siento" . . a typical Canadian favourite.. "I'm sorry" as the young gas attendant put the oil back behind the locked and chained cabinet.
Steve and I decided to get off the main road and walk down one of the side streets back to the dinghy dock. It was along that street that we discovered Ed's Car repair shop. We smiled and politely asked if we could buy motor oil and one older man politely asked his son to open the store for us. I heard the word "gringo" and should have corrected him by saying that we were Canadian not American yankee's, but instead asked him his name and we laughed and joked around as Steve looked at the oil prices and we decided that we could afford to buy 2 smaller jugs and that would suffice. On our way home we stopped at Shaggy's and this time bought our beer which was very cold and enjoyable at a price of 70 pesos each ($2.10 each).

Dominican Republic
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