Bienvenidos a RD!
11 January 2012 | Ocean World Marina, Puerto Plata, DR
1/11/12 – Bienvenidos a RD! We made it! Not exactly as planned but we made it. After almost 900 miles of the small, low, level islands of the Bahamas and Turks & Caiscos, we are finally in a different kind of place. The country of the DR is a high altitude, lush green island visible from over 30 miles out. And the language and currency are different, too. So it is really different. But it is also easy to see why my cousin and her husband, Susie and Foy, have decided to build and retire here. The country side is beautiful.
We lost a day because of the overnight leg, took a nap yesterday, and then slept late this morning. I was filling in my log when I realized it was the 11th already. So it is Wednesday and we are here safe and sound in a nice slip at Ocean World. (Kinda’ like a mini-Atlantis wanna be! – for those not familiar with Atlantis, Google it in Nassau). But as to the crossing, I know you are all waiting to hear about that.
We obviously did not leave on Sunday afternoon as we had planned. The wind and wave forecasts were not good for Sunday/Monday but looked better for Monday/Tuesday. We stayed in the rolly “anchorage” (if that term could actually apply here) and didn’t leave the boat all day. Sleep was hard but since we were so tired we got a few more hours than the night before. Monday started off nice but still rolly. We actually went into the beach and took a walk around with the couple from Tariro. Check the gallery photos. It is a pretty place but the pictures really cannot show the anchorage conditions.
Tariro started the exodus by leaving at 1 pm because they are a little slower. We left at 3 pm with Nid’Ocean for the 90 mile leg to the Dominican Republic. The seas were still between 6-10 feet but the winds were almost perfect at 15-20 knots on a close reach. We clipped along sailing at 6-7 knots for the first 40 miles or so. Gail was fine. WD was in her realm. And the moon was full. At least we knew it was full but the sky had a heavy cloud layer so the seas had a dull grey about them. Not black, thank goodness, but not the bright moonlit night we were expecting.
We alternated watches after 8 pm but I couldn’t really sleep so I would come back and relieve Gail. Then when I couldn’t keep my eyes open I called for Gail to switch. We ended up doing about 2 hours on and 2 hours off until sunup. The seas cooperated and calmed down a little. The moon finally came out as hoped for. The radar showed a few squalls around and we got a quick fresh water washdown about midway. But then! The winds began to die and shift south. By now you all know what that means, right? Yep! Turn on the motor, push WD into the wind as much as possible and tack as little as possible. We ended up motor/sailing the last 12 hours until we arrived at 11 AM on Tuesday. That was a total of 20 hours averaging about 4.5 knots.
Immigration and customs went smoothly because the marina manager helps with the translations and escorted me to the different agents right in the marina office building. The DR is different because you actually have to clear in and out with the DR Navy. You must get a departure approval even to go the next town by boat. This is part of their effort to control their coastline for refugees and smuggling. We’ll see how much trouble it is as we move down the coast.
So, now on to the next part of the trip and that is to make it to the east end of the DR over the next few days while also visiting with a few friends, taking care of a little business, and doing some site seeing. Adios, hasta luego y que el viento te acompane!