29 March, 2013, Cofresi, nr Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Another 2 day weather window turned which coincided with a full moon tide so we quietly slipped out of the Turtle Bay Marina in Turks & Caicos on an early morning full tide. We knew we'd make it over the sandbar just inside the entrance this time as the local seagulls were standing in knee deep water on our starboard side giving us an extra inch of clearance. Phew! It felt so good to be out in deep water again. We felt we had been misadvised on this marina and didn't like feeling so trapped. Live and learn.
I can't tell you how the conversation came about, but basically the Dominican Republic (DR) sounded like a great place to visit so here we are after another overnight passage travelling 175 miles south. DR and Haiti are located on the 2nd largest island in the Caribbean called Hispaniola. The language is Espanol, the currency is Dominican pesos and vehicles travel on the right-hand side of the road. We checked out a recommended anchorage at Luperon on the north side of DR but the entrance was shallow and it was incredibly crowded with yachts, some of which had been thrown up into the mangroves years ago. We could not make watermaker water or swim so we continued another 10 miles eastwards to the Ocean World Marina http://www.oceanworldmarina.com. We were helped in by at least 6 marina attendants and tied ourselves up to huge concrete docks. After clearing in with Customs, Immigration, Marina Management, Navy and Narcotics officials who all came on board, we paid our $83 fee and were glad to have a home as the northerly front descended on us with winds of 25 knots only an hour later. This brought surge into the marina and waves breaking over the top of the marina wall. Our berth is a blow-off berth but still, Vanish and all other vessels were sliding about a foot forward and backward and then rolling slightly from side to side, a new kind of Latin marina dance.
My brain thought that this situation was totally wrong. When I looked at the concrete dock beside Vanish, it appeared to be heaving up and down and from side to side which of course made my stomach start to do the same thing. The tug on the other side of the dock was making some dreadful noises as it banged and scraped against the dock. I have to admit that I took my first seasick pill here in the marina and luckily didn't make any offerings to King Neptune. We actually deployed one of the flopper stoppers on the first night which helped enormously in slowing the rolling motion.
On the plus side we have great internet and phone and there are many nearby restaurants and if we want to, there is a Casino, an adventure water park with dolphins, seals and stingrays, car rental offices, local buses, nearby waterfalls and lush tropical mountains up to 10,000 feet in height. Food and alcohol is extremely cheap, especially rum with a case of a dozen rum bottles costs around $US95. The people are extremely helpful and friendly and there's a lot to see. The next anchorage eastwards from Cofresi is 100 miles away at Samana Bay. If we go westwards there are quite a few more before we head offshore avoiding Haiti. We'll do our research, get our bearings and some well-deserved rest and decide which way to go soon.