|Photo Gallery »|
|Send Email »|
Home on the Ocean
Days 78 - 98 (April 4 to April 23): The Dominican Republic, an unexpected change of pace, landscape and adventure abound
[ Contents ]
2013 Copyright. D&R Ottaviano
Day 12: Short tripsMay/29/2012, Dickies Cay to John Cash Point (near Marsh Harbor)
I don't know how we managed to do so little in an entire day. Basically we sailed about 5 miles dropped anchor and stayed on the boat all night! John cash point was wide open, with great anchor holding. We let out 100 feet of chain and didn't have much to worry about when sleeping that night. I guess that with most of these posts we are forgetting to mention working during the day... Some of the daily gaps are in fact taken up with real work, both for medical device consulting and for the new businesses that we are working on. Some days we are back and forth with China or Taiwan other days it's a few hours of conference calls with friends and colleagues back in the Boston area. Either way it's a good balance and with cellular or wifi access we are just as functional as we are stateside. All my life people have been saying how important work life balance is...I think the last weeks serve as a successful demonstration that we grasp the concept.
Day 11: Sailing Weather!Finally some wind and some sun!
May/28/2012, Fisher’s Bay to Cistern to Man-O-War Cay / Dickies Cay (back and forth across the Sea of Abaco)
Nothing too crazy happening this day. In a nutshell it was sunny, hot and the winds were blowing between 16 and 20 knots! Finally, perfect sailing weather! We set out with full sails and were zipping around the Sea of Abaco at about 9 knots. It felt so good to stretch the boats legs again as this was the first day that Soul Purpose saw real sailing wind all trip. We checked out a spot we considered anchoring at, Cistern Cay. It turned out to be unprotected with rocks all around. Fine for a day anchorage, but no reason to stay there overnight. So we sailed back across the Sea of Abaco and dropped anchor at Man-o-war cay. Anchored like pros...missing the underwater power line by about 200 yards, genius... We jumped in the dinghy and checked out the surrounding shallows. Rach saw something black in the distance. I assured her with my keen intellect it was a rock but that I would humor her and drive over. Of course it was a ray which decided to put on a show and jump clean out of the water right in front of us. Rachel is always right. Before heading to bed, while there was still light we drove into the harbor to check out the marina and nearby businesses. We drove through in the dinghy and it reminded us of an old New England fishing town? Very rustic, nothing fancy with a purpose built look and feel. Getting low on gas we decided to fully break in our new dinghy and opened it up for a 15 minute ride back to our boat. We took a route in the Sea of Abaco instead of the inner channel that runs though the harbor that we had come in on. We surfed the 2 foot waves and put the dinghy through its paces. The new Tohatsu engine has started to earn its place among us. Compared to the Yahama that it replaced which came back from the dead after I flipped it in 2010...the Tohatsu has a long way to go, but it's growing on me.
Day 10: On the road (sea) again….May/27/2012, Green Turtle Cay to Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay
On our own now... With the departure of Luna Sea, we started assembling a plan for some, snorkeling, diving, hiking and hopefully some spirited sailing. We pushed off from our slip and cool crisp air conditioning and headed to Great Guana. Actually, Rach and I didn't really have a solid plan, we were going to wing it and pick a destination on the fly. However as luck would have it we ran into four very cool people just before leaving the dock. Stuart & Maddie, and Bob & Sandra. They had pulled into Green Turtle to enjoy the Bohemian BBQ party that we all went to the night before. Having residence in the Bahamas they were not only a wealth of knowledge, but also some of the nicest people we had met on our trip. Among other recommendations, they told us to check out Nippers on Great Guana for the Sunday pig roast! You just have to love this type of living...walk down the dock, run into other nice boaters and find out that your next stop is a big party and pig roast. In the 15 minutes that we got to know each other a bit, Stuart and Maddie offered to let us take their car to pick up Alex when he touched down 5 days later. I am inclined to repeat my last statement to drive home the point...you just don't meet people with that level of kindness and generosity anymore! More to come on that point in a week when we meet up with Stuart and Maddie in Treasure Cay. So heeding the nice couples' advice, we set out for Nippers restaurant and bar. The scene was a perfect contrast and just what we were looking for. It was sort of cross with a Spring break party, meets a rough sketch Hamptons beachside dance bar/club, meets yachting crowd in the islands, meets a great bunch of locals! The place was packed and the DJ was busting out dance music which had everyone from old to young breaking out moves...some good, some not so good. We had a great time, getting crooked, meeting new people and even hanging at the abutting beach! As you would guess might happen after drinking all afternoon and night, we were hungry so we headed out down the dirt roads back toward the harbor and to our dinghy that we had pulled up on shore. As often seems to happen in these parts, we ran into another party at a place called Grabbers which was a beach bar/restaurant with poolside eating. Don't picture fancy or pretentious when I say poolside dining. It's still very chill with a laid back vibe. It was definitely laid back because to order, eat and pay for 2 appetizers took about 2 hours. Good thing we were already loose! We jumped back in the dinghy, dawned the headlamps and headed back to Soul Purpose. I don't really remember what happened after that...actually I don't really remember that either, but I do know that it happened and it was fun :)
Days 6-9: A new home on Green Turtle…but first a Waffle party!Rain, Rain Go Away...
