Beach Bum

28 August 2016 | Rarotonga, Cook Islands
05 April 2016 | Maui
29 January 2016 | Hawaii
03 January 2016 | Tahiti
14 June 2015 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
25 July 2014 | Moorea, French Polynesia
21 June 2014 | French Polynesia
03 March 2014 | Tahiti
29 October 2013 | Tahiti
27 October 2013 | Tahiti
07 July 2013 | Marquesas
21 May 2013 | Galapagos
05 May 2013 | Galapagos
07 April 2013 | Panama City
27 February 2013 | Shelter Bay Marina
10 February 2013 | Providencia
09 January 2013 | Isle A Vache
16 December 2012 | Isla Saona
18 November 2012 | Virgin Islands

Stinging In The Rain

16 December 2012 | Isla Saona
Half past four and the beach is almost deserted. All that remains are the birds picking over the detritus of the extensive picnic lunch and the clouds of ravenous mosquitoes disappointed at the sudden lack of targets. So ends another day on the fantastic beaches of the Island of Saona on the South East tip of the Dominican Republic; another of the many hundreds of beaches that class themselves as one of the top 12 beaches of the world. Anchored near the Coast Guard station, we are alone again for the night and able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this lovely, remote location.

Today, we and the hundreds of tourists that are disgorged from the powerful open dories have enjoyed the warming sunshine and played in the sea with its irresistible turquoise colour. It is such a contrast to the conditions yesterday afternoon as we arrived from our long, bouncy and tiresome trip across the Mona Passage from Puerto Rico. As the anchor touched the clean, sandy bottom the torrential rain commenced. Whiteout conditions prevailed for the rest of the day, terrorising the packed ranks of tourists cowering in the open dories like slaves in a galley. Yesterday, no gayety and laughter accompanied the endless procession of boats powering their way back to the hotel complexes on the mainland.

Previously, Magan's Bay on the north shore of St Thomas kept us in the US Virgin Islands after our departure from the American Yacht Harbour Marina. Another of the top 12 beaches in the world, it is a hive of activity during the day and a place of solitude at night. Rocking gently at anchor off the glorious sandy beach it is easy to get a ricked neck as you try and keep up with all the activity. On one side the Swanny Kazoo conversations of the boobies are abruptly silenced as they plunge down on the unsuspecting fish and the ungainly pelicans crump into the water in a massive shower of spray on the same shoal. The assault on the fish seems unending as the massive flock of birds dive, relaunch, circle and dive again. On the beach side, a fascinating theatre of tourist life unfolds. The deserted beach springs to life as beach chairs and kiosks are made ready for the massed onslaught from the colossal cruise ships docked on the other side of the island. We stroll past wedding preparations with their champagne warming in the morning sunshine. Little do they know that today's ceremony will be a washout when heavy rain strikes. Numerous lifeguards enthusiastically exercise their power over the bathers with shrill whistle blasts, keeping all within the designated swimming area. As we head out on our return swim to Shiraz the whistling get more and more frantic and somewhat ragged. The surf board is launched and heads after us with the lifeguard paddling furiously; the activity drawing attention to his well maintained physique. It's a race. He is destined to lose for he cannot make up the gap before we reach the steps of Shiraz and he peels off looking for a distraction that would explain his frenetic burst of activity to the casual observer.

Officialdom is a nasty evil that we have to deal with as we bounce from country to country. Puerto Rico, being part of the USA, can be particularly irksome as our Swiss neighbours in Puerto Del Ray marina discovered when the contents of their entire larder and freezer were confiscated because it was banned foreign produce from the French island of Martinique. If I hadn't been crunched up, cursing and sweating while replacing the toilet pipes, I would have commiserated with them more. Still, at least they could buy the same produce in the local hypermarket. We had chosen to check-in to Puerto Rico in Culebra, where the sole member of US Customs and Border Protection force is most amenable and a boat inspection almost unheard of. Still, having been to a foreign port in the last year, like many of the boats in the marina, we are prohibited from dumping rubbish in the bins. It must be taken to the disposal point in San Juan, which is only an hours drive if you have a fast car and a good sense of direction. Like everyone else, we humour the officials and ignore the rules.

