Anchored in Barahona
11 March 2014 | Barahona, Dominican Republic
We had a relatively difficult trip from Bahia de Las Aquilas to Barahona. We left at 1:00am and got to our anchorage around 4:00pm. We needed to get there in the daylight so, even though we could have sailed some of the way, we motored or motor sailed to make sure we would not be late. We also wanted to get there at a reasonable time so that we did not piss off the immigration people. As we were coming into the town there was another sailboat ahead of us. They were calling immigration on the VHF because they wanted to clear out but we heard no reply. They anchored outside in fairly rough water, we went into the harbor where it was nice and still and put our anchor down there. We had our "Q" flag up which means we needed to check in to the country. You can see Moonraker at anchor here in the picture above.
Not long after we anchored we heard the sailboat that was tied up to the marina we were next to calling us on the VHF. Actually they were calling: American sailboat, American sailboat. That could only have meant us, we haven't seen any other Americans here yet. They had Immigration and Customs on their boat and they wanted us to come in our dinghy and pick them up. We quickly untied our dinghy and Bill went and got them. There were four men this time. We decided to lead with the beer, which turned out to be a very good idea. There was no English spoken, but I think perhaps they could have if they had wanted to. They were very patient with my command of the Spanish language and they spoke nice and slowly so I could understand what they were saying. Things actually went very well. Of course they all wanted some money but they justified it by calling it fees: Customs, Immigration, Agriculture, Navy. The Navy guy got the money for preparing our "Despacho" which is the paperwork we need to go to the next port. He also offered to take us to buy diesel fuel but we didn't fully understand what he was saying. We told him we would have to empty our diesel cans into the tank first and that would take some time. Apparently it took too long because when we went to the shore to meet him he never showed up.
Today we walked to immigration to get the despacho because we decided we would leave today or very early tomorrow morning. Barahona is actually a lovely city. It is definitely the nicest city we have been in since Nassau. It was a long walk and we had to ask for directions a couple of times. Another Navy man was supposedly working on our despacho while we sat and waited and waited. While we were waiting we saw the man who had offered to help us buy diesel the day before. We talked to him and asked if the offer still stood. He said yes, but we still didn't really understand the situation. We had to walk back to the marina and get our dinghy and drive it across to the Navy dock. We told him we would be back in thirty minutes. It was tight but we did make it. When we got back he gave us the despacho, and asked for the money to buy the diesel. We assumed we would go with him in his car to get it but no! The reality was he drives a motorcycle like everyone else here. The offer yesterday was for him to let Bill get on the back of his motorcycle and hold the diesel cans, empty and then full, back to the dinghy. Oh no!! Luckily today there was a young Navy man who agreed to do that part for us.
Now we are just trying to relax a bit and have decided to leave at first light in the morning. Our despacho has us going to Boca Chica but we are thinking we will stop in the afternoon and anchor along an unpopulated shore for the night. It is a twenty hour trip to Boca Chica.