May/23/2012, Crab Cay to Bluff House Marina, Green Turtle Cay
After a solid night of drinking, Rach and I hosted a waffle party onboard Soul Purpose. It was the least we could do for our cruising buddies who already had us over a handful of times to eat and drink! We busted out the waffle maker and Rach prepared some blueberry chocolate chip waffles with butter and whipped cream. Roughing it here in the islands. Actually, Rach forgot eggs in the first batch which didn't seem to make much difference. The six of us hung out for a bit, tried out a second batch that had eggs and the crew of the Luna Sea prepared to depart. Luna Sea headed out for the Bluff House Marina at Green Turtle Cay. The anchorage at Manjack was nice and we considered staying another night, but Steve hailed us on the VHF and told us that there was a catamaran slip right next to them and that some bad weather was headed out way. We pulled up anchor, headed to the slip at the Bluff House and spoiled ourselves with shore power that ran our air conditioner non-stop! Great deal at the Bluff house, drink your dock fees away! Whatever you spend at the restaurant / bar is free until you reach your dock fees (e.g. $70 / night in dockage means first $70 in cocktails is free)! We planned to stay at the slip for a night but 2 - 3 days of strong winds and scattered T-storms kept us tied up. The rain was horrendous at times, of course the times we had to adjust our lines, so we quickly learned to forget about wearing clothes outside and just get drenched in our bathing suites. We also learned the value of an air conditioner...it really helps a boat dry out when there is no place to hang wet towels and clothes but inside. The poor weather gave everyone some downtime and gave us a chance to get some work out of the way. As the weather cleared, we finally got to do some extended island exploring. Postcard beaches like Ocean Beach without a sole in sight, hopped up golf carts ripping down dirt roads, and dinner / drinks by the pool with live bands became our daily existence...not so bad. Luna Sea pushed off in the morning and again Rach and I were late to rise, big surprise. We had a quick chance to wave goodbye, but we will see Bonnie and Steve soon when we hook up with them to do some racing in the Port Saint Lucie / Stuart FL area (no Steve and I will not be racing our cruising catamarans. Steve has another boat that has a little more "lean" to it without all the heavy amenities...perfect for racing)! We'll miss them in the coming days, especially Steve's humor, their dynamic as a couple and overall kindness to others. Until next time, we wish you both clear horizons and the wind at your back!
Day 5: There's 2 Crab Cays!May/22/2012, Crab Cay, Little Abaco Island to Crab Cay off Manjack Cay
After our first dolphin and shark sighting in the picturesque bay of Crab Cay, we were off to Green Turtle to meet up with Steve and Bonnie (Luna Sea) and also some friends of theirs that had flown in. We made it pretty close before the weather let us know that pulling into a slip wasn't going to happen anytime soon. The sky opened up dumping inches of rain and the winds kicked up to around 18 knots. We dropped sail, put the Diesels to work and charged into an Anchorage at Manjack Cay. We came in hot weaving through some boats that were already anchored. Of course, with the pouring rain, wind and unfamiliar anchorage, the windless (winch that controls the anchor/chain) decides to malfunction for the first time ever! Alarms start going off, Rach and I can't even hear each other because the rain is so loud and the windless is letting chain out on its own. I threw open the door to the engine room, killed the main breaker for the windless and headed back to the bow to check on our situation. Somehow Rach had hooked up the anchoring bridle in all the chaos at 60 feet of chain. I don't know how she did it, but it allowed for perfect anchoring and overall boat position. We pulled the rest of the chain up by hand and decided to wait to troubleshoot the windless until the weather passed (turned out our fancy remote control failed...luckily we hooked up redundant push button controls last year so we were all set). The best part is that the friends that we were headed to Green Turtle to meet up with were also anchored in Manjack! We were right next to them so it provided a great playground for us to hold up for the night and share some cocktails with our neighbors.
Day 4: Wifi and Cell Service…hmmmflat seas, sunny with a few clouds and the typical afternoon sprinkle
May/21/2012, Great Sale Cay to Green Turtle Cay, umm, nope, how about Crab Cay on Little Abaco Island instead?
So it's Monday again, which means work! Funny thing is, the Islands in Little Bahama Bank and the Northern Abacos aren't exactly "wired in". We had a light cell signal in Great Sale Cay, but Luna Sea's signal wasn't strong enough to guarantee contact with friends that were flying in for a few days, so they headed out at 07:00 toward Green Turtle Cay, the first "more" populated island in the Abacos where their friends were arriving via plane + water taxi. We slept a little longer and opted to watch the service as we circled north of Great Sale, leaving at 09:04. We made it all the way to Little Sale Cay at 10:22 and "poof" goodbye cell service! We headed back toward Great Sale and opted to drift for an hour while D called into his morning conference call. It was pretty funny watching him hold his phone in the air while on his headset trying to boost his signal. I had to make him a tent outside because if he came inside he would lose signal. I tried to fish, but was depressingly unsuccessful...there just doesn't seem to be any fish in the Little Bahama Bank, we can't even see them through the crystal clear water!
|Powered by SailBlogs|