Gandalf is a spin-off from the blocked toilet pipes and the week stay in Puerto Del Ray marina, Fajardo needed to fix them. Wandering around the capital city, San Juan, in our hire car we came across a bicycle shop. They happened to have my Christmas present in stock. A gleaming new bicycle is now tucked away awaiting Christmas day. Until then, Gollywog gets chased by some very large and aggressive dogs in the wilds of Puerto Rico. I am not impressed with these canine packs. It seems you either brave the heavy traffic of the populated areas or risk being torn to bits by packs of wild dogs in the rural wilds.

If it's not vicious dogs it is jelly fish. The great big dinner plate ones we encountered in Sun Bay, Vieques and Puerto Patillas didn't sting, even when I kicked them. However, the box jelly fish stings are particularly nasty and had me in severe pain with fluid pouring from the sting sites. There had been no jelly fish for the previous two days at the glorious island of Caja de Muerto (coffin island). This nominated wildlife park, with its outstanding beach and clear waters, attracts weekend visitors from Ponce on mainland Puerto Rico. Anchoring is not allowed. We anchored for 5 days. Mostly, it was just us, the endangered turtles, Berty the massive barracuda and the security guard that inhabited the place. The jelly fish visited for one day. It was the only lovely anchorage we had discovered in Puerto Rico so we made the most of it before lack of water and fresh provisions drove us to Ponce.

Pressed for time, we crossed the Mona Passage to the Dominican Republic with rougher conditions than we would have liked. The winds went from gale force to calm within 12 hours leaving us bouncing on the waves in the dark. Compensation came by way of vivid phosphorescence and a shooting star display to rival that of the Perseids. Our passage coincided with the peak of the Geminid shower and the dark of the moon. It was spectacular! Great sparkling trails lit up the sky in an almost continuous stream. We had not seen such vivid stars or such a display since our crossing to Madeira a couple of years ago. Still, we were pleased when we dropped anchor off the island of Saona. According to the Mayans, the world ends shortly and this seems like an excellent place to await it. After it is over, we will move on to Marina Zarpar in Boca Chica where we can remedy our illegal squatter status by officially checking-in to the Dominican Republic.
Vessel Name: Shiraz
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau Oceanis 393
Hailing Port: Shotley UK
Crew: Kate and John Abbott
K [...]
Extra: Amateur circumnavigators. That's amateur from the French 'Amour': for the love of it. Not Amateur from the American 'Inexpert' or making a cock-up.
Shiraz's Photos - Main
33 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 13 October 2017
16 Photos
Created 12 October 2017
8 Photos
Created 11 October 2017
Hanging out in Tahiti
20 Photos
Created 9 October 2017
Events on Shiraz
14 Photos
Created 10 March 2017
Exploring California and Arizona in an RV September and October 2016
14 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 7 March 2017
How Cook found the little island without a GPS will always impress me
27 Photos
Created 11 August 2016
Some Frolics in Maui
20 Photos
Created 2 March 2016
38 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
Christmas preparations
16 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
11 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
Sail to Hawaii? I don't think so.
30 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
16 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
Vic missed the August UK wedding. She was collecting her dog from Cape Verde to start his new life on Maui.
5 Photos
Created 7 January 2016
Kate in the UK and other things
17 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 7 January 2016
June events with a visit from Victoria
52 Photos
Created 18 July 2015
Some of the action in Tahiti.
8 Photos
Created 6 April 2015
A Trip To The Tahitian Lava Tubes
61 Photos
Created 15 February 2015
God its another Christmas
5 Photos
Created 15 February 2015
Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park
5 Photos
Created 18 December 2014
The Black Labyrinth Ruakuri Cave experience in Waitomo. Basically floating around jumping off small waterfalls in a rubber inner tube whilst looking at glow worms.
12 Photos
Created 18 December 2014
A Trip Round Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest.
10 Photos
Created 13 December 2014
A bit of New Zealand that is still smoking
18 Photos
Created 13 December 2014
A Spot of White Water Stuff
56 Photos
Created 9 December 2014
Rotorua Canopy Tour
14 Photos
Created 7 December 2014
A 20km hike across the Tongariro Alpine Pass
21 Photos
Created 7 December 2014
Walking the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand over 3 Days
21 Photos
Created 7 December 2014
Out and about in New Zealand
17 Photos
Created 7 December 2014
New Zealand Garden Sights
32 Photos
Created 7 December 2014
Views from the mooring Marina Taina. Tahiti.
8 Photos
Created 16 November 2014
Papenoo Traverse Hike with an interesting overnight stay.
45 Photos
Created 28 October 2014
Events around Shiraz. Marina Taina. Tahiti.
15 Photos
Created 26 October 2014
A short guided hike along the steep, narrow Mount Marau ridge. Our guide was Angelina with Tahiti Reva Trek. We were driven up the rough track to the peak in a 4X4 and started the hike by the highest radio tower.
14 Photos
Created 25 October 2014
A fun hike in the Temarua Valley, crossing the River Mateoro eight times each way. We were pretty wet.
39 Photos
Created 23 October 2014
A hike through the Fautaua valley to the Fachauda waterfall.
25 Photos
Created 22 October 2014
A hike by John to Mount Marau radio towers. Tahiti.
21 Photos
Created 21 October 2014
Mostly about our hiking on Moorea when we went to hide from some big swell making our anchorage bouncy
29 Photos
Created 24 July 2014
A family holiday when Vic and Charlie visited us in French Polynesia May 2014
3 Photos | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 23 June 2014
Life in Tahiti
27 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
Tuamotus experience.
14 Photos
Created 25 August 2013
The Marquesa Islands of French Polynesia
60 Photos
Created 14 July 2013
Crossing to Galapagos and Wandering San Cristobal
45 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
Transit of the Panama Canal
34 Photos
Created 11 April 2013
Stuff in Panama
42 Photos
Created 11 April 2013
Offshore Colombia. Our Wanderings
19 Photos
Created 11 April 2013
Haiti and Jamaica
14 Photos
Created 15 January 2013
Heading west through Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
23 Photos
Created 19 December 2012
Wanderings in the Virgin Islands
7 Photos
Created 18 November 2012
October in Grenada Saw Michele Visit Us
20 Photos
Created 28 October 2012
A bit of Bequia in summer 2012
10 Photos
Created 29 September 2012
France in the Caribbean during the spring of 2012
9 Photos
Created 29 September 2012
Dominica wanderings
49 Photos
Created 18 April 2012
Charlie and Faith Visit in Jan
41 Photos
Created 4 April 2012
The Life and Activities of Winter in Grenada
33 Photos
Created 27 December 2011
Visiting the Southern Grenadines in Jun/Jul 2011 before the Hurricane Season gets going
31 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
Summer Frolics in Grenada
11 Photos
Created 29 August 2011
Summer in Grenada. Out and About
33 Photos
Created 4 June 2011
A selection of snaps during the trip south from Antigua to Grenada
41 Photos
Created 13 March 2011
The Atlantic and Antigua
34 Photos
Created 19 January 2011
A short visit to Sao Vicente and Santo Antao in Dec 2010
43 Photos
Created 18 January 2011
Sights of the Canary Islands Early Sep to Late Oct 2010
27 Photos
Created 17 January 2011
Sights of Madeira Mid Aug - Early Sep 2010
48 Photos
Created 14 October 2010
A trip to Sal in late Oct to Late Dec 2010
58 Photos
Created 18 August 2010
To Spain and Beyond
50 Photos
Created 13 July 2010
Out and About
7 Photos
Created 24 June 2010
Snaps on the way to Plymouth
11 Photos
Created 22 June 2010
Still at Shotley
15 Photos
Created 31 May 2010