5 April, 2013, Bahia de Samana (Bay of Samana), Dominican Replublic
What do you do when you get sick in a 3rd world country? Maynard, Renae and I have a pretty good idea now. The Ocean World Marina at Cofresi has a doctor available for guests at the nearby resort. After taking the 27 Waterfall Slide Down and Swim Experience up in the nearby mountains, Renae experienced excruciating pain in both ears from under-water pressure and the dirty water. The doctor gave her medication and sent her on her way after a large cost. The next day, I became ill and as I was so dehydrated and we didn't know for sure what it was, the doctor was called. 24 year old Orlando came on board Vanish with a fishing tackle box full of goodies, and set up an I.V. with added B vitamins. He actually tied the I.V. to the wooden slats covering the air conditioning outlet above the master cabin bed which I'm sure David Marlow must have designed especially for this purpose. Now that's thinking ahead. He also gave me liquid Dramamine, liquid anti-spasmodics, another IV full of antibiotics and I've forgotten what else. Renae, by the way, received similar medication sans I.V. I didn't care by now as I just wanted to feel better and in fact, in 24 hours, things were improving except the cost of this service. Then Maynard suddenly went from a rosy shade of pink to a sweating greenish/white colour as he ended up with the same thing but as we now knew what we were dealing with, I was able to treat him. My Medical cost = $US800. Maynard's Medical cost = $US0.40. Renae's Medical cost = $US220.00. The trick apparently is not to see the resort doctor but go into town to buy the appropriate medicine (although we already had it on board) and go to the local town doctor which cost less than $US30.
On Wednesday, we thankfully left the Ocean World Marina after spending 7 days with our flopper stopper deployed in our berth surging back and forth and side to side at the dock and being covered constantly in salt water from waves splashing over the top of the sea wall. We said goodbye to Payla the security dog at the marina
and headed to the next anchorage to the east of Puerto Plata over 100 miles to windward so we left late in the afternoon and motored all night in a 20 - 30 kn (double the forecast) easterly arriving in Bahia de Samana (Bay of Samana) the following day. We are very conspicuous by our size as we are NOT on the typical tourist route and very few sailing yachts come here. In fact, we are starting to see why so many cruisers avoid the area - not due to the obvious beauty of the country with its mountains and palm lined beaches, but by officialdom although it is better than a few years ago. 5 officials raced out to us to clear us into Semana Harbor. In the Dominican Republic, one has to clear in and clear out of each and every port one wants to visit. Each clear in and clear out takes around an hour and costs vary depending on the port and the particular officials. The Dominicans want tourists to visit but as yet they don't understand how cruising works as they seem to want us to only stay in their harbours or marinas even though anchoring is allowed. We've only seen 2 other sailing yachts out and about in the last 2 days. We were charged a $US50 docking fee in Samana when we were nowhere near a dock. One official firmly planted himself at our salon table and refused to leave until we paid the non-docking docking charge. Finally after much gesticulation, loud Espanol (which Maynard and I did not understand) and a phone call to the Commandant by Jake (who does speak Espanol), we were allowed to leave Samana Harbor to find an anchorage as the sun was quickly setting. We have found it's best to handle the Officials with firmness but to smile a lot, be as polite as possible and understanding of their unusual customs. If you wish to see where Samana is located, please click on the map to the right of this post and zoom in.
Today we walked along a nearby palm lined beach with some resident goats and visited a nearby cave system called Cayo de Line
with ancient pictographs at least 500 years old drawn by Indians who lived in here. This region is characterised by karst topography with numerous sinkholes and caves and only a handful of these caves have been adequately documented.