12 April, 2013, Naranjo Arriba, SW Samana Bay, Dominican Republic
For a change of scenery, we moved to another anchorage in the south-western section of Samana Bay where we could hide behind some islands giving us protection from the relentless easterlies. As soon as the anchor was down we found we were in the middle of 20 fishermen motoring in patterns in their pangas searching for prawns. At first, they stayed a polite distance away but something on Vanish caught their eye and if it had been a ½ dozen naked models, I don't think their eyes would have strayed from the Thing of Beauty. After a couple of hours and increasingly closer circle work around Vanish, I was starting to get nervous. Something's going on. Finally, one brave fellow approached followed by two more. Their clothes were wet and salty and most of them wore no sunglasses, hats or gloves. Jake was called upon to find out what they wanted and after much discussion, they wanted to know if we wished to buy any prawns, all the while smiling and pointing skywards.
A deal was struck for the crew's consumption
but while this was going on, the other two were gazing lovingly up at our aft flybridge deck. What on earth? Finally, Jake stated that they were VERY interested in the 2 Stroke 15 hp Yamaha motor hanging up there for all to see, the motor for our 2nd dinghy. After a lot more chat, the men continued fishing until sundown taking it in turns to look at the Yummy Yammy. They went ashore to their encampment about a mile away on the beach where they were staying for the week sleeping under tarpaulins which saved running back and forth to town 8 miles across Samana Bay each day.
The next day, another group were back. One young man lifted the handle of his own dinghy motor and stroked it and pointed to our shiny Yamaha with such envy. It was like they'd never seen such a Glorious Thing in their whole lives. Finally, the oldest of the group came by and wanted to know all about the motor. How old was it, how much did we pay and how much would we sell it for? We didn't answer all their questions and were vague on the rest. They said it would cost them 100,000 Pesos to buy it in D.R., the equivalent of $US4,000 and for them, 2 year's salary, as the average wage here is about $US250 per month. We'd bought it on eBay quite cheap in the US but good motors are critical to their livelihoods so we could understand their excitement over seeing a 15hp Gold Bar wasting away on our vessel. Yamahas are much sought after motors in the Caribbean so we've decided to move its location to somewhere less conspicuous "just in case". Meanwhile, a piece of string is tied to it and Maynard's big toe.
An Haitises Park Ranger told us about the below nearby cave called Cueva Rio Pescadores which contains a freshwater spring coming from deep underground with freshwater fish called chaino and ravalo.
It was hard to find but is located at 19 5.183'N and 69' 34.257'W. The trick is to go inside the cave in the dinghy and tie it to a piece of rope slung from a stalactite then jump into the water and swim 70 feet to the back of the 25 ft high x 40 ft wide cave. Yep, you're right. It was creepy as the amount of water rushing from the source created a current of around 2 knots. After much head scratching and mathematical and geological debate, we estimated that the spring was expelling fresh water at a rate of about 1 million litres/hr (250,000 gallons/hr). The water was amazingly clear, cool and drinkable which was a real contrast to the silty seawater just outside the entrance to the cave. The amount of water flowing out is enough to keep the sea from entering. It certainly was a unique experience swimming inside a dark spring fed cave in the middle of nowhere.
P.S. Our motor was still there when we got back.