We Have Arrived in the Dominican Republic!
09 March 2014 | Bahia de Las Aquilas, Dominican Republic
We motored into Bahia de Las Aquilas, Bay of Eagles, right after noon today. We had a very easy passage but we were happy to be able to anchor again. After motoring all night, and making a full tank of water with our watermaker, we knew we had plenty of hot water for showers. We both took a nice hot shower and tried to relax a bit. Bill decided we should not take naps but that instead we should go to bed early because we are leaving here to go to Barahona at 1:00am. I was too tired to try that so I did lie down to rest for a while. Eventually Bill agreed with me and we decided to sleep for a while. I eventually decided to get up and just as I was about to get dressed we heard a boat alongside us calling to us in Spanish.
We had read to expect to be visited by the Dominican Republic Coast Guard or some other officials. We guessed that was what this was. We quickly got dressed and went up on deck to see four men in what looked like an open tour boat. One of the men was in a camouflage uniform with a big rifle across his chest. The other three were dressed casually but I could see at least one other was armed. I have been trying to work on remembering my Spanish knowledge but when it really comes down to using it I am afraid to say I did pretty badly. We tried to get them to understand that we were just here to rest and that we would go to Barahona the next day to clear into immigration. We tried to tell them that we had come from Haiti but that we hadn't been able to clear in there. They weren't really understanding anything. Finally one of the guys pulled out his phone and called someone who spoke more English. He handed the phone to Bill and he tried to explain to the man on the phone what we wanted to do. Finally Bill thought he had the guy's permission so he handed the phone back. Apparently the guy on the phone wanted us to go someplace else but the man in the boat told him no. I'm not sure where they left that but they tried to ask me in Spanish to see our charts so they could check our route. I told them we only had electronic charts and they could come on board to see them. The one man told me if they came on board they would have to check the whole boat. We have nothing to hide so I had no problem with that. Three of them came on board and the other left with the boat. We think maybe he was just the transport from the beach we are anchored off of to a nearby hotel. You can see the beach, and the type of boat they were in in the picture above.
Once they were on the boat everything got much better. I showed the one in uniform our passports and another one did a cursory inspection of the boat. It started to rain so we brought everyone down below. I have to say now that reading ahead in cruising guides or talking to other people about their experiences is priceless. If Bill hadn't done that we would never have had a case of beer on board, we just don't drink it. But we knew that the officials in the Dominican Republic like to be given beer when they board your boat. I, fortunately, had enough beer in the refrigerator to entertain a landing party. Not only that but I can say beer in Spanish! I offered, they happily accepted and then we were just a bunch of people sitting on a boat in the rain. The man in the uniform was smiling by this time and he smiled even bigger when he saw the pictures of my grandchildren I have next to my berth. Luckily I can say grandmother in Spanish too! In all the whole experience was positive. Tomorrow is the real check in with immigration. I hope that goes as well. The refrigerator has been restocked with beer!
Tonight we had some of the fish Bill caught yesterday for dinner. We have pretty much decided it was a tuna. We also decided that Bill doesn't like tuna. Next time we will put a note on the fishing lure that says "Sorry Charlie... tunas need not apply